Thursday, January 26, 2017

Reader asks about the “lights” in Genesis 1


READER QUESTION:
Shalom friend! I was just pondering something and wanted your thoughts if you don’t mind. We have been studying as a family since our synagogue closed over a year ago. So we have been studying Genesis (started from chapter 1 vs 1) and we are only on chapter 48 of genesis! Slow and steady! But I am just reviewing some stuff. In the creation account in vs 3 of chapter 1 Elohym created light....but then in vs 14 He created sun and moon to separate light from darkness....sooooo was the initial light His holiness...Yeshua, etc?
OUR RESPONSE:

EXCELLENT question, and here is your answer: No, it wasn’t YHWH’s Light or Yeshua, as Yeshua already existed. This was strictly referring to His Creation. First we’re told He spoke light into being and then divided it from the darkness. (Please read my notes posted directly into the scriptures.)
Gen 1:2 The earth was unformed and void, darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water. [Note that the earth was unformed and in darkness.] 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. [Here, physical light was spoken into being.] 4 God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. [Here, He starts forming matter - the stars and the planets - galaxies, etc. The stars would produce light while the planets would receive that light, thus taking them out of darkness.]
5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day. 6 God said, "Let there be a dome in the middle of the water; let it divide the water from the water." [After YHWH made light and separated it from darkness, He then began to form the earth.] 7 God made the dome and divided the water under the dome from the water above the dome; that is how it was.
[Then He made the “lights” to divide DAY and NIGHT and to reveal seasons. It was a progressive creation as, after He made light to divide the darkness, He then placed the sun, moon stars and planets and gave earth a way to tell “day” from “night” as we know it, and to let these “lights” (sun, moon, stars) help us discern seasons. In the next verses (8-13), we read of the earth finally taking shape to sustain the life YHWH would create.]
1:14 God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the dome of the sky to give light to the earth"; and that is how it was. [Note that vs 14-15 explain what the lights are for, not that this was their creation moment!] 16 God made the two great lights - the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night - and the stars. [Note that the word "made" here in English is not a proper translation of the Hebrew "vai'ya'as" which more appropriately means "appointed" - YHWH appointed the two great lights (the sun and moon) and the stars into their roles for "signs, seasons, days and years".]
17 God put them in the dome of the sky to give light to the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 So there was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.  (CJB)
A word about interpreting Genesis: The book was never intended to be a "blow-by-blow", accurate description of the creation! It is intended as a very brief intro to how the universe came to be, where humans came from, how humans quickly fell from grace; and to reveal who is YHWH so we could return to Him. So, please don't get hung-up looking for a perfect explanation of Genesis! Hope this helps!









4 comments:

  1. Is the age of the earth important to our salvation? I have heard people who say it doesn't matter how old the earth is, or whether man and dinosaurs coexisted. I personally believe it is part of having a relationship with YHWH.

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  2. Hi Kevin,

    An interesting question. No, the age of the earth is not important to our salvation. In a nutshell, the belief that one must accept or believe in a young earth comes from misguided interpretation of scripture. For example, the Bible teaches that death is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). Adam and Eve received death because they directly violated the simple command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, (Genesis 2:16-17). The young earth adherent, assumes that the earth is only 6000 years old from the chronologies found in scripture, but then add to that assumption by requiring Genesis 2:16-17 to mean there was no physical death before sin. Thus, they "must" believe in a young earth, and they consider it blasphemous - and salvation-threatening - if others don't believe it.

    But what they don't realize is that they are wrong on both counts. First, the Bible does NOT teach the earth is 6000 years old, and second, physical death was clearly present as part of the Creation since it is important to the ecosystem YHWH created! It would not have been possible for the earth to sustain the inevitable result of the command "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it" in Genesis 1:28. "Death" as the result of Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit is "spiritual death", not physical death. Their sin separated them from YHWH, possibly forever, depending on what they did to repent.

    As far as believing in a young earth as "part of having a relationship with YHWH", (if that is what you meant), I will have to disagree. Our relationship with YHWH has to do with our personal readiness to stand before Him to be accepted into His Kingdom. That means how we conduct our day-to-day earthly lives avoiding intentional sin, and trying to be "clean" before His eyes so that when we meet our ultimate earth-bound end, we can be accepted. I guarantee that NO "young earth" proponent is going to be admitted at the pearly-gate just because they "believed in a young earth"! And no "old-earth" proponent is going to be admitted either for the opposite reason! What is found in the "Book of Life" on each of us is most certainly NOT going to be "Believed in young earth - yes or no?" More likely it will contain things like "Willfully broke _[fill-in the blank]__ commandment and did not repent," or "Saw a person in need, and stopped to help." That sort of thing. I think we owe it to YHWH to be far more cognizant of how He asked us to live while we are in our "earth-bodies", than to worry about the "young/old earth" argument or the "humans existed with dinosaurs or not" argument. After all, EVERYTHING that happened on earth before you were born, has little bearing on how you conduct your day-to-day existence except to have learned and grown from what the record shows of the mistakes of others before you.

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