Six 24-hour days … ?
‘How could the first three days of creation be ordinary days, if the sun wasn’t created till the fourth day?’
We know today that all it takes to have a day-night cycle is a rotating earth and light coming from one direction. The Bible tells us clearly that God created light on the first day, as well as the earth. Thus we can deduce that the earth was already rotating in space relative to the light-source.
God can, of course, create light without a secondary source. We are told that in the new heavens and earth there will be no need for sun or moon (Revelation 21:23). In Genesis, God even defines a day and a night in terms of light or its absence.
The evidence that ordinary days are being referred to is so overwhelming that even liberal Hebrew scholars admit that the author of Genesis could not have had any other intent—particularly when the words ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ are used from the first day. (See The Answers Book Chapter 8, and CSF tract Six Days? Honestly!)
On the fourth day the present system was instituted as the earth’s light-bearers were made, so the temporary light source from the first day was no longer needed.
- This order of events (light before sun and moon) would have been very significant to pagan world views which tended to worship the sun as the source of all life. God seems to be making it pointedly clear that the sun is secondary to Himself as the source of everything. He doesn’t ‘need’ the sun in order to create life (in contrast to theistic evolutionary beliefs.)
- This unusual, counter-intuitive order of creation (light before sun) actually adds a hallmark of authenticity. If the Bible was the product of later ‘editors’, as many critics allege, they would surely have modified this to fit with their own understanding. It is only recently that the astronomical fact has been realized that a day—night cycle needs only light plus rotation. Having ‘day’ without the sun would have been generally inconceivable to the ancients.