Monday: Let There Be Light
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“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw

Image © John Baker from GoodSalt.com

Image © John Baker from GoodSalt.com

the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day (Gen. 1:3-5, NKJV). What do these verses teach us about the first day of Creation?

Numerous points can be inferred from this passage.

First, light appeared in response to God’s command. God’s word is effective in determining the state of the Creation.

Second, the light was “good.” We may wonder why the text says that God “saw” the light; is there any doubt that God sees everything? The point is that the light made by God was good, even in God’s eyes. We know that the light is good because God Himself evaluated it as such.

Another point is that God divided the light from the darkness. Both light and darkness are under God’s control, and neither one makes any difference to His activity and knowledge (see Ps. 139:12). God gave names to the dark and light portions of time, calling them “day” and “night.” God has the right to give names to periods of time because He is the Creator of time. As Sovereign over time, God is not limited by time. Rather, time depends on God.

Another point of this passage is that there was a period of darkness and a period of light that together comprised a day. Much has been written about the meaning of “day” in the Creation story. We will consider this question later, but we note in passing that the first day was composed of a period of darkness and a period of light, in the same way that we observe days now.

Also, light is one of the features that accompanies the presence of God. We do not need to suppose that light was invented on the first day of Creation, since God existed before the earth was created and His presence is often associated with light (1 John 1:5Rev. 22:5). At Creation, light was introduced to the previously dark planet.

How, though, could there be day and night before the introduction of the sun into the Creation account? Moses surely knew the connection between the sun and daylight. Yet, despite that obvious knowledge, he wrote what he did about the light and darkness on the first day. God must have given him knowledge about Creation that, at present, we don’t understand, knowledge that cannot be discerned from looking at the natural world. Why, though, shouldn’t we be surprised that some things about Creation remain a mystery?

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Monday: Let There Be Light — 38 Comments

  1. I would emphasis that God is the beginning and when he separeted light and darkness they both represent something according to my knowledge of how I understand the bible light represent God's way here on earth everything that comes from God comes. In a clear way and when we talk about light it means purity in heart and character but darkness represent harmful character against Gods will that comes in secretly to destroy the light and this darknes represent evil deed

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    • I don't believe we can talk about purity in heart and immoral character in light of creation. God created the day and night before man sined. That means that the day and the night had nothing to do with purity and imorality, before man sinned. You can quote all the texts in the Bible about darkness and light, that does not change the fact that God created night and day, because again day and night were created before man sinned. God created day and night so that man could rest from his work daily, just as we are commanded to rest form work once a week. God didn't intend for us to become acquainted with evil. Rather he intended us to never experience sin.
      Happy Sabbath.

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  2. I am quite confused by the first day of creation with regards to the later creation of the sources of light. When God said "Let there be light", there was light. Clearly, the writer is not referring to the brightness of God's glory. God was in fact creating day and night, which I believe, He again did when he created the sources of light. Can somebody shed some light on this one.

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    • When Moses describes creation of Day1 he uses the Hebrew term (אור) {or} which means visible light or electromagnetic radiation. In description of Day4 he uses the term (מאור) {meor} which means the source of light, lamp, torch. (מאור) {meor} produces (אור) {or}, or the Sun produces rays. The light that God produced on Day1 filled the space and would be perceived as a star light coming from the spaces where on Day4 God placed the stars, the moon and the Sun. Now we know that the moon does not generate light, it only reflects it, but for the ancients the moon was treated as if it was a light.

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  3. God was very specific in saying "the evening and the morning" for darkness was present prior to the light. He keeps things in order for His glory...so must we.

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  4. I like to think that God Himself is light. We can see His brightness in all things created. Looking up the sky at a starry night what we see is the shining glory of God. With naked eye can see light only. We don't see planets, meteors, suns...We see light. This feature conjures God into our thoughts instantaneously.
    Well, the author of this lesson made a point by saying: "We may wonder why the text says that God “saw” the light; is there any doubt that God sees everything?"
    I picture this just as a differnt way to say that God "evaluated or saw the result of it" and it was very good.

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  5. Me am also puzzled as Noreen is sayig that light is purity and Night is Bad deed so does it mean God is the author of the bad things because of the Darkness he createted, can some one there help me in thinking.

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    • I believe Noreen is just using the illustration of light and darkness as they are referenced in scripture. Where light and darkness are contrasted as "good" and "evil". The darkness was present when YHWH commanded, "let there be light", but it didn't represent evil, it was just a condition of environment at the time. So in short, No, YHWH did not create evil.

      * I use the term YHWH, because God is just a non-specific title and we know that YHWH refers to the Almighty.

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  6. I think the light GOD first created was the minor light. It was bright enough to repel or take the place of darkness but not as the sun and moon. Which is why GOD commanded the sun and the moon to rule day and night respectively.

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  7. Paul it is quite simple when we say only what written with out us adding our thoughts, let there be light is still let there be light. It is like, let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and it was so. it needed no father explanation

    The twenty-four-hour cycle begins at sunset, because at the moment the earth came into existence and began to rotate on its axis, there was no light "upon the face of the deep," whereupon "God said, Let there be light: and there was light....And the evening and the morning were the first day." Gen. 1:2, 3, 5.

    The "light" which shone on the first day, and by which God divided the day from the night (set the earth revolving on its axis), was not, however, that of the sun, for the sun and the moon were not created until the fourth day, when He spoke them forth "to rule over the day and over the night" (Gen. 1:18), which He had beforehand established.

    Thus it was that whereas the earth began punctuating eternal time with the first night of creation week, from which the weekly seventh-day Sabbath is measured; the moon began punctuating time at the end of the third day and at the beginning of the fourth night from which the month is measured; and the sun began to punctuate time at the end of the fourth night and the beginning of the fourth day, from which the year is measured. Accordingly, the time-span which measures and segments the week, is three days in advance of the time-spans which measure and segment the solar year and the lunar month. In order, therefore, that His people might commemorate the week of creation, from the instant that the span of earthly time began, God commanded: "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Lev. 23 :32.

    So the twenty-four-hour day begins with the night, at sunset; and the daytime itself, separate from the nighttime, begins at sunrise.

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    • The Bible does not teach that God created some dimmed light on Day1, instead it says that God created light (אור) {or} which means light rays, and not (מאור) {meor} which means light sources, God created them on Day4. How would light rays appear to the human observer (if he was there)? One would expect that they should look similar to what we see today. When we look in the sky at night we see many shiny spots on the black background. As I see it, God did not create light rays just anywhere, but originating in the spots where He placed the stars on Day4.
      I agree, the night begins at sunset, when stars begin to appear on the sky. Since there was darkness before God created light on Day1, the appearing of light from various places in the sky marked clearly the beginning of the first night.
      The day begins at sunrise, when the sunshine floods the earth. Since there was no Sun until Day4, God create just the sunshine some 12 hours after He created star light. In this way God could have created just light rays and clearly marked the beginning of night and day without using the stars or the Sun (they they were not created yet).

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  8. Gen 1:3-5 talks about the evening and morning of the first day. But the sun was not created until the fourth day. Any comments

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    • This is how I always understood it: The light created on the first day of creation was the sun. So here was the sun, and the earth rotating, day and night. Then on the fourth day, it was all put into motion, with the newly created moon revolving around us, and we around the sun, along with all the planets in our solar system, making the yearly and monthly measurements...as well as the rest of the universe and who knows what else! =)

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  9. I think the light which is referred to in verse 3 of Genesis is the light from the sun. In verse 14 we see lights in the firmament which I think refers to stars.

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    • One of the lights introduced in Gn1:14-15 was the greater light to govern the day Gn1:16 who gave light on the earth Gn1:17. I cannot help but see the greater light created on Day4 as the Sun. God can create light in the absence of the Sun, the stars or any other sources of light. Since Moses uses the Hebrew term (אור) {or} (which means light rays) to describe God’s activity on Day1, and he uses a different term (מאור) {meor} (which means objects like the Sun) to describe God’s activity on Day4, it seems to me that on Day1 God created visible light (electromagnetic waves) and on Day4 He created the Sun, the stars and the moon.

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  10. Friends, when you read Genesis 1:1 it says, in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth. To my knowledge I know that God is now dwelling in heaven. If heaven was not there before God's creation, where was God before then?

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    • The 'heavens' referred to here is the universe, stars, planets, etc. and the sky, or airspace in which we breathe. =)

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      • God had to be somewhere before He created what the Bible calls „heaven and earth.” This other realm that He inhabits with other spirit is the realm of spirits (God is spirit Jn4:24). The Bible calls it simply heaven, but to be specific it is not the heaven that God created about 6000 years ago and we might call it the heaven of spirits to distinguish it from the heaven of natural universe.

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      • The Bible the word translated "heavens" in Gen 1:1 to refer either to the sky or to the place where God lives.

        Thus the text does not warrant the interpretation that Gen 1:1 refers to the universe or even to the space in which the stars exist. In my view, the indication that other beings observed God create this world (see Job 38:7) excludes that interpretation of "heavens."

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  11. It is so interesting to note that majority of the Worlds Religion so does the general population and the Time Zones starts from 1200 Midnight for the 24 Hour period. We had people who enjoys their new year at 1200am.
    The Bible specifically denotes that a Day starts in the Evening and end in the evening of the next day which comprises 24 Hours. When we are confused we must go back to Creation and no book denotes the creation of the world much better that the Bible.
    Iam glad that iam part of a Church and a World Wide movement that still believes in the Creation.

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  12. Let there be light! Jesus referred to himself as light when he said, I am the light of the world. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
    John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
    Since we know that Jesus is the creator of the world it seems clear to me that he himself is the light that is referred to in Genesis 1:3.
    I also liked this comment from the seventh day Adventist bible commentary. Without light there could be no life; and as the creator began the work of bringing order from chaos and of introducing various forms of plant and animal life upon the earth, it was essential that there be light. Light is a visible form of energy, which by its action on plants transforms inorganic elements and compounds into food for both man and beast and controls many other natural processes necessary to life .
    Light has ever been a symbol of the divine presence. As physical light is essential to physical life, so divine light is necessary if rational beings are to have moral and spiritual life. God is light (1 John 1:5); and to those in whose hearts the work of recreating the divine likeness is going on apace, he comes again today bidding the shadows of sin, uncertainty, and discouragement flee, saying, "Let there be light."

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    • You said “Since we know that Jesus is the creator of the world it seems clear to me that he himself is the light that is referred to in Genesis 1:3.” Do you mean that Jesus the creator created Himself on Day1?

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      • Thank you for your question Cezary. No, I was trying to say that since Jesus is the creator of the world, and since he himself says he is the light of the world, His very presence on day one would bring light. I do not believe that Jesus is a created being. Rather I believe that he has always existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit from eternal ages past. That is why he could refer to himself as I AM, the very same I Am who spoke with Moses at the burning bush.
        I do not believe as deists do. Deism is defined as: "The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation." (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)
        The Apostle Paul says, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
        And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Col 1:16, 17
        This scripture indicates to me that our Creator is continuously providing the power for the earth and all that is on it to exist.
        Joh 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
        Joh 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
        Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being.
        Not only do we need air and water, sunlight and food to sustain life, but we also must have the spark of life from our Creator Who gives us each breath and each heartbeat.
        I believe that Jesus was the light (life giver) of the world on day one and continues to be the light of the world today.

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  13. How, though, could there be day and night before the introduction of the sun into the Creation account?
    Revelation 21:23 described the New Jerusalem as a city that had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. In this text I understand it as God being a light that shines on the world. But this does not account for there being a day and a night. This is how I see it. When God stepped in the presences of a void unformed earth, the world began to turn on its axis. I imagine the world standing still with nothing happening. No purpose, no form. But when God showed up the world recognized the creator and began turning. Now since God is light, I imagine a potter sitting infront of a lump of clay forming something out of nothing. As the world turned the light from God could only illuminate one side at a time, therefore causing a dark side of the earth and a lighted side of the earth - day and night.

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    • Thank you, KA, for this beautiful, imaginative picture. Since God doesn't tell us just how He produced day and night before setting the sun in place, we are free to imagine how it could have been.

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      • It certainly is a possibility that the original "light" was simply the light of God when He began creation on this planet. However, this still begs the question as to why Moses, the author of Genesis, didn't see the stars from the very first day? stars which we are pretty sure were already there when the creation week of our planet began (see Job 38:7).

        It seems probable, then, that Moses was simply writing from an Earth-bound perspective and that, as the haze of the Earth was cleared over the first few days of creation, Moses could see more and more details regarding the Sun, Moon, and stars.

        Of course, this is not to say that God didn't modify the Sun and Moon and even the other planets in our own solar system so that they would all function properly to sustain life on our planet. Our solar system has been pretty finely tuned in numerous details in order to support life on our planet - details which most certainly required intelligent input.

        Something to think about anyway.

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    • The night begins when we observe starlight, the day begins when we see sunshine. On Day1 God created light (אור) {or} (light rays) and on Day4 He created lamps (מאור) {meor} (objects generating light rays). We do not see most of the stars since they are too far from us and the light rays could not reach us in about 6000 years. But we can see light rays (star light or sunshine) and this is exactly what God created on Day1 — rays of light. Only God could have done it. It is a miracle.

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    • We must remember that we are using imperfect language, after sin, to describe creation, a perfect process before sin. Our base of reference is the existing physical laws after sin, to explain creation. With God, light (electromagnetic energy) does not need a source. God chose to have light and darkness exist at the same time. God is not bound by the laws of science and nature as we know and understand them. You are assuming that the earth was round and could not have light everywhere at the same time. If God wanted to He could have. I like your reference to the new earth where there is no need of the sun for light.

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  14. Hello Sean Pitman, thanks for imaginative thinking. Could you clarify a few things for me please.
    1. How do you know that Moses did not see the stars from the very first day? Do you assume that Moses lived from Day1, before Adam and Eve have been created?
    2. How do you know that the stars were created before the creation week? How could they shine before God created light rays? God created light rays (אור) {or} on Day1.
    3. How do you know that Moses observed creation?
    4. Since God is omniscient, why should He create our solar system and then tune it? Could not He just do the finely-tuned universe at first attempt?

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    • Hi Cezary,

      Thanks for your questions.

      1. I believe that God gave Moses a vision of creation week, as Mrs. White describes (She was also given a vision of creation week as well). I believe that Moses was, in vision, placed in an Earth-bound perspective.

      2. The Bible doesn't say that God created all light for the universe on Day 1 of creation week. What the text suggests is that the author could perceive light from his Earth-bound perspective on Day 1. A significant support for this position comes from the fact that several places throughout the Bible, to include other documents most likely written by Moses (like the Book of Job), it is quite clear that the universe existed prior to the creation of life on our planet. In fact, Moses describes the angels and sons of God living on other planets in the universe as singing and shouting for joy at the creation of our planet (Job 38:7).

      3. Moses was a prophet who talked face-to-face with God. Mrs. White was also a prophet, but she did not talk face-to-face with God in the same direct manner that Moses did. Yet, Mrs. White was shown a vision of creation week. It therefore stands to reason that God would also give someone with even more direct access to Himself a vision of creation week - especially if that someone was to write the Genesis account of origins (arguably the foundational basis of the Christian religion).

      4. God can do anything He wants. Why not just snap His fingers and make everything instantly? Why create over 7 days? The logical stepwise sequence He used to turn chaos into order was not for His benefit, but for ours and for the benefit of all the created intelligences watching Him create. Consider also the idea that the universe is written in the language of mathematics and follows natural laws that make rational sense to us is also not for God's benefit, but for ours. God could have created everything to functional without any reference to set laws or predictable patterns of cause and effect.

      Hope this helps.

      For more along these lines, please visit my own website at www.DetectingDesign.com

      Sean

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    • Cezary,

      I was so pleased to see your posts. For years I had been puzzled by the “light” created on the first day of creation and the bodies of light created on day 4. So I began to study light. I am in no way an authority but, I too think that the light created on the first day was what we term “visible or white light.” This visible light (a form of radiant energy) is a small portion in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye:

      ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM
      Ultrasonic radio TV radar microwaves | VISIBLE LIGHT | ultraviolet x-rays gamma rays cosmic rays

      Visible light is made up of all the colors in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
      These are called true colors.

      Darkness is the absence of light. Note: Scientifically it's only possible to have a reduced amount of light, not absolute absence of it.
      In Genesis 1:3 we read: 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
      I find the words in the Hebrew very interesting in this verse. For instance:
      1. Darkness comes from a primitive root חָשַׁךְ {chashak} meaning to be dark (as withholding light) which fits the definition of darkness given above “reduced amount of light, not absolute absence of it.
      2. Light here אוֹר {’OWR} illumination from the root ‘^OWR to be or to make luminous is used every place in Genesis except Gen 1:16 when referring to the creation of the sun and moon, here it uses the Hebrew word מָאוֹר Ma’owr luminous body.

      We can mentally visualize dark and light mingled together in some manner and God then “divides them”. He calls one
      1. DAY: יוֹם yowm to be hot, a day (as the warm hours). Note: {Yowm} is used in every reference to “day” in Genesis except Gen 32:24 where {sachar} is used meaning “dawn”

      2. NIGHT: 3915 לַיִל {layil} which “twists away the light”.

      The day (light) creates warmth/heat, which will be needed for the plants created on the 3rd day.

      It makes total sense to me that the light created on the first day is visual light. The light that is composed of the colors of the rainbow. Without this light there is no color. So on day 2 there would be no color in the sky. On the 3rd day there would not be any green plants, colorful herbs, or trees. Everything would be a shadow. We can understand this because at night we do not see color only shapes and objects without color. Without light there is no color.

      God has created so many beautiful colors in the birds, flowers, trees, and fish… where would all these colors come from if the light that God created on the first day was not the visible light that makes it possible to see and enjoy all his glorious creations?

      But then there is the question of evening and morning were the first day. If there was no sun or moon for the first 3 days how could there be an evening and morning? We could just say, “Because God said so.” If we believe that the Bible and science rightly understood ARE in harmony, then we should try to understand knowing full well that there are mysteries that we will never know until they are revealed to us by our Creator in the New Heaven & Earth. But, could it be that just the rotation of the earth created an
      EVENING עֶרֶב ‘ereb= dusk
      MORNING בֹּקֶר boqer= dawn

      Perhaps it did not have the marked night and day we experience because of the sun and moon created on the 4th but could it be compared to the continuous daylight in Fairbanks, Alaska or places north of the Arctic circle, where I have been told by people who have lived there that the sun can be visible for a full 24 hours, but it dips slightly in the sky to indicate a “sunset.” {Otherwise how could they keep a Sabbath?} But whatever happened… God divided the light and darkness in such a way that the evening and the morning could be distinguished enough to be called “the first day.”

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  15. God spoke and the power of his breath sparks off less than a second in an illuminating way. And thats the light - the light of truth in Jesus christ.

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  16. I believe the light that shown in the first day did not come from the sun since the sun was created on the 4th day. The sun is not the only source of light and God can create light from any source since he is the Almighty. On the 4th day God provided the sun to be the permanent source of day light and we cannot challenge God for leaving the sun to be a permanent source of light thereafter.

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  17. This has really been brain-storming. All imaginative ideas has been brought forth.
    If only we acknowledge and accept by faith that everything came into being by power of His word, we would not go into such lengths of assumptions. What is important though is that, Truth for our salvation, brethren has been given. No cloud that has been put to resort to assumptions.

    When we acknowledge Gods as Someone who can create from without, we would not limit Him and make some sopposed order of creation.

    Whether we know what "light" is mentioned in day 1 or not, won't change God from being our creator and I think this should be the most important truth we need to understand. Knowing whether light was sun or rays, to me its not a salvivic issue.
    God is not Interested in seen His children taxing their minds debating on issues that are not revealed to us. As I keep on saying, let us wait till we get there. When there, we will surely ask and He will bring to light and to our understanding all issues that seem clouded now.

    Preparation to get there must be the issues to sort out now. Its time to wash and iron our wrinkled characters in the similitude of Christ remembering that only those who will be found having His character will be admitted into the New City.

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  18. Greetings fellow believers,

    As I read the several cogitations and analyses about the light on the first day of creation my mind goes to the crumbling of the "firmament" at the second coming of Christ described by Peter. 2 Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." NKJV Jeremiah describes the earth after the catastrophic events that engulf the earth and its firmament at the second coming in these words in Jer. 4:23, "I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light." NKJV.

    I think it is a significant point to note that even though there is still a sun in the heaven none of its light can reach the earth after the firmament is "rolled up like a scroll." It seems to indicate that what is included in the "firmament" that will be on fire is also the created thing that allows light to proceed to the surface of the earth.

    Could this created thing that allows light to reach the earth's surface have something to do with the magnetosphere or the electromagnetic field that surrounds our earth? The collapse of these electromagnetic forces could be setting the firmament on fire when Jesus comes the second time. If this is a reasonable direction for thoughts to go then it could be a way to think of the creation of light on the first day of creation. This would need to be refined to explain the separation of light and darkness. We may need to think that darkness is not just the absence of light but a created thing that interacts with light. See Isa. 45:7, Ex. 10:21-23, Ps. 18:9-11.

    Ellen White in Desire of Ages notes that God was in the darkness that surrounded the cross when Jesus was crucified. Am I all wet?

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  19. The first day, God created light. Why? Because God does things in order. we need to see what followed - the firmament. It would seem logical that the light had an effect on the earth - wasn't just a decoration. Most logical to me is that God also had the algae in the waters. And that the light then allowed for photosynthesis, and thus the creation of the firmament in day 2. Without the firmament, sunnlight would fry every living thing on earth. Hence, God provided just the right type and intensity of light to promote the development of the firmament. Obviously, the firmament was more than just oxygen and carbon dioxide, since nitrogen makes up most of the atmosphere, but these are key ingredients. As far as what made the first day - it was obviosly rotation. A cursory reading of day 4 events would seem to put the earth at the center of the universe and everything revolving around it. Such was the world view before Galileo. But if one understands the truth of day 1, that the day-night cycle did NOT come from the sun revolving around the earth, but predated the sun's presence (or existence?), then an understanding that the day-night cycle coming from the earth's revolution fits perfectly with reality.

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  20. Hello fellow believers, can someone help me to answer the following question...What do you think why did our lovely God create the night? Many thanks, God bless Renata

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