This article is from
Creation 43(2):32–35, April 2021

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Creation for Kids—The Moon: “The light that rules the night”

by Jonathan Sarfati and Lita Sanders

Published in Creation 43(2):32–35, 2021

People have been fascinated by the moon since the beginning of creation. It is the brightest object in the night sky.

© freepik.commoon

What is the moon?

© tristan3d | 123rf.commoon-earth-diameter

The moon is a giant ball of rock, about a quarter of the size of the earth.

The Bible calls the moon “the lesser light”. It doesn’t say how the moon is lit, but for thousands of years people have known that the moon doesn’t have any light of its own. Rather, it is lit by the sun. Only the half facing the sun is lit.

The book of Genesis tells us that God created the moon on the same day as the sun, Day 4 (Genesis 1:14–19). He created them to be for “signs and seasons”. The moon cycles through all its phases every 29½ days. Based on this, ancient people divided the year into months, a word related to “moon”. This helped people measure the time between the different seasons. This was important so they could plant their crops at the best time. But 12 moon cycles is only 354 days, while it takes about 365 days for the earth to circle the sun. So the months on our calendar have days added to make up the difference.

© catalyststuff | freepik.commoon-phases

The moon’s apparent shape changes regularly, and these different shapes are called phases. As the moon goes around the earth, we see different portions of the lit part. If the earth is almost between the sun and the moon, we can see the entire lit half. We call that a ‘full’ moon. When the moon is nearly between the earth and the sun, we can’t see much of the lit side. All we see is a thin crescent shape. We call that a ‘new’ moon. When the moon is half-way between new and full it looks like a half-circle.

In the top half, the moon’s lit part is getting bigger. This is called waxing. The bottom half shows the lit part getting smaller, or waning.

The diagram above shows how the moon will appear in the Northern Hemisphere. That is, during the waxing phases, the moon’s right side is lit, while the left side is lit while it’s waning. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is reversed. The left side is lit while waxing, and the right side while waning.


© Blueringmedia | dreamstime.comtides-caused-by-gravitational-force-of-the-moon

The moon is also responsible for the tides. If you go near the ocean, you might see it rising and falling about twice a day. These tides help to keep bays and estuaries clean, and even provide electric power in some places.

The moon’s gravity pulls more strongly on closer parts of the earth than further parts. This is more noticeable over the oceans, because they are liquid and can flow. These tidal forces make the oceans bulge on the parts nearest and furthest from the moon.

As the earth rotates once a day, the bulges move on the earth. So people near the oceans observe high tides. In between, they see the water level drop to the low tide. Every day, there are two high tides and two low tides. However the cycle is not exactly daily, but more like every 25 hours, because the moon is also moving around the earth (see also Tides, pp. 36–38).


© alhovik | 123rf.comEclipses

Sometimes, during the full moon, the earth blocks sunlight from reaching the moon. This is called a lunar eclipse. Astronomers even before Christ noticed that the earth’s shadow was always round. So they realized that the earth must be a ball.

Sometimes, a ‘new moon’ blocks sunlight from the earth—a solar eclipse. God made the sun both 400 times bigger and 400 times further away than the moon. This means that the moon can almost exactly block the sun. This is a total eclipse, one of the most spectacular sights ever.

Travelling to the moon


The moon is 384,404 km (239,000 miles) away. Yet about 50 years ago, 12 men walked on the moon. They travelled (in six trips from 1969 to 1972) on the Saturn V rocket, the fastest and most powerful machine that had ever been built—it reached 39,400 km/h (24,500 mph). But it still took four days to get there!

The moon is desolate—there is no air, water, or life. The astronauts couldn’t stay there for more than a few days. They needed to fly back to the earth, which God designed for life.

Evolution can’t explain the moon

People who don’t believe Genesis usually claim that the moon formed billions of years ago. Most say that another planet crashed into the earth billions of years ago. Huge amounts of rock were blasted off. This, they claim, formed the moon. This is called the ‘giant impact’ theory. But an impact wouldn’t have made the moon orbit the way it does. Its orbit is nearly circular.

The astronauts left a special type of mirror that reflects light back to where it came from, like cat’s eyes. Astronomers can shine powerful lasers on the mirrors, and time how long it takes for the light to return. This showed that the moon is moving away from the earth by 4 cm (1½ inches) per year. So the further back in time you go, the closer the earth and moon would be. In well under 4.5 billion years, the evolutionary ‘age’, the earth and moon would have been touching! But the biblical age of about 6,000 years makes sense.

Posted on homepage: 14 February 2024

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