Who Can Stand?

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You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”  (Malachi 2:17, NIV 1984).

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. (Malachi 3:2–3).

My Musings – Wearied. Having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted. “How have we wearied him?”  By calling evil good (things that are offensive to God), and accusing God of not being good when we witness things that are unjust in our eyes (things that are offensive to us).  How arrogant (self-righteous) can we be, measuring God’s righteousness by our standards and by our so-called “knowlege?”  “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”  (Job 38:2–3, NIV 1984).

My Advice – We need to be very careful about what we approve of and what we complain about.  Why?  Because one day, maybe soon, the Righteous Judge will appear. “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?” Unless Jesus stands with us, no one.

 

By Whose Great Strength?

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No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”  (Psalm 33:16–18, NIV 1984).

My Musings – No great kingdoms of the past have survived to this day retaining their former splendor, power and influence.  My country has “In God We Trust” on its coin and currency.  Having come into its own as the current great “kingdom” after World War II, unrivaled in military power and economic strength, its seems that our trust is more on these things than it is in God.  As the text above so clearly states, it is vain to place our hope in these things.  He raised us up, and He can bring us down.

My Advice – This applies on a personal level too.  Make sure your hope and trust is in the Lord God Almighty.  Anything else is illusory.  “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV 1984).

Odds Are

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Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Luke 12:6–7, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Chance. Something that happens unpredictably without discernible intention or observable cause.  Coincidence. A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.  Random. Made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.  Odds. The probability that one thing is so or will happen rather than another.

I heard the muffled pop as I turned onto the entrance ramp to the interstate highway.  The thought immediately occurred to me that I had blown a tire.  But then nothing happened.  So I thought nothing of it and continued on my way to work, driving “every bit” the 70 mph speed limit.  It wasn’t until I was about fifteen miles on my way that the warning light flashed on indicating low pressure in my rear left tire. Pulling off the interstate and into a service station I exited the car and saw the screw protruding form the tire.  Yep, that’s it in the picture above.  Still being closer to home than I was to work, I re-inflated the tire, turned around and headed back to my car dealership, stopping once more to re-inflate the tire before reaching the dealership safely.

Well, that’s how my day started yesterday.  So what do you think the odds are that my great big  car would find that little bitty screw on that wide road?  Chance?  Coincidence?  Random?  Not likely.  Inconvenient?  For sure.  Late for work, putting me behind.  Costly?  You bet.  That little bitty screw will cost me over $170 to replace the tire. End of the world?  Not even close.  But if even the very hairs on my head are numbered, why didn’t my tire miss the screw?  I haven’t a clue.  Could God have prevented it?  Certainly.  Why didn’t he?  Again, I haven’t a clue.  What I am pretty sure of is that it wasn’t chance, coincidence or random.  Odds had nothing to do with it.  There was a reason for it.  Was it a test of how I would respond?  Maybe.  How we respond to little things, and believe me this was a little thing, prepares us to respond to bigger things.

My Advice – Take things in stride and trust God in the little things.  There are bound to be bigger things that we will need to be trained to respond to.

Who Then Is Like Me?

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Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”   (Isaiah 43:10–13, NIV 1984).

I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”  (Isaiah 44:6–8, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Eternal.  First and last, Alpha and Omega.  No god before or after.  Ancient of days, with no beginning or end.  God is from eternity past and future.  Who was (always), is (IAM) and evermore shall be.

Omnipotent.  No one can either stop or reverse His actions.  No can is greater or could be greater.

Immutable.  He does not change, nor could He.  Solid as a rock.  But like no rock we could possibly conceive of.

Pre-eminent. Surpassing all others. None beside Him, no not one.  No one before, after (eternal), more powerful or ever could be (omnipotent).  This will never change (immutable).

My Advice – Worship Him, for “these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!”  (Job 26:14, NIV 1984).  Yes, all of the above are merely faint whispers of how great thou art!

 

The Heavens Declare

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My Musings – God continues to bring order out of the universe that He created.

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Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky –The creation of the “lights in the expanse of the sky” on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. On the first day, God had said, “let there be light,” and there was light. But this was a chaos of light, scattered and confused. Now it was collected into countless luminaries and made more glorious and serviceable. God is the God of order, and not of confusion. The creation of light on day one, was now being set in order in the various heavenly bodies. The atmosphere being purified by the vegetation, would make the sun, moon, and stars visible in the sky. They are described as being “in the expanse of the sky.” This is how they appear to the eye, though we know they are really at vast distances from it. These lights may be said to be “made” on the fourth day—not created, indeed, for it is a different word (meaning light bearers) that is used here, suggesting what had previously been created were now being ordered and set in place for their intended purpose.

To separate the day from the night – The “creation” of the lights in the heavens on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. These terms are meaningless without the existence of the sun and the rotation of the earth.

Let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years – The lights were “signs” that mark off time periods (days, seasons, years). They were not astrological signs, correlating heavenly movements with events on earth. The worship of heavenly bodies is condemned.

The greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night – This refers to the sun and the moon, but the writer deliberately avoids the words “sun” (shemesh in Hebrew) and “moon” (yareach in Hebrew), as these correspond to the names of West Semitic deities: Shamash and Yarik. The Book of Genesis affirms that they are created objects, not deities. They merely divide (separate), govern, and give light in God’s creation.

The greater light – Many scientists believe that the sun and the rest of the solar system was “born” about 4.6 billion years ago, being formed from a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust known as a solar nebula. As the nebula collapsed because of its gravity, it spun faster and flattened into a disk. Most of the material was pulled toward the center to form the sun.

The lesser light – The Moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite and was formed around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system. The reigning theory is that a Mars-sized object impacted with a very young, still-forming Earth about. The planetary object that impacted Earth has been dubbed “Theia” by scientists because in Greek mythology, Theia was the mother of the moon goddess Selene. When Theia hit Earth, a portion of our planet came off and eventually hardened into the moon. This theory does a better job than others of explaining the similarities in chemical compositions of the Earth and the moon, however it doesn’t explain why the moon and the Earth are chemically identical.

He also made the stars – The Milky Way galaxy, is home to the earth’s solar system. Scientists say it was formed a little more than 13 billion years ago, just a few billion years after the Big Bang. The galaxy is estimated to be about 100,000 light years in diameter and 1,000 light years thick. It is part of a system of 50 galaxies known as the Local Group, which is part of the Virgo Supercluster. Containing as many as 50 billion planets and 400 billion stars, the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It has a center “bulge,” surrounded by a flat disk comprising several loose arms that contain stars and their orbiting bodies, as well as gases and dust.

God “also made the stars” almost sounds like an afterthought. But scientists estimate that there are about 2 trillion galaxies in the universe and that each galaxy has about 100 million stars.  And yet still, “these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14).

My Advice – The psalmist proclaims that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalms 19:1-4).  The whisper may be faint, but no one can claim that they do not hear it.  Do not just hear it, listen to it.  The heavens declare HIs glory and so should we.  One day, we all will.  Why not start now?

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  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. https://www.bighistoryproject.com/chapters/2#the-birth-of-the-sun
  3. http://www.openculture.com/2012/02/the_birth_of_the_moon.html
  4. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  7. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  8. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  9. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  10. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  11. Lowery, K. (2007). The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 3). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  12. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  13. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:15–16). Biblical Studies Press.
  14. https://www.space.com/58-the-sun-formation-facts-and-characteristics.html
  15. https://space-facts.com/the-moon/
  16. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/4-theories-about-how-moon-formed
  17. https://someinterestingfacts.net/facts-about-milky-way-galaxy/

Land Ho!

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My Musings – As we continue to compare the account of Genesis  with current scientific theories (setting aside the apparent time discrepancy), I continue to be amazed at what God commanded Moses to write (in simple enough terms for early man to grasp the essentials – I AM who I AM, and I created all this) is not contradicted by man’s “advanced learning” over the centuries.  Did I say amazed?  Not amazed at all.

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Let the Water Under the Sky Be Gathered to One Place (Seas) – In the beginning the water covered the whole earth. As the waters that covered the earth were ordered to retire (“let dry ground appear”), they “gathered into one place.” The waters, he called seas.

Until around 2.5 billion years ago oceans covered almost the whole of the planet. The oceans would have been devoid of fish, which had not yet “evolved” (of course, they were not created until the fourth day). Back then life consisted of nothing more complex than algae and bacteria. As the earth’s mantle cooled, land would have gradually appeared (initially 2% to 3% of Earth’s surface, compared to 28% today) as the oceans became deeper and regions of high relief on the continental crust formed.

Let Dry Ground Appear (Land) – As dry land emerges above the surface, the receding waters are collected to one place. Land was already there beforehand, but it was of no use because it was under water. This is one more work of separation, land is separated from seas, just as previously waters (above) were separated from waters (below), and light separated the darkness.

The first protocontinents (an actual or hypothetical landmass that might later be enlarged into a major continent or broken up into smaller ones) began to form about 4 billion years ago. During this period, plate building blocks known as cratons (giant rock cores) came together and causing them to rise to the surface (“let dry ground appear”). Over time, the first supercontinent (a hypothetical former single large continent) broke apart to ultimately form our current seven continents. The first supercontinent (if water gathered to one place, then land gathered to one place) was probably Columbia, which formed around 1.8 billion years ago. Scientists conjecture that breaking apart or supercontinents and coming back together of the subcontinents occurred several times over the Earth’s history.

Let the Land Produce Vegetation – God’s command for vegetation to grow is the first indirect command in the creation sequence. Previously, God has directly spoke each created thing into existence. This time He commands the Earth to produce plant life. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees.

Scientists believe that plants first moved onto the land during the Ordovician period, although plant life (single-celled plant organisms and multicellular algae) had likely appeared in the oceans as early as 1 billion years BCE. It was not until the Carboniferous period that plant life expanded from the coastlines and edges of lakes and began to more fully resemble modern plants. The first trees appeared in the Devonian period. These trees did not produce flowers and in fact it was not until 135 million years ago (Cretaceous time period) that the first flowering plants became abundant. Perhaps in preparation of a certain garden?

While oxygen is essential for life on Earth, the atmosphere did not originally contain oxygen. The process responsible for producing most of the Earth’s oxygen is known as photosynthesis, the process in which plants and certain other organisms convert sunlight into oxygen. Land-based, plants — such as flowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees — produce up to half of the planet’s oxygen. Rainforests, with their dense canopies and vast diversity of plant species, are themselves responsible for one-third of the Earth’s oxygen production. The rest of the world’s oxygen comes mainly from photosynthesis caused by the phytoplankton in the oceans. It stands to reason why God started His creation of life with plants. Oxygen was a precondition to life and plants were a precondition to oxygen.

According to Their Various Kind – The Hebrew word translated “kind” indicates that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was an ordered process, as opposed to “evolving” from disorder. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused. Kind refers to the broad distinctions between different types of plants. All created things (including animals and humans) reproduce within the parameters set by God. With respect to plants, there are an estimated 375,000 species, with more being discovered each year. Some 297,326 of these species of plants have been identified.

My Advice – Do not be too hasty in relegating the Genesis account to allegory or fairy tale.  When we are served a meal by a master chef, we do not need to ask how the “soup”was made. We simply enjoy that it was made especially for us.

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://palaeos.com/archean/archean.html
  3. http://odec.ca/projects/2002/food_for_life/history_of_plants.htm
  4. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2008/12/31/early-earth-was-covered-in-water-274995/
  7. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  8. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  9. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  10. https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-history-of-supercontinents-on-planet-earth-5744636
  11. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  12. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  13. https://www.reference.com/science/did-plant-life-begin-appear-earth-d57a1645b8cf9459
  14. http://www.infobharti.com/how-and-why/plants-and-animals/when-did-plants-apear-on-the-earth.php
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  17. https://sciencing.com/process-responsible-producing-earths-oxygen-19636.html
  18. https://www.wisegeek.com/how-many-species-of-plants-are-there.htm

 

Water We Talking About?

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My Musings – Separation of light from dark (last Sunday’s blog), is something we can observe and thus is easier to understand than today’s blog, the separation of waters above form the water’s below.  But never underestimate the ability of God to reconcile science to His Word.  It just takes time for the wisdom of man (current scientific theories) to catch up to a right understanding of the Word.  He’s got all the time in the world.

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Let There Be An Expanse – The Hebrew is alternatively translated “expanse, firmament, vault.” It is that element that divides heavenly [atmospheric] waters from terrestrial [liquid] waters. The ancients believed the sky was a dome that separated the [terrestrial] heavens above the sky from the earth below. The view that the sky was a solid dome was common in the ancient Near Eastern cosmology shared by the biblical writers. There are, in fact, two “domes” encircling the earth.

The first “dome,” the ozone layer, is one of the layers of the stratosphere (the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere), which is a mass of protective gases clinging to our planet. Both oxygen and ultraviolet light was required to form the ozone layer. Since there are no other planets with oxygen in our solar system, this makes an ozone layer unique to Earth. Before the existence of the ozone layer, life was restricted to shallow water [the fifth day]. This is because water shielded harmful radiation. When ozone started protecting Earth from deadly UV rays, life could finally diversify on land [the sixth day]. The ozone layer has a primary function of absorbing ultraviolet sunlight. The absorption of ultraviolet rays has many effects, such as atmospheric temperature regulation and protection of biological entities.

The second “dome,” called the Van Allen belts, are a pair of dynamic regions of trapped radiation, separated by a void and held in place by the Earth’s magnetic field. They protect the planet from the radiation of space and the effects of solar weather. Without Earth’s magnetic field, these cosmic storms and high energy particles would strip away our atmosphere, destroying our cellular structure and evaporating our oceans in the process. “Luckily” for us, we have our magnetic shield (the magnetosphere) to protect us from most of these harmful particles. When the charged particles come into contact with the magnetosphere, they don’t disappear; they are merely deflected around the planet, forming what we call the Van Allen belts.

To Separate The Water Under From The Water Above – On the first day, God separated light from dark. On day two, God began to form the earth by means of a second act of separation – the waters above from the waters below. An expanse—the atmosphere—was placed in the midst of the waters, thus separating the clouds above from the condensed water below. The separation of the water made a distinction between the waters that are now wrapped up in the clouds and those that cover the sea, the waters in the air and those in the earth. This suggests that previously there had been a dense moisture enshrouding the earth, but not covering the earth.

It is theorized that Hydrogen was the first atom to form after the Big Bang, followed by Helium and a small amount of Lithium. These basic atoms often fused together to make heavier atoms (like oxygen). When hydrogen atoms came in contact with oxygen atoms, water formed in thick layers of ice on rocky objects (comets, asteroids or meteoroids) that were swirling around the cosmos. Assuming water did not exist on Earth or any other planet at the birth of the solar system, it has been speculated that the water must have “flown in” from the outer reaches of the solar system, riding on comets, asteroids or meteoroids.

Though scientists have scoffed at the idea of water above the firmament, there is vast amounts of water “stored” in outer space. Recently, astronomers discovered the largest (140 trillion times all the water in the earth’s oceans) and farthest (12 billion light years away) reservoir of water ever detected in the universe in a distant quasar. There is also water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 less than in the quasar.

God Called The Expanse Sky – Though the Hebrew word can mean “heaven,” it refers in this context to “the sky.” The atmosphere is an important part of what makes Earth livable. It blocks some of the Sun’s dangerous rays from reaching Earth. It traps heat, making Earth a comfortable temperature. And the oxygen within our atmosphere is essential for life. It is the only known planet with these conditions.

My Advice – Never bet against the inerrancy of God’s Word.  It is simply amazing that the account in Genesis was simple enough to be grasped by early man, and complex enough to confound even modern man best theorizing.

 

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://www.geologypage.com/2013/10/hadean-eon.html
  3. https://www.britannica.com/science/Hadean-Eon
  4. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  5. Major Contributors and Editors. (2016). Firmament. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  6. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ozone-layer/
  7. https://earthhow.com/ozone-layer/
  8. https://www.reference.com/science/ozone-layer-5f3afce70d7830e3
  9. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/09/studying-earths-protective-radiation-belts/
  10. https://futurism.com/recent-news-on-earths-van-allen-radiation-belt.
  11. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  12. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  13. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  14. https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/earth-get-water-origin-history-carbonaceous-chondrite-asteroid-big-bang.html
  15. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/universe20110722.html
  16. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:8). Biblical Studies Press.
  17. https://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html