Genesis 1:14a

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.” (Genesis 1:14a, ESV)

Atheists have a big problem with Genesis 1:14.  That’s because they don’t believe in God, but they say it’s because it doesn’t make sense that there could be light, evening and morning, before there were stars.  Going back to Genesis 1:3-5:

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.

It isn’t surprising that atheists have trouble with this order.  What is surprising is how many Christians have trouble with this order.  Some Christians try to explain this order away by saying that Genesis 1 is told like a story, out of sequence.

I understand how, atheists, who don’t believe in God, wouldn’t believe in the order He created things.  But once a person believes in God . . what is hard about Genesis 1?

If I believe there is an all-knowing, all-powerful God–that is, a total boss of the universe–why would I have trouble believing He could create light before the sun and stars?  If God created the sun as a source of light, couldn’t He just as easily have created light without the source?

My human reasoning gets me messed up when I assume God has to do things the way I have to.  If I wanted to invent something–let’s say the paperclip–I would need metal to make it out of.  I can invent by using materials around me in new and clever ways, but I can’t actually create: that is, make something out of nothing.

One of the ways God is described is light (see 1 John 1:5).  God’s presence illuminates our lives because He is the creator and upholder of all things.  Colossians 1:17 says,

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (NIV)

What makes sense, then, is not that God would need stars to light up His night or the sun to light up His day, but rather that He could do it in any way He wished.

It could be that God was directly creating day and night up to this point, and that He now creates lights and the earth’s path of movement in such a way that it becomes the “mechanism” for the rest of the days and nights.

We are told that, one day, those who have faith in Jesus will not need to depend on this mechanism for warmth or light:

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.  (Revelation 22:5, NIV)

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Photograph by John Bowles, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/nerull/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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