Sunday Service: The Wonder of the Universe!

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day” (Genesis 1:14-19 NIV).

Now into day four of the account of creation and we are presented with the evidence of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and yet left asking questions about the separation of light and dark; the observance, as it were, of what constitutes a night and a day. After all, did not God separate the light from the dark and establish night and day on the first day of creation?

“God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day” (Genesis 1:4-6 NIV).

You may recall that we noted the light which was brought forth on the first day of creation was not that of the sun, nor were the stars present during that opening act. It is indeed clear from the Scripture which describes the fourth day of creation that the Sun, the Moon, and even the Stars did not exist until this point in history. We might be tempted to ask why God did not create these things on the first day; after all, it was then that He brought forth the light. However, attempting to determine why God did something that has no reasoning within our finite intelligence is a tricky road to travel upon. While we might come up with several theories as to why He chose to wait until day four to create these magnificent beauties, we would likely find ourselves going in circles. It is enough for us to note that God had a purpose behind His order of creation, and even if we were able to determine what that purpose was, it would not change the state in which we find ourselves today; it would not bring us closer to God, nor would it suddenly open our eyes or our minds to anything of consequence. Despite this, there is still much to learn from the events of day four in creation.

Note first:

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night”

We have already noted that the day and the night were separated on the first day of creation. The purpose in the text here is more to reveal which light being created now serves which purpose. If I were to ask you which light of God’s creation rules the day; the answer would be ‘the sun’. There is no confusion on the issue, and here, the writer indicates simply that God has created those lights which separate the day from the night. Namely that the sun is created as well as the stars.

You may note that I mentioned the moon as well. While it is true that for many years mankind thought the moon produced its own light, and it is only in the last few centuries that we have learned that the moon merely reflects the sun, it does not mean that the writer was trying to indicate the moon produced its own light. Rather I mention the moon because it seems to me that this text indicates not only the creation of the sun and the stars, but it really is the creation of the entire universe! Prior to this point in the narrative, God’s sole focus has been upon the earth; now we see Him creating the cosmos. While the text does not directly say that God created the planets of our universe, we can be sure that the creation of all the stars was at this point and we can reasonably surmise that the planets of the universe other than Earth were created as well.

The-Moon-moon-7680394-1024-768

This photo was retrieved from: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/moon/images/7680394/title/moon-photo

With that in mind, we should also note that the text separates the light which governs the day and that which governs the night from the stars. In other words, it is indeed possible that the light which governs the night was, and remains, the moon. Though we know from our understanding of the moon today, having visited it in person (not me of course) that it is merely the reflection of the sun; we also know that, that reflection produces an enormous amount of light at night. So while I am certain the moon itself is not a light, the text gives the indication that it is the moon being discussed in relation to the light which rules the night. However, what is most important is for us to understand that this fourth day of creation has brought forth the cosmos. That wondrous, seemingly un-reachable vastness which so captivates us.

Note Second:

And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so.”

God intended the stars of the sky, the position of the sun and the moon and everything we have discovered in the cosmos to serve a purpose. Nothing is arbitrary; there are no “fillers” simply because God wanted to throw something in the mix as it were. Each and every aspect of creation has a distinct purpose, and while we may not be aware of every purpose, we can be sure that God is; and such purposes are revealed to us as they become necessary. We can also use this same text to support our discussion above regarding the moon and perhaps even the other planets. The Jewish calendar, which was in place when Moses wrote the book of Genesis, uses the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars as a measurement of time throughout the year. Since we see clearly that it was God’s intention for this part of creation to “serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years,” we can be relatively certain that the moon and other planets were part of this day’s work.

Note Third:

The lights “in the expanse of the sky” are to mark seasons, days, and years. There is an important aspect to this wording here which relates to a portion of our study on the first day of creation. Here God indicates that the lights created on day four are to be used in marking (measuring) days. We established early on in our study that creation took place over the course of six literal days. Whenever we attempt to understand and interpret Scripture, our first source of material to consult is always Scripture. If we believe that we have interpreted something within the text that is somehow contrary to something else found anywhere in the Bible, then we can be sure that we have misinterpreted one or the other. In other words; Scripture will never contradict Scripture. If it does, then one of the interpretations is wrong. Let me give you an example:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV)

In the King James Version of the Bible the word “Shall” is exchanged for the word “should”. So the verse reads “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” (KJV). Here is where the trouble occurs. There are two possible uses of the word “should”. In one sense the word indicates an obligation or duty; something that must come to pass; a necessity or requirement. In this sense, the verse in the King James version would mean that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish, but will have eternal life. However, the word “should” can also be used to indicate something that is probable, but not necessarily a guarantee. If used in this sense, the verse would mean that whoever believes in Jesus Christ might live an eternal life, but then again they might not. Where’s the rub? How do we determine which is correct? We use Scripture.

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21 NIV)

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31 NIV)

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NIV)

And for good measure…

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21 KJV)

The point here of course is that we must refer back to Scripture in order to interpret something in Scripture. If we suggest the wording in the King James version indicates that we might or might not have eternal life, we must support that idea with other Scripture; clearly Acts and other books of the Bible indicate that such an interpretation of John 3:16 would be incorrect.

Where is all of this taking us? We see nothing in Scripture that indicates a day is anything other than a day. When the Israelites use a day as a form of reference, they use the same term that God uses in the creation of the heavens and the earth and all that is in our universe. Neither is there anything in Scripture which might indicate that what God considers a day in creation is a different timeframe than what a day is later in the Bible. In other words, there is nothing indicative of a change in the timeframe that equals a day. Now I know this has been discussed at length, and will probably come up again later, but we shall put the issue to rest for now and move on to the rest of day four, as there is so much to discuss!

“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.”

So God has made the lights which govern the day and night; all the stars and wonder and beauty of the universe is laid before us. We have the sun which provides us warmth and light, and we have the stars which guide us…and all of them profess the glory of God.

“And God saw that it was good.”

Now we have covered this phrase quite extensively already, but we have a unique opportunity in the fourth day of the creation account to better understand what “good” really means. Now laid before us is the majesty and wonder of the universe; a universe which contains an estimated 25 sextillion stars (That’s 25 with twenty-one zeros after it). It is believed to be as much as 20 billion light years in diameter. By way of comparison, light travels at about 186,000 miles per second. This is the universe of creation on day four! This is the majesty of God seen in an explosive display of marvelous wonder! And yet, it is not His greatest creation.

Nonetheless, let’s explore a thing or two about this marvelous beauty. One of the greatest debates in science is whether or not the universe is a created thing, or the result of pure happenstance. Yet when we view the world around us, and even the cosmos, we find strikingly awesome examples of our God. Paul the Apostle said, “What may be known about God is plain to them [mankind] because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20 NIV). And how is it plain to us? How do we recognize the eternal power and divine nature of God in the creation around us? The ways are numerous, but for this study, let’s focus on what we can see of God in the universe itself.

Patrick Glynn, who currently works as the Senior Technical Policy Advisor for the Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy had this to say regarding the precise nature of our universe. “all the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common—these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life” (Glynn, 1997). Put another way, if the physics of the universe were not so precise; so exact, then life would not be able to exist here. That’s a staggering fact when you consider the size of our universe! The possibility of all of the necessary factors for life to exist in the universe coming together by mere chance are so large that the figure written down would have you seeing zeroes in your sleep for years to come. Don’t worry, I won’t put you through that. The point of course is that many, many prominent scientists in all fields of study have indicated that the complexity of life and the precision of the universe all point toward an intelligent design; “being understood from what has been made”…

gods eye

This photo was retrieved from:http://imgkid.com/amazing-real-pictures-of-the-universe.shtml

Even the world renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has said that it is likely some form of intelligence was behind the creation of the universe. The simple truth of Scripture is being proven time and again by the rational process of science. On this fourth day of creation God brought forth a wondrous and amazing universe with beauty near un-imaginable to our finite minds.

pillars of creation

This photo was retrieved from:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pillars_of_Creation.jpeg

gas formation

 This photo was retrieved from: http://pixshark.com/the-pillars-of-creation.htm

“And God saw that it was good.”

Indeed God saw that it was perfect. How I marvel at the beauty and splendor of God’s creation when I look to the stars. And still, this is not God’s greatest creation!

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day”

And so we come to the conclusion of our discussion on the fourth day of creation. The wonder of the universe is now before us. What more is there to say?


MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”” (Genesis 1:26 NIV). 


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