“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” – Genesis 1:14-18
The purposes that are listed here are far beyond what we might think when we think about the sun and the moon. We might think about the warmth the sun provides, but when the colours of the trees become vibrant, how often do we think about the sun being involved? Both the sun and the moon have specific roles to play in the seasons and all that we enjoy from those changes, and we know this, but often forget it in the moment.
Light being provided to the earth is a purpose we never really forget about as we look out the window on a gray day, where the sun is hidden. But what signs has the sun to offer? This deep-seated purpose of the sun and moon from the beginning of time is to show countless signs throughout history.
The purpose of these signs, along with all others in the Word are not for humans to gloat in any way. These signs are showing the power of Almighty God over creation, stopping people in their tracks, and demanding adoration. Think of just a few: sun standing still – Joshua 10:13, darkened sun – Matthew 24:29. Here in the beginning God sets the stage, and tells of it through the man Moses, who knew nothing about the coming miracles of the sun or the moon, or the end times.
Think about the moon for a minute. God calls it a great light, sees that it is good, and uses it to rule over something. We know that the moon simply reflects the sun, the ultimate source of light. Now the moon is ruling over the night, darkness, but exists not alone. Gods comical footnote about “and He made the stars” like it is no big deal, should astound us. This endless sea of beautiful lights that reach through galaxies and galaxies are just a simple afterthought in the mention of their creation.
The words of Paul considering our current situation on this earth bring a sense of familiarity to the scene that is set here in Gen 1:18. In Ephesians 6:12 he presents the reality of our surroundings. We live in a “dark world.” So what does this have to do with Genesis? Think about the situation of the night, if there were to be no moon or stars, fear would captivate the hearts of every creature as soon as the sun retires in the evening.
Yet for the physical world, and the night sky, God created a source of light – the moon. The dark world that Paul refers to is the spiritual realm. What is it that is to provide light and hope to the souls of fear filled men? Jesus says it in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” The purpose of Christians, with the power and declaration of God is to rule over the darkness.
Like the moon, we are light that shines in the darkness that in and of ourselves are not the supply of light, yet only reflectors. With the Son as our source, we are in this “present darkness to shine His hope and piercing light into the darkest of lives. We are never asked to be stand alone rulers over darkness but we are asked to trust and obey, and as He purifies our reflecting abilities through our Christian growth (sanctification) we are better sources of light in a dark and hopeless world.
Though this account in Genesis is simply talking about the physical creation of the sun, moon and stars, when we zoom out and look at the whole of Scripture we can see why God called this good. We would one day manifest this goodness in our representing Him in this “present darkness” and in that He receives glory.