Sunday, April 04, 2004

On the Sun, Moon, and Lights...

Many Christians miss the main points of the Genesis 1 creation account which, among other things, was to firmly establish for the Israelites how God was unique from pagan (especially Egyptian) deities. Typically they will focus instead on the issue of how long God took to do His creative work. The issue of the amount of time God chose to use to bring the cosmos into fruition would not have been important to an Israelite contemporary of Moses. Taken in the context of what was happening at the time the account was written, one can see how God was establishing for the Israelites that it was He, and not any Egyptian deities, that created the world. For instance, look at the description of the sun and moon in Genesis 1:
God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” It was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day. - Genesis 1:14-19 (NET)
Note that neither the Sun nor the Moon are referred to by their names in Hebrew but, rather, they are simply referred to as lights. Care has been taken to clearly state that it was God who created these lights. Care was also taken to avoid listing them as the sun and the moon due to the pagan tendency to worship these objects. Confer with the book of Job:
if I looked at the sun when it was shining, and the moon advancing as a precious thing, so that my heart was secretly enticed, and my hand threw them a kiss from my mouth, then this also would be iniquity to be judged, for I would have been false to God above. - Job 31:26-28 (NET)

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