Does Job 37:18 teach that the earth has a metal dome?                                   By Jack Kettler


“Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” (Job 37:18)


While the interpretation of Job 37:18 varies among different religious belief systems, some proponents of the idea of a dome cover over the earth have cited this verse as evidence. However, it is important to note that this interpretation is not widely accepted among contemporary biblical scholars and does not reflect the mainstream understanding of the verse.


Nevertheless, here are a few sources that support the idea of a dome cover over the earth using Job 37:18:


1.      “Ancient Near Eastern thinkers typically conceived of the Earth as having a bowl-shape, with a solid, convex top (Job 37:18) that was covered by water (Job 26:10).” (1)


2.      “The Firmament: Evidence of Its Existence” by Gerardus D. Bouw - This book argues for a physical dome-like structure called the “firmament” that covers the earth, drawing on various biblical references, including Job 37:18.


3.      “The Firmament Vaulted Dome; the Earth's Missing Layers” by Zamm Zamudio - This book explores the concept of a vaulted dome covering the earth and includes an interpretation of Job 37:18 in support of this view.


4.      “The Biblical Cosmos: A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Weird and Wonderful World of the Bible” by Robin A. Parry: In this book, Parry explores ancient cosmologies as presented in the Bible, including the idea of a solid firmament. He references Job 37:18 as one of the texts that could be interpreted in favor of a dome cover.


5.      Stanton III, Guy, Flat Earth: Evidence To Consider If You Dare To Words of Action, Kindle Edition Mr. Stanton uses Job 37:18 and other passages to argue for dome covering.


In particular, Guy Stanton III has the following comments on Job 37:18 he sees as relevant in finding support for a dome covering the earth:  


– Job 37:18, “can you help God spread out the skies as hard as a cast metal mirror? The firmament is a very hard surface and yet there is evidence that it has cracked.” (2)


Regarding Job 37:18, what do other contemporary commentators have to say?


Job 37:18—Does the Bible err in speaking of a solid dome above the earth?


“Problem: Job speaks of God who “spread out the skies” like “a cast metal mirror” (37:18). Indeed, the Hebrew word for the “firmament” (raqia) which God created (cf. Gen. 1:6) is defined in the Hebrew lexicon as a solid object. But this is in clear conflict with the modern scientific understanding of space as non-solid and largely empty.”


“Solution: It is true that the origin of the Hebrew word raqia meant a solid object. However, meaning is not determined by origin (etymology), but by usage. Originally, the English word “board” referred to a wooden plank. But when we speak of a church board member, the word no longer has that meaning. When used of the atmosphere above the earth, “firmament” clearly does not mean something solid. This is evident for several reasons. First, the related word raqa (beat out, spread out) is correctly rendered “expanse” by many recent translations. Just as metal spreads out when beaten (cf. Ex. 39:3; Isa. 40:19), so the firmament is a thinned out area.”


“Second, the root meaning “spread out” can be used independently of “beat out,” as it is in several passages (cf. Ps. 136:6; Isa. 42:5; 44:24). Isaiah wrote, “So says Jehovah God, He who created the heavens and stretched them out, spreading out the earth and its offspring (Isa. 42:5, mkjv). This same verb is used of extending curtains or tents in which to dwell, which would make no sense if there was no empty space there in which to live. Isaiah, for example, spoke of the Lord “who sits on the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in ...” (Isa. 40:22, mkjv).”


“Third, the Bible speaks of rain falling through the sky (Job 36:27–28). But this makes no sense if the sky is a metal dome. Nowhere does the Bible refer to little holes in a metal dome through which the drops fall. It does speak figuratively of the “windows of heaven” opening for the Flood (Gen. 7:11). But this should probably not be taken any more literally than our idiom, “It is raining cats and dogs.”


“Fourth, the Genesis creation account speaks of birds that “fly above the earth across the face of the firmament” (Gen. 1:20). But this would be impossible if the sky was solid. Thus, it is more appropriate to translate raqia by the word “expanse” (as the nasb and niv do). And in this sense there is no conflict with the concept of space in modern science.”


“Fifth, even taken literally, Job’s statement (37:18) does not affirm that the “skies” are a “metal mirror,” but simply that they are “as [like]” a mirror. In other words, it is a comparison that need not be taken literally, any more than God is really a “strong tower” (cf. Prov. 18:10). Further, the point of comparison in Job is not the solidity of the “skies” and a mirror, but their durability (cf. word “strong” [chazaq]; v. 18). So when all is considered, there is no evidence that the Bible affirms that the firmament of the sky is a metallic dome. And thus there is no conflict with modern science.” (3)


The firmament is often referred to in Genesis 1:6 in support of a domed earth.


Consider the following citation from the Institute of Creation Research regarding the firmament:


“1:6 firmament. The “firmament” is not a great vaulted dome in the sky, as liberals have interpreted it, but is simply the atmospheric expanse established between the waters above and below. The Hebrew word, raqiya, means “expanse” or perhaps better, “stretched-out thinness.” “Since God specifically identified it with “Heaven,” it also can be understood simply as “space.” Thus, on the second day, God separated the primeval deep into two deeps, with a great space between. The waters below the space retained the elemental earth materials which would be utilized on the following day to form the land and its plant cover. The waters above the firmament had apparently been transformed into the vapor state in order to be separated from the heavier materials and elevated above the atmosphere, where it could serve as a thermal blanket for the earth’s future inhabitants.”


“Such a vapor canopy would undoubtedly have provided a highly efficient “greenhouse effect,” assuring a perennial spring-like climate for the entire earth. Water vapor both shields the earth against harmful radiations from space and also retains and spreads incoming solar heat. A vapor canopy would thus provide an ideal environment for abundant animal and plant life and for longevity and comfort in human life. Water vapor is invisible, and thus would be translucent, allowing the stars to be seen through it. This would not be the case with a liquid water or ice canopy.” (4)


In closing:


Job 37:18 can be understood metaphorically in a couple of ways:


First, the phrase “spread out the skies” can be seen as a metaphor for having great power or control. In ancient times, the sky was often associated with vastness, mystery, and the divine. By asking if Job can “spread out the skies like him,” God is essentially questioning Job's ability to have dominion over the vastness and complexity of the world. It implies that Job does not possess the power and wisdom to control the forces of nature or understand the ways of God.


Secondly, the phrase “hard as a cast metal mirror” can be seen as a metaphor for something that is impenetrable or beyond comprehension. Just as a mirror cannot be easily manipulated or altered, the same can be said about the workings of the cosmos or God's plans. The verse highlights the incomprehensibility of God's ways and emphasizes the limitations of human understanding. Job is being reminded that he cannot comprehend or control the vastness and complexity of the world, just as he cannot spread out the skies or shape its nature. 


In both interpretations, the metaphorical interpretation of Job 37:18 refers to the concept of human limitations and insignificance in comparison to the power and wisdom of God.


“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)




1.      David J.A. Clines, Job 21-37 in Word Biblical Commentary, (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2006), p. 559.

2.      Stanton III, Guy, Flat Earth: Evidence To Consider If You Dare To (p. 83), Words of Action. Kindle Edition.

3.      Norman L. Geisler (Author), Thomas Howe (Author), When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties, Kindle location 3465.

4.      Institute for Creation Research, firmament, online,


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife, Marea, attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.