THE MAKING OF THE HEAVENLY BODIES
THE MAKING OF THE HEAVENLY BODIES
“God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Genesis 1:16)
In the June 2000 issue of The Testimony magazine, Bro NB produced an article of the above title, examining the evidence of scripture relating to the formation of the celestial luminary orbs – the sun, moon and stars. His main point focussed on the concept held by some that the sun, moon and stars were not actually created on the fourth day, as the Genesis account appears to suggest – rather they actually existed prior to the 7 days of Creation, but only became visible on the fourth day, when a fog surrounding the earth cleared, and they were appointed in their present position. But Bro NB demonstrated that this is not in harmony with the language of Genesis Chapter 1, for the events of the third day describe a similar situation to this, when previously concealed dry land is said to “appear”, emerging from the sea. His point is, that when the narrative describes something previously existing coming into view, it speaks in terms of an appearance, whereas the introduction of light is not spoken of this way, but in terms of a creation, as in “let there be light” (Gen 1:3), not, “let light appear”. And again, “God made two great lights … He made the stars also” (Gen 1:16). In this article, we offer some considerations by way of support of NB’s position, also seeking to illustrate some of the spiritual points which the Genesis account is intended to convey – our remarks being taken from a letter submitted to The Testimony in response to the section Editor’s request for reader’s comments.
Additional evidence for Bro NB’s main argument that these heavenly bodies were in fact created, not simply caused to appear on the fourth day of creative activity is in the Genesis use of the Hebrew word hse ‘asah (06213) rendered “made” (as in “God made two great lights”, Gen 1:16). The hypothesis that the sun, moon and stars pre-existed prior to being seen from a viewpoint upon earth usually centres upon the assertion that this word can also be rendered “appointed”. From this, it is claimed that Elohim appointed these orbs in their proper positions on that day, enabling them to be seen by man (Cp The Story of the Bible, Vol 1, p 36). But other uses of this word in the Creation record precludes such an idea. The word occurs in the following verses:- Gen 1:7,11,12,16,25,26,31; 2:2,3,4,18; 3:1,7,13,14,21 – that is, 16 times in 2 chapters, where it is usually rendered “made”, or “make”, and never “appointed”. The theme of making, therefore, is obviously an important theme in the early chapters of Genesis. And the word really does mean “made” in this chapter. Take for instance, 1:25 “And elohim made the beast of the earth after his kind … “ and 1:26; “And elohim said, Let us make man in our image …”. Would any suggest that in these passages, the animals, and man, actually pre-existed before their “making”? Of course not! Then why should we suppose this in the case of the sun, moon and stars, when the same word is used? As Bro NB shows, the language which the Spirit has employed to describe these things appears to be descriptive of a literal making, rather than implying pre-existent celestial orbs.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL LESSONS
But Bro NB’s article does overlook a fundamental principle which really is the key to solving so-called “problems” in the Creation record. That is, the events which took place are so framed and are described in such a manner, not simply to convey an academic knowledge of what took place – but to teach spiritual lessons. For example, as one of “the difficulties in taking the verses literally”, Bro NB’S refers to the fact that light was created on the first day, whereas the sun, moon and stars, according to the record, were “made” on the fourth day. But this is only a difficulty because of the fallibility of human assumptions. It is assumed that the light on the first day must have emanated from the luminaries of the heavens, the question being asked, where else could it have come from? It is assumed that light must always emanate from a distinct and tangible source – simply because it is always so within the limitations of human observation. But we must not impose the great limitations of human knowledge upon the unfathomable depths of Divine Wisdom. The fact revealed by the Creator, is that He Caused light to shine upon the earth, prior to the Sun, Moon and Stars being “made”. And rather to allow this to be a stumbling block, because such a phenomena falls outside the scope of normal human experience, and the laws of physics Man claims to have “discovered”, our wisdom is to discern what lessons the Spirit is teaching us by framing the events in such a manner.
The same Spirit which recorded these events, conveyed through the Apostle Paul what we are to understand by them, in using the events of the first day as a comparison to describe the beginning of the “new creation” in Christ Jesus: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor 4:6). The point of comparison here, is that the hearts of the heathen unbelievers were void of light. And in providing “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (v 4), in the same manner by which he caused Light to shine in darkness at Creation (i.e. by the spoken word), He illuminated their hearts by the word of the Gospel, so enabling them to perceive Divine things. So, the literal events at Creation provides a type of the spiritual events which commence when a believer becomes “a new creature” (2Cor 5:17) in Christ. Therefore, the literal events must correspond to that which they typify. Within the unbelievers heart, there are no inherent sources of light being unveiled, developing from being a diffuse gloom to the shining brilliance of sunlight. It is utterly void of Divine Enlightenment, requiring to be illuminated from without.
This being so, in order for the Type to be accurate, at Creation (as a simple reading of Genesis 1 suggests), there were no pre-existent luminaries which gradually became uncovered. No Bible verse describes this. Rather, there was nothing but darkness, with Divine Light being introduced to it, “and God said, Let there be light: and there was light”. What was that light? Paul, in the verse just cited tells us that the Light was not shone into the darkness – but out of it: “God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness”. So it was, that something was already present within the darkness, which was caused to emanate light. Genesis 1:2 describes what was in the darkness: “darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. We suggest therefore, that it was the glory of God’s Spirit which shone, as it began it’s creative activity. And doesn’t this fit the type – not all who hear the Word become illuminated by it’s precepts, for many reject it. It enters into their minds, but is soon so overwhelmed by the dark and evil thoughts which reside there, that it’s light is never permitted to shine. The Spirit-word (Jno 6:33) must first be allowed to move, or “brood” in a person’s heart, before it’s regenerative work (Col 3:10), of effecting a New Creation (2Cor 5:17) can begin there, commencing with the shining forth of Divine Light into the darkest recesses thereof.
A FINAL SUGGESTION
Might I end with a final suggestion for readers to consider? As another of the “difficulties” associated with a literal understanding of Genesis 1, Bro NB cites the claim that “many of the stars are too far away for the light to have reached earth by now, if they were made around six thousand years ago”. But there is a possible solution to this.
Does the creation of stars in the fourth day refer to all the stars of the universe, or only the stars of the galaxy in which the earth is placed? We know that God created light upon the earth on the first day (although it actually existed elsewhere before the earthly creation, for God Himself “is light” (1Jno 1:5), and dwells in light (1Tim 6:16)) – but what we often overlook, is that prior to the first day, God also created Darkness: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I Yahweh do all these things” (Is 45:7). So then, God Creates darkness, and therefore, in order for it to have existed prior to the First Day, God must have Created it. But why? By definition, darkness is the absence of light – and so to create darkness, is to exclude light. If there was a need to create darkness, this implies there was already light which needed to be excluded, or removed. It is not unreasonable to suggest therefore, that in order to permit the light of His Creative Spirit to shine exclusively, (so also creating the type referred to in 2 Corinthians 4), the Lord first created the darkness, by excluding all other sources of light, which may well have emanated from other distant stars in the universe. This last suggestion is presented rather tentatively, and the comments/correction from our Readers would be much appreciated. But the point to emphasise, is that we ought not interpret Scripture according to the limitations of current scientific understanding, for the Almighty can, and does operate outside of the known “laws” of physics when He So Chooses. Rather, we must accept whatever the Word teaches, even if it does not seem to accord with human perceptions of things – and not in an academic way, but with a view to understanding the spiritual lessons the Lord is teaching.
BRO NB’s RESPONSE:
In response to the above remarks taken from our original letter, Bro NB, (in his capacity of an associate Editor to The Testimony magazine), comments that the article is “intellectually arrogant”, having a “tone” that is “wrong”, also being “inaccurate” and “easy to criticise”. His main objection is that as he says he is “an elder”, he feels that it is “wrong” and “arrogant” for us to comment at all upon his article – despite the fact that the section Editor did invite comments. We very much regret that one of The Testimony Editors should respond in this way to a correspondent, especially as the article actually gives support to what he wrote, and none of his points are criticised. We have requested that Bro NB show his objections from Scripture – but regrettably, he has declined. We very much hope that this is not the usual approach that The Testimony takes towards it’s correspondents, and we invite their comment to clarify what their position actually is. If Bro NB does feel that he can “easily criticise” the above article solely from Scripture, we humbly invite further comment, seeking to esteem him better than ourselves (Phil 2:3), that as “an elder” he might correct us from the Word. Any comments he might have will be published in the next issue, if the Lord Will, providing they are of a suitably constructive nature.
* Since publishing the above in July 2000, we understand that Bro NB is no longer an editor to the Testimony, but be that as it may, we are still awaiting a reply (!) to the points referred to above.
“The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2Tim 2:24,25