WE don’t run around like a teenager, searching for and pointing out what may seem like incorrect passages in the bible. But when respected creationist authorities raise such issues as part of their efforts to promote creation science, we are obliged to pay attention. For example, see: The Scriptural Value Of Pi.
Today is such an occasion, and so your Curmudgeon once again brings you the view from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of youong-earth creationist wisdom. We found this new article at their website: Contradictions: By the Light of the Moon.
It’s sub-titled: Does Genesis 1:15 say that the moon emits its own light? We couldn’t resist looking into this one, so here are some excerpts, with bold added by us.
But first, let’s review the source data, Genesis 1, verses 13 to 15. We’ll use the King James version, which is written in God’s own language:
13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Thus grounded in the source of all science, we can proceed with the AIG article.
Over the years, a number of skeptics have pointed to this verse to claim that if the Bible were really the inerrant Word of God, it wouldn’t make such a basic mistake as saying the moon emits light. The moon has not and does not — as far as we know — emit any sort of light. Instead, our rocky satellite simply reflects light from the sun.
This is important. Let’s read on:
To uncover the answer, consider first how earth-centric our discussions are. We say that the sun rises and sets, even though we know that the earth actually revolves around the sun and rotates on its axis. We say that the stars “come out” at night, even though we know they’re always there—just hidden by the brighter sunlight. Our point of reference determines how we discuss what we see.
Where were these guys when Galileo was being tried by the Inquisition for heresy? Well, timing is everything, and Galileo just didn’t have it. We continue:
To us, the moon does give light upon the Earth. The fact that it does so by reflection rather than emission is not relevant to the biblical passage. The Hebrew word used for emit/give light in this verse (‘owr) can mean both “to be or become light” and “to be illuminated or become lighted up” (Strong’s 0215).
Our preference would have been for the bible to speak specifically of reflected light, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle with confusing passages; but the bible’s authors were inspired to use ambiguous language. It would be blasphemous to worry about such things. Here’s more:
Taking this verse out of context can make it seem inaccurate, but when we step back (cf. Genesis 1:14–18), we understand more about the purpose of this passage. Other than providing light, God created the sun and moon to mark the seasons, days, and years, which they do quite well.
Yes, great job. The 28-day lunar month fits perfectly into the solar year, which is why the lunar and solar calendar are always in sync. Moving along:
Notice that the Bible does not provide detailed schematics and charts on how this works, since God gave humans the ability to discover these through observational science.
Right, as it is with the theory of evolution. Another excerpt:
Ultimately, the Bible does not say that the moon emits light. Only that it is to give light upon the Earth — which it does by reflection.
Okay, the bible says it, but ultimately it doesn’t say it. That’s good enough for us. We do have another question, however. If we read on just a wee bit more in Genesis 1, we come to verses 16 through 19, which say:
16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Our concern here is that the moon doesn’t always “rule the night,” because we often see it up there in the daytime. What’s that all about? We won’t spend too much time worrying about it. The moon probably slipped out of place as a result of The Fall.
Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.