Sunday, April 30, 2017

Meditations on the Creation of the Sun and the Moon

16 And I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser light was the moon; and the stars also were made even according to my word.
17 And I, God, set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good; (Moses 2:16-18)

I read this recently and I found myself asking what it meant for a light to rule over a particular portion of the 24-hours—day or night. On the surface it means that one of those lights will be the dominant light over that particular 12-hour period.

And yet the astronomical reality is a lot more complex than this. Happily, we can say that the sun always rules over the day. Where the sun shines, there is light, there is day.

But the moon is different. In some parts of the month the moon does shine at night, but there are other parts of the month—during new moons—when there is no light from the moon. Does the moon really rule then? Not really. It is as if the moon temporarily abdicates its authority and takes a vacation. And only on full moons is its light all the way there. At other times it’s waxing or waning.

It may be this gives us a little insight as to the differences between celestial and terrestial obedience. (I’ve probably talked about this before, but I’m going to talk about it again.) Celestial obedience is like the sun—always there doing its duty, shining at full strength, radiating the light within. But terrestial obedience is rarely at its brightest, shines only reflected light from others more bright, and periodically abdicates its duty.

Something else caught my attention here too. It was this idea of dividing the light from the darkness. What is it that really divides the light from the dark astronomically?  Because if you have light, there is no dark. Light chases the dark away. 

Astronomically, darkness comes from distance from the light, if you’re Pluto out on the margins of the solar system.  And we have darkness on earth because of the earth itself. The earth gets in the way and creates shadow.  If we’re on the part of the earth turned away from the sun, we’re in the darkness.  Applying that to spiritual things, that teaches that in a certain sense we create spiritual darkness in our lives either by our distance from the light, or by turning away from it.

The idea of a lesser or greater light also makes me think of the quality of leader we choose to follow and the type of example we choose for ourselves. If we didn’t have the sun, we might be happy with the moon’s light. But having the sun, we see the moon is not so great after all. Do we choose the best examples to follow? Do we seek for greater light? If we don’t we may be one of those people the Lord describes as “walking in darkness at noonday,” which would be tragic.

What do you think? Are there any additional principles you draw from these verses about the creation of the sun and the moon?