Monday, 10 January 2011

Sun on day 4 makes sense

One of the big objections I've encountered to holding to the view that the creation of the world occurred in precisely the order outlined in Genesis 1 is that what happens on day 4 "just don't make no sense!" I've never been entirely convinced by that argument partly because of the grammatical construction of Genesis 1:14 (particularly the phrase "let their be lights"). So how good to see that some early Church Fathers were convinced that having the Sun on day 4 makes perfect sense. Here is what two of them wrote:

On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it. 

Theophilus (of Antioch) to the pagan magistrate Autolycus

Heaven and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth. That is why there was a fourth day, and then God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven."

Basil the Great

In simple words, these early Christian leaders saw Genesis 1 as teaching that the sun is secondary to Almighty God who as we know needs nothing and Himself gives everyone light and life and breath and everything else

What I love most about these two quotes though is that they were used to engage non-Christians of their day of the truth of the Gospel. Oh for the day when the Church in our land would have such a sure confidence in Scripture again.

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