~ from Testingtheglobe.com
This view was held well into the New Testament time frame, as also indicated by the writings of Josephus in the 1st Century:
CHAPTER 1. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE WORLD AND THE DISPOSITION OF THE ELEMENTS
1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. But when the earth did not come into sight, but was covered with thick darkness, and a wind moved upon its surface, God commanded that there should be light: and when that was made, he considered the whole mass, and separated the light and the darkness; and the name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called Day: and he named the beginning of light, and the time of rest, The Evening and The Morning, and this was indeed the first day. But Moses said it was one day; the cause of which I am able to give even now; but because I have promised to give such reasons for all things in a treatise by itself, I shall put off its exposition till that time. After this, on the second day, he placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts, and he determined it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline [firmament] round it, and put it together in a manner agreeable to the earth, and fitted it for giving moisture and rain, and for affording the advantage of dews. On the third day he appointed the dry land to appear, with the sea itself round about it; and on the very same day he made the plants and the seeds to spring out of the earth. On the fourth day he adorned the heaven with the sun, the moon, and the other stars, and appointed them their motions and courses, that the vicissitudes of the seasons might be clearly signified.
The “Early Church Fathers” also wrote quite a bit about this “crystalline firmament” but that’s a topic for a whole other essay. OK. This is what really got me though. Check out how the author of 1 Enoch describes the Flood, as given through the vision/dream of Enoch prior to the Judgment occurring…
The Deluge and the Deliverance of Noah
2 And again I raised mine eyes towards heaven and saw a lofty roof, with seven water torrents thereon, and those torrents flowed with much water into an enclosure.
3 And I saw again, and behold fountains were opened on the surface of that great enclosure, and that water began to swell and rise upon the surface, and I saw that enclosure till all its surface was covered with water.
4 And the water, the darkness, and mist increased upon it; and as I looked at the height of that water,that water had risen above the height of that enclosure, and was streaming over that enclosure,and it stood upon the earth.
5 And all the cattle of that enclosure were gathered together until I saw how they sank and were swallowed up and perished in that water.
6 But that vessel floated on the water, while all the oxen and elephants and camels and asses sank to the bottom with all the animals, so that I could no longer see them, and they were not able to escape,(but) perished and sank into the depths.
7 And again I saw in the vision till those water torrents were removed from that high roof, and the chasms of the earth were leveled up and other abysses were opened.
8 Then the water began to run down into these, till the earth became visible; but that vessel settled on the earth, and the darkness retired and light appeared.
I’m in the process of trying to take the descriptions given in the canonized texts along with what we can read in books like Enoch and other writings contemporary with the Biblical texts – which clearly illustrate the worldview of the Biblical authors – and creating a 3D model, taking these descriptions as literally as I can. This is still very much a work in progress, the following is what I’ve come up with so far: