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According to the Genesis record in the beginning darkness covered the whole earth, and it was filled with water too.

Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

On the first day and on the fourth day God did something that looks similar. Let us read the texts:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5)

Now let us see what was done on the fourth day:

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)

If you notice carefully, you will see why this was done and the difference between the first and fourth day of creation.

What did God make on the first day? We all might quickly say-He made “light”. But actually God made “day” and “night”! God used light to create day and night. Till then the whole earth was only night (dark), but now God divided the light from darkness. And God called the light part as “day”, and the dark part of the earth He called “night”.

How did God make the day and night? Darkness was all over the earth, so making night was not necessary; God had to only separate the darkness by causing light to shine on one side. And the light side was called day, and the dark side of the earth was called night.

There are twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness, normally, in a 24-hour day. The Lord Himself said:

Are there not twelve hours in the day? (John 11:9)

God brought light to shine on one side of the earth, while the other side remained dark.

It is interesting and important to note that with “the evening and the morning” commenced the “first day”, and not with the morning and the evening”. So with the dark part of the 24-hour period begins a new day and then follows the light part of it, probably because darkness was there before light was introduced on planet earth.

ONE MIGHT ASK: What was that “light” that God used to make Day & Night?

Well, God did not specify as to what that was, because the purpose of that light was to create day and night. So the focus has to be on what was created on the first day-day and night!

On the first day, the earth’s clock started ticking, and time commenced for planet earth. She now has two distinct phases of period-day and night. Time began by the creation of day and night.

Look at another example in regard to getting our focus right. On the sixth day what did God make?-Man and Woman (and also animals). How did God make them?-He used the dust of the ground. The dust of the ground was the means of making man. But the objects of the sixth day of creation were man and woman, and not the dust, which was only the means used to create them. It doesn’t really matter what kind of mud it was, the color, etc. What mattered was the creation of Adam and Eve, by God!

So also, God used “light” on the first day to create “day and night”. What kind of light it was, and from where it came does not matter! If it mattered then God would have told us that. “Light” was only the means and the creation of “day and night” was the object. Therefore the focus should be on the creation of day and night and not the light.

God is light Himself (1 John 1:5); His Word is light too (Psalm 119:105). So there are many options. It does not really matter which option God used, as the focus should be on what was created on the first day.

Let us look at what was created on the fourth day. The sun and the moon and the stars were made. On the first day, “day and night” were made; and on the fourth day, “the sun, moon, and stars” were made. So nothing was repeated!

On the first day God used “light” to create “day and night”, and on the fourth day He created the “sun, moon, and the stars” to give “light” to the earth. What was the purpose of the sun and the moon? Was it to create day and night? No, that was already done on the first day. The sun and the moon were meant to rule the day and night that already existed. They were made:

For signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.(Genesis 1:14)

With the first day light, time began, and the 24-hour period began with the rotation of the earth on its own axis; and with the sun and the moon around from the fourth day onwards, the rotation would still continue, along with the revolution round the sun.

ONE MIGHT SAY: Why didn’t God create the sun and the moon and the stars on the first day itself, and that would take care of the day and night too?

Notice that the sun and moon and stars were “placed in the firmament of heaven”. On the first day there was no firmament called Heaven, it was created on the second day. So a firmament had to be created for the sun and the rest to be placed. And God would not create the firmament first without the commencement of time! He had to start time for planet earth, as in everything, that is the way it always goes. No work can be calculated or measured without time.

Was the order of the creation week perfect? Of course, it has to be when the wise God does it. Let us analyze the order of creation and see the wisdom of God.

a)    “Day and Night” were made on the first day. Time commenced for planet earth. A 24-hour period was created by the rotation of the earth on its own axis with a dark part and a light part. Perfect start!

b) The whole earth was a mighty ocean and the first thing was to create an atmosphere, an environment that will be conducive for life, with the right amount of gases to fill the air; and therefore God made the firmament called Heaven, or sky, with all the accurate calculations.

c) On the third day God made dry land appear to start life on planet earth. He made a great portion of the earth “dry”, and called it land, and proceeded to decorate it with scenic beauty. Trees, grass, and all vegetations sprang forth. What scenery! Beautiful and smooth mountains and valleys and plains decorated with greenery!

d) There has to be seasons for the trees to bear fruits, and for the flowers to bloom. Everything has an order and time to display its beauty. God did exactly that on the fourth day. Well, why didn’t God make the sun on the third day and the vegetation on the fourth day? Probably, God wanted us to know that it is not the sun that sustains life, but God, the Creator of the sun. (For many say if there is no sun, there cannot be life. But the truth is-if there is no God, there is no life; God can use anything to give us life, and not just the sun. And many people worship the sun today thinking that without it nothing can survive. But the plants and trees were there for a full day even before the sun was created!)

e) God proceeded to make moving creatures to fill the waters and the skies-Fishes of diverse kinds and colors, and also birds of various shapes and sizes and colors and features. Why didn’t God create them before He made the vegetation? Well the birds need trees to rest and food to eat. Therefore they were made after the vegetation. And why weren’t the fishes made earlier? They needed food, too, so God had to create a supply first and then place them there. For sure the trees and plants and fruits in the seas were done on the same third day as it was done on land. Why didn’t God make the fishes and birds before the sun, the moon and the stars? Well, living things in whose nostril is the breath of life are higher in order than the non-living things. So God decided to first furnish their environment and then make them.

f ) On the sixth day He first made all kinds of animals and creeping things that move on the land. Finally, He made man and woman on the sixth day-the crowning act of creation. Man, with his wife, was to be the caretaker of this planet, the ruler and the manager of it all. As it is written:

The earth hath he given to the children of men. (Psalm 115:16)

ONE MIGHT SAY: If all was done for man, why was he made last, and not first? Well, the owner or tenants occupy the house only after it is built! God first decorated the earth and then presented it to man.

g) On the seventh day God created something. He created a day called the “Sabbath”. By resting, blessing and sanctifying it He created this special day. It was the first gift God gave the newly wedded couple, the gift of special time together with their Lord. Jesus, the Creator, testified:

The Sabbath was made for man. (Mark 2:27)

The Sabbath is the pivot or the focal point on which the week rotates. The powerful God did not need a week to finish His work. He could have made everything in a flash of time. But He chose to do it that way as He is a God of order, and was setting an example for man to follow this pattern in work!

We have seen that God had a perfect plan and order for His creation week. Nothing was accidental. The plan was well thought of and executed by God. God Himself testified at the end of each day that it was “good”. And so it was! This seven-day week for the world can never be changed, for God set it so in the beginning!