Two Questions on Creation
Question 1: “What kind of light did God create on the first day? On the fourth day, He made the sun, moon and stars. They are light-giving bodies.”
We must not forget that the whole work of creation is a miracle. As with all miracles, we cannot explain creation completely for we cannot comprehend God’s mighty works. Our confession is always, “How great and marvellous are Thy works, O Lord!”
Nevertheless, I can suggest one possible answer to your question. It arises from the fact that the creation of the stars, the sun and the moon was the creation of light-bearing bodies. That is, they have no light in themselves but were created to carry the light created on the first day. On the fourth day, God gathered the light He had created on to the heavenly bodies.
There are many things to learn from the creation of light and it is well that we mention a few. One is that before the creation of light, all that the Almighty had created was one mass “without form, and void” (Gen 1:2). It is impossible for us to imagine it. It was not just a huge hunk of clay or anything resembling it. It was lifeless, unformed, neither hot nor cold, without any kind of movement. But from it came the entire creation, not only the earth but the entire solar system.
For the creation to be formed, light had to be created. Light is the source of life. With it we have heat and cold, light and darkness, and movement. No creation would have been possible without light.
Yet, even though light is the fundamental creation of God that gave form to it all and even though it was created first, man still does not know with certainty what light is. Some say it is packets of energy. Others say that light is waves. Yet others say that light is both under different circumstances.
No one understands what light is, even though it is God’s first creation, yet evolutionists in their folly claim to understand how all things came into existence.
Further, light is closely associated with what was once called the “ether theory.” That theory claims that the whole of space is filled with some sort of invisible substance called ether through which light can travel.
This controversy brings to mind an interesting discussion that was held in my Reformed Dogmatics class in the days of my seminary training. My professor, Herman Hoeksema, was lecturing on creation and defended the ether theory. One student, braver than I, contradicted him by saying that the ether theory had been disproved. His only response was, “We shall see.” Lately, I have been reading that the ether theory is returning in scientific discussions.
However all that may be, astronomers reckon that there are billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Yea, there are billions of galaxies in outer space, each with innumerable stars. They all give light, some so much light that, if even one were as near to us as our sun, the earth would be burned to a crisp.
The Bible often speaks of holiness as light. God’s holiness is His light. All the light in the universe is only a revelation of the light of God’s holiness. All the light of trillions of heavenly bodies is only a flickering and sputtering flame in comparison with God’s infinite holiness. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers ... What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3, 4).
Even before the creation of light-bearing bodies, the diffused light was divided into light and darkness, for “the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5). Darkness is the absence of light, and darkness in Scripture is used to describe sin and evil.
The dawn of a new day speaks of the defeat of darkness by the light. It will be perfectly and forever light, when Christ comes again to destroy evil and make all things new. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5); we shall be like Him!
Question 2: “If God’s creation took six days, how can we explain the seventh day?”
I am happy to answer this question because it gives me an opportunity to say some things that I have long wanted to say but lacked the occasion.
First of all, God rested on the seventh day and, regarding His creation, we read, “behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Did God mean by that only that the creation was free from all moral defects? No. Nor did God cease working when He finished His work of creation, for He continues to uphold and govern every creature by the word of His power. We call this providence.
God means by this that He entered into the enjoyment of His own work, for it was perfectly suited as a stage on which He would enact the great drama of the fall and sin, the salvation of His elect church in Christ, the revelation of His justice in punishing the wicked in hell, and the revelation of His grace in Jesus Christ in the everlasting new heavens and new earth. God rested in the sure confidence that His creation was perfect to serve His purpose.
In the old dispensation, the seventh day was at the end of the week because man had to work six days to enjoy God’s sabbath, that is, the enjoyment with God of His works. But because of sin, the day of rest, the seventh day, was completely out of reach for man, for he could not labour one second of an entire week so as to earn the sabbath.
But Christ arose on the first day of the week and thus began a new sabbath. Christ is God’s perfect work, for He kept God’s law and through His obedience earned rest for His people. When we enjoy a sabbath, we do so by faith in Christ which enables us to serve God faithfully the rest of the week. Christ has done for us what we could never do.
As Hebrews 4 is at great pains to inform us, we enter into God’s rest to rest in fellowship with Him only by faith in Jesus. That is, not by our own works do we enter rest. Such nonsense brings us into wicked legalism. But by faith in Christ, in union with Him, we enjoy God’s perfect work by entering into the rest that He graciously gives us through Christ’s atoning sacrifice and victorious resurrection.
We must lay aside all our works for they are nothing but “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). Christ’s obedience, not ours, secures our rest. Christ’s work, not ours, gives us the true rest. By faith in Christ, we enter into God’s work and rest in His everlasting covenant of grace. Prof. Hanko