In the Bible it clearly states

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

and then in

Genesis 1:16 "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."

but we've come to know that the Sun is much older than the Earth, hopefully someone can give me a satisfying answer, thanks in advance.


I think you have 2 options here.

  1. The Earth could form before the Sun because God is the creator, and God could create them in that order. Given that the Word of God is more certain than any recent scientific theory, not only could the Earth form first, but it did. So the scientific theory is wrong.

  2. The Earth didn't form before the Sun, because we know from certain scientific discoveries that the Sun is older. Therefore, either a) Genesis is wrong or b) Genesis must be read in some different way - in this case, perhaps 'heaven and earth' is a figure of speech.

IMHO this is one of the lesser problems with thinking of Genesis as a text on astrophysics, geology, biology, and so on.

  • The first option is very outlandish, is science of any value in Christianity? You can't say that what scientists have worked to achieve is incorrect because god said something else. The second option leaves me hanging for an answer still, in what way should I read Genesis so it would make sense? Not even I alone, everyone should read it the same because if it's science, science is the truth. Hopefully you can understand my problem with your answer, and if you could provide with a solution.
    – Karim
    Mar 10 '21 at 12:07
  • @Karim Re 'outlandish', lookup Ken Ham. He's fairly honest about the implications re science of taking Genesis literally and inerrantly. Re 2nd option, typical take is that that part of Genesis is a theological text, making claims about the nature of God and in particular vs. the other gods of the surrounding culture at the time - not a textbook on astrophysics. So God didn't intend for us to be debating astrophysics, geology, and so on because of Genesis, but rather to get certain lessons about the nature of God. Mar 10 '21 at 18:21
  • And... where is your citation on how god didn't intend for us to not be debating astrophysics, geology so on? And citation for his intentions to get certain lessons about the nature of god.
    – Karim
    Mar 11 '21 at 3:28
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    @Karim Yes, some of those people to some degree are motivated in their interpretation by a belief Genesis is problematic in terms of astrophysics, geology, hydrology, biology, and so on. Mar 11 '21 at 6:07
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    @NihilSineDeo Not sure what you're referring to exactly, but I'm using 'formed' to mean 'created' or 'made'. If the Earth just popped into existence isn't meant to be excluded by the term 'form' here. Mar 11 '21 at 17:35

Let us be very clear that Hebrew has perfectly good words for:

  • The sun, שֶׁמֶשׁ (shemesh) which first appears in Gen 15:12
  • The moon, יָרֵחַ (yareach) which first occurs in Gen 37:9

Thus, while these perfectly well known words are available, the author of Gen 1 goes to some trouble to avoid using them.

Further, we note that the great lights to rule the day and night are placed in the firmament (Gen 1:14); now, according to Gen 1:6, the firmament is the space (sky) between the water below (rivers, seas, lakes, etc) and the waters above (clouds or the source of rain, hail & snow, etc).

Thus, if a pedant wanted to be really pedantic, then one might erroneously conclude several bizarre things:

  1. The sun moon and stars were created on day 4
  2. The sun and moon are within our atmosphere and travel trough it.

However, the author of Genesis carefully avoids this problem by saying that:

  1. It was the lights that were provided on day 4 and not the actual sun and moon themselves
  2. It is the light from these bodies that is within the atmosphere not the sun and moon themselves

The conclusion here is simple - the sun and moon might have existed well before the start of creation week having been created at an earlier unstated time.

Of course, the human author could not have known the full implications of what they wrote and this (I believe) is an evidence of the divine origin of the inspiration of the author of this part of Scripture.

  • Thank you for your answer, well said to be honest lol. What is the source of the greater light that was provided on day 4? And the lesser light as well. And why were they provided on the 4th day? Not in the first since the Sun's light doesn't take long to reach the Earth, neither does the moon's.
    – Karim
    Mar 11 '21 at 3:36
  • How does the sun exist before there was any light? Mar 11 '21 at 6:11
  • @AnthonyBurg - the conditions on the earth at the beginning of creation week are not described but the account in Gen is written from a purely phenomenological point of view - the sun's light appeared in the 4th day.
    – Dottard
    Mar 11 '21 at 10:00
  • @Dottard I do not understand what you're saying. 'purely phenomenological POV'? Mar 11 '21 at 18:11
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    @AnthonyBurg - that is what appears to be implied - but be careful because very little is recorded here and I do not want to go too far.
    – Dottard
    Mar 11 '21 at 22:00

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

This is the primordial earth. It is being developed.

Day 1, God made light.
Day 2, God made sky.

Next, the Earth is changing:

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

You say:

the Sun is much older than the Earth

The Sun is much older than the Earth as we know it. Genesis 1:1's earth is not the earth as we know it.

  • The earth was barren and cratered.
    – R. Emery
    Mar 9 '21 at 18:26
  • I have a few issues with your answer that hopefully you could help me understand them. "God created the heavens and the earth" God called it "Earth" still though? Just because stuff changed on the earth doesn't really mean that it isn't "Earth" still, and also, it was an 3 morning and evenings between the creation of the earth and the sun, meaning it's been 72 hours, and the difference between the age of the Sun and the Earth is much bigger than 72 hours? And the changes happened before the sun was created, the "Earth" with land and seas was an actual thing on the third day, sun was in 4th.
    – Karim
    Mar 10 '21 at 12:24
  • I also called it "Earth".
    – Tony Chan
    Mar 10 '21 at 14:16

The issue with your question and the reason for your dissonance is simply because you are injecting axioms from a modern secular cosmology into a Biblical cosmology which looks nothing like modern cosmology and has an entirely different origin, timeframe and volume.

One cannot mix paradigms and axioms and still expect to get compatibility.

The choice is simple, if you read the Bible and want to believe it then believe it all the way through. The earth is flat and circular, with raised edges holding in the ocean, is set on pillars, has a firmament and all the lights are in the firmament. Above the firmament is water. God did it this way.

If you want to inject modern cosmology into the text provided you don’t change the wording, if it aligns then fine. But the moment you change the text to suit what you want it to say, you might as well throw out your Bible and believe whatever you want. Don’t deceive yourself.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer, I have a couple of issues within it that hopefully you can clarify. Wasn't the bible meant to be for everyone? It says so in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, so "injecting axioms" has to work doesn't it? Either way, can you explain how it was meant to be understood?
    – Karim
    Mar 11 '21 at 3:52
  • The fact that the Bible was intended for anyone doesn’t mean everyone is willing to accept what it says. Here are two verses to show that the earth is not far away from the sun and spinning but that the sun is local and above the local sun are waters. “He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭104:5‬ ‭ “Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭148:4‬hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/38447/… take a look at this post I wrote Mar 11 '21 at 4:34
  • Can't really understand where you stand on this, am questioning why can't we (as you say) "inject axioms" into the Bible, when those "axioms" are our basic standard, and the bible was intended to all of us, at any age at any time.
    – Karim
    Mar 11 '21 at 4:51
  • I’m saying the Bible has its own cosmology that is INCOMPATIBLE with modern cosmology. The earth doesn’t move in the Bible, but in modern cosmology it moves, it spins, it displaces itself. The sun, moon and stars are local in the Bible, meaning above the clouds in the solid structure called the firmament, but in modern cosmology the sun is far away, so is the moon and the stars are even further, plus there are planets and galaxies, nothing like the Bible. The axioms of modern cosmology can’t be inserted into the Bible. Simple. Stop trying. Accept or reject Bible but don’t change what it says. Mar 11 '21 at 6:30
  • But it's meant for all? I mean, you don't see this with other religious scriptures like the Quran, the Quran is completely compatible with our modern cosmology, why isn't the Bible compatible as well?
    – Karim
    Mar 12 '21 at 2:23

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