Did Moses Get The Creation Account Wrong?
Did Moses Get The Creation Account Wrong?
Starting next week some university professors will stand up and ask for a show of hands of which students believe the Bible is the word of God. “The Bible is full of errors!” they’ll say. “Look! I can’t even go past the first page without finding a huge one. The account of creation - light is created, marking the first day… but it is not until the fourth day that the sun and stars are created!! The author, Moses, clearly had no concept of the solar system and got it wrong!”
Never having discussed this in Bible classes, and caught unprepared, at this point some of our youth seriously question their faith and turn into agnostics.
Not having been an eye-witness to the creation, we cannot have a firm answer because God did not supply the details, BUT the ancients surely understood that light comes from the sun and they themselves must have been perplexed at these verses. It is not the way someone would have made it up. Moses wrote down the oral tradition word for word, resisting the urge to "correct" what did not make sense even based on his limited knowledge of the universe.
Light has other sources other than the sun and stars. The sun burns brightly and puts out a wide spectrum of light. It is a big ball of hydrogen that has so much pressure at its core that it internally explodes in the same way as a hydrogen bomb. The sun (and other stars) we see are actually like viewing huge nuclear weapons continually exploding - thankfully at a great distance away.
Before those gas balls are lit and become stars they start out shapeless blobs, called nebula, and then form in spheres. Before they explode into a star they still put out light in the infrared spectrum. This may be the light source mentioned in Genesis on the first day.
Jupiter is a great example; it is a big ball of hydrogen gas that is not big enough to have its inner core explode. Jupiter, if larger, would have been our solar system’s second sun. Jupiter puts out infrared light. Our sun would have put out infrared light while being formed prior to it exploding brilliantly on the fourth day as we also see it today.
Again, we were not there, but as we discover more about the universe, it does seem to make verses like the brief Genesis creation account make clearer sense.
In Athens during the first century, picture some toga-clad philosopher asking if any of the student audience were followers of "The Way".
“You are ignorant and backward”, he would scold them. “Just look at the ancient texts you hold as the word of your god, it does not make scientific sense.” The learned teacher mockingly quotes from the book of Job 26:7 “God stretches out His hand and hangs the earth upon nothing.” The other students laugh at the thought of somebody actually believing that the sturdy earth is not resting on something.
Also imagine earlier generations of Jews and then Christians reading Judges 10 giving the account of when God gave extra daylight in order for the Israelites to defeat their enemies.
The moon was up in the sky on that day. We now understand that the earth would need to stop rotating in order for the sun to appear stopped in the sky (and no, people would not fling off into space when the earth stopped rotating). The Judges account accurately describes what the people would have observed when the earth stopped rotating - not just the sun, but that BOTH the sun and moon appeared to stand still in the sky. An ancient fiction writer would have missed that detail.
God did not give us the Bible as a scientific text to explain how His creation functions. He gave us His Word so that we can understand what we need to do to be saved and live eternally with Him.
We may not understand everything about the light that is mentioned in the opening verses of Genesis, but we are told that the day will come when the sources of light that we now observe will come to an end.
“There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them” (Revelation 22:5).
No, Moses did not get the creation account wrong because he was not the real author. God’s Word continues to stand up to the skeptics of every generation.