- In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 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, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 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. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
(Genesis 1:1-19 ESV)
According to Scripture, God “created the heavens and the earth” on Day One of Creation Week (Genesis 1:1). Initially all was dark, until God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Days Two and Three saw the oceans, firmament (atmosphere), continents, and plants created and formed, as the earth was being progressively prepared for man’s habitation. It was on Day Four that God created the sun, moon, and stars, proclaiming, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:14), one purpose of which was “to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:15).
The light in Genesis 1:3 was directional, coming from a particular source. The earth was evidently rotating underneath it, causing alternating periods of light and dark. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5).
Skeptics have long ridiculed the science of biblical creation over this point. How could there be light bathing the earth before the sun was created? Obviously the Bible must be in error. But as always, this apparent error drives us to look more closely at the relevant data, both scientific and biblical.
Actually there are many sources of light, not just the sun. There are also many types of light, not just visible light. Short-wave light includes ultraviolet light, X-rays, and others. Long-wave light includes infrared light, radio waves, etc. Light is produced by friction, by fire, by numerous chemical reactions, as well as the nuclear reactions of atomic fission and fusion, which is what we think is occurring in the sun. God had at His fingertips many options to accomplish His purposes. Light does not automatically require the sun.
Dr. Henry Morris made an interesting point about this passage when he said that because God is light, dwelling in light (1 Timothy 6:16), He did not have to create light. But God did create darkness (Isaiah 45:7) “as the initial state of the unformed and uninhabited earth (Genesis 1:2).” He created the primeval darkness to form a division between day and night.
- I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV)
- I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
(Isaiah 45:7 ESV)
- The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
(Genesis 1:2 ESV)
Furthermore, we have important data given by the Hebrew words used in the creation account. When God created “light” in verse 3, the word used connotes the presence of light only, while the word used for “lights” on Day Four is best translated “light bearers,” or permanent light sources. Their purpose was not only to give light, but to serve as timekeepers for man once he was created. According to the best stellar creation theory now available, light from stars created anywhere in the universe on Day Four would reach earth in two earth days, and would be useful to Adam on Day Six.
The Holy Bible tells us that no sun or moon is necessary to produce light because God Himself is light. Saint John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV) and “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 ESV).
The Book of Revelation tells us of a new heaven and a new earth. It says. “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there” (Revelation 21:23-25 ESV).
- Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed– on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
(Revelation 21:1-27 ESV)
This all presents a problem for those who hold to the theory of Day-age creationism, a type of old Earth creationism. Day-age creationism is an interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis. It holds that the six days referred to in the Genesis account of creation are not ordinary 24-hour days, but are much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years). The Genesis account is then reconciled with the age of the Earth. Proponents of the day-age theory can be found among both theistic evolutionists, who accept the scientific consensus on evolution, and progressive creationists, who reject it. The theories are said to be built on the understanding that the Hebrew word “yom” is used to refer to a time period, with a beginning and an end and not necessarily that of a 24-hour day.
Genesis 1:12 tells us that “the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind.” This was Day Three of the Creation Week. However, Genesis then tells us that the sun, moon and stars were created on Day Four of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:14-19).
Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis and cannot wait in darkness for thousands or millions of years. If the days were long periods of time as demanded by critics of a literal Creation Week, plants could not survive.
Keep in mind that the Creation Week was a uniquely miraculous time, and we are justified in speculating that miraculous events may have been taking place outside of today’s natural laws. How much better and more satisfying it is to accept Scripture as it stands. It doesn’t need to be fully understood and explained by modern scientific thought; it just needs to be believed and obeyed.