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First Light

Reflecting on the greater lights of God.

As the name suggests, the book of Genesis is a book of firsts. The first recorded words of the Creator God, for example, come as early as Genesis 1:3 where He commands light to come forth. This is very interesting, since God had not yet created the light-giving sun and moon. In fact, the “greater” and “lesser” lights would not be created for another three days. Thus, according to the Bible, there was a light source before the sun.

“Skeptics frequently ridicule the Bible on this point,” writes astronomer Danny Faulkner, they argue “that ignorant and foolish people wrote [it] since they didn’t see a problem with the fact that the sun didn’t exist for the first three days of creation. However, the creation account doesn’t identify the source of the light for the first three days, so we don’t know what the source was, but we can be sure that it was not the sun.”[1] Also as scientist and theologian Jonathan Sarfati points out, “this unusual, counter-intuitive order of creation (light before sun) actually adds a hallmark of authenticity. If the Bible had been the product of later ‘editors’, as many critics allege, then they would surely have modified this to fit with their own understanding. [Significantly], It is in the last few centuries that astronomers have realized that a day-night cycle needs only light plus rotation.”[2]

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”

Genesis 1:3-4

But if the light for the first three days was not the sun, then what was it? Many speculate that God Himself was that light. This is drawn from passages such as 2 Corinthians 4:6 which parallels the light God created on Day One to the light God shines in our hearts. Another verse used to support this view is Revelation 21:23 which tells us that the New Jerusalem will have, “no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it,” for the glory of God will illuminate it: “The Lamb is its light.” Others speculate that the source of this light was God’s Shekinah Glory, while still others believe that “This light was not God, but something He created. In modern scientific terms we would talk about electromagnetic radiation and photons. Henry Morris quite reasonably argues that while the narrow visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum is emphasized, in contrast with the darkness, this probably included invisible parts such as infrared and ultraviolet as well.”[3]

Critical to this discussion is Psalm 72:17, though this verse is often overlooked because of its slight mistranslation into English. The King James Version of the Bible, for example, declares of the Messiah that “His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun.” But that’s not quite what the original Hebrew text says. Rather, it says that “His name shall endure forever; His name was there before [Hebrew: פָּנִים pānîm][4] the sun.” Thus, it seems clear that Jesus Christ is both figuratively and literally the light of the world even before the sun. Just as He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, He is also both the first (Genesis 1:3) and last light (Revelation 21). Therefore, if the sun is considered to be the greater light (Genesis 1), then Son of God must be considered the “Greatest Light.”

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Danny R. Faulkner with Lee Anderson Jr., The Created Cosmos, P.57
[2] Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account, P.116
[3] Ibid., P.115

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