bzzzt. This crosses over from phenomenological / metaphorical language into blatant error.Providentissimus Deus
Because it looked to "them" (who's "them" ... since the Holy Spirit is the author of Sacred Scripture?) to be hard, they "mistakenly" described it as such. Because the idiots saw a blue sky, they mistakenly concluded that there was water up there. This is not phenomenological language at all ... but blatant error. Phenomenological language might include things like "and then the sun set".
This is nothing but modernist crap.
Here's my take on firmament. If there's no such thing as a solid firmament, then it's because the original Hebrew word actually means "expanse" ... the Latin word for which is spatium ... from which we get our word space. So the original Hebrew did not imply solidity ... even though the Latin translation did ... by way of interpretation.
This passage above makes the people who wrote Scripture into a bunch of ignoramuses whose ignorance somehow broke through the authorship of Scripture by the Holy Spirit to inject their errors into it.
includes a statement that the Sacred authors "put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to."
Are you disagreeing with that or do you think I am not applying it properly?
I checked the BDB Lexicon on the Hebrew and I don't think it supports your translation of "raqia". It gives the meanings "extended surface, (solid) expanse (as if beaten out; (cf Job 37:18 )), flat expanse (as if of ice), as base, support, hence the vault of heaven or "firmament" regarded by Hebrews as solid and supporting waters above it." It comes from a root word that refers to beating out sheets of metal, so that seems like a pretty strong connotation of solidity to me. I'd say the Vulgate firmamentum
captures the Hebrew better than your suggestion does.
I don't think you can avoid the problems of taking this literally by translating your way out of it.