According to these sources, source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4, the Genesis account was narrated from the viewpoint of an observer on the earth's surface.

from source 1: As in any scientific experiment, you make observations of what is occurring. It is extremely important to consider your “frame of reference” when interpreting any observation. In other words, where are you observing these events from. For the entire creation event, the key to this is in verse 2. To an observer, standing on the surface of the earth, God was hovering over the earth. The rest of the creation events must be interpreted as if the observer were standing on the surface of the earth. Only with this “frame of reference” will you reach the right conclusions.

from source 2: It is narrated from the viewpoint of an observer on the earth's surface. This is the most important key to understanding Genesis 1. Most people view the creation account from the opposite direction: of someone in outer space looking down on the earth. Misunderstanding the proper frame of reference causes most of the confusion over this portion of Scripture.

As per this view, the sun was not created on the fourth day but rather was created prior to it (Day 1 or before) and became clearly visible from that day on wards. This can solve the problem of the sun, moon and stars seem to have been created after the earth, which is not in harmony with science facts.

In this question and here and here also, it looks like most of the people agree that the sun was created only on the fourth day.

Genesis 1:16-19 (NIV) 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 vault 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.

Looking closely at this passage, there is no mention of sun and moon explicitly but many readers conclude it as implicitly mentioned. source 1 says, "Here the atmosphere is finally clear enough for the observer on the surface of earth to observe the sun and the moon".

Question: Is it a common view among Creationists(OEC & YEC), to assume that Genesis account was narrated as if the observer were standing on the surface of the earth? Or, this view is not common at all?

  • I'm not sure "Creationist" is scoped deeply enough. As worded, this appears like it is off-topic here, but nearly on-topic at BH.SE. I think you are only going to get speculation for answers.
    – user3961
    Jul 26, 2013 at 18:03
  • 3
    Off-topic or not, the question is simple, whether this view is common or not among Creationists. I'm interested on this view because I found it very convincing.
    – Mawia
    Jul 26, 2013 at 18:12

5 Answers 5


No, it is not common. The "observer on earth" perspective is common and key to OEC, while it is tangential to the YEC interpretation.

In the Old Earth Creationist view of Hugh Ross, the Spirit's vantage point is key to a literal interpretation of the passage. The cosmos was created in verse one, which would include sun, moon, stars, earth. Now you have the Spirit hovering over the waters of an formless, empty, dark, earth which is experiencing accretion of dust . First the Spirit will say, "cause there to appear" light, then later as more dust settles will the sun appear as a distinct object in the sky.

YEC, in contrast has no need to pay special attention to the vantage point of the author.

  • If you are confident that this view is common among the OECs, then this is the answer. I also want to know if this view is supported by some YECs.
    – Mawia
    Jul 26, 2013 at 18:50

It's hard to say that anything isn't common, unless you've interviewed everyone. I'm pretty sure it's not the mainline creationist view, though, if there even is such a thing. The biblical creation story implies that there was no one able to act as observers until day 6. Those who tend to buy in to the first part of the story are also likely to buy into the second part.

Instead, I think many creationists would point you to Exodus 33. In this passage, we learn that God spoke directly with Moses, as you might talk with a friend. Creationists also tend to believe that the Genesis account was first written down by Moses, even though Moses was not an eyewitness. Some may be believe that Moses was writing down oral traditions that already existed. In that case, they might believe that this tradition began with an observer such as you describe. But I think the more common belief among creationists is that the Exodus 33 passage describes how God gave creation knowledge to Moses.

There are likely a number of other common theories as well.

  • 2
    I don't think the question is positing that an observer actually existed; it's saying "does the creation account tell us what an observer, if present, would have seen from the perspective of earth?" In this scenario, the sun was not created on the fourth day, but prior to that (day one) and only became visible on the fourth day. From a person standing on earth, it would appear to have been created on day four and so the account was written as such.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jul 26, 2013 at 14:01

As a keen Young Earth Creationist, I can say that mainstream YEC's (e.g. Creation.com) consider the whole Bible when interpreting Genesis 1-3. As mentioned above, that would include Exodus 33. The Lord told Moses what happened at Creation and that is what Moses wrote down. The language of Genesis 1-3 is historical narrative, so God simply told Moses what happened as God made each day. So for YEC's the Sun was created on Day 4.


Some creationists do posit that Genesis 1 is written from the perspective of an observer on earth. Not because of clouds covering the sun, moon, and stars, which they still believe to have been created on the fourth day.

Instead some creationist cosmologies posit that during the creation week the earth experienced a different rate of time than the rest of the universe, perhaps because of gravitational time-dilation. These models allow for billions of years to take place in the wider universe while only a week occurs on earth. Therefore Genesis 1 can accurately describe the creation as taking place in six days, as long as it is understood to be measuring time from the perspective of the earth.


To elaborate on the Young Earth Creation point of view:

Light was created on Day 1, along with time (in the beginning), space (the heavens), matter (the Earth). The relationship of these 4 things is described in Einstein's equation E=mc2. E is energy (light), m=mass (matter), and C is the speed of light. Speed = distance/time, and distance is simply a measure of space, and so you have energy, matter, space, and time.

This first light had magnitude (enough energy to feed the plants before Day 4) and direction: it shined on a 3d, rotating Earth from a specific direction so that on Day 1 there was a separation of light and dark, and there was rotation indicated by evening and morning. There was no Sun yet, just a stream of light energy made by God shining on a rotating Earth.

Day 4 sees the Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. The Sun takes over the generation of light to the Earth. The heavens are then stretched out (Isaiah 42:5), causing time dilation in the space beyond the Solar System: billions of years' worth of starlight produced in 24 hours of Earth time. This enables the stars in the heavens to function as a clock (Genesis 1:14) that can run forever, sending streams of light that are visible from the Earth right from the start, from Day 4 onward. The original light of Day 1 is what we would refer to now as Cosmic Background Radiation, which is about 3 degrees Kelvin. The Young Earth Creationist would say that the CBR is smooth in every direction because on Day 1, there were no stars and galaxies yet to make it lumpy.


The book Universe by Design: An Explanation of Cosmology and Creation by Dr. Danny Faulkner; published by Master Books, PO Box 726, Green Forest, Arizona 72638

Describes the CBR, expansion of space, and time dilation in the context of a young Earth interpretation of Genesis 1.

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