Gen 1:14 ESV – 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,
Gen 1:15 ESV – and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
Gen 1:16 ESV – 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.
Gen 1:17 ESV – And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
Gen 1:18 ESV – to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:19 ESV – And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
The whole passage tells us it was the Sun and the Moon, and then stars. In reality, stars ARE suns in our understanding. Gigantic balls of plasma that have their own gravity holding it together. They eventually become denser and denser as the gravity overcomes the intense pressure of expansion from nuclear fusion. Once this fusion starts (with hydrogen turning into helium, going from lighter (lightest?) materials to heavier) it radiates energy and heat away from itself.
Once it converts all the hydrogen into helium, it expands significantly. Our sun will expand to about 250 times its present size when this happens. As it expands it cools, but the core begins to actually shrink and gets heavier and denser and starts fusing helium. In cases of very large stars, it can undergo additional fusion making carbon, then neon, then oxygen, then iron. The fusion is actually occurring in layers (like an onion) with lighter elements to the outside and heavier in the core.
Any fusion past this begins to consume energy rather than release it, and it begins to cool, and eventually collapse. The collapse can cause a release of energy so large it can outshine all the light in their own galaxy. These collapses cause so much energy release it is staggering. A Gamma Ray Burst is so powerful it is thought if one happened in the Milky Way, and was pointed at Earth, it would destroy all life (a typical burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime)
The Moon is a reflector of the Sun and provides a light source along with stars at night.
Yahweh set these not only in space (how they were created isn’t known, but once they were positioned the Earth needed to spin to have an experience of night and day unless Yah literally blocked the light through some other means.
The interesting and significant idea in this passage is the concept of governance of time, seasons, days, and years, as well as signs.
Signs: This really means a communication of something intentional, not accidental. The sun, moon, and stars are given as signs to creation. They indicate things to us on purpose, and are the first communication tool noted in scripture. Light can be considered the first created THING, and sun moon and stars are the first mentioned agent of light.
Seasons: This is not our modern idea of seasons (like 4 seasons). Although that is a concept in this word, the deeper meaning/application is appointed time, meetings, and gatherings. The idea here is creation has associated with it an idea of meetings, gatherings and assemblies etc… that are informed by these lights. An idea of structure, or set aside times, things being ordained. We see the emergence of an idea of normal, and then special or at least appointments separate from the typical. Later on we see the idea of moons indicating months, telling us when a cycle of events change from one to another that progresses on to a year, which then starts the process over.
These seasons become key to understanding Yahweh’s works later on in scripture.
Days: We saw the use of day earlier, now we understand the event of a day is understood by the use of light. A Day begins at night. The understanding of time is reduced to a unit of a day at its smallest so far. And to my knowledge, we don’t see use of a smaller unit of time as a reference to measurement in scripture until apostolic scriptures talk about hours (the 4th hour). Yahweh created things to be easily understood visually. In Modern times, a day begins at midnight, which is dependent on hours. But Yahweh didn’t create hours, nor did Yah reference them. It is impossible for anyone to know intuitively when midnight is. Therefore certain things associated with days later on in scripture would be impossible to participate in, and obey.
But Yahweh made it simple and easy to know where you are in the calendar of life. You see it because the sun goes down, and that is the start of a day. This becomes very important later on in scripture, and is the point of much debate.
Years: This definition is year, but also measures, age, lifetime etc… We measure it because these (like days and seasons) start again and follow a pattern. The root of this is a word for change, pattern, repeated (even change or alter!).
In my life recently, it has become an ever increasing key that Yahweh made things simple with regards to time and the calendar of life Yahweh ordained. However mankind has screwed with it so radically, it has become impossible (until recently) to even know where we really are in Yah’s ordained time.
One of the characteristics of an evil power that is going to be presented later in scripture is a desire to change times and the laws of Yahweh. This desire is very profound as it begins to separate th creation from the creator in the most fundamental element of connection, appointed times (signs and seasons).
The wonder of this s how simple it is. With the naked eye you will know where you are without any need for someone else. Yahweh made it clear to each one where they are and when they are. It is important to Yah, and all of creation.
This is the 4th day. Truthfully we still don’t know if a day before this was what we know as 24 “hours” as we don’t know that a sun was even made before this. The only thing we know if light was on, then off, making days. With the sun here, we have to infer rotation of earth at least now, but perhaps the 2nd day (which makes sense in the gathering of the waters earlier, as rotation would expand the water through centrifugal force and gather it above and under a “firmament”). At this point however, if the sun exists and is lit, then rotation is what would make a day or a night unless the sun was literally blocked by Yahweh.