AND GOD SAID, "LET THERE BE LIGHTS IN THE EXPANSE OF THE SKY TO SEPARATE THE DAY FROM THE NIGHT, AND LET THEM SERVE AS SIGNS TO MARK SEASONS AND DAYS AND YEARS, AND LET THEM BE LIGHTS IN THE EXPANSE OF THE SKY TO GIVE LIGHT ON THE EARTH." AND IT WAS SO. GOD MADE TWO GREAT LIGHTS-THE GREATER LIGHT TO GOVERN THE DAY AND THE LESSER LIGHT TO GOVERN THE NIGHT. HE ALSO MADE THE STARS. GOD SET THEM SET THEM IN THE EXPANSE OF THE SKY TO GIVE LIGHT ON THE EARTH, TO GOVERN THE DAY AND THE NIGHT, AND TO SEPARATE LIGHT FROM DARKNESS. AND GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. AND THERE WAS EVENING, AND THERE WAS MORNING-THE FOURTH DAY. (NIV)
Many people have a problem with the Genesis account of creation because they say that according to Genesis 1:14-19 that the Sun, Moon, and Stars were not created until day four and plants were created in day three. Since plants need sunlight to survive and grow, this cannot possibly be true.
There are two possible answers to this seemingly unsolvable situation:
God was the light this Earth needed until He created the Sun, Moon, & Stars.
1 John 1:5 God is light...
Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Clearly it is possible that God could have been the light that shone on this Earth until he created these heavenly bodies.
The second scenerio makes just as much sense:
If we continue to view Earth's creation from the perspective of its surface, and that God could just as easily have used natural forces to accomplish His purpose, at the end of day three we would continue to see an extremely overcast sky as you might see on a stormy day.
Certain atmospheric conditions, air temperature, pressure, and humidity, would have prevented any break in the cloud cover.
Carbon dioxide levels would have been considerably higher than they are today which would have caused high humidity.
Plants would have consumed this carbon dioxide to help bring them to the appropriate level to sustain other forms of life.
This would be the reason that God mentions creating plant life on dry land prior to verses 14-19.
These and many other factors would have prevented the cloud layer from breaking apart.
Science confirms that these were the conditions on Earth and Genesis tells the story in just the right order!
From day one when light first penetrated through the thick cloud layer that was there from the cooling surface of the Earth until day three, the sky would continue to be overcast. Even though light would be coming through these clouds, the sun, moon, and stars were never visible.
Then when the atmospheric conditions were just right, the cloud cover began to slowly break.
Up until this point these heavenly bodies were not visible from the Earth's surface. Marking seasons days and years would not have been possible.
So verse 14 tells us that the sun, moon, and stars become visible. Verses 14 and 15 also tell us "why" God set them in the expanse of the sky: to divide day and night; to serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years; to give light on the Earth.
Verse 16 is a parenthetical note, a brief review:
God made (asa) two great lights-the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
The Hebrew verb "asa" which means "made", appears in the appropriate form for "completed action. Verse 16 does not specify when in the past the sun, moon, and stars were made. However, the wording of verses 17 and 18 does give us a hint:
God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth, to govern the day and the night, and to SEPARATE light from darkness.
Notice the echo in wording from day one (verses 3-5). This verse tells us "why" God created the sun, moon, and stars and suggests that the sun was in place to fulfill its role on day one.
So Genesis 1:14-19 tell us "why" God created the sun, moon, and stars but does not specify when in the past that He did it.
However, we know from studying Genesis that they probably were created in verse 1 when God created the heavens and the Earth. We know that the sun must have been in place to fulfill its purpose in verses 3-5 (day 1) to separate light from darkness.
Verses 14-19 tell us that they became visible to the Earth's surface for the first time.
Notice that in verse 16 it says ...He also made the stars.
In the ancient Middle East other religions worshipped and deified the stars. Israel's neighbors looked to the stars for guidance. In contrast, the Genesis account almost puts the stars as an afterthought, "Oh yes, He also made the Stars." This wording showed great contempt for ancient Babylonian astrology.
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This part of the study is an excellent defense of the creation story, especially given the explanation of what scientist have found in their studies. This is a great resource for refuting the naysayers.