Bible Question:

In Genesis 1 it states on day one, “And God said, 'Let there be light: and there was light.'” and then on day two “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars.” So did God make the sun on day 1 or day 4 ?

Bible Answer:

Because the Genesis accounts speak of God creating both light and then a celestial body we call the sun, this question comes up.  Are they the same?  On which day of creation did God create the sun?

The two scriptures to which you refer are as follows:

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light . . . And there was evening and there was morning, one day. Genesis 1:3-5 (NASB)

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 1:16-19 (NASB)

The Hebrew word that is translated as “light” in Genesis 1:3 is or and has the meaning of ” to be or become light, shine” or “to shine, to be bright or to illumine.”[1]  That is, on the first day God created something that is light as opposed to darkness. On the fourth day, the Hebrew word that is translated as “light” is maor and has the meaning of being a “luminary, light-bearer or light-giver.”[2] These two Hebrew words or and maor help us answer your question. We are to understand that on the first day “light,” as opposed to darkness, was created. Genesis 1:1-2 tells us that God had created the earth as a lump of material and darkness existed throughout the universe.

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. Genesis 1:2 (NASB)

The surrounding environment that we call the universe was in total darkness. When God created light, He created it as a general concept without any reference to any celestial bodies. Then on the fourth day, God created the celestial bodies or luminaries which we call the sun and the moon (Genesis 1:16-19). The sun is a light generator and the moon reflects the sun’s light. We are also told that God created stars on the fourth day. Then we are told that God created the sun and moon or the greater maor and lesser maor. We are also told that the maors and stars give light or or. That is, the maors give the or. 

The or is what we call rays of light and maors give us those rays of light.

Conclusion:

May God bless you.

 

References:

1. Wolf, H. (1999). 52 אוֹר. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 25). Chicago: Moody Press.

2. Wolf, H. (1999). 52 אוֹר. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 25). Chicago: Moody Press.

Reference Links:

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