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#1 How could God create light before He created the sun?

#2 Questions concerning the Israelites in the exodus from Egypt

#1 How could God create light before He created the sun?

Bible verses bearing on the reader's question...

Then 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. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen 1.3-5, NKJV)

Then 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. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on 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. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Gen 1.16-19, NKJV)
The reader's question...

Hello brother,

Long time I didn't ask you questions, but this one came up in one of the Bible-studies that I attend, and I wanted to know if you can give me a good answer.

After reading Genesis we question the verses that say that God first created light, and then the sun. How is that possible?

@@@@ Bell's quick response is "With God, all things are possible." (Mt 19.26). My longer reply follows...

I ) Keil & Delitzsch write:

The first thing created by the divine Word was "light," the elementary light, or light-material, in distinction from the "lights," or light-bearers, bodies of light, as the sun, moon, and stars, created on the fourth day, are called. It is now a generally accepted truth of natural science, that the light does not spring from the sun and stars, but that the sun itself is a dark body, and the light proceeds from an atmosphere which surrounds it. Light was the first thing called forth, and separated from the dark chaos by the creative mandate, "Let there be,"-- the first radiation of the life breathed into it by the Spirit of God, inasmuch as it is the fundamental condition of all organic life in the world, and without light and the warmth which flows from it no plant or animal could thrive.

II ) Bellgamin's blather:

  • In Gen 1.3 "light" is Hebrew 'owr meaning "illumination."
  • In Gen 1.16 "lights" is Hebrew ma'owr meaning a luminary or light holder.
  • Ergo, God made light, and then he made "light bulbs" (sun & other stars).
  • Analogy - Could God have created an egg before He created a chicken to lay it? If He had so desired - of course!

E) God had three choices: (1) create light simultaneously with light bulbs, or (2) create light bulbs and then create light, or (3) create light and then create light bulbs. God chose option #3. Why? Only He knows.

F) As pure conjecture (the Bible does NOT answer your question)

  • Science defines "light" as being a form of energy visible to the human eye that is radiated by photons. Photons are charged particles-in-motion. The motion of an atom's electrons leads to the emission of light (photons) in most sources. Light is emitted, or radiated, by electrons circling the nucleus of their atom.

  • Ergo, what God may have done on the first day is to set electrons in motion, whereby He caused atoms to begin producing the "pure" form of light that our science calls "photons."

#2 Questions concerning the Israelites in the exodus from Egypt

Bible verses bearing on the reader's question...

Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt... All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons... (Exod 1.1a, 1.5a; NKJV)

These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari... And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred and thirty-three.

Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father's sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven. (Ex 6.16a, 6.18, 6.20; NKJV)

Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. (Exod 12.37, NKJV)
And when he (Ephraim) went in to his wife, she conceived and bore a son; and he called his name Beriah, because tragedy had come upon his house... and Rephah was his son, as well as Resheph, and Telah his son, Tahan his son, Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, and Joshua his son. (1 Chron 7.23, 7.25-27; NKJV)
From Kohath came the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izharites, the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites; these were the families of the Kohathites. According to the number of all the males, from a month old and above, there were eight thousand six hundred keeping charge of the sanctuary. (Num 3.27-28, NKJV)
The reader's question...

Have you ever had anyone ask you about the 430 years of bondage for the Israelites? The difficulty I see is that it appears to be only 6 generations from Abraham to Moses. How does
430 years go by in that few generations? Also, how do the Israelites go from 12 to millions in the three generations from Levi to Moses? Are there generations we aren't told about?

@@@@ Bell's stuff

Part 1 - Ex 6.16-20
Exod 6:14a - "These are the heads of their fathers' houses..."

A) Father's-houses [beeyt-'aabowt] was a Hebrew term for a
collection of families, called by the name of a common ancestor. The father's-houses were the larger divisions into which the families (mishpachoth), the largest subdivisions of the tribes of Israel, were grouped.

1) To show clearly the genealogical position of Moses, Exodus 6.16-20 commences with Reuben (the 1st-born of Jacob), then goes to Simeon (Jacob's 2nd-born) so as to arrive at Levi (the 3rd-born) who was the tribe-father of Moses and Aaron.

2) Besides Levi himself, those named in the geneology are Kohath and Amram, because they were the tribe-fathers of Moses and Aaron.

3) The Amram mentioned in v. 20 as the father of Moses is not the same person as the Amram who was the son of Kohath (v. 18), but was, instead, a LATER descendant.

  • According to Num. 3.27-28, the Kohathites were divided into four branches -- Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites, and Uzzielites.
  • These four branches had a combined census of 8600 men and boys (women and girls were not counted).
  • Of these 8600, we can estimate that about a fourth, or 2150 men, would have been Amramites - descendents of Amram.
  • Consequently, if Amram (son of Kohath), the tribe-father of the Amramites, had been the same person as Amram (father of Moses), then Moses would have had 2147 brothers and brothers' sons.
  • But since this is clearly impossible, it is evident that Amram (son of Kohath) was NOT the father of Moses, and that an indefinitely long list of generations has been omitted between Kohath's son, Amram, and the Amram who was Moses' father.

B) Joseph was a son of Jacob. Jacob had a son, Ephraim.

1) Per 1 Chron 7.23-27, Ephraim's descendents included Beriah > Rephah > Resheph (?) > Telah > Tahan > Ladan > Ammihud > Elishama > Nun > Joshua. Joshua was, of course, a contemporary of Moses.

2) Thus we have Jacob > Joseph > Ephraim > Beriah > Rephah > Resheph > Telah > Tahan > Ladan > Ammihud > Elishama > Nun > Joshua.
This amounts to Joshua being approximately a 12th generation descendent of Jacob. This would average out to about 35 to 40 years per generation during the 430 year sojourn in Egypt.

Part 2 - Exod 12.37/Num 11.21

A) From the 70 souls who entered Egypt (Exod 1.5) we subtract the patriarch Jacob, his 12 sons, Dinah, Asher's daughter Zerah, the three sons of Levi, the four grandsons of Judah and Benjamin, and those grandsons of Jacob who probably died without leaving any male posterity, since their descendants are not mentioned among the families of Israel. This leaves us with 41 grandsons of Jacob who founded families, in addition to the Levites.

B) As shown in Part 1, 1 Chr. 7:20 ff. lists eleven or twelve generations between Jacob and Joshua. If we reckon 40 years as a generation, the tenth generation of the 41 grandsons of Jacob would be born about the year 400 of the sojourn in Egypt, and therefore would be over 20 years of age at the time of the exodus.

C) Let's assume that there was an average of three sons and three daughters born to every married couple in the first six of these generations, and an average of two sons and two daughters in the last four.
Thus, by the tenth generation there would be 478,224 sons o/a the 400th year of the sojourn in Egypt. These sons would therefore be above 20 years of age at the time of the exodus, whilst 125,326 men of the ninth generation would be still living, so that there would be 478,224 + 125,326, or 603,550 men coming out of Egypt, who were more than 20 years old.

The reader's follow-up question...

The two difficulties I can think of with this are Genesis 15:16, which mentions "the fourth generation", and that Salmon, a contemporary of Joshua, only appears to be six generations from Judah (Matthew 1).
@@@@ Bell's reply

In the Bible, God voluntarily limited Himself by choosing to communicate with humans by use of human languages. Unfortunately, word meanings in our human languages evolve with the passage of time and changes in human circumstances. In my great-grandmother's day, for example, "generation" meant a much shorter period of time than does the word "generation" today. Also, in those days "gay" meant "happy" -- not sexually perverted.

The word translated "generation" in Gen 15.16 is the Hebrew "dowr" which (per Strong's #1755) means a revolution of time, i.e. an age or generation.
In Abraham's time, "dowr" denoted 100 years. Since God spoke directly to Abraham in Gen 15.16, God used "dowr" with the meaning that was familiar to Abraham. In Abraham's time, four "dowr" was synonymous with 400 years (ref. lexicons of Gesenius and Fuerst).

It is well know that the geneologies in both Matthew and Luke contain several gaps each. Kingly geneologies were always selective, so as to accord with round numbers such as 14, omit bad apples, etc.

As with all apparent "discrepencies" in the Bible, we can be certain that the problems lie with our own understanding and records, not with the Bible itself. I had the same problem with my math texts in college. They often seemed screwy, but it always turned out that I was the problem, not the texts. Tra-la-la.


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