Day created before the Sun?
Genesis 1— “How could ‘day’ and ‘night’ come on Day Two when the sun and moon don’t come until Day Four?”
Following the day/age interpretation, the perspective or ‘point-of-view’ established in verse one of Genesis chapter 1 is the surface of the water on earth.
The stages of creation are described as how they would be perceived from that perspective, not from some hypothetical observer in outer space. Modern science indicates that earth 4.5 billion years ago was surrounded by so much interplanetary debris that the surface of earth was dark and chaotic. The diagram on the next page indicates this.
Both the Qur’ān and the Torah account of creation have some similarly perplexing sequences. In Sura Fussilat 41:9-12 the Qur’ān ‘s primary creation account seems to place the creation of the seven heavens after the days of creating earth. Baqara 29 indicates the same:
“He created for you all that the earth contains; Then, ascending to the sky, He fashioned it into seven heavens.”
So we see a similar sort of chronological difficulty in the Qur’ān. This doesn’t mean the Qur’ān is wrong, it just shows that we can’t always interpret verses as they first appear.
If the reader finds it difficult to justify the “point of perspective” adjustment, we can see a similar need with the Qur’ān. In Sura Al-Kahf 18:86, we read that Dhul-Qarnain “journeyed on a certain road until he reached the West and saw the sun setting in a pool of black mud.” This appears consistent with the pre-Islamic legend of the sun setting in a muddy pool on the horizon of a flat earth. Yet we must consider this verse to be described from the perspective of Dhul-Qarnain in order for it to make sense. In the same way, we cannot take interpret all scripture from an imaginary “cosmic” perspective.
Objection A: “But the word used for the sun and moon on day four is “create”- not “made appear”!”
The word used in these verses is not ‘create’ (בּרא, bârâ’ ) but “made appear” (עשׂה,‛âśâh). This word occurs 1,200 times in the Old Testament and has a wide variety of meanings, some of which include “did,” “made,” “show,” “appear,” “made to appear,” etc. In light of this fact, we must conclude that the sun and moon were created on day one (v3) and appeared in view on day four.