This article is just one in a long series addressing questions posed by agnostic blogger Larry Simons in his article entitled, 31 Questions Christians Can’t Answer. For the rest of series click here. Enjoy!
26. Why did God contradict himself in Genesis by creating the sun and moon on the fourth day [Gen. 1: 16-19] to provide light during the day and night when he already created light for the day and night on the first day [Gen. 1: 3-5]?
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.(Genesis 1:16-19 NIV)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5 NIV)
This is a very interesting question to address. Interesting and deceptively simple. The answer is one word, Context. Go and read all of chapter one of Genesis, or just click on this link
. By the time you get to verse nineteen you’ll see what I’m saying. The verses put up as a contradiction are part of a single narrative and wherein the sun and moon are created on day four what is described in the earlier passage is simply the creation of “light” and it’s separation into day and night. The rub is we’re not told in verses three through five what the source of the light is.
So what is left to say? Let’s start with a message to my believing friends. Do not be afraid! That’s Biblical you know? Everything you need to explain your faith is already within your grasp. It requires thinking and reading and stretching your capabilities. With the Lord as your sword and shield why should you be afraid of that? If the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains why are you saying “I can’t”? In this case the most important thing a believer could do is read not just the passages being presented but the context around them. Look for what others have said about it. Read commentaries. Read doubters. Ingest it all and then ask yourself some questions. Questions like, “Why is this even being asked?” Too often an intellectual challenge is pressed in order to mask an emotional doubt. Don’t be afraid to question your questioner. What’s the worst that could happen? Do you think there is something an “opponent” can say or ask that might make you doubt what you know is true? If so, welcome. You’re one of us. Your faith likely runs deeper than you think and you don’t have to have all of the answers.
To my non-believing friends, pardon my boldness, but please try harder. By try harder I don’t mean try harder to find problems I mean try harder to think critically, you’re supposed to have monopoly on it. The question I’ve addressed here is one that should have never come up. You do have legitimate concerns you can bring up, some of which a great many Christians share. To waste real time on trivialities is beneath you, or should be. Coach up the ones who take things like this seriously. Just some friendly advice. Honest questions need to be asked. The Word does need to be looked at critically and challenged, as does dogma, church history, and doctrine. Who better to do it than you guys? But only if you do it clear headed and without impassioned gotcha tactics. The truth is, most of the time we’re doing too much of that to ourselves to turn a critical eye on ourselves. It’s a plank versus moat thing we’re supposed to be working on…
The next question we address here on contradictions approaches following this advice…
What questions do you have that you’ve struggled with or that you think Christians can’t answer? Have an idea for the next series of issues/ questions/ subjects I should address? Comment below and let me know.