Chapter 7: the first creation day.
First day: light
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Beginning with Gen 1:3 above, the chronological creation story with its narration as heard by Moses, and then with its scenes as witnessed by Moses follows. God (or perhaps one of God’s heavenly subordinates- “Powers”) now shows the creation to Moses in the form of a modern day presentation. The presentation has now begun.
Similar to watching a video film clip, after this day’s narration, Moses saw a view of early Earth after light from the Sun had become visible at Earth’s surface. This view or vision was of a sea-covered planet with horrendously huge waves, dense fog, and/or frozen clouds of ice crystals down to near its water covered surface. Earth was without form and void. The view lasted into the night.
Gen 1:3 above is the first bit of narration from God in the creation story. This statement clearly confirms that Moses was repeating God’s narration. God was showing the creation to Moses in the form of a presentation. First, there was narration, and then as would be seen from ground level, a view of Earth pertaining to the narration was shown to Moses. Moses then confirmed the narration by describing what he was shown, or what he had witnessed, as having been completed. This is the standard procedure used throughout the creation story. When God spoke, he was speaking to Moses, but was repeating what he had said to his “creation staff” or perhaps to the Holy Ghost(s) as creation was actually occurring. Clearly, all of creation had long since occurred and Moses had already lived many years on this already formed up and completed Earth. Moses was shown a replay of select creation or completion events.
Moses may have witnessed the first light from the Sun in this view, but probably not. Sunlight was discernible as only a slight brightness in the fog even after the solar system had cleared somewhat. Earth’s atmosphere was very dense, the solar system was dusty, and the Sun did not produce intense light initially. Nevertheless, if the onset of visible light from the Sun was a sudden event, it was the only sudden event mentioned in the creation story.
7.1 The first command is given.
“Let there be light” is a peculiar way to order something into existence. Instead of ordering light to exist, it is as if the groundwork had already been laid; the Sun was already producing light; and then the command was given to allow the light to continue unabated. Allow being synonymous with “let”, it says: allow there to be light; allow light to exist for the duration of that which is created; do not allow the light to be interrupted. Rather than speaking light into existence, God has now decided that the new, already visible light shall exist uninterrupted. This is not about the creation of the Sun but instead, it is about the Sun being allowed to continue producing light for the duration. God had spoken Earth’s sunlight into its continual existence.
If God spoke light into existence, it was about ten billion years prior to the chronology of the creation story. Light has existed at least since the Big Bang.
God appears to have delegated much of the creation effort to subordinates- not that they are lesser beings. Recall those points made about God being the CEO of everything. Moses first heard a replay of God instructing his staff to allow sunlight to exist. Next, light at Earth’s surface was shown to Moses. Finally, the completion or the state of the new light was inspected by God (Gen 1:4 below), and the result of the inspection was heard by Moses. The entire replay occurred billions of years after the actual events. In every scene, Moses first heard a replay of God’s creation commands, and then he was shown the result of those commands. Moses was being shown what God had allowed “to be” billions of years prior.
Is the creation story a simplification of creation? Most certainly, but consider that the Bible was not intended to confuse, but instead, to clarify. One should always look for the simplest explanation or simplest understanding of the Bible, but with the knowledge that the creation story is only a brief witnessed overview of creation simple enough for all people, ancient, and modern, to understand.
God’s “let there be” expression shows up every “day” in which is highlighted the completion of something other than life. For the three completions of life, variations of this expression are used. Upon examination the meanings of the expressions becomes clear. Finally, an expression is used indicating God is “hands on” in the creation of the humans named Adam and Eve, although other human like, or genetically similar beings already existed.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Although completely in charge, this may show the actual extent of God’s participation at each of the first levels of creation. After all, if God had just created the light personally, why would he have to look back on it to see that it was good? Why would the inspection be necessary? God the CEO?
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
These verses, Gen 1:4&5 indicate that Earth was rotating; it was already rotating in the very first view shown to Moses. Prior to first light, Moses could not have known Earth was already rotating or, in keeping with his earthbound perspective that the light was rotating around Earth. Nevertheless, with the sunset seen in the first day’s vision, it was obvious to Moses that, with respect to Earth, the newly visible light was moving across the sky or appeared to be rotating around Earth. It dimmed out in the West. According to Moses, God named the light Day, and the darkness he named Night. It is also obvious from the description given by Moses that the source of light was at a point some distance away from Earth. This was not some all-encompassing atmospheric light. This source of light was clearly the Sun.
Yet another religious myth: the Sun, having now burned up much of its fuel, would initially have been large enough to completely engulf Earth had it been producing light for over four billion years. Actually, the Sun is bigger today than it was yesterday. In fact, the Sun is bigger today than it was four billion years ago. It will continue to get hotter, and physical dimension, bigger, until it uses up its hydrogen fuel.
Of course, Moses had seen clear skies, cloudy skies, and sunlight his entire life. He would have recognized a normal view of the sky. Yet Moses would not have recognized this early sky. Because of the unusual gases in the early atmosphere, and because of their high density, the sky was an unusual color and the sunlight reaching the surface of Earth was of low intensity. The sky looked completely different from any he had ever seen. It was likely dim and dark red instead of today’s bright blue skies with white clouds. Moses would not have recognized the light in the sky as being from the Sun, but even if he had thought it to be, he likely knew better than to speculate as to its source. Moonlight and starlight were not at all visible.
With the onset of sunlight, changes in the entire Solar system’s atmosphere and in Earth’s atmosphere had begun. Actually, first sunlight had an immediate impact on Earth’s atmosphere. In keeping with the orderly accuracy of the creation story, atmospheric changes are cited next- right after Moses was shown this early light. Atmospheric changes will evolve gradually with milestones of completeness noted until creation “day 4. “
Note: there is complete agreement between science and the creation story’s “day 1”. Please see Figure D for “day 1’s” assignment in the chronology, and then Figure 2a, for a simple illustration of the conditions shortly after first sunlight.