Creation of the sun moon and stars – Is Genesis scientific?


Table of Contents for: Creation of the sun moon and stars – Is Genesis scientific?

Major update: 20th December 2021

Now we come to Day 4 in Genesis, the creation of the sun moon and stars in the Bible.
So is Genesis scientific?

Unscientific and illogical verses in the Bible

Here are the most illogical verses – for the human brain, so does that make those verses ‘wrong’?

God NOW saw it fit to mention the creation of the sun moon and stars and planets, AFTER light had appeared on day 1 of Creation!
But everyone knows that the Sun provides us with energy, heat and light…

Sun and clouds. Creation of the sun moon and stars.
Sun and clouds [i]

And God said,
‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’
And it was so.
God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.
He also made the stars.
God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning–the fourth day.”

Genesis 1:14-19

Even the most uncivilised and backward tribes know that the Sun provides us with heat and light.

Understanding by faith the Creation of the sun moon and stars

So if anyone was to write an account of the beginning of the world, it would be intellectual suicide to create the Sun at this point.
But God does!

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Hebrews 11:3

Faith says that God commands and things come into existence.

But science completely hits a brick wall at this point because things cannot be made out of nothing.

Perhaps God was showing us that we don’t need the Sun to survive, God can provide the right conditions without the Sun.

So I will have to say it again:
Perhaps God was showing us that we don’t need the Sun to survive – just like the Bible’s description of the end of the world and God’s eternal City:

(God’s) city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light…”

Revelation 21:23

Did the creation of the sun moon and stars happen before day four?

A planet in space. Creation of the sun moon and stars.
[vii]

Some people believe that the Sun, moon, planets, and stars were created before this Day 4, and thick cloud cover hid them from view, (the creation account being described as if viewed from the earth).

So at this point on day 4 the thick clouds separated and so the sun was revealed giving the appearance that these objects in space had just been created.

But if that was the case, we would have to blatantly ignore the sentence construction of this verse:

‘Let there be lights’ (v. 14) is identical in grammatical construction with other statements of ‘let there be…’ in the chapter.
Therefore the command can only mean that God spoke the luminaries into existence on the fourth day just as he had created the initial light on day one and the firmament on day two (Gary Workman 1989, p. 3).”

Workman, Gary (1989), “Questions from Genesis One,” The Restorer, 9[5/6]:3-5, May/June. [iv]

Therefore, if we read the day 4 verses correctly with an open mind, we have to agree that God’s Creation of the sun moon and stars happened on day 4 and not on an earlier day, however illogical (even to the earliest peoples on earth).

The description of the day stills remains identical: “And there was evening, and there was morning–the forth day.” therefore the length of the ‘day’ must be identical.

The creation of the sun moon and stars was for a reason

God tells us that these “lights in the expanse of the sky” were “to give light on the earth’.
But the Sun was not only to shed light; the Sun, moon, planets, and stars were put there to:

serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years”

Genesis 1:14

The phases of the moon, our orbit around the Sun, and the movements of the stars, all help man to measure time.

The Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks knew when a solar eclipse would take place:

Surviving records have shown that the Babylonians and the ancient Chinese were able to predict solar eclipses as early as 2500 BCE…
Clay tablets found at ancient archaeological sites show that the Babylonians not only recorded eclipses—the earliest known Babylonian record is of the eclipse that took place on May 3, 1375 BCE—but were also fairly accurate in predicting them.
They were the first people to use the saros cycle to predict eclipses.
The saros cycle relates to the lunar cycle and is about 6,585.3 days (18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours) long.”

‘Solar Eclipses in History’ by Aparna Kher [vi]

Historians have been able to give a fixed date to certain events in history, because they have fallen on a certain eclipse, or whatever:

Chinese chronology can be confirmed accurately by eclipses from the 8th century BCE (during the Zhou dynasty) onward.
The Chunqiu chronicle, mentioned above, notes the occurrence of 36 solar eclipses between 722 and 481 BCE – the earliest surviving series of solar eclipse observations from any part of the world…
The chronology of Ptolemy’s canon list of kings – which gives the Babylonian series from 747 to 539 BCE, the Persian series from 538 to 324 BCE, the Alexandrian series from 323 to 30 BCE, and the Roman series from 30 BCE onward—is confirmed by eclipses.
The eclipse of 763 BCE, recorded in the Assyrian Chronicle, makes it possible to carry the chronology back with certainty through the period covered by that eponym canon to 910 BCE.
Identifiable eclipses that were recorded under named Roman consuls extend back to 217 BCE.
The lunar eclipse seen at Pydna in Macedonia on June 21, 168 BCE, and the solar eclipse observed at Rome on March 14, 190 BCE, can be used to determine months in the Roman calendar in the natural year.
Furthermore, eclipses occasionally help to fix the precise dates of a series of events, such as those associated with the Athenian disaster at Syracuse in 413 BCE…”

‘Uses of eclipses for chronological purposes’ Britannica [viii]

Logical orbits and retrograde orbits

Some scientists would say ‘ridiculous’ to Genesis’ description.

In their eyes, obviously the planets were formed from the Sun, then they gradually cooled and became solid planets.
But that theory runs into some problems:

All eight planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun in the direction of the Sun’s rotation, which is counter clockwise when viewed from above the Sun’s north pole.
Six of the planets also rotate about their axis in this same direction.
The exceptions – the planets with retrograde rotation – are Venus and Uranus.
Venus’s axial tilt is 177°, which means it is rotating almost exactly in the opposite direction to its orbit.
Uranus has an axial tilt of 97.77°, so its axis of rotation is approximately parallel with the plane of the Solar System.
The reason for Uranus’s unusual axial tilt is not known with certainty, but the usual speculation is that during the formation of the Solar System, an Earth-sized protoplanet collided with Uranus, causing the skewed orientation…”

‘Retrograde_and_prograde_motion’ Wikipedia [ii]

This is a puzzling situation.

In past decades, astronomers have also discovered planets in distant solar systems with retrograde orbits.
These exoplanets orbit their suns in the opposite direction from how the star rotates.
This is puzzling because planets form out of debris disks that orbit young stars, disks which share the star’s rotation.
The only way to get a planet orbiting backwards is either by a near-collision with another planet or if another star once passed too close to the system.

EarthSky ‘What is retrograde motion?’ [iii]

Then some of the moons also have retrograde orbits.
Wikipedia states:

If formed in the gravity field of a planet as the planet is forming, a moon will orbit the planet in the same direction as the planet is rotating and is a regular moon.
If an object is formed elsewhere and later captured into orbit by a planet’s gravity, it can be captured into either a retrograde or prograde orbit depending on whether it first approaches the side of the planet that is rotating towards or away from it.
This is an irregular moon.”

‘Retrograde_and_prograde_motion’ Wikipedia [ii]

Whether science can answer these questions boils down to how much faith you have in those scientists or not.

Evolution creates as many questions as it seeks to answer!

When did God create sun moon and stars?

On the 4th day of Creation:
God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night…
God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.”

Why did God create the sun the moon and the stars?

The phases of the moon, our orbit around the Sun and the movements of the stars, all help man to measure time.
The Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks knew when a solar eclipse would take place…
‘God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.
God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.’

What are the 7 days of creation in order?

Day 1: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…
And God said, “Let there be light…” ‘
Day 2: ‘God said, “Let there be a vault…” God called the vault sky…’
Day 3: ‘God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear…” ‘
‘God said, “Let the land produce vegetation…” ‘
Day 4: ‘God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night…”He also made the stars…” ‘
Day 5: God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth…”
Day 6: ‘God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…”
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky…” ‘
Day 7: ‘God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested…’

References:
[i] Sun Stock photos by Vecteezy
[ii] ‘Retrograde_and_prograde_motion’ Wikipedia
[iii] EarthSky ‘What is retrograde motion?’
[iv] ‘When Were the Sun, Moon, and Stars Created?’ Apologetics Press
[v] ‘The Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Plants’ Wikipedia
[vi] ‘Solar Eclipses in History’ by Aparna Kher
[vii] Image: thanks to Serif ART Gallery CD.
[viii] ‘Uses of eclipses for chronological purposes’ Britannica

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