When was the Sun Created?
NCW 72, July-September 2001
Q. For some reason, according to the bible, God creates the earth, plants, and daytime before He creates the sun. I understand the writers of the bible did not have a full understanding of photosynthesis and such, but God did - who supposedly directed their writings. When the sun is finally created it is suggested that the sun exists for calendar purposes, not necessarily for day and light as it was already created (at this point, one must resist the temptation to think that the creation story is a primitive human perspective on reality, or maybe God created our beginnings in a chaotic and illogical fashion, perhaps to trick us into believing by means of faith only). Finally, after everything was finished, God rested. His error producing blueprints were set into motion.
A. I will only answer the first part of this in the hope it will encourage you to be more carefully do your research before you start coming to absurd conclusions, though you are not entirely to blame. It is possible to intellectualise simple language until it becomes a meaningless fog, capable of most any interpretation that the intellect wants to promote. "As a ring in a bull's nose easily leads a subdued animal, so a faulty paradigm leads to faulty interpretation, no matter where one turns in scripture" (Dr.l Willard Aldrich).
The Hebrew Bible nowhere states that the earth, plants and daytime were created before the sun. A careful reading of the primary Hebrew text (as opposed to our English translations which often reflect certain sectarian biases) reveals that the sun, moon and stars were all present in Genesis 1:1-3: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was deserted and empty and darkness was on the surface of the ocean, And the Spirit of God was brooding over the waters. Then God said, Let there be light ... There was evening and there was morning - day one" (literal translation of the Masoretic text).
It must always be remembered that the description of creation is from a geocentric point-of-view, i.e. an observer on the earth. The writer of Genesis is not standing in space looking down on earth. That juxtaposition is critical.
"And God said, Let luminaries in the expanse of the air be for separating the day from the night. And let them serve as signals to mark seasons and days and years. And let them be luminaries in the expanse of the air to give light upon the earth. And it was so. God brought forth (not 'created' or 'made') two great luminaries - the greater luminary to dominate the day and the lesser luminary to dominate the night - the stars also. God gave them forth in the expanse of the air ... " (Gen.1:14-16, literal translation).
The point will become clear as we examine the literal words of two other passages:
"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? ... Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness a diaper for it ... ?" (Job 38:4,8-9). "For six days Yahweh worked on the air and the land, the sea and all that is in them ..." (Ex.20:11)
In other words, the sun and moon and stars were all present from the beginning but were not initially visible from the earth's surface until the third day when the thick layer of water-saturated cloud was dispersed.
If you are interested in a serious study of this topic, then I recommend you obtain: "The Age of the Universe. What are the Biblical Limits?" by Gorman Gray (2000, Morning Star Publications, Washougal, WA 98671-1209) which exhaustively answers both this and other related questions. I am of the opinion that before other biblical issues are examined it is important to have a solid scientific foothold. It was science that brought me to faith when I saw that the only other viable explanation to a special creation - evolution - just didn't fit the scientific data (I am a Biochemist and Systems Analyst by training). It was therefore from that platform that I initially built up my faith - by plain observation. If you haven't already read it, you might like to read my article, "Evolution: A Doctrine in Search of a Scientific Theory" )
I am somewhat suspicious of philosophical approaches because in my experience they just dissolve into semantic fencing.
However, you may make what you will of the data I have presented. If your approach is initially hostile you will never obtain the answers for your emotional bias will create "parallax effects" at every turn.
This page was created on 9 March 2003
Last updated on 9 March 2003
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