God Creates Lights and Life
Lesson and Read: Genesis 1.14-25
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years”. . . And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”
Genesis 1.14, 20 (NRSV)
On the first three days of Creation, God made an environment for everything that would be in the creation. In this lesson we will learn what the sky and sea will contain.
The Hebrews believed the firmament or sky was a dome above the earth. It held back the waters that were once on the earth (Genesis 1.6). The sky was blue because there was water behind it. Later, when God opens the “windows” of the dome, water falls to earth (Genesis 7.11). The Hebrews saw the dome as a solid structure and on the fourth day, on that dome, God placed the greater light (which ruled and separated the day) and lesser light (which ruled and separated the night) and the stars. Though we call these luminaries “Sun” and “Moon,” the Genesis story refrained from naming them, knowing that other cultures named and worshiped them as deities. For Israel, those lights were God’s creations to set seasons, days and years; they brought the measurement of time to heaven and earth. On the fifth day, God commanded the waters to bring forth “breathing things” (nephesh) to swarm the seas and fill the air. Fish and sea creatures and fowl of every variety were further commanded to multiply and fill the waters and earth. And it was so, and it was good.
Days four and five provide the hearers and readers with more awesome pictures of God creating a world and then filling it with living things. Once more, the “who” of creation is unmistakable—God speaks and it is so! The “how” of creations is even more mysterious and thus open to inquiry from science and religion. The “Light” of Day One is other than the “lights” of Day Four. God’s role in the creation is at once logical and ineffable. God will not share the glory or even the “credit” for was has been done. The Lord God has done it all and owns it all. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalm 24.1-2).
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence