Tag Archives: Day and Night

Day Separated From Night

Studies in Genesis 1

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:5 ESV)

Day and Night. Why do these two words cause so much questioning and so many arguments among Christians? Especially when it comes to the timing of God’s creation during the first six days? God created darkness and called the darkness Night. God formed light, said “let there be light” and called the light Day. From the context of Genesis chapter 1 Day is a period of time of light. Night is a period of time of darkness. Since God is not constrained by time, existing outside of the space-time universe, the period of time is determined by Him, not by us.

Day and Night are used in literal and figurative senses. Day can mean a literal 24 hour period but Night never means 24 hours. Day can mean the time from sunrise to sunset and Night the time from sunset to sunrise, splitting the total 24 hours into segments. Day can also mean a period of time of a particular occurrence, such as “the Day of the Lord” (see Isaiah 13:6, 9; Amos 5:18, 20; Acts 2:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5) or an indefinite time of prosperity or trouble.

Day also has figurative meanings. A Day’s work is a period of time of labor. Yet, “work while it is day” (John 9:4 ESV) suggests labor during a period of time of enlightenment. Genesis 2:4 is the beginning verse of the second description of Creation. “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4 ESV). God calls the time He spent creating “in the day that the LORD God made” the whole time of creation. So, Day can be from human perspective a set time or an indefinite time. Since God has determined all things He knows exactly how long each Day, or period of time, lasts. We do not necessarily know.

Night is a period of time of darkness, either literally or figuratively.  Darkness is not just an absence of physical light but also and absence of knowledge and understanding which brings despair and chaos. Night is also the end of the opportunity to work or to gain knowledge, understanding and insight. Night is a time of sin, where the works of darkness reign and where a person will spiritually stumble.

Night is for those who rebel against God while Day describes a time when those who obey and follow Him receive His promises.

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (see Psalms 90:2-4). The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:4-10 ESV)

 

Advertisements

Separation

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)

We, in the Western world, think of evening as the end of the day and morning as the beginning. Yet, the Hebrew nation considered a day beginning at evening and ending the next evening. Passover, the Sabbath, special days, every day begins at dusk, or evening and concludes at the same time the following evening. Our question is not what meaning we place on the words “evening and morning” but how God uses the words during creation.

God uses this phrase six times in the first chapter of Genesis, almost as an exclamation for each successive day. Let us note He does not use the phrase in Genesis 2 for the end of the seventh day, the day of rest. He does not use this phrase anywhere else in Scripture with one possible exception. “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now” (Daniel 8:26 ESV). This is a description of Daniel’s first vision of prophecy after his dreams and life illustrate his intimacy with God to an ungodly people.  This phrase speaks to what comes after Daniel in time. God worked in the past in creation, knowing the future because He knows all things.

What does God mean when He states six times “and there was evening and there was morning”? Perhaps, because He begins creation in chaos and darkness and ends the first day with the creation of light, He begins His “day” at dusk and ends His “day” with light. We know the word “evening” means dusk, or twilight, which implies some light before dark, which He calls “Night.”  We know “morning” is the beginning of a time of light, which He calls “Day.”  So we can state with some assurance that His “day,” evening and morning, are a period of time separating darkness and light.

During each “day” God creates specific things, building each new thing upon that which He previously created. During each period of time He calls a “day” He separates. Darkness from light. Water from water. Dry land from the seas. Day from night. Creatures of the seas from creatures of the air. Man from animals.

Evening is the end of a time of light while morning is the beginning of another time of light. In between evening and morning is a time of darkness called “night.”  Each of the periods of time God calls “day” ends with a period of time God calls “night” separating darkness from light and one period of time of creation from another.

Fourth Day

Studies in Genesis 1

And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Gen 1:19 ESV)

On the first day of creation God said “let there be light” and “separated the light from darkness.” He declared light “good.” He called light “day” and darkness He named “night.”

On the fourth day of creation God created physical objects which, by their nature and according to the laws of nature, cast light throughout the universe. He created the stars. One of those stars He designated the “greater light to rule the day.” Our Sun came into existence. As Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun there are periods of time of light and darkness, of day and night.

Yet, He also created a “lesser light to rule the night.” This is our Moon which does not, according to its nature and the laws of the universe, generate light. Our Moon only reflects light from the Sun to Earth during specific times. But not all of the time do we see the reflection of the Moon, which revolves around the Earth but does not rotate on its axis.

Though we know some nights are darker than others yet there is always some light, dim and weak, reaching the surface of the Earth, from the stars of the universe.

We gaze upon the Moon and make its light romantic, for it chases away just enough of the darkness to allow us to faintly see that which surrounds us. We do not see clearly yet our imaginations fill in the blanks, most often with that which we want to see, not with that which is true.

No one gazes at the Sun. Its light is so intense it would burn eyes and blind. But we see what is truly there in the light of the Sun. Nothing is hidden. All is laid bare.

On the fourth day God gave a means to measure time, though “days and years” and “seasons” of the year. “Season” is an appointed time which occurs on a schedule at the same time each year and which signals a specific activity or occurrence. Once night has come day follows, for day follows night as night follows day. Once a season has begun it will come to an end and the next season will begin, each season following in succession. Time moves and never repeats.

At the evening of the fourth day all is in place, prepared for what will come with the dawning of the fifth day. God’s purpose and plans for Earth are sure and unstoppable, true and open for all to see and know.

 

Equilibrium

Studies in Genesis 1

And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.(Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)

God created stars and planets. I am stating the obvious but we tend to ignore the reality and immensity of these objects. They are real places. They are far away. Yet, they must be there to maintain the balance of the universe.

Within close proximity to the Earth, which by the fourth day is covered in vegetation, God placed a “greater light” the Sun, “to rule the day” and a “lesser light,” the Moon, “to rule the night.” God placed the greater light in the center of the solar system with all of the planets revolving around it. He placed the lesser light an orbit near Earth.

Earth revolves once every 24 hours on its axis around the Sun. As the Earth revolves part of the planet is facing the Sun receiving its light while the other part is facing away from the Sun. This does not mean the part facing away is in total darkness. God placed the Moon, which revolves around the Earth once every 28 days, to reflect the light of the Sun. He also placed in the heavens the stars which also give light to that part of the Earth facing away from the Sun.

While the Sun emits light the Moon only reflects the light which bounces off its surface from the Sun. The Moon is a dead chunk of matter. Yet God placed it in the heavens to reflect light from the Sun onto the Earth, along with the stars, so there would not be complete darkness. He created day and night, just as He created darkness and light.

Our solar system is in equilibrium, everything placed exactly where it will provide the most stability to Earth to maintain life.

Equilibrium is a law of nature. God determined, from the creation of all matter, that His universe would balance. God made the universe stable. Even though everything in the universe is constantly moving the movement is within a system and along a path determined by God. The forces which cause movement are countered by the forces moving against the object.

Nothing God does is random or arbitrary. Everything He creates has purpose and is governed by God, the Creator.

Time

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15 ESV) And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.(Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)

God created time when He created the universe. Time is not a thing. It has no material substance, no form and no shape. You cannot touch time. Yet, time is as real as anything we can touch. Our imaginations suggest time can bend or, in some way, be manipulated. These notions are theories, philosophical science fictions, considered possible, because we think anything we conceive is possible.

God placed lights in the heavens for us, to help us measure time. He tells us twice that on the fourth day He placed lights in the sky so we can know the seasons, days and years. These lights give light to the earth. They also separate darkness from light.

We often associate light with speed and think, in some cases believe, moving fast will allow us to move back in time, or forward in time faster.

God governs time, just as He governs all of creation. He has set time as a boundary, a natural law which cannot be broken. This does not mean we should not study to understand time or experiment with time to grow our understanding. It does mean we should take care to never remove God from the equation of our studies and experiments.

Since God transcends the universe He exists outside of time. When He looks at us He perceives all of time at once, knows all which occurs in time perfectly, sees the beginning and the ending of time. Existing outside of time does not mean He is uninvolved. God created and sustains the universe and all which exists for as long as He has determined it will exist.

God governs all which exists, including time.

Day and Night

     Studies in Genesis 1

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:5 ESV)

When God gives a name to something He describes the things essential nature and being. He calls “light Day” and “darkness He called Night.” What do these words mean to us? Can we determine what the words mean to God?

“Day” can mean a number of things, such as “hot” or the “warm” part of a period of time. “Day” can also mean a literal period of fixed time or a figurative period of time where a set of events or occurrences happen, such as an “age.”

“Night” can also mean a number of different things. According to Strong the word “night” is a “twist away” from light but may also mean “adversity.” Thus, night is both a physical time where there is no light and another period of time where there is danger, difficulty or hardship.

Physical light and darkness are analogous of eternal circumstances. When God named Day and Night He may have implied physical reality is a description of spiritual reality.

We must keep in mind at least two specific ideas. First, if we interpret Scripture here only literally then the Sun and Moon are not created or named until the fourth day. If this is true, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, then earth is not orbiting around anything. Therefore, day and night are not set periods of time.

Secondly, everything God creates is perfect. Why would He use a word which may mean danger or hardship or difficulty unless He knew this would happen?

Are there other questions I need to ask?