In a document, Crystalline Canopy Theory, emailed in the summer of 2013, Carl Baugh considers a canopy theory in which the earth before the flood was surrounded by a thin, rigid canopy. A canopy is some kind of a structure above the atmosphere and created in the beginning. Originally, canopy theories viewed the canopy as a source of water for the flood, but Baugh does not assume that this canopy was a significant source of water for the flood. This document is an evaluation of Baugh’s theory.
Creationists have considered various canopy theories for some time. Baugh discusses a possible rigid canopy surrounding the earth. It is natural to consider a rigid canopy because of the Hebrew word for firmament, and because of ancient Hebrews’ understanding of the firmament. One question to consider is whether man would have been trapped in the earth by such a canopy, or whether there were holes in the canopy for people to pass through. Also, would such a canopy have stayed in place, or would it have fallen to the earth or hit the earth?
Much of the material in this summary seems to be unscientific, but it has some plausible elements, and there may have been a thin canopy before the flood.
Baugh discusses ancient Hebrew references to a rigid firmament over the earth.
Ancient Firmament Concepts:
The Jewish historian Josephus gave a concise description of the Hebrew conception of the firmament: “After this, on the second day, He placed the heavens over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts; and determined that it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline firmament around it, and put together in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews.”1
The Hebrew Targums and Rabbinin Literature offer further details: “And God made the firmament, its thickness being three fingers between the limits of the heavens and the waters of the ocean.”2
The Hebrew Midrash Rabbah sheds further light: “And God said: ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.’ It is written, ‘Who roofs Thine upper chambers with water, or Who layest the beams of Thine upper chambers in the waters’…When the Holy One, blessed be He, ordered, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,’ the middle layer of water solidified, and the nether heavens and the uppermost heavens were formed.”3 In this passage we have the Jewish distinction between the “solidified firmament” (in which energies would be received to bathe Earth) separating the “nether- heavens” (in which the birds would fly under the firmamental canopy), and the “uppermost heavens” (in which stellar bodies would be placed). Scripture holds to three (and only three) “heavens” (2 Corinthians 12:2).
Egyptian, Greek, and Roman ideas erroneously envision a “vault” in which the celestial bodies were located.4 In contradistinction, the Hebrew concept refers to the Earth (Josephus), the crystalline firmament (Josephus, Targums, and Midrash), and the expanded heavens (Josephus, Targums, and Midrash) as being distinctive entities, yet each interrelated and each containing water from the first day of creation. Of notable distinction was the crystalline firmament whose structure would benefit the Earth by stimulating the production of moisture and heavy dews (dews that sometimes condensed as light rain). (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 3)
Even the Hebrew may give some support for this concept of a firmament, but the Hebrew root for firmament need not be taken as its implied meaning, as Baugh does (Crystalline Canopy Theory, pages 2, 3).
The Jewish references about the firmament are interesting. The scientific information about the web of the universe and of the vacuum are also (Crystalline Canopy Theory, pp. 4-7). The latter “firmament” comes from science and has no problem, of course.
The Crystalline Canopy
Baugh discusses a rigid mineral canopy beginning on page 7. In general, this seems plausible. However, there are problems with some of the specific statements. Would electrolysis really operate as stated on page 7? Would hydrogen and oxygen really collect in the flux lines of earth’s magnetic field as stated on pages 7 and 8? This does not seem correct, unless the hydrogen and oxygen were ionized.
Silicate Sugilite Canopy
Baugh suggests a canopy consisting of silicate sugilite. He quotes work of Boudreaux and Baxter:
Their work demonstrates that a 2-cm-thick Silicate Sugilite Crystalline Canopy could be suspended eleven miles above the pre-Flood Earth.5 The model envisions a 95% radius to the Earth under pre-Flood conditions. In further consideration, if we propose a 1-cm-thick canopy suspended ten miles above a pre-Flood Earth with a 95% radius, the energy required to keep it suspended is appreciably less. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 8)
What is sugilite? It would be helpful at least to give its chemical composition. Also, it should be made clearer that by a 95% radius you mean 95% of today’s value.
This observation is interesting, and appears to be correct:
… earth’s gravity does not exert significant force on the canopy. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 9)
Also, the following observation, which seems to be correct, deals with the issue of the canopy falling to the earth:
this balance of forces would have held the canopy in place. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 11)
Rotation of the atmosphere under the canopy is discussed on pages 11 and 12. Why wouldn’t the canopy just rotate with the atmosphere, so that no force would be exerted by the rotation? Or is Baugh thinking about centrifugal force?
The greenhouse effect is discussed on page 12.
The Sun is optically transparent in the wavelength range of 8-12 μm, so if an IR wavelength of about 10μm is reflected into the atmosphere (any black-body radiation reflected from the earth would have to exceed 3.5μm at a temperature of 295 K), this would have the greatest potential for atmospheric radiative heating. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 12)
Why would the optical transparence of the sun matter here? Probably it is meant that the atmosphere is transparent. Maybe this summary should be shown to people with specialized scientific knowledge so that they can make it easier to understand. It might also be more clearly explained what is meant by an atmospheric shear force. Perhaps this is due to the atmosphere moving under a fixed canopy?
Baugh asserts that there would be no convective heating in the pre-flood earth:
Since there would have been no air currents presumed to have existed in the pre-Flood earth (there would have been no source for pressure differentials within the stable atmospheric environment, enclosed by the canopy), there would not have been any convective heating of the atmosphere. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 13)
It’s not clear that there would have been no convective movements of the atmosphere. There would have been temperature differences between day and night, and between the equator and the poles, that could have led to winds in the atmosphere. Even the earth’s rotation might have caused the atmosphere to move. However, it is reasonable to believe that the canopy would not have been under much stress, and would not have caused much heating of the atmosphere.
Other Canopy Candidates
Other candidates for the canopy are presented starting on page 16.
Benefits to Planet Earth
Baugh lists benefits to the plant earth of having a crystalline canopy. Many of these are plausible, but some are not. For example, this material does not sound scientific:
Living systems depend on the energy of this magnetic field; it affects everything from molecules to man.6 In view of the fact that cosmic energy squeezes and strengthens the EMF, and sends electrons toward the poles,7 an appropriate recharging of its energy would sustain its optimal moment. Short-wave radiation would be assimilated into the charging mechanism, while mid-range and long-wave spectra would be transferred through the canopy to the benefit of systems below. The crystalline canopy provides the mechanism to perennially sustain the field. Physical evidence indicates that our EMF was at least ten times as powerful in the past.8
Having lost the recharging mechanism at the time of the Flood, our EMF is now left to natural decay.9 10
Also, the fact that magnetism affects living things does not mean that they have to live in an external magnetic field at all. How could the magnetic field be “recharged” without an input of energy? It sounds like perpetual motion.
Baugh also states that the magnetic field would not have decayed in the original creation:
Both “vapor canopy” and “expanse firmament” postures essentially mandate that the Creator wrote decay of the magnetic field into the creation event. This is inconsistent with the Genesis description of man being created to live forever and the promise of Earth’s inhabitants living forever on the restored planet. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 22)
It is possible that the magnetic field would not have decayed, for whatever reason, but an external magnetic field does not seem to be necessary for life.
Baugh claims that the canopy would amplify light passing through it:
The physical features of the crystalline canopy would give the structure potential as a photomultiplier. In the photomultiplier, dopants or impurities are denser than ordinary IR-sensitive material. More impurities mean electrons move more freely from ion to ion. The higher the field, the higher the probability of an electron ionizing another pair, setting off an avalanche until a single electron has set in motion 50,000 or more additional electrons. Using this effect in exploring the heavens, astronomers have detected galaxies in the deepest regions of space.11 Since the crystalline canopy would have a rather rigid structure, a problem of lens focusing has been anticipated. However, the eye of the trilobite created on Day Five possessed a fixed internal crystalline “optical-doublet” structure that corrected focusing problems, both near and far.12 (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 23)
This material does not make sense. However, a canopy might have had some amazing visual and auditory effects.
Baugh asserts that cell division is influenced by the electromagnetic field:
Proper cell division is primary in the optimal function of living systems, and this delicate procedure is synchronized by Earth’s EMF.13 (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 25)
This quote doesn’t seem right. There are body cycles regulated by day and night, for example, but the EMF of the earth has little or nothing to do with cell division. However, magnetic fields may indeed have some beneficial effect on the growth of plants or even on animals.
Baugh makes some statements about the earth reducing in volume:
After the Flood the Earth expanded in diameter during the days of Peleg.14 This expansion was due to the continued disruption of radioactive elements in the planet’s structured interior.15 In an attempt to determine Earth’s original size, our environmental engineers have approximated the planet’s original radius to be 95% of its current measurement.16 (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 25)
This material does not appear to be scientifically reasonable, and needs more explanation. Does Baugh mean that heating of the earth made it larger?
Baugh discusses benefits of a higher atmospheric pressure before the flood:
Higher ratios of oxygen17 and carbon dioxide18 in the enhanced atmospheric pressure further multiplied the benefits under these optimal conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen specialist William Fife (Texas A & M University, A.P. Beutel Health Center) has run extensive laboratory experiments using enhanced atmospheric pressure. Applying appropriate oxygen under these conditions, the entire blood plasma is quickly saturated with oxygen.19 20 National Geographic reports the phenomenal overnight healing of an aquanaut who cut his hand during long-term exposure to elevated atmospheric pressure and elevated oxygen.21 Living under these conditions human beings would receive adequate oxygen supply to the fetal brain, providing retention of all 200 billion brain cells that are genetically produced during fetal development. Normal humans would thus be provided with optimal functioning abilities, as well as the phenomenal gifts of the savant.
Elevation of oxygen ratio, and its saturation in a fluid medium, explains the large size of some insects in the fossil record.22 This further solves the long-standing dinosaur mystery of their small lungs being able to sustain tremendous bulk sizes.23 Due to the effects of Boyles Law, the water table was saturated with free oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria would not thrive under these conditions, and marine life could grow to gargantuan sizes, such as those found in the fossil record.
Research physicist Sherwood Idso has found that plants, when enriched with more CO2, “grow bigger and better, much like the plants of past geological epochs of biological prominence…[T]he efficiency with which plants use water to produce organic matter, essentially doubles with a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Moreover, for a tripling of the amount of CO2 in the air, it nearly triples!”24 Researcher Suan-Chin Wong grew cotton plants under normal ambient partial pressure of CO2, and under enriched partial pressure of CO2. Thirty-five days after planting, the total dry weights of high CO2-grown plants were 2 to 3.5 fold greater than plants grown in normal ambient CO2.25 (Crystalline Canopy Theory, pages 26, 27)
It is plausible that higher atmospheric pressure would have many benefits, and might explain the giant fossils. However, there could be other reasons for this higher pressure than the earth being smaller in the past.
Mechanism for the flood
A plausible candidate as a trigger mechanism in disrupting Earth’s internal aligned nuclear elements is the interaction of simple water molecules, acted upon by microwave radiation. Vast reservoirs of water have existed, and some still exist, deep within Earth’s structure.26 If God used microwave radiation of sufficient intensity in bodies of water, vast amounts of radioactive elements would be jostled from their aligned positions, and the Earth would melt in designated areas while cracking at the surface like a giant eggshell.27 This is due to the specific nature of microwaves,28 and the unique response of the water molecule to such radiation.29 (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 27)
It is not clear why microwave radiation is specified here, but some mechanism of heating could have caused the flood. It is not plausible that microwave radiation would have affected radioactive elements in any significant way.
Baugh seems to accept some features of Walt Brown’s theory (Crystalline Canopy Theory, pages 27, 28). He also states that tidal waves could have had an influence during the flood in depositing sediments.
This quote is very interesting:
The mechanism that triggered the Flood was the voice of God in judgmental disruption of Earth’s internal structure.30 This mechanism simultaneously disrupted the raqiya in its structure as a localized microcosm (canopy suspended over Earth) and as a universal macrocosm (expanse of space). “The skies sent out a sound.”31 … (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 30)
Perhaps the voice of God did somehow heat the earth and cause the flood. But how does this relate to the microwaves mentioned earlier?
Objections to the Crystalline Canopy Theory
Baugh discusses some objections to the canopy theory. One of these has to do with how it would be held in place. In fact, the canopy would be held in place by the atmosphere under it. If it moved to one side, then a lot of air would be pushed further from the earth, increasing the total potential energy of the system. A particle inside a hollow sphere feels no net gravitational force from it. The same calculation shows that a hollow sphere feels no net gravitational attraction to what’s inside it, that is, the gravitational forces cancel out. Also, because the air pressure is about 15 pounds per square inch but the canopy would weigh much less than this, the force of the air might be significant on the canopy. Another point is that the canopy could have compressed the air somewhat, increasing air pressure under it before the flood.
Baugh attempts to counter this objection by an unusual argument:
Another objection centers on a mechanism to hold the crystalline firmament in place. References cited in this paper list various thin ice cloud formations observed to be currently suspended over Earth, mostly near the polar regions where the EMF is concentrated in stronger flux lines. Some of these ice formations actually hold metallic elements, such as iron, in suspension with thin ice clouds. Emphasis is placed on the strength of the magnetic field which could readily hold such a thin canopy in place. (Crystalline Canopy Theory, page 29)
This material appears to be unscientific, but as mentioned above, the atmosphere itself would hold the canopy in place.
In general, there may have been a canopy around the earth at the creation. It may have had various benefits, but it would not have supplied a significant amount of water for the flood, unless the laws of nature were different in the beginning. There are and always will be questions about the nature of such a canopy, but in evaluating matters having to do with the creation, we should realize our limitations:
The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”32 Only the Creator knows the specific details involved in the creation, but it is a gratifying pursuit to “think God’s thoughts after Him.
1 Josephus, Book I, chapter I
2 John Bowers, from P.S. Jonathan translation, The Targums and Rabbinin Literature, Cambridge University Press, 1969, p. 95
3 Midrash Rabbah, Chapter IV (Bereshith), p. 27
4 R. Laird Harris, et al, op cit, p. 862
5 Ibid., p. 116
6 A.P. Dubrov, “The Geomagnetic Field and Life,” Plenum Press, New York, 1978, p. 61
7 Marcia Bartusiak, “The Sunspot Syndrome,” Discover, Nov. 1989, p. 46
8 D. Russell Humphreys, “Earth’s Magnetic Field is Young,” Impact, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, No. 242
9 Thomas G. Barnes, “Dwindling Resource, Evidence of a Young Earth,” Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 170-171
10 K.L. McDonald and R.H. Gunst, “An Analysis of the Earth’s Magnetic Field from 1935 to 1965,” ESSA Technical Report IER 46-IES, July, 1967, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, Table 3, p 14
11 Eric J. Lerner, “Solid-State Photomultiplier,” NASA Tech Briefs / Aerospace America, November 1988, pp. 40,41
12 Levi-Setti, Riccardo, Trilobites, University of Chicago Press, 1993
13 Robert O. Becker, The Body Electric, William Morrow, New York, 1985, p. 248
14 Genesis 10:25
15 H.G. Owen, “Has the Earth Increased in Size?” New Concepts in Global Tectonics, Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, 1992, p. 289
16 Neal Teague, Environmental Atmospheric Calculations, Personal Correspondence, Sept. 26, 1994
17 Robert A. Berner and Gary P. Landis, “Gas Bubbles in Fossil Amber as Possible Indication of the Major Gas Composition of Ancient Air,” Science, Vol. 239, p. 1406
18 J.C.G. Walker, “Atmospheric Evolution,” Science, Vol. 230, p. 164
19 William Fife, Personal Correspondence, March 29, 1995
20 Arthur J. Vander, James H. Sherman, and Dorothy S. Luciano, Human Physiology: The Mechanics of Body Function, p. 315
21 Jacques-Yves Cousteau, “At Home in the Sea,” National Geographic, Washington, DC, 1964, p. 496
22 Jon Harrison, “Air’s Oxygen Content Constrains Insect Growth,” Science News, Vol. 170, October 21, 2006, p. 270
23 Kirby Anderson, “Lung Capacity of Dinosaurs Small,” Personal Correspondence from Joseph Dillow, August 22, 1977
24 Sherwood B. Idso, “Carbon Dioxide Can Revitalize the Planet,” OPEC Bulletin, March 1992, pp. 22-27
25 Suan-Chin Wong, “Elevated Atmospheric Partial Pressure of CO2 and Plant Growth,” Photosynthesis Research, Springer Netherlands, Vol. 23, Number 2, Feb., 1990, pp. 171-180
26 Carl Zimmer, “The Ocean Within,” Discover, Oct., 1994, p. 20
27 Jonathon Weiner, “Earth’s Surface Cracked like a Giant Eggshell,” Bantam Books, New York, 1986, p. 31
28 Thomas Klenck, “Microwave Over,” Popular Mechanics, Sept., 1989, p. 78
29 “Microwaves,” Discover, Nov., 1989, p. 57
30 Psalm 46:6
31 Psalm 77:17
32 Deuteronomy 29:29