Isaac Vail (1840–1912) was the first to propose the canopy theory in 1874. This theory was originally developed to explain the source of the flood water that covered the Earth. Its proponents speculated that the canopy of water above the atmosphere remained until the time of Noah when the “windows of heaven” along with the fountains of the great deep joined to cover the earth at the Flood (Genesis 7:11). Some of this theory proponents speculated that God sent a meteor to earth that caused the collapse of the canopy leading to the freezing of the poles.
The advocates of the canopy theory presented the following factors to support their theory: continuous forty day rain, rainbows & clouds which are not mentioned in the Bible before the flood, fossil plants and animals in polar regions indicating globally uniform temperatures before the flood, and the great decline in human longevity following the flood due to the harmful cosmic radiation with the lack of high atmospheric pressure that contained high levels of Oxygen.
One of the major problems that faced the canopy theory is that if such a vapor canopy were to collapse into rain, it would release high levels of heat that would boil the atmosphere! Because when water converts from vapor to liquid, it releases energy- this process is known as the exothermic result. And equally, when water converts from ice to liquid or from liquid to vapor, energy is absorbed and the planet is cooled- this process is called the endothermic result. For these reasons the canopy theory has been discredited.
According to Genesis chapter one, the scriptures tell us that there was a level of water above the earth: “Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth” (Genesis 16). The earth was a formless mass of primordial water and on the second day of creation, God created the firmament placing it in the midst of the water, thus separating it into two parts: “the waters above the firmament and the waters below it.” The Lord called the waters below the firmament sea and the firmament he called “heaven,” “air” or “sky.”
Bu while the Genesis account mentions that there was water above the firmament, there is only speculation to what that actually entails. And while explorations carried out in the far north showed that there were once tropical forests that covered these lands, the real cause of the extreme cold there remains uncertain to man (Deuteronomy 29:29).
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