Genesis 1 Day 4 The Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Genesis 1:14-15

By Ron Jones, D.D. ©Titus Institute

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), ©2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."


Introduction:

On Day 1, God created the raw material of the universe, the earth as a gigantic earthen sphere covered by water and outer space unoccupied until the proper time. He will be like a master sculptor who has prepared the clay to be molded. His Holy Spirit is hovering over the face of this world wide ocean ready to participate with the Father and the Son in the creation. God then creates a supernatural light by which the earth can begin to rotate on its axis and the first 24 hour day can begin. On Day 2, God creates the sky between the waters above (clouds full of water vapor) and the waters below (ocean). This is the beginning of the hydrologic cycle which God created to grow the food supply and sustain life. On Day 3 God creates the dry land, the seas and vegetation. The dry land will be what animals and man will inhabit and what will produce the vegetation that they will eat to sustain their lives. The seas are an essential part of the hydrologic cycle as well as sustaining life on earth. Day 4 begins in v.14.

Genesis 1 Day 4 The Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Genesis 1:14-15

14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.

v.14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens."

As we saw, this "expanse of the heavens" is the upper heavens, the second heaven.

Then God gives their four functions, but before we look at this, let's go down to v.16 and see what these lights specifically are. Then we will come back to their functions.

v. 16 "And God made the two great lights"

Moses divides the heavenly host into two groups: one consisting of the two great lights, that is, those that seem the biggest to us and that exert the greatest and most important influence on earthly physical life, and the other consisting of a multitude of small lights, or those that appear small.

v.16 "the greater light...and the lesser light"

God, followed by Moses, doesn't use the names of the sun and moon, but instead calls them by how they function. This is to anticipate the eventual corruption that took place in the lives of the descendants of Noah's sons. This is stark contrast to the ANE pagan view of the sun and the moon which were worshipped as gods. This lowers the sun and moon to what they actually were, just material substances God created to serve mankind.

The description of the celestial bodies is described phenomenologically, that is by how they appear to an observer on earth. The sun is the greater light and the moon is the lesser light. This is simple prescientific language. This is not meant by God to say that the moon shines its own light rather than reflecting the light of the sun. It is merely describing what ancient man saw when he observed the sky. It is equivalent to using the term "moonlight" today.

It is greater because it is brighter and of course, the source of the moon's light. The moon is the lesser light because it is not as bright and reflects the sun's light.

"Lights" occurs in another place in Scripture referring to this passage and its wording.

Psalm 136:7-9 7 to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; 8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; 9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever.

v. 16 "and the stars"

The stars which were so worshipped and followed in terms of their movements are reduced by God to "and the stars." God inspires Moses to mention them briefly at the end to lower their estimation in the eyes of human beings. The stars are not regulating the lives of human beings; they are lights in the nighttime sky. That's it!

Now let's go back to v.14.

v. 14 "...to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, v.15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth."

God gave the luminaries three functions: 1) to separate day from night; 2) to be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 3) to serve as luminaries and to give light upon the earth.

In verses 17-18, all these functions are mentioned again for emphasis.

Function #1 of the Sun, Moon, and Stars: to separate the day from the night

v.14 "to separate the day from the night."

This gives their first function, to separate the day from the night. When God originally created the light, the text says in v.5, "And God separated the light from the darkness." God here is further establishing the fundamental measurement of time for human beings, the day/night period which began then and continued in the time of Moses when Genesis was written and continues today so everyone can see how it began. How this is interpreted by each position will be explained in a few minutes.

Function #2 of the Sun, Moon, and Stars: to be for signs and for seasons and for days and years

v.14 And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years

The second function is for them to be for signs and for seasons and for days and years. "Let them be" means "let them exist" for the purpose of being "signs for the inhabitants of the world for the determination of the seasons, and for the division of time (and for days and years)."

The seasons are determined by the earth's revolution around the sun. The rotation of the earth and the position of the sun with respect to the earth causes day and night. The revolution of the earth around the sun allows measurement of a year. The revolution of the moon around the earth allows measurement of a month. God sets up regular patterns of the sun, moon, and stars so time can be measured. God sets up time measurement for the people he will create so they can measure he marching of time for agriculture primarily, but also for all that it does for civilization.

Function #3 of the Sun, Moon, and Stars: to serve as luminaries and to give light upon the earth

v.15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.

.

"Lights" in v.15 refers to the sun, moon, and stars as sources of light. They bring light to the earth, the sun in the daytimes and the moon and stars in the nighttime.

v. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, v. 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.

Repeats what was said in v.16 for emphasis.

v.15 "And it was so."

As God had enjoined so it was, and so it will remain until the new heavens and the earth and the supernatural light of God will replace it.

v. 18 "And God saw that it was good."

They are good because they will fulfill their function and benefit mankind. They are also beautiful and reveal the glory of God.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Psalm 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

There are three different interpretations of Genesis 1:14-18 according to the three major evangelical views.

Literal 24 Hour Day View: Genesis 1:1: God creates the heavens and the earth (no sun, moon, stars). Genesis 1:3: God's creates physical light supernaturally as a temporary light source. Genesis 1:14 : God creates the sun and replaces the light source and creates the moon and stars.

Figurative 24 Hour Day View Genesis 1:1: God creates the heavens and the earth (with sun, moon, stars). Genesis 1:3: God creates a new function for the sun's light = daytime. Genesis 1:14: God creates a new function for the sun, moon, and stars' light = signs, seasons, days, years, light for the earth

Literal Day Age View Genesis 1:1: God creates the heavens and the earth (with sun, moon, stars). Genesis 1:3: God changes earth's atmosphere from opaque to translucent. Genesis 1:14: God changes earth's atmosphere from translucent to transparent.

I take the Literal 24 Hour Day View which makes the most sense to me for two reasons:

1) In Genesis 1:3 "Let there be.." means let their come into existence the light.

2) There is nothing in the text that hints at the interpretations of the other two views of light and the sun, moon, and stars.

But the one big supposed problem with the Literal 24 Hour Day View is what is called the LTT issue, that is, the Light Travel Time issue.

The Light Travel Time Issue for Young Earthers

If stars are billions of light years away, but the earth is only 6000+ years old, how can we see those stars?

This is probably one of the strongest reasons people move toward an old earth view, but today I want to give my answer to that question.

To answer this question, let's pose another question.

Why would God create an earth in six literal days and a universe of billions of stars billions of miles apart spread out through the universe?

Let's forget about the issue of time and go back to the Biblical text and see if there is a clue there.

It has to do with God's purpose. Everything God does has a purpose.

1. God wanted to create the earth and universe in six literal 24 hour days and rest on the 7th day as a basis in creation for God's foundational structure of man's week of work, rest and worship in a seven day week.

Exodus 20:8-11 8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

2. God wanted to give a fresh new earth that was good to Adam and Eve to begin their lives together.

It is like building a brand new house rather than a used house.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Yet, God also wanted to create a universe filled with stars.

3. God wanted to create a universe of sun, moon, and stars to bring good to mankind.

We just saw this in Genesis 1:14-18 where God gives the three purposes of the sun, moon, and stars. They are to 1) to separate day from night, 2) to be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and 3) to serve as luminaries and to give light upon the earth. But there is more.

4. God wanted to create stars so large and so bright and so numerous that they would reveal his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature to mankind.

God not only wanted to create a universe of sun, moon, and stars to assist humans in their sense of time and regulation of order in society as Genesis 1:14-18 states, but also something far more spectacular and glorious.

Romans 1:19-22 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

He wanted to create a universe of stars so large and so bright and so numerous that man would realize that only a God of infinite power and wisdom and sovereignty could have created it.

According to scientific estimates, there are about 100 billion trillion stars in space. http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=3775

The distance to the edge of the observable universe is about 46 billion light years because the universe is expanding all of the time. phys.org/news/2015-10-big-universe.htmlPhys.org

So, God wants to create the heavens and the earth in six 24 hour days, but he also wants to create billions of stars that are so large and so bright and so numerous that they have to be billions of light years away from earth and yet still be seen by mankind.

Isaiah 40:22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;

Isaiah 42:5 Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it.

"Stretched" is better translated "spread." God spread out the heavens (space and stars).

He also wants to wait and create the sun, moon, and stars on the 4th day so they are not overemphasized and yet have them be seen by man on the 6th day. That means their light has to hit the earth from billions of miles way within 24-48 hours.

And at the end of the 6th day, he will need to have everything in his creation functioning according to the laws of physics which he embeds in the universe. So, on the dawn of the 7th day, creation is complete.

This would create a huge "time travel" problem. To create the earth in six days and at the same time to create the distance of millions and billions of stars far enough away from the earth and each other so they don't pull each other into themselves from their gravity or burn each other up with their incredible heat develops a time travel problem.

When distance is created, time changes. Time is relative. God has created this "time situation" because of his purposes.

So, to create such gigantic stars with such bright light and heat and in so numerous an amount, God has to create the stars at long distances from the earth and each other. These distances are defined in light years. If a star is estimated to be a billion light years away, then if light travels at 186,000 miles a second, it would take one billion years for the light to reach us.

So that is what God does on day 4. He creates a universe filled with innumerable stars from 93,000 million miles from us to billions of light years from us.

But God is not done. The light from the sun will reach earth on Day 4. And probably all the light of the stars will reach the earth on Day 4 as well. If not, then by the evening of Day 6.

That is what the text clearly implies. Nobody disputes that implication. The only disagreement is what the days stand for to get the billions of years necessary to see the light from the stars. Old earthers have no problem with this implication.

Young earthers also believe this clear implication. Many possible solutions have been proposed by Creationists who attempt to stay within the current laws of physics and solve the problem.

My solution is supernatural. God did it. God did it by his infinite and sovereign power. This is the claim of Scripture.

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Psalm 147:4-5 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

If God did it supernaturally, it cannot be explained within the current laws of physics any more than the parting the Red Sea or turning water into wine or resurrecting Jesus from the dead can be explained according to the current laws of physics.

There are many ways that God could have done it supernaturally. He could have increased the speed of light. He could have slowed down time on the earth during the creation week while the rest of the universe ran consistent with the time after creation was completed. He could have done the opposite and sped up time in the rest of the universe during the during the creation week while the earth ran consistent with the time after creation was completed. He could have caused light from the stars to pass through some kind of time warp in the universe and thus reach the earth within two days. These are just a few of the ways God could have done it. We may not ever know which way he chose to do it. But we can know he did it by his supernatural divine power.

Remember all of creation week is one supernatural act after another. When creation ends at the end of Day 6. Creation is completed and the laws of physics fully take effect.