Chapter 12: Visibility of Celestial Bodies; The Fourth Day of Creation

Chapter 12: Visibility of Celestial Bodies; The Fourth Day of Creation

Fourth day: heavenly bodies

Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

The view seen by Moses on this day was of clear skies, similar to modern blue skies. The Sun was visible as it is today. Visibility into the night sky was infinite. The overcast sky had cleared. The Sun at daylight, and the stars and Moon at nighttime, were all completely visible. There were seas and dry land. The seed bearing vegetation of “day 3” still grew primarily in oasis areas on the land of the first part of “day 3. “

What caused the clearing of Earth’s atmosphere? Earth had cooled significantly. Earth had cooled off enough that the Sun had become the primary source of surface heat on Earth. There had been progressively less evaporation at Earth’s surface. Evaporation now occurs primarily in the daily sunlit portion of Earth. In addition, the supercontinent Pangea has broken apart leaving a unique situation of landmasses at the poles. The poles could now freeze over and would further reduce Earth’s evaporating surface area. Frozen poles are a reason for the clear, no longer continually overcast skies. Frozen poles dry the air that passes over them creating clear skies. Frozen poles are also a reason to expect that a rain cycle will begin- the cold dry air interacts with the warm equatorial air causing thunderstorms. There are perhaps other factors including atmospheric pressure (see Appendix B).

12.1 The fifth command is given. The overcast sky clears for the duration.

Again, the “let there be” expression is used indicating that this condition shall be allowed to exist unabated. On this, the fourth day, the overcast sky has cleared allowing, from an earthly or ground level perspective, visibility of celestial bodies and of the entire universe. This atmospheric completion has been ongoing since first sunlight and the overcast sky has now cleared allowing maximum daily sunlight down to Earth’s surface. Surface temperature increased by over twenty degrees in equatorial regions.

For those who thought creation was instantaneous, this is the first creation story evidence to the contrary. On “day 2”, the cloud cover had lifted but the sky was still overcast. Gradual changes over billions of years (but covered over a span of three creation days) resulted in a clear sky. In addition, the mixture of gases in the atmosphere had transitioned to modern percentages, but at higher atmospheric pressure than exists today. Please see Figure 2d for a simple illustration of what Moses witnessed as described in Gen 1:14.

Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

12.2 The perspective of Moses.

Note that Moses did not know the moon was not a source of light, but only a reflector of sunlight. As stated previously, he recorded what he observed and not what he was told to write, but he used God‘s narrative as a guide. The Moon is of course a source of light on Earth- albeit reflected light.

Genesis 1:15 is the first reference to space and the firmament that had occurred there before the chronology of the creation story. In addition, in Genesis 1:6, the expanse of heaven was just lower level atmosphere but now included all of space as well. This further shows the sky had been overcast, but later cleared. No matter when the stars, Sun, and moon first existed, they could not have been seen until the sky cleared.

Although he did not say it, to Moses, the newly visible heavenly bodies may have been created or assimilated into points of light at this time. However, the heavenly bodies were simply allowed to be visible as lights, continually, from this time on. They were visible due to a clear atmosphere and clear solar system. This visibility is only interrupted by occasional cloudiness in modern times. This exception in visibility is addressed later in the creation story.

If this creation story were a fabrication by the ancients, how could this valid description of atmospheric changes exist in it?

Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And let them be for lights…” They could only have been for “lights in the firmament” after they could be seen from an earthly perspective- after the overcast condition had cleared.

Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

Gen 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

Gen 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.



Figure 2D- Diagram Illustrating the Infinite Visibility of Genesis 1-14 - Day 4

Figure 2D- Diagram Illustrating the Infinite Visibility of Genesis 1-14 – Day 4

12.3 Water content of the Earth system.

Ancient sea levels were likely several hundred meters deeper than today. Why? It is known by science that the Sun is increasing in intensity, even today, while Earth’s magnetic field intensity is diminishing as Earth continually cools off at its core. Increasing solar wind gently blows away atmospheric gases while Earth’s diminishing field offers the atmosphere less and less protection from this same solar wind. Earth is less capable of retaining atmosphere now than it was in the distant past. These two factors indicate that the Earth system contained much more water and water vapor in the past than it does now. The Earth system formerly contained more of all other gaseous elements and compounds as well. Even in Earth’s more recent history, atmospheric pressure was much higher than in modern times.

After the chronology of the creation story, Moses made a few comments that add information back to the creation story after the fact. One of the comments fits between “days 3 and 6”, and is now described.

13.5 An added comment by Moses.

Although vegetation was allowed, “to be” during “day 3,” Moses did not see an abundance of vegetation growth until between “days 4 and 6”, and he injected a comment after the chronological creation story as an explanation. This comment is about the onset of the rain cycle. The rain spoken of in Genesis 2:5&6 is about the abundant vegetation growth that occurred without the necessity of streams and swamps and without the necessity of people to water the plants.

Gen 2:5 And every plant in the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

This rain, according to Moses, clearly occurred before man existed but after seed-bearing plant life existed. Yet, he did not specify the day on which this growth occurred. This shows that Moses knew things were going on between his creation views and serves as continued confirmation of the manner of the story’s conveyance to Moses. It may also show that Moses did not feel completely at liberty to add descriptions to the chronological creation story beyond that specified in God’s narration- or, it may represent Moses’ attempt to explain why there are clouds and overcast skies occasionally limiting the visibility promised on “day 4. “

This is not to say that rain had never before occurred. As early Earth cooled, there might have been a multiple million year continuous rain. In addition, with every previous sudden atmospheric pressure drop, rain would have flooded normally dry areas for perhaps months or even years. Instead, rain now occurred regularly. Rain that is both regular and brief is most important to grasses with their short root systems. Savannas had become able to sustain grass through to modern times and mammals would evolve to consume the new abundance of grass after “day 5.” At about 60Mya, grass covered savannas had become common and savannas put the time of a substantial rain cycle shortly after “day 5.” The onset of a regular rain cycle occurred shortly after the beginning of the Cenozoic Period about 60Mya.

Some claim Gen 2:5 was part of a separate account of creation and that two memorized accounts were lumped together when Genesis was written. There is no reason to think that this was the case. Combined and seemingly contradictory stories could be seen as substantial evidence that the creation story and other stories in the Bible are mythology. One possibility is, as Moses described the creation to his peers, questions were asked and the added comments served as answers- answers he could provide given that he had seen several views in the timeline of creation.

Environmental extremes have been less severe in modern times. Perhaps the biggest source of Earth’s modern stability is the stability of Earth’s atmosphere. In the past, the upper extremes of the atmosphere were barely retained by Earth’s gravity. Past fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field and its atmospheric protection had easily upset atmospheric pressure causing floods, storms, rapid climatic change, etc… As atmospheric gases were lost to space due to continuous bombardment by solar wind, the gases were lost forever. Clearly, there used to be more atmospheric gas. In the distant future, Earth will look like the planet Mars. Barring some large meteoric impact or other extreme event on Earth, it should be a very slow transition. Nevertheless, Earth’s transition to a dry planet will gradually occur as it loses progressively more of its protective magnetic field.

Now back to the chronology listed in Genesis chapter 1.