How could plants be created before the sun as plants need the sun for growth?
The first chapter of Genesis is not a technical manual about creation. The details about creation do not concern us, nor could we possibly comprehend them and if we were told it would only confuse us. What we need is what we are given.
Hebrews tells us that things that are seen are not made of things that do appear. And trillions of dollars and billions of boffin hours and all the particle accelerators and cyclotrons and the Hadron Collider included have revealed no more than the writer did, two thousand years ago.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3 KJV
We cannot comprehend it.
There is a hint and this question has guided my thoughts in the direction of the hint.
Plants need light in order to survive. Life needs light.
And there, before the lights in the firmament gave light upon earth - are the plants, living.
There was a light which supported life, before the firmament lights provided light on earth.
What that means - physically and scientifically - is beyond my comprehension and I do not want to even imagine what the physical situation was.
I don't need to know.
All I need to know is that there is a light - other than the firmament lights - which supports life.
They weren't. Genesis 1:3 says that God said “Let there be light,” and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called ‘night’.
That was on the first creative day. Prior to that, the heavens and the earth already existed (Genesis 1:1).
Then God created an expanse between the waters below and the waters above. The expanse God called ‘sky’. That’s on day two (Genesis 1:6-8).
Day three sees the creation of dry ground – a separation of land and seas. So we have earth, water and air as well as light because the light was created on day one. Now everything is in readiness for plant life to emerge, on day three (Genesis 1:9-13).
The following notes from my New International Study Version Bible help to explain what is meant by “light” because nowhere is there any mention of “the sun”:
The words ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ seem to be avoided deliberately here (Genesis 1:16), since both were used as proper names for the pagan deities associated with these heavenly bodies. They are light-givers to be appreciated, not powers to be feared, because the one true God made them (see Isaiah 40:26).
The darkness over the surface of the waters surrounding planet Earth was dispelled by light after God caused a separation between the waters below and the waters above. The Bible does not say that God created light in the heavens after this event or after the dry land appeared above the waters below. The Bible simply says that God created light on day one. We call that light the sun.
Sequence of events:
Creation of the heavens and the earth; Light (day and night) on day one; Atmosphere on planet Earth on day two; Dry land appears followed by vegetation on day three.
How could plants be created before the sun as they need the light for growth?
Genesis 1 (NASB)
1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. "
This means that the heavens, that is the sun and the billions of stars ,galaxies and planets were created billions of years before the six creative days on earth , and the Sabbath. Hence the light from the sun was already in existence but due to the dense shroud ,possibly made of water was not visible on the earth.
3 "Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning"
On the first creative day God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light, notice He did no create the sun or the earth. In other words, God removed the shroud that prevented the light from the sun reaching the earth, and since the earth was already spinning on its axis, there was day and night.