Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 29, 2021

Let There Be Light

(2 Minute Read. 29Dec2021)

Recently Reader Madison asked an intriguing question in a comment on this BibleScienceGuy article: The Big Bang!

Madison’s comment included this question on the creation of light in Genesis 1:
“What is the difference between the great light created in verse 3 and the one created in verse 16?”

Here are the relevant passages about the light God created on Creation Day 1 (verse 3) and later on Creation Day 4 (verse 16):
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 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, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)

The Hebrew word used for “light” on Day 1 is אוֹר‎ (’ôr). The same word is used for the “light” given off by the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4. The Hebrew word used for the great “lights” on Day 4 is מָאוֹר (mâ’ôr) which means “light-bearer or light-giver.”

That is, the mâ’ôrs (sun, moon, and stars) give the ’ôr (light).

Scripture does not identify the light source for Day 1. It simply says that God created light אוֹר‎ (’ôr). Darkness covered the earth, but God commanded the light to shine out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6).

After creating light, God apparently provided some unidentified light source in order for day and night to occur on a rotating earth before He created the sun on Day 4. God does not tell us what it was.

We know that light can be generated by other sources besides the sun. For example, we have fire, light bulbs, and lightning that generate light on earth. On the Damascus road, a great light brighter than the sun shone around Saul (Acts 9:3; 22:6-11; 26:13). A light shone in Peter’s prison cell when an angel freed him (Acts 12:7). Moreover, in the future New Jerusalem, Scripture says there will be light – without the sun – coming from the Lord God (Revelation 22:5; Isaiah 60:19).

Thus since light on earth has been generated and can be generated in the known past, in the present, and in the future without the sun, there is no reason to think that it could not also have been done without the sun in the very beginning. This is what Genesis reports, and this is what Christians should believe.

Questions to Ponder

1. What does this Scripture mean to you? “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
2. What question of your own has been sparked by a recent BibleScienceGuy blog article?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 29, 2021 A.D.

“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

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  1. Reblogged this on The Creation Cowboy and commented:
    There are many speculations about what provided the light before God created the sun. I lean toward the “physically manifested shekinah glory” suggestion, but others have speculated on angels, temporary light sources, and others. The Bible does not say, so we can’t be barking dogmatic about the answer.


  2. I agree with your answer, but while Scripture doesn’t identify the source of light in Genesis, I think Scripture is alluding to God’s glory being the light. Revelation 21:11 speaks of the light of God’s glory, and Revelation 21:23 tells us that God’s glory will give light to the new heaven and earth. So I think it’s reasonable to infer from Scripture that the light in Genesis (prior to the sun) was God’s glory.


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