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On the 1st day G-d said "Let there be light"... but the sun wasn't created until the fourth day?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Philosophy » Creation | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Talmud (Chagigah 12a) gives two explanations for this apparent problem:

1. The light which G-d created on the first day wasn't the light of the sun. Rather this was a spiritual light which would allow a person to see "from one end of the world to the other." G-d did not want evil people using this light so He hid it in the Torah. Righteous people who study the Torah can access this Divine light, and it will be available to everyone in the Messianic Era.

All of creation was created on the first day, G-d only developed and placed everything in their proper places in the subsequent days
2. G-d created the sun and moon on the first day, but set them into their orbit on the fourth day. In fact, everything was created on the first day, G-d only developed and placed everything in their proper places in the subsequent days.

TAGS: sun, light


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The word Day

Posted by: Terry L. Falls, King George, VA, USA on Jul 04, 2005

Thank you for your reply Rabbi, I appreciate it.

My concern is the definition of the word translated into 'Day'. Since the standard for the definition of a day by the rotation of the Earth around the Sun was not extablished until they were set into orbit on the 4th day, there would not be a useage of the term on the first 3 days. I have understood that the original Hebrew or Akkadian word actually has a fuller meaning and can be translated as 'age' or 'phase'. I really don't care if it is 24 hours or 24 centuries, just want a solid understanding. I also understand that the matter that our Earth was created from was the waste of the world preveiously inhabited by the Fallen Angles of Lucifer. From the first verse of the Hebrew book of Genesis, “When God began to create Heaven and Earth, the earth then was welter and waste (tohu wabohu meaning the vacancy of a desert, emptiness and futility, nothing recognizable).

Thank you for helping my understanding.

Editor's Comment

1. If the Torah were given on the 1st or 2nd day of creation, you would have a valid argument. But the Torah was given 2448 years later, and employs words which will be understood by the people to whom it was given. The word "day" -- when used in connection to a length of time -- implies a 24 hour time period. [When you tell someone that you "need a day" to think over a business proposal, are you thinking of the orbit of the sun, or of 24 hours?] 2. The Hebrew word day -- especially when it is said in connection with "evening" and "morning" -- means a standard 24 hour day, unless the word is used as a prefix to another word. 3. The "fallen angels of Lucifer" are not part of Jewish tradition. According to Jewish belief, there never were any (physical) worlds before the creation of this universe. 4. "Tohu va'Vohu" translates as "astonishingly empty."

Still not getting...

Posted by: Jeff, davie, FL on Aug 09, 2006

I understand your point of it being meant as a 24 hour period, however this does not explain the likes of a big bang, spontanous evolutions (not traditional evolution) as evidenced in the earth's layers etc. It just doesn't seem to add up.

If a person takes the torah's 6 days of creation, and coincides this with science's explanations, from the big bang to modern day human, it makes more sense from a perspective of a day not being 24 hours, but being just a way for humans to understand that it was a process that had steps involved. Even if we think that on each day something occurred, just by looking at how G-d's nature works now, nothing happens spontaneously, but is an occurance of a sequence of events that act as a natural progression. This would make more sense when understanding torah, and explaining how (if I got the story right) Adam had sexual relations with other animals that were so simliar to human beings but were not, when he was kicked out of the garden.


History » Early Years
G-d » Creation

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.