Genesis 1:14-19 - The Fourth Day: Creation of Light Upon Earth

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Naturalistic science has always struggled to explain all the stars and planets that exist in the universe.  How could so much have evolved out of nothing?  How did the stars get scattered across such a vast expanse of space?  Why is there such diversity among them?  What set the stars ablaze, and where did the planets come from?

Genesis 1 gives a simple answer: God made them all. He spoke them into existence.  Their vastness, their complexity, their beauty, and their sheer number all reveal the glory and the wisdom of an all–powerful Creator.  And they remind us how amazing it is that such a great Creator would lavish His grace and favor on the human race.  After all, from the perspective of size, our whole world constitutes only a minute speck in the vastness of all He created.

David thought of this and he expressed it by saying "When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you have set in place— what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?"  (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)

Everything from day four on is finishing work, as God fills and populates that which was once formless and void.  And the first thing to be filled is the vast expanse of heaven.

There is no process and no passage of time; that which He creates comes into being instantly by His Word alone.  That is why theories that add multiple billions of years to the age of the earth do nothing to advance biblical understanding.  Creation is not a process God initiated; it is something God completed.  He literally spoke it into existence. 

Listen to the words of the psalmist: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.  For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."  (Psalm 33:6-9, NKJV)

In other words, what God made did not evolve. He gave the order, and it came into existence complete and fully functioning.  As we saw on day one, God had already created light and separated the light from the darkness.  Where did that original light come from and what form was it in? We do not know because Scripture does not say.

But on day four, God created the sun and moon to be permanent heavenly luminaries. The source and creator of the light was still God, but from now on there would be light–bearing bodies that would perpetually shine their light on the earth at the proper intervals and seasons

A.                 God’s Word created and distributed light upon the earth (v.14-15).

1.                  “Let there be lights in the firmament… to divide the day from the night…”  (v.14a). 

a)                  The division of the day from night.

(1)                 Lets note what God is doing.  God is not creating light—day and night—throughout the universe.  Light had already been created when “God said, ‘Let there be light’ ” (Genesis 1:3).
(2)                 What then is God creating on this fourth day of creation?  These two verses tell us:
(a)                 God is creating and distributing light upon earth.  He is not dealing with light throughout the universe; He is dealing with light upon earth.  Remember: the earth had been covered with a thick layer of clouds and dense fog .
(b)                On the first day of creation, when God created light—cosmic light, light throughout the universe—the light had apparently begun to penetrate the clouds and foggy mist covering the earth.  But the light and heat from the sun had not yet evaporated enough of the clouds and mist to be visible upon earth, not enough to give or regulate day and night, seasons and years.  
(c)                 But now, on this fourth day of creation, God causes the full blast of light to be distributed upon the earth.  The clouds encircling the earth are made to evaporate so that the sun, moon, and stars become visible to the earth.  They can now carry out their work upon earth.

!!!! b)                  What is the work & functions, of the sun, moon, and stars?  

(1)                 The sun divides the day from the night; it provides a period of light and of darkness (Genesis 1:14, 18; Genesis 1:4-5).
(a)                 This is a particular function of the sun, for light upon earth comes from the sun.  The earth is round, and it revolves on an axis at about 1000 m.p.h.
(b)                Each rotation takes 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.1 seconds—just about 24 hours.  Therefore, about one half of the earth faces the sun all the time.
(c)                 When a part of the earth rotates and faces the sun, the light from the sun gives man a time for work.  When a part of the earth rotates and faces away from sun, the darkness gives man a time for rest.

(2)                 The heavenly bodies serve as signs for the earth (Genesis 1:14).
(a)                 Some have suggested that this could refer to navigation signs.  Sailors using nothing but the stars have plotted their courses on the open seas for thousands of years.
(b)                Others have suggested that this means the stars were given for astrological signs or omens of important events to come.   
(c)                 It was by a star, for example, that God led the Magi to the Christ child in Matthew 2.  But astrology is an occult and pagan practice, and all such forms of fortunetelling are strictly forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10–12; Isaiah 7:12–14).

(3)                 The heavenly bodies provide seasons for the earth (Genesis 1:14).
(a)                 The earth not only rotates on its own axis, but it also rotates around the sun.  Its journey or orbit around the sun is about 583,400,000 miles (or 938,900,000 km).  The earth travels along in its orbit about 66,000 M.P.H. (or 106,000 km).  It takes about 365 days for the earth to revolve around the sun.  This is how we measure our years.  One year is one trip or revolution of the earth around the sun.
(b)                The axis of the earth tilts about 23 1/2 degrees.  It is this tilt and the earth’s revolving around the sun that creates the seasons of the year.  Because of the tilt, different parts of the earth face the sun more directly at different times during the year.  Of course, the more directly a place faces the sun, the warmer it is, and the more indirectly, the cooler it is.  It is this, the warmth and coolness of the earth’s surface, which gives seasons to the earth.

(c)                 What is the purpose of seasons upon earth?  Seasons provide...

(i)                   Periods for agriculture, for farming & Periods for the migration of animals.

We read in Jeremiah 8 that "Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming.  But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord."  (Jeremiah 8:7)

(ii)                 Periods for religious festivals and other celebrations upon earth.

In Zechariah we read "Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”  (Zechariah 8:19)

(d)                Knowing the times around us that the return of Christ is near.

Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said "When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’  Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”  (Matthew 16:2-3, NKJV)

!!!!! (4)                 Think about this:

(a)                 The temperature of the sun’s surface is enormous: about 9300° F.  The temperature at the center is an unimaginable 29 million degrees.  The sun is one mass of volcanic fire.  It is 864,000 miles in diameter.  The fiery, red furnace is so large it could hold 1,300,000 earths.  And if we could imagine the distance, it is 93,000,000 miles away from earth.  If the earth were closer to the sun, it would be too hot for life; and if it were farther away, it would be too cold for life.  God has created the heavenly bodies just right to sustain life, to give light, seasons, days, and years.
(b)                The sun’s rising and setting determines day and night; its movement toward the axis of the earth determines summer and winter, the seasons of the earth.  God created a purpose for every movement of the sun and of the earth.  So it is with man.  God created man and created him with purpose.  His every movement should, therefore, have purpose. 

He should be able to say with Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccles. 3:1).

2.                  “Let them be for lights in the firmament… to give light on the earth…”  (v.15). 

a)                  The lights of heaven are created to give light.

(1)                 Believers are called “the light of the world” (Matt.5:14-16).

David wrote, “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9).

“God is light,” John reminds us, “and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5–7).

Light is not given simply to have but to live by “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path,” the psalmist tells us (Ps. 119:105).

(2)                 God’s light is to walk by and to live by.  In its fullest sense, God’s light is the full revelation of His Word-the written Word of Scripture and the living Word of Jesus Christ.

B.                God made the sun, moon, and stars that provide light for the earth (v.16-18a)

1.                  “Then God made two great lights… greater to rule the day, lesser to rule the night…”  (v.16).

a)                  God and God alone made them (v.16).

(1)                 They exist only because God created them.  They are not eternal; they have not always existed.  They did not come into being...
(a)                 by chance
(b)                by random
(c)                 by some impersonal mass or energy that is eternal in the universe
(d)                by physical laws that were already in existence
(2)                 The sun, moon, and stars were created by God and God alone.

2.                  “To give light on the earth… to rule over the day…”  (v.17-18).

a)                  The reason He made them (v.17-18a).

(1)                 To give light (v.17)
(2)                 To rule over the day and night (v.18a)
(a)                 Why re-stress this?  Because of man’s tendency to worship and to seek his fate and destiny in the sun, moon, and stars. 
(b)                The heavenly bodies are to rule over the day and the night, not over man’s life.  God never intended the heavenly bodies to rule over man’s life.  He made them only to rule over the day and the night.
(c)                 Passages relating to this (Is.47:13-15; Jer.10:2; Dan.2:27-28; 5:7)

b)                  Day and night remind us of the need for worship in the morning and at night (Psalm 1:2).

(1)                 Related Scripture references (Ps.4:4; 19:14; Josh.1:8).

c)                  As well as to show man when to rest and when to work.

(1)                 The night is coming when no one can work (John 9:4).
(2)                 Do all that we do with all our might (Eccl.9:10).
(3)                 Don’t be lazy at our work (Rom.12:11).

C.                God saw that His creation was “good”—fulfilled its function (v.18b-19)

1.                  “God saw that it was good… the evening and the morning were the first day…”  (v.18-19).

a)                  Light upon the earth fulfilled its function.

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