Understanding the Meaning of “Earth” in the Bible: Exploring the Interpretation of Biblical Authors

The Bible is an incredible collection of books that has captured the hearts and minds of people from all over the world. Within its pages, we can find powerful stories, uplifting messages, and timeless wisdom that can guide us through life’s challenges. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Bible is its use of language, particularly when it comes to the term “Earth.” In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the meaning of “Earth” in the Bible, explore the interpretations of biblical authors, and gain a better understanding of this fundamental concept. Let’s begin our journey of discovery and revelation together.


The Bible is a complex and fascinating book that has captured the attention of scholars, theologians, and readers around the world for centuries. From the stories of Adam and Eve to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Bible contains a wealth of information about God, humanity, and the world we live in. In this article, we will explore the meaning of “earth” in the Bible, specifically in Genesis 1, and the theological claims being made by the authors.

The Creation Narrative in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. This famous opening line of the Bible is studied to understand the words used and their meaning in ancient Hebrew. The word “earth” in this context is translated from the Hebrew word “edits” which means land. It is important to note that the word is spoken from the vantage point of somebody on the land looking up.

As we continue to read in Genesis 1, we see that God creates light, the sky, the sea, vegetation, animals, and finally, mankind. But as we focus on the creation of the sky, the text mentions a solid protective shield that sustains the waters above and keeps them from falling down. This Hebrew word for protective shield is “rakia”.

Understanding Rakia in the Bible

According to scholars, the word “rakia” is a Hebrew word that means a solid protective shield. This indicates that the Hebrew authors viewed the sky more like a solid dome than like the atmosphere we know today. The sky served as a barrier between the waters above and the earth below. This idea of the sky being a solid dome can also be seen in other parts of the Bible, such as in Psalm 19 where it says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.”

As we continue to explore the concept of rakia in the Bible, we learn that the waters above are still held back by God and were only allowed to drop once in the biblical story of the flood. The flood is viewed as a decreation event in which the waters above collapsed back onto the earth. This shows us that the authors of the Bible viewed the cosmos in a very different way than we do today.

The Misunderstanding of Rakia in the Bible

Unfortunately, the interpretation of a water canopy as the rakia, popularized in mid-20th century America, is not in line with the view of the biblical authors. This misinterpretation came about due to the misreading of the original Hebrew texts and a lack of understanding of the ancient worldview.

It is important to note that the Bible is not a scientific textbook, but rather a theological document. The intention of the authors was not to provide a detailed description of how the universe was created, but to proclaim the greatness of God and his sovereignty over creation.


In conclusion, understanding the meaning of “earth” in the Bible is a complex undertaking that requires a careful reading of the text, an awareness of the language and culture of the time, and a respect for the intentions of the authors. As we have explored in this article, the concept of rakia in the Bible challenges our modern views of the cosmos. We must be careful not to impose our modern understandings onto the ancient text, but rather to seek to understand the theological claims being made. Ultimately, the Bible calls us to reflect on the greatness of God and to seek to live in harmony with his creation.

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