When Were the Sun, Moon, and Stars Created?
At first glance, this seems like an easy question. Just as children have been singing for generations, it was on day four when God made “the Sun, Moon, and stars galore.” Some, however, have alleged that the “sun, moon and stars were created ‘in the beginning’ (Gen. 1:1)” (Thurman, 2006, p. 3), rather than on day four of Creation. Presumably,
on the fourth day, God “set” the sun, moon and stars in the heavens to govern the days, months, seasons and years (verse 17). When God “set” the lights in the heavens, it was much like when we “set” a clock. And that really is what God did—He “set” His clock on the 4th day. But these (the sun, moon, stars) were all created “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1) (Thurman, 2006, p. 3, emp. added).
The problem with this line of argumentation is that it contradicts what the Bible says.
Certainly, “[i]n the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). But, it was not until later that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars. Genesis 1:14-19 reads:
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19, emp. added).
God not only “set” (Hebrew nathan) the Sun, Moon, and stars in their precise locations in the heavens on the fourth day of Creation, but it was on this day when God literally “made” (Hebrew asah) these heavenly bodies. Similar to how God initially made the land and seas void of animal life (which later was created on days five and six of Creation), the “heavens” were made “in the beginning,” but the hosts of heaven (which now inhabit them) were created “in the firmament of the heavens” on day four (Genesis 1:14).
Consider also how God spoke light into existence on day one of Creation, saying, “Let there be light” (1:3, emp. added). On the fourth day God declared, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens...and it was so” (1:14-15, emp. added). Gary Workman commented on this similarity, saying:
“Let there be lights” (v. 14) is identical in grammatical construction with other statements of “let there be...” in the chapter. Therefore the command can only mean that God spoke the luminaries into existence on the fourth day just as he had created the initial light on day one and the firmament on day two (1989, p. 3).
On day one God made intrinsic light; on day four He made the generators of light. Keep in mind that “the Father of lights” (James 1:17), Who is “light” (1 John 1:5), could create light easily without first having to create the Sun, Moon, and stars. Just as God could produce a fruit-bearing tree on day three without a seed, He could produce light supernaturally on day one without the “usual” light bearers (which subsequently were created on day four). Again, there is no indication in Scripture that the generators of light already were made before day four.
Suppose, however, that the creation of the heavens “in the beginning” had included the creation of the Sun, Moon, and stars (which Genesis 1:14-19 says were made on day four). One still would not be justified in trying to appease the evolutionary timeline by claiming that the “beginning” took place billions of years before the six days of Creation. Why? Because God said, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11, emp. added). Both the heavens and all that is in the heavens were created during the six-day creation.
In truth, on day one God created “the heavens,” and on day four He made the Sun, Moon, and stars. And all things were made within the six days of Creation. No “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15) Bible passage will lead a person to any other conclusion.
Thurman, Clem (2006), “How Was Light Before the Sun?” Gospel Minutes, September 8.
Workman, Gary (1989), “Questions from Genesis One,” The Restorer, 9[5/6]:3-5, May/June.