Ancient Theologians weigh in on Genesis: Basil’s reflections on creation (part 2)

This post is part of a series looking at Basil’s views on the creation account in Genesis. If you have not already read it, I recommend starting with part 1.

Throughout history there have been attempts to reconcile the Genesis creation account with the theories of science and what is understood about the universe. Answers in Genesis (link) asserts that the creation account is historical and “gives us our only eyewitness testimony of the first events of the universe”. In advocating that view, they are constantly updating explanations describing how modern understandings of the universe fit with the events and entities in Genesis. However, many challenges arise when we approach the creation account as an accurate scientific description of the events that occurred “in the beginning”. Further complicating things, the interpretation of what an entity in the creation account aligns to in a modern cosmological model could mean that the original audience and people in prior ages had no ability to understand what Genesis was saying.

Consider the water vapor canopy model and the gap theory, two modern attempts to reconcile what is known about the universe with the creation account.

The Water Vapor Canopy Theory

“Sea Sawdust” in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (

When the description of the expanse and the waters it separates is taken as a literal and accurate description of the universe it becomes very hard to correlate these entities to modern constructs. We have to account for three entitles: the expanse and both the waters above and below.

A largely discredited modern view known as the water vapor canopy model tackled identifying these three entities. This theory suggested that the waters above the expanse surrounded the earth’s atmosphere and provided the immense water needed for the flood. It also postulates that this canopy explains long human life spans and other pre-flood characteristics of the world.

A half-century ago, most recent creationists subscribed to the canopy model, the belief that the expanse is the earth’s atmosphere with the waters above being in a sort of canopy over the atmosphere. The canopy model hypothesized that the water canopy collapsed at the time of the flood. …While some creationists still support the canopy model, most creation scientists do not

– AiG (What were the Waters on Day 2)

Basil also understood the “waters above” to be actual water. However, this was not a water vapor canopy, but the source of all rain upon the earth.

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