A Look in the Book
We have been studying the first chapter of Genesis. Here’s our outline to date:
- Creation’s definition (verse 1)
- Creation’s description (verse 2)
- Creation’s detail (verses 3-31)
- On Day 1, God created light (verses 3-5)
- On Day 2, God created the sea and the sky (verses 6-8)
- On Day 3, God created land and vegetation (verses 9-13)
We are now ready for the fourth day of creation! Day 4 opens (verse 14) with the creation of the sun, moon and stars. You will recall in an earlier blog we talked about the source of the light mentioned in verse three. That light is what radiates from God Himself. But now God creates the sun—the earth’s source for light. He has already created the earth and its vegetation and knew in His grand design that the vegetation would need sunlight. God did not create the sun, moon and stars for Himself. He created them for us—and humans have yet to arrive on the scene in Genesis! But He’s preparing for us. God is doing things “decently and in order.” This might seem a little silly perhaps, but God did not create human beings and then begin to look for a place to put them. No, of course not. There is order to what God does. There is purpose to it. There is intelligence behind it. Order… purpose… intelligence…. Sounds like attributes of Jehovah God, doesn’t it?
What are verses 14-19 telling us? First of all, God spoke and He said, “Let there be lights…” The word is plural. He had already commanded for there to be light, but now He’s making a second command concerning light, Let there be “lights.” Then He tells us what those lights are. Verse 16 – “And God made the two great lights—the greater light [brighter] to rule the day [govern], and the lesser light [less in size and brightness] to [govern] the night—and the stars.” Jeremiah 31:35 speaks of Jehovah God giving the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night…the LORD of hosts is his name.
People who do not believe the Bible is God’s Word say things like, “Isn’t it amazing how this Big Bang thing happened? A major explosion from out of nowhere; some kind of gaseous component that didn’t mix well in space somehow, and BOOM! All the pieces from the explosion just blew out and away and where those pieces of debris stopped after reaching the end of the Bang’s momentum…well, we call those stars now.” They are unsure and/or can't explain what exactly blew up or how it even existed in order to blow up. The human explanation is that something blew up and the pieces from that massive explosion resulted in the alignment of the planets and stars, and even our sun and moon. Don’t believe that! It’s wicked unbelief. The very idea that some kind of accidental “big bang” formed the universe (and everything in it) is a blasphemous slap in the face to our Mighty Creator! It’s foolish, reckless and wicked thinking. It’s a vicious attack on the authority of God’s Word! Don’t be deceived by those who dare to deny the sovereignty of Almighty God. The “Big Bang” did not occur, if by that name you mean an accidental and unexplainable explosion in space. Such an event did not occur without Intelligent Design—Jehovah God.
Verse 17 – “And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” So there was a purpose for those lights, and it was God’s purpose. I love the wording of scripture here, “And God set….” Some other Bible versions say, “And God placed….” Either word is correct. God placed planets! God placed stars! Our sun is a star—but far closer to us than other stars! God placed our sun where it is. God had already placed our earth where it is. And He placed that “lesser light” —our moon— where He wanted it to be. With our powerful telescopes and space exploration equipment we’re learning more about heavenly bodies all the time. Even with all these planets and heavenly bodies out there, nothing that we’re discovering goes against the teachings of Scripture. Unbelievers either ignore the Bible’s accuracy or struggle to explain it away. They don’t yet know how all this came to be, but they keep working to find a plausible “explanation” for what they discover. I often want to ask, “Have you considered Genesis, chapter one?”
Again, God placed the heavenly bodies, including the earth, where He wanted them. We are talking about a powerful, almighty God. We are talking about the One true God, who took nothing, made it something, then put it where He wanted it! Sometimes our unbelieving minds have trouble grasping that concept. But God did the creating and the placing. I am not a scientist. Most of us are not. We can't give all the scientific details and explanations of everything that is recorded in Genesis One, but we do not need to be scientists to believe God. What we should do is believe God’s Word, the Bible, having faith in what it teaches (and doesn’t teach) about God and creation.
“The truth is out there” was a well-known catchphrase used by a popular TV series from 1993 to 2002. To be perfectly honest however, the truth is already here —the Holy Bible. Human opinions, apart from the Scriptures, change often as knowledge in science is pursued, especially as it relates to matters of creation. Several years ago, I watched a 45-minute documentary on the History Channel*. To my recollection, the name of God was never mentioned! How is it possible for a documentary to be produced dealing with the origin of our planet and never one time mention its Creator, Jehovah God?! The answer is plain and simple—deliberate unbelief in a divine Creator. In spite of the documentary’s implications, our universe did not accidentally come into existence. It was created with sovereign design and purpose by the God of the Bible! Look in the Book! The Truth is IN there.
As stated previously, God made the sun, moon and stars. And in verses 14-18, He tells us why He did! We find in verses 14-18 at least five reasons why God created these heavenly bodies.
1) To separate the light (day) from the darkness (night)
The first reason God created the sun, moon and stars was to divide day from night.” Verses 14 and 18 shed light on this point (no pun intended). Verse 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night… And again, in verse 18… to separate the light from the darkness.
2) To keep track of time
A second reason God created the “lights” was to provide a way for us to keep track of time. Verse 14 says, “…Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” God designed a plan that would assist us in keeping track of time. (Of course, God was the one who established time, along with space and matter.) God was providing a way to measure time for those He had not yet created! Think of it… in this passage, humans do not yet exist! No Adam…yet. No Eve…yet. But God is preparing for the beginning of human existence! Providing a way to keep track of time was another benefit from God. Here are some basic facts we all know from elementary science class: 1) The earth orbits the sun once a year. 2) The moon orbits the earth once a month. 3) The earth, while orbiting the sun, is rotating a full turn every twenty-four hours on its axis. All of this can be nothing less than the work of Intelligent Design —the Creator God! We have all seen photos of the earth taken from space. The view is magnificent! Though unseen in a photo, God designed the earth to tilt slightly to one side. Again, elementary science teaches that if our earth was not tilted, half of the world’s population would not survive the heat and the other half would freeze to death. Because the earth is turned slightly on its axis, we recognize seasons—and the earth remains inhabitable! We can know days, months, years and seasons (time) because of the “lights.”
3) To give light upon the earth
The third reason we have the sun, moon and stars is to “give light upon the earth.” Notice verses 15 and 17. (15) and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth … (17) And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth. The presence of light allows vegetation to grow. As the reader undoubtedly knows, light on the earth serves other purposes too numerous to mention here.
4) To rule over the day and over the night
Another reason the sun, moon and stars are here is for them “to rule over the day and over the night.” This is stated in verses 16 and 18. (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. (17) And God set them in the expanse of the heavens… (18) to rule over the day and over the night…. We have use of the sun during the day and the moon at night. Throughout most of human history, the sun, moon and stars were necessary for navigation. Even with all the technology today, it is still a pleasant thing to look up at a starry night occasionally and contemplate its beauty and its vastness. As Psalm 19:1 tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”
5) To acknowledge the presence of stars
Here’s a fifth reason we have been given the sun, moon and stars. Please read verse 16 again and notice the last phrase. God talks about the “greater light” and the “lesser light,” and then He gives us that little phrase, “—and the stars.” The stars do not get top billing in God’s design. The sun does. The moon, which is a reflection of the sun, only gets noticed when the sun is on the other side of the earth. God mentions the two main lights and then, seemingly as an afterthought, though not really, He mentions the stars. God made the sun big enough for everyone to notice. It is a huge ball of fire. Even if we don’t see it every day, we still know it is there. The sun gets all the attention. The moon on the other hand gets most of the attention at night. It is a huge moon from our perspective. We look up into the night sky and the first thing we generally look for is the moon. And haven’t we all done this? We walk outside at night and look up and see the moon because it is the biggest thing in the sky at the time. Not as big as the sun, but at night the moon is the biggest thing to see. And then…we look at all these little pin-points; these little pin-points of light. The stars do not get a very big billing. Suppose, as an analogy, the sun, moon and stars were separate articles/stories in a newspaper; the sun would get the headline with bold one-inch high lettering and the moon would get maybe a half-inch headline. But the stars would be small and unnoticed at the bottom of the page.
Here’s the application: Sometimes God uses His people in ways that, as they serve Him, make them noticeable to everyone—center stage, if you will. Sometimes God uses those who are noticed by only a few as they serve Him but they’re not as visible as some—yet certainly more visible than others. And then sometimes…God makes the stars. These are servants of God who never seem to get noticed. They never seem to get mentioned or thanked properly. We tend to put these servants in the no-name category of others, like saying “the sun, the moon…and others.”
No one sees their little lights much. They are rarely pointed out in a public gathering. They are there…but seldom acknowledged. They don’t win the awards. They don’t make a big deal about the limelight they seem to never be in. Attention is not what motivates them. They have no desire to be the sun. They may not even have a desire to be the moon. Being the sun or moon are not at the top of their priority list. They want only to serve. For God’s glory. These little pin-points of light whose only concern is that their Creator is pleased with what they are doing with the light He has given them. They may be, when they get there, some of the biggest stars in heaven!
In a local church setting, they're the nursery workers. They're the custodians. They're the ones who keep the grass cut in the summer and the snow removed from the parking lot and walkways in the winter. They're the ones who pray faithfully each week for their pastors and other leaders in the church. They're the stars, and they shine their little light faithfully and without complaint. Almost as an afterthought do these words appear in the verse, “--And the stars.”
God uses all who want to be used. And it doesn’t matter whether your light is as bright as the sun or the secondary light of the moon or a little point of light shining in a huge universe, God knows where you are and He loves you! God has stars of His own…godly servants who do not live for themselves but are “your servants for Jesus sake” [2 Corinthians 4:5]. Remember, He made the stars too!
Verse 18 concludes with, And God saw that it was good. God liked what He saw. Verse 19 – And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
*The documentary on the History Channel was one episode in a series called, “The Universe.” The episode was entitled “How was the Earth Formed? Subtitled: The Birth of the Earth.” The video “Solar System History: How was the Earth Formed?” is now available on YouTube. If you choose to view the episode, please remember that the program was obviously written and produced by those who neither believe in the existence or relevance of God nor the accuracy of His Word. I would suggest that if you view the program, you first read Genesis 1 in its entirety. Then read Genesis 1 again afterwards to cleanse your mind of the documentary’s false teaching and pseudo-scholarship.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_nichols_dimes