Genesis 1:16a (verse-A)

God made two great lights the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night.

Genesis 1:16b (verse-B)

He ALSO made the stars.

Based on the reading, the two great lights in verse-A are not stars as there is another information in verse-B.

Based on science I know, the sun is a star and the moon do not produce light ... so, the two great lights in verse-A can't be a star and a moon.

If verse-B something like this :

He also made another stars

Then that two great lights can be either (X) both of them are stars --OR-- (Y) one of them is a star. But if X, moon is not a star ... and if Y, moon does not produce it's own light.

So what are those two great lights in verse-A according to the Young Earth Creationism ?

If the Bible say "two great lights" then both of them are lights,
NOT one of them is not light but reflect something else's light.

  • The moon gives light upon the earth. How it does so is not something the scripture comments on. I look up in the daytime : I see a light. And nighttime : I see a light. There they are : two great luminaries. What they represent is another question. (And is easily answered.)
    – Nigel J
    Aug 22, 2021 at 8:45
  • 1
    What do you think they are if they're not the sun and moon? If you're insisting that the common interpretation is impossible it's on you to come up with a plausible alternative.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 22, 2021 at 8:53
  • @curiousdanni, to me the first thing is "the sentence two great lights is not meant like that". To me, what Bible say is not always the same thing as it's written. So, "two great lights" is the way the author think that there is something with a light source. To me, "two great lights" is the the sun and the moon. The YEC say : if the Bible say a day then it's a day. So, it also apply to "if the Bible say two great lights then it's two great lights". Since the moon does not produce light, then what is it according to YEC ?
    – karma
    Aug 22, 2021 at 9:33
  • 2
    YECs have never said that a reflected light source would be excluded, why would they?
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 22, 2021 at 9:48
  • 3
    the sun is a star - And force is power, except in physics, where the two are distinct notions. A star is a small dot (as opposed to a large disc) illuminating the (night) sky. This is the basic or original meaning of the word, still in use today, and from which the modern one evolved; though they overlap to a considerable extent, they are not identical. The two large discs are of the same size, yet one gives off way more light than the other; this is the reason they are called smaller and larger. The way in which they give off the light (directly or indirectly) is irrelevant.
    – user46876
    Aug 22, 2021 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


They are, indeed, the Sun and the Moon.

The Moon does in fact shine light on the Earth. That this light is ultimately reflected from the Sun does not disqualify it; it is still causing light to reach the Earth. That the Sun is, scientifically speaking, a star, does not disqualify it.

Similarly, other planets (and distant galaxies) would be called "stars" for quite some time, and indeed, still are in colloquial use.

You are overthinking this. "Stars", here, are merely light sources (again, not necessarily producing their own light) which are much smaller/weaker, as seen from Earth, than the Moon. The separation between Sun/Moon and stars is one of function, not of substance. That this is the correct distinction is plainly evident in context, as the "stars" are "for signs and seasons" ("signs", in particular, suggests the inclusion of other Solar planets), and the "two great lights" are for illuminating the Earth.

What is incorrect is ascribing a mutually exclusive, one-to-one correspondence to "stars" as used in this functional context and what an astronomer would call a "star".

You also said:

If the Bible say "two great lights" then both of them are lights, NOT one of them is not light but reflect something else's light.

...but again, I think you are trying to be overly pedantic while reading a text that is meant to speak more to effects than pedantic scientific reality.

For that matter, consider a fluorescent light bulb. Would you call this a "light"? Would you say it emits "white" (whitish, anyway) light? Would it surprise you to learn that a fluorescent light bulb is actually an ultraviolet light, and its "useful" light is actually secondary emissions from the phosphor coating? (Some white LEDs work similarly.)

Now, if a fluorescent light bulb does not directly produce visible light, but it still called a "light", why can't other indirect illumination devices also be called "lights"?

I suppose if you wish to pursue that further, you could ask on Hermeneutics whether the Hebrew word used can legitimately refer to an indirect light source. AFAIK, however, most people understand the second of the "great lights" to be the Moon. However, I would note that the initial "light" has an indeterminate source and thus is perhaps meant to refer to the actual photons providing illumination. In this sense, "the Moon" certainly qualifies; or, to be more pedantic, there are two "sets" of photon streams, both of which are originally produced by the Sun, but which are perceived on Earth as "the Sun" and "the Moon".

  • I receive your saying that "you are trying to be overly pedantic", Matthew :). Anyway, if I myself a YEC - I still wonder how "a day" in other verses beside Genesis all means 24 hours while even today if we hear "one day you will be reach", "I don't want to loose you in one day", "a day before you came", etc may mean other than that "one day / a day" is 24 hours. If YEC say that "a day" means a duration which is not more than 24 hours, than to me it's understandable :). Thank you for the answer, Matthew.
    – karma
    Aug 22, 2021 at 19:35
  • @karma I am more persuaded with literary rather than literal 24-hour interpretation. Quote: "the author of Genesis 1 uses the regular week—six days of work and then a Sabbath rest—as a framework to describe God’s work of creation. The first three days describe the creation of realms of habitation, while the second three creation days describe the inhabitants of those realms. For example, darkness and light are separated on the first day, but the sun, moon and stars are not created until the fourth day." Aug 22, 2021 at 20:45
  • @karma, a key point to keep in mind about Genesis 1-3 is also that the intervals are not merely described as "days", but periods of "[one] evening and [one] morning", which would seem to indicate the author wanted to make it clear that "day" was meant to be taken as a literal "24 hours" and not just "some indeterminate point in history".
    – Matthew
    Aug 23, 2021 at 13:02
  • Thank you Matthew for the explanation. I accepted your answer.
    – karma
    Sep 9, 2021 at 9:41

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