Genesis: Is the moon a light?

Prior to having a holiday and being away from writing these posts, I was working through a little series on Genesis in order to answer some objections to an earlier post I wrote titled Genesis: Fact or Fiction.  I want to carry on with that series so I can answer all of the objections as I originally intended.

Here is the objection raised about the Fourth Day:

On the fourth day he makes the sun and moon to provide light. The only problem is the moon does not provide light, it just reflects the suns light. Also how were there days before the sun was created? And as a side note God creates “stars”, not trillions of planets and galaxies but stars whose sole purpose is to provide light for us, despite the fact we can only see a tiny fraction of all the planets that exist. Again this would have made sense thousands of years ago when they made up this story. Its a bit ridiculous to still believe it today.

God did not, in fact, create the sun and the moon to provide light.  According to Genesis, there was already light.  God made light on the first day!  How this simple fact could be overlooked by this conscientious objector is beyond knowing.  Still, the point is valid because the Bible does say “…let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens…”  So is the moon a light?

Well, to be quite plain and simple, the answer is both yes and no.  No, the moon is not a star and so does not produce light on its own.  Yes, the moon does give light to the earth because it reflects the sun’s light.  As an objection this seems to make absolutely no sense.  People have spoken of the light of the moon for an awfully long time.  Perfectly rational and reasonable scientists today can still make use of the word “moonlight” without someone accusing them of being simple or religious.  Why should it not be permissible for the Bible to speak of the moon providing light when the moon quite obviously does provide light?

The Bible also says the purpose of the sun and the moon and the stars is to mark out the signs and seasons.  The moon does a great job of this because it is spectacularly stable.  The same face is always towards the earth and its orbit is very regular.  As far as moons go, our moon is perfect for sustaining life on this planet.  If you are still not convinced God could have created the moon then you can have a go at providing a better explanation.  However, if you did provide a reasonable, logical and verifiable method for the moon’s formation you should simultaneously prepare a welcome party for the members of the Nobel Prize committee because you would be the first one to come up with such an explanation.  Still not convinced?  Read this.

In order to answer the objection about days being possible prior to the sun I simply want to point out all that is required for a day to exist:

  • A light source.
  • A rotating planet.

The light source was created on the first day and the planet was created on the second day.    All of the requirements for the marking out of days were created very early on in the week of creation.

Again, dealing with the objection about the lack of planets is simple as well.  The book of Genesis is not a scientific textbook.  While it contains no information which contradicts science, it also does not contain information which was not relevant to its purpose.  The purpose of the account of Creation was simply to explain what had happened to the people who needed to know.  These people could look around and see an earth, the sun, the moon and loads of stars.  They could wonder, quite rightly, “How did all of this stuff get here?”  Genesis answers this question.  What is important to realise is that because these people could not see all of these other planets (we do not even “see” them but we instead infer their existence from mathematics and observations of their stars) an explanation of their existence was not a requirement.  Simply because Genesis leaves out an explanation does not mean that Genesis is lacking in some important detail.

Is it ridiculous to believe these things today?  Absolutely not!  What is ridiculous is to believe the best ideas scientists can come up with as alternatives.  Let me give you an example.

If God did not create the moon then how did it get here?  Allow me to quote here from Creation Ministries International:

  • Fission theory – invented by the astronomer George Darwin (son of Charles). He proposed that the earth spun so fast that a chunk broke off. But this theory is universally discarded today. The earth could never have spun fast enough to throw a moon into orbit, and the escaping moon would have been shattered while within the Roche Limit.
  • Capture theory—the moon was wandering through the solar system, and was captured by Earth’s gravity. But the chance of two bodies passing close enough is minute; the moon would be more likely to have been ‘slingshotted’ like artificial satellites than captured. Finally, even a successful capture would have resulted in an elongated comet-like orbit.
  • Condensation theory—the moon grew out of a dust cloud attracted by Earth’s gravity. However, no such cloud could be dense enough, and it doesn’t account for the moon’s low iron content.
  • Impact theory— the currently fashionable idea that material was blasted off from Earth by the impact of another object. Calculations show that to get enough material to form the moon, the impacting object would need to have been twice as massive as Mars. Then there is the unsolved problem of losing the excess angular momentum.

These theories are all insufficient for the reasons stated.  Is there a better explanation than God for the creation of the moon?  No, there is not.  To continue to maintain there is reveals not intelligence but blindness on the part of the one who cannot see what is plainly written in the very skies overhead.

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