Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

The Light of Genesis 1:3

Out of curiosity… What are all of your thoughts on the creation account? My specific question today would be in relation to Genesis 1:3-5 and 1:14-19. In the first “day” God says “Let there be light” (which is the verb hayah, indicating the revealing of something that already happened). But the sun and stars weren’t “made” until the fourth day. Explain this to me!



  1. Your post raises an excellent question, one which I, as a studier of creation (see my blog, have contemplated for quite a while. I have talked to a few other creationists and they are in agreement, which is to say that I may be on the right track, but as a human being, I am fallible.

    There was light, which could mean that God created the properties of light, with the ability to see when light is present. Was it present at this time? Maybe, and maybe not. My assumption is that there was a light present. Remember that God would not necessarily need the sun to produce light to see. In the Holy of Holies, a place that would have been totally dark, His glory provided the light to see.

    What are anyone else’s thoughts? God bless to all and Merry Christmas.

  2. -Tim

    Hmm this is an interesting thought.

    I just keep thinking that we use human terms (sight for instance) to attempt to describe the attributes about God. I don’t think God “sees” in any sense of the word related to how we see. God just is. He is not here or there (in the sense we are describing) he is all encompassing. Before the world, the universe, and matter, there just was God, nothing else existed.

    Also remembering that the Genesis 1 account is written in Hebrew poetry I would say that I’m not exactly sure if it is meant to be read in to as much as we sometimes do.


    • Another, more theological, thought that I had about light being God’s first spoken creation is that with His first revealed word, God created light, not darkness. That light would, on day six, be used be man to see. And how appropriate that his first spoken creative act, creating light, is what he would reveal to man through his Son. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” It seems kind of cool when you think of it like that…

  3. The existence of the earth prior to light, stars and the sun is where – for me at least – those trying to claim the genesis account and the big bang theory “spookily” line up lose their support.

  4. Personally, I very much accept the Big Bang as an actual historical event which does not conflict with Genesis (or any other passage talking about creation) at all. Here is my take on this verse:

    The account of creation in Genesis 1 must be viewed from the viewpoint we are given, an observer on the surface of the Earth. Verse 1 tells us that “God created the heavens and the earth” which utilizes the verb bara’ (bringing into existence something new, something that did not exist before). The words for heavens (shamayim) and earth (‘erets) refer to the entirety of creation and includes light, time, space, and matter. This is vital. In verse 2 we are given the viewpoint as “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The observer is on the surface of the earth.

    Now with the viewpoint in mind let’s look at the days of creation. As I mentioned in the primary question, in verse 3 “God said, ‘Let there be light.'” This was not a declaration of creation as the verb is hayah and not bara’. Hayah gives the indication of revealing something that has already been created and bara’ is the creation of something that did not exist before. Which indicates that God was revealing light that had already been created (in a God inspired “Big Bang”). The science of the Big Bang points to God; it is the scientists that refuse to accept that conclusion (not the science). This lines up with the scientific research of the early universe. The Earth had an opaque covering over it (a dense cloud) and no light was able to pass through (thus opaque). When God said “Let there be light” that opaque covering became transparent and light was able to pass through. For the first time, the observer (given in verse 2) was able to see light! If we were given a different viewpoint of the creation account this would have been worded differently but because the viewpoint is given as from on the surface of the Earth, we understand that this was the first moment that observer was able to see light.

    The Sun and Stars were not revealed until the 4th “day”. I am very much against the 24 hour period attached to these days. In our modern minds we have a fixed period of time (day) independent of the presence of the sun (thanks to watches and clocks). Surely our day period is based of the rotation of the earth on its axis around the sun but when the sun has set we still know what time it is because we have watches and clocks. The world did not operate on this fixed period of time back then. Also a day was always evening to evening or morning to morning and not evening to morning as we know today. Therefore, Moses’ intention of this text was not to give us “day” as a 24 hour period but as a “long period of time”. Could God have created everything in 6 literal days? Of course He could have! Could He have used the laws of the universe that He created and fine-tuned the Big Bang to the exact manner to create the universe we see and then created man at the exactly appropriate time for sustainable human life? Of course He could have. I don’t think it goes against scripture at all. I agree human history is about 10,000 years. I don’t think there was a race of man prior to Adam or any non-sense like that and I agree with proponents of the 24-hour time period that God created Adam around 10,000 years ago. No problem there. We are talking about the age of the earth/universe.

    Now, back to the Sun and Stars of verses 14-19. Again this is a revealing act of God. Remember that opaque covering that became transparent when God said “Let there be light?” Well now that transparent covering which let light through was made to be translucent and the observer on Earth can now see into the outer space of the universe and for the first time see the source of the light. God didn’t create those lights right then and there (everything was created “bara'” in the beginning) but God revealed them to the observer on the surface of the Earth.

    Why limit the days to 24 hour periods when the Word of God doesn’t do that? Keep in mind what Moses was thinking when He was inspired to write. God was not rushed for time when He was creating. Eternity is without time. God created time for this universe. So let’s not try to place something in the Bible that isn’t there.

    I have lots of other questions and comments on the creation events if anyone is interested in discussing haha.

    Let me hear your thoughts/comments!!

    • It is unfortunate that some of your assertions are misguided which can lead to compromises, such as wholly accepting what man says is true when it is in contradiction to the plain, literal interpretation of what the inspired scriptures reveal. Never forget that when interpreting the Holy Bible, we should allow it to be the best interpreter of what it means.
      You state that the viewpoints differ from verse one and two, and that the viewpoint for the further days of creation should be taken from that viewpoint. This is not even implied in the scripture, but mere conjecture, nor is it intended to be a standard for interpretation. After all, did not God ask Job “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” We would be wise to heed the warning of Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to his words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” The intent of the whole of Genesis 1 is for God to reveal to man how He created everything.
      The use of the Hebrew hayah has been translated into English as “come to pass,” “become,” “was,” and “were happened.” In fact, Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary uses the following phrases to define hayah: “to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out, to be instituted, to establish, or to be brought about.” None of these phrases or translations indicates revealing something that already existed, as your explanation states.
      To say that God did not speak creation into existence is not only an attempt to rob God of His power and might, but is a direct contradiction of the scripture of Psalm 33:6 which tells us “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Also, we must not ignore the testimony of 2 Corinthians 4:6 which divinely reveals that God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness…” Both of these scriptures, which are in harmony in their witness, clearly imply that God spoke, and it was created, which is the clear, literal interpretation of Genesis 1.
      The phrase that “there was light” nowhere implies or reveals that light was already there and that God pulled back the curtains so the observer (who does not exist) could see it. No, the whole of the scripture indicates that light was God’s creation on day one. And the phrase “Let there be light” plainly and clearly indicates that something that did not exist before now came into existence, which is in harmony with the rest of the divinely inspired scripture.
      Your assertion that God moves Moses to use day to mean a long age is not in harmony with scripture or with the use of the word yahm in the rest of the Old Testament. If I said that I was going to make a reservation at a hotel for a night and a day, it would be plainly and clearly understood that I planned to stay for a short, fixed period of time, not a very long age. This is because the context in which I make this statement is relevant to what I am talking about. In each instance in Genesis 1, the word day is described and defined as “evening and morning” which, in plain and clear understanding with the word day, means a fixed short period of 24 hours. Let us observe that outside of Genesis 1, the word yahm is used 410 times as” day” with a number, “evening” and “morning” with “day” 23 times, and “night” with “day” 52 times. Each of the hundreds of times it is used inside these contexts, the word yawm is understood to mean a literal 24 hour day, so why question just the uses in Genesis 1? Nor is the idea of God using ages in harmony with the whole of the scripture when one examines Exodus 20:11. We must not compromise with naturalistic science and attempt to make the Bible fit with it by making the six days of creation into long ages.
      The idea that God used the Big Bang to create the universe is also not in harmony with the Bible, nor is it in harmony with your earlier observation. The Big Bang Theory states that before anything happened, there was a singularity, a “hot, dense state” as described by the catchy theme song for the popular TV comedy, “Big Bang Theory.” Essentially, the Big Bang Theory asserts that something was there. The Holy Bible says that God created (bara) the heavens and the earth. By your own definition, bara means “bringing into existence something new, something that did not exist before.” So if God used the Big Bang to create the universe, how could He have used something (a singularity) that already existed when God’s Word says the created the cosmos from nothing? Not to mention that the Big Bang Theory says that the suns came first and then the planets, when the Bible clearly teaches that the earth came first, then the stars. Surely God would not lead us down a slippery slope by intentionally lying to us all these thousands of years! If God lied to us about this, what else did He lie about? Nothing, of course, because He the author of truth and order, and His creation as literally revealed in Genesis 1 is a revelation of that.

      • Two things and then I’ll let Rob respond. This is not Rob this is Tim responding.

        1. Genesis 1 is a poem, are poems to be taken literally? It was passed down from oral tradition, in the Hebrew there is a rhythm to Genesis 1, and as such the word “day” there can mean anything.

        2. Why discount the fact that God could speak the world in to existence in any way possible? Including using some kind of big bang? There is no definite evidence supporting that it was a literal 24 hours, were you there at the beginning of creation? absolutely not, so don’t treat it like you were there and saw the whole thing. God is GOD not some person that we are trying to figure out.

        Tim NOT Rob 🙂

      • Jrobbiep,

        Thanks for your input 🙂 I appreciate the discussion (even if I disagree with your stance). As I stated before, God could create the universe however He desired to do so. I am not limiting God in power or might. However, being a man of science, when I look at the fine-tuning of the universe that expanded from a hot-dense, God created, explosion, I cannot help but see the majesty of the creator. This blog is about opening your mind to other truth so please allow yourself to actually consider what I’m typing instead of immediately thinking of how to disprove it. Just as I have done with your comment I hope you will do with mine. When I see the cosmological constant at a level of precision to the order of one part in 10^120, I see a powerful, mighty, and infinitely more intelligent creator than his creation. That is just one of the finely tuned characteristic of this great universe. I once held the 24-hr day, 6000 year old creation story of the universe but my studies have actually disproved my previous beliefs.

        Let’s simply address the first hurdle: light. Light as you know travels at 299,792,458 m/s. With the Hubble telescope we are actually observing the past. Light can only travel at the speed of light governed by the equations of relativity discovered by our friend Einstein. Based upon the red shift of light we can determine the distance of galaxies/stars based on their brightness in the color spectrum. Now, the furthest detected star/galaxy is 13.73 billion light years away (about). The light emitted from this would take 13.73 billion years to reach us. However, many assume the Earth was created several thousand years ago. If this is true, when we look into the sky we are seeing a lie. No wonder most scientists are atheists! They have heard Christians for years telling them the sky is a lie while their microwave background radiation measurements say otherwise. The other difficulty “young earth creationists (YEC)” would have is to observe old stars (which since the light has reached our planet have exploded and thrust their elements into the furnace of other stars to produce new elements essential for life chemistry). Without white dwarf binaries life on earth would not be sustainable. We are breathing and living off elements that the YEC say haven’t happened yet. God would have to be supplying those elements right now, but we know God is in a day of rest from creation.

        Another discussion would be the superevolution necessary for a YEC’s view of the flood, the cataclysmic effect on the earth, and the Cambrian explosion. We shall save that for later.

        Now, back to your points. Let’s look at Genesis 1 (as a whole). I don’t know the statistics but I would imagine that the most common word is “and” which is combining all of these statements. Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 are part of one continuous thought (with the rest of Genesis 1):
        “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and void….”

        Genesis 1:1 is not a summary of the creation event, it is a statement of what God did at the beginning of the first day. As I stated in my first comment, the words for heavens (shamayim) and earth (‘erets) refer to the entirety of creation and includes light, time, space, and matter. And as this is not a summary but the first act of creation on day 1, let’s keep that mindset. To hold the view that the earth came first and then the sun/stars we would have to read Genesis 1 as “In the beginning God created the earth.” But the spirit of God did not have Moses write that because that is not what was done. God created the heavens and the earth as his first act of creation on day 1. I like to call that… the Big Bang 🙂

        So in 1:3 the action continues with “And God said, ‘Let there be light.'” If God was creating light, wouldn’t the spirit have used bara’ again? But it wasn’t. Hayah was used. Bara is the creation of something entirely new. Now, I am no hebrew scholar by any stretch of the imagination. But if God was going to create the light, would he not use bara again, instead of hayah? For the viewer on the surface of the earth protected by an opaque cloud the light “came into existence” to their view, having already been created. I never said God didn’t speak and these things didn’t happen. Additionally, the sun/moon/stars of day 4 were “made” (asah) which contextually has the idea of being fashioned (from materials already present, remember Genesis 1:1). All of these things come in line as a continuous flow of creation events from Genesis 1:1.

        You mentioned Job 38:4… I beg you to keep reading down into verse 9 and you will see that I wasn’t just pulling the “cloud theology” from science.

        “When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,”

        The use of “day”. You cannot interpret Genesis with your knowledge of the word day. When I say Earth, you think of this blue globe circling around the sun with 7 other planets. A Hebrew would have understood earth as the ground surrounding him. Much in the same “world” today encompasses our entire globe while to a Hebrew it would mean the extent of human civilization.

        Day (yowm) used in Genesis 1. The word has three literal meanings- 1) a 12-hr time period (sunrise to sunset), a 24 hour period (sunset to sunset), and an indefinite period of time.

        1) The days were obviously consisting of daylight and night so the 12-hr interpretation is out.

        2) Day 1- although science would say the processes of the expansion of the universe, formation of elements/stars/galaxies/earth would require a significantly longer time than 24 hours, there is no indication one way or the other for day 1, so the 24 hour test could stand for Day 1.
        Day 2- Like day 1, there is no timetable for listed so the 24 hour test could stand for day 2.
        Day 3- The land was formed out of the sea (no timeframe) but then God created plants. “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” No plant in all of existence can grow from a seed to a full plant and produce seeds in a 24 hour period. God did not create trees already bearing fruit, but clearly the text states that the earth was allowed to bring forth trees to bear fruit. This is an impossibility for the 24 hour day interpretation.
        Day 6- During day 6, God planted a garden, brought the animals to Adam to name (which according to YEC theology had to include all the fossilized animals because there was no death before the fall), Adam was put to sleep and Eve was created. Seems all of this would take longer than 24 hours to do.

        Now, Genesis 2:4-5 tells us “in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew:” Here the entire creation event… all 6 days were summed up by the same word “day”.

        Big Bang:
        I love the language of Isaiah 40:22: “that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” Stretcheth out is “natah” in the qal active participle which means “stretches out” (actively). Spreadeth them out is mathah in the waw consecutive and qal imperfect form which means “he has spread them out…” This one verse tells us that God has stretched out the heavens and is continuing to stretch them out. Sound like a big bang expansion followed by the expanding universe anyone? At the big bang, all of the physics were instantly created to govern our universe which allows the universe to continually expand to allow advanced life to continue living. If the universe wasn’t expanding we wouldn’t be here.

        I have much more on this if you would like to continue discussing 🙂

        You know what I find interesting? It is said that the ancient Hebrews did not allow anyone to expound on the first chapter of Genesis until they were 30 years old. Obviously, they realized it was a difficult passage and not easily understood. Perhaps all of us should approach the subject with care and prayer 🙂

  5. Something I would like to remind everyone. My viewpoint here is no different from anyone else’s after Adam. My view of salvation is not impacted as a result of how I believe the world came into existence. It is not heresy to believe God made the world how science said it was formed. Science was created by God so why couldn’t God reveal himself in science? I believe He has. If you believe that God created the world about 10,000 years ago in 6 literal days, that is your choice, and I will not think any more or less of anyone for their opinion. The doctrine of salvation is not altered because of these differences. We will probably all get to heaven one day and God will say “well you were all idiots because THIS is how I did it!” as we all watch in amazement!

    That is all 🙂

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