How can you explain the seeming contradiction in the Genesis story which
has the sun and the moon being created on the fourth day, if there was
already day and night on the first day of creation? Isn?t this an example
of the Bible being contradicted by science and by common sense?


I have studied current theories of the early earth and its atmosphere. As
far as I understand it, the early earth most likely had much higher
quantities of sulfur dioxide, methane, ammonia and so forth. I believe it
is extremely likely that the sun and the moon remained invisible to the
eye from the surface of the earth until life on the planet had
significantly changed the chemistry of the atmosphere. (Venus of today
would be an example. The heavenly bodies are not visible from the surface
of Venus.) In other words, the sun, moon and stars were not visible until
the third or fourth “day” of creation. Obviously, I do not believe that
these “days” are literal twenty-four hour periods, but that they represent
periods, eras over which God did his creative work. So, day and night
existed on the first “day,” the oceans and the atmosphere formed on the
second “day,” life appeared on the third “day,” Life changed the
chemistry of the earth, so that the heavenly objects appeared in the sky
on the fourth “day.” As I have said before, the outline of information
in the Genesis creation account is in remarkable agreement with the
current models used by scientists today. Your example does not change my

Let me add:

As a side note, I strongly agree with Galileo who said, “The Bible was
written to tell us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” In other
words, if you read to Bible in order to discover rules about science, you
will be disappointed, as that was not the purpose of the writers, or of
the ultimate writer, God. However, what is required is that the content
of the Bible not directly and incontrovertibly contradict what we know to
be true from science. For Galileo, the issue was whether the earth
moves. The Bible described the sun rising and setting. Does that mean
that the sun moves around the earth? I say no. It is common usage to
describe the sun as rising and setting, even today when we obviously know
that the sun does not literally set. Galileo certainly believed in the
Bible and in the inspiration of the Bible, as is made clear from his
writings. To try to apply rigorous methods of scientific analysis of the
Bible is to miss the point. Galileo was right. The religious “experts”
of his day were wrong. The Bible does not state that the earth does not
move, and that the sun moves around the earth. What I can say about this
is that to a skeptic/critic trying to prove the Bible is in error, they
could use the fact that the Bible describes the sun moving across the sky
to prove that the Bible is not inspired by God. Such an example does not
prove this at all, as I am sure you can recognize.

Now, if the Bible were to say that the earth is hollow, or if it were to
say unequivocably that there are only three planets, or if it were to say
that there is life on Venus, that would be the kind of statement which
could be used to test the scientific accuracy of the Bible. The fact that
the Bible metaphorically describes “days” of creation does not disprove
the inspiration of the Bible. Again, the Bible is not a science book.
Neither does the fact that the Bible describes the actual visual
appearance of the lights in the sky at the beginning of the fourth “day”
prove error in the Bible. Now, if it said that the moon was created on
the sixth day, that would constitute a scientific error in the Bible.

Even if you cannot agree with my conclusions, I hope you can at least
understand the logic of my thinking on this. Like I already said, science
does not prove the Bible. It could conceivably be used to prove the Bible
is of human origin (hollow earth, Atlas holding it up, etc. for example),
but it just so happens that it does not. The best I can tell, and I have
received many dozens of questions, the Bible is not proven incorrect by
any scientific discovery.

People say the Bible is not scientific because it describes supernatural
events. For example, obviously the parting of the Red Seais not
“scientific.” In this case, the Bible is clearly describing a
supernatural event, not a natural event. Unless you are going to say, a
priori, that supernatural events cannot happen (which would be to apply
circular reasoning), then the examples of miraculous events in the Bible
do not contradict science, although they cannot be explained by science.

All for now,

John Oakes

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