Steven P. Wickstrom
Several years ago I awoke at 3:00 a.m. with the room brightly lit by a full moon. I opened the blinds and gazed up at it in wonder. I was awestruck by its beauty and intense luminance. What a curious creation, I thought to myself. I found myself wondering why God had created the moon. I could think of no better place than the Bible to find out why God made something. So I opened my Bible and turned to the creation story in Genesis and began to read.
(1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(2) And 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.
(3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
(4) And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
(5) And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
I find it interesting that the Bible first describes the earth as wrapped in darkness. The Bible does not explain why the earth was wrapped in darkness, just that it was. The Spirit of God is described as “moving” over the surface of the waters. The Hebrew word for Spirit is “breath.” The “breath” or Spirit of God moved over the waters. In the gospel of John 20:22, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. The word “moved” literally means to cherish. It is also used in the sense of a mother hen brooding over her eggs. It is almost like God is lovingly and tenderly caressing the earth. I get the impression that God is holding the earth like a mother holds her newborn baby.
After the heavens and the earth were created, light was created. We then find God separating light from darkness and naming them night and day. One day consisted of an evening and a morning. Today our conception of a day is completely backwards from the Bible. Our day starts with morning and ends with evening. But if you read through the creation account in Genesis, you will find that each day starts with evening and ends with morning. This is of course a totally useless piece of information that I'm not sure why I ever take notice of.
I noticed a parallel here that I think is very interesting. Before we become a Christian our lives are spent in spiritual darkness. The moment that we accept Jesus into our life God separates us from the darkness we have been living in. We are now in the light. Once we lived in spiritual darkness, but now we are living in the light. The night is over and a new day has begun, Like the earth, our lives started in darkness, but praise be to God that He provided Light. If you are a Christian, Jesus is the light of your life.
There is an aspect of God that I would like you to notice, and that is that God is light. In the Gospel of John 9:5, Jesus said that He is the light of the world. 1 John 1:5 says “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” It is only natural that on the first day of creation, God would create light for the earth. Light is a physical representation of who and what God is. Light is Pure, Holy, and all revealing. Nothing can be hidden in God's light, and nothing can be hidden from God's light.
Scientists recently discovered something very interesting that I would like to share with you. It is known fact there is a countless number of galaxies, composed of a countless number of stars that shine light across the universe. We also know that in between these galaxies are clouds of hydrogen and helium that also emit certain amounts of light. However, a study led by Juna Kollmeier of the Carnegie Institution For Science found that there is 400% more light in the Universe than can be explained by galaxies and quasars. The paper was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “It's as if you're in a big, brightly-lit room, but you look around and see only a few 40-watt lightbulbs,” Kollmeier said in a press release. “Where is all that light coming from? It's missing from our census.”
What's missing in their census is God. If they would read the book of Genesis, they would know where all that light is coming from. It is the light that God created. God created light before he created the all stars, so of course there is more light in the universe than they can account for. Once again, science backs up, or supports, the Bible.
On the second day of creation, God separates the water in the sky from the water on the earth. This essentially created the atmosphere around the earth. Until the days of Noah there was no rain anywhere on the face of the earth. The earth was watered with the water (mist) in the atmosphere. It was the first greenhouse, on a planetary scale. On the third day God created vegetation. On this day God created the millions of plants that would cover the planet. It was not until the fourth day that God created the stars, sun, and moon.
(14) Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
(15) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
(16) And God made two greater lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
(17) And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
(18) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
The earth had already gone through three cycles of night and day without the benefit of the sun or moon. Plants had already been created and were growing without sunlight. Trees were growing, flowers were blooming, and vines were clinging, before the sun could give them life. Scientists think the plants derive their life from the sun, but we know better. They actually derive their life from God. Revelations 21:23 says that the new earth will have no need of the sun or moon because the glory of God will be its illumination. Isn't it interesting that in the end, we will go back to the beginning?
The sun, moon, and stars, were obviously made for man's benefit. This would be how man would tell time. He would use them to gauge days, seasons, and years. He would learn to travel across the earth using stars to plot his position. But more importantly, they would give light. The stars and moon would provide a soft light during the period of darkness. The moon would provide the majority of that light at night. There is a reason for this and I will tell you what I think it is. Until the stars and the moon were created, the side of the earth that was covered in darkness (night) was covered in total and complete darkness. The darkness was pitch black. The darkness was so extreme that you would not have been able to see anything.
This next piece of information may be trivial but I find it fascinating. Did you know that God knows exactly how many stars He created? It is not something that we really think about, but it is true. God knows the exact number of stars that are in the heavens. Here is something else: He gave each one of them a name. Psalms 147:4 says “He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.” I find that fact rather staggering. Each pinpoint of light in the nighttime sky has a name. The very sun that warms our solar system was given a name by God. But what I really want to talk about is the moon.
The moon has only one mission in life. It reflects the light of the sun. Think about that for a minute. That is all that the moon does, it reflects sunlight. Now for the parallel. You and I are supposed to be a moon for God. That is an interesting thought isn't it? Our mission in life is to reflect the light of God's son. Jesus is the light which came into the world. Read John 1:1-12, John 3:16-21, and John 8:12. These verses refer to Jesus being the Light which came to the world.
When you become a Christian, you are filled with God as He lives in you. Light now resides, or dwells, inside of you. You have become filled with Light. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said that we are the light of this world and we are given a mission. We are to let our light shine before men. God has chosen and called us to be light in a world filled with darkness. Romans 2:19 says that we are a light to those who are in darkness. So how do we do that? How do we shine in the darkness? Let's take a look at the moon.
A full moon reflects the maximum amount of sunlight. It is easy to see your way in the night when the moon is full. As the earth comes in between the moon and the sun, the moon reflects less and less sunlight until the moon is dark (what we call a new moon). As Christians, we reflect less Son light when the world comes between ourselves and God. The amount of the world that we let get in between ourselves and God is not directly proportional to the amount of light we reflect. It only takes a little bit of the world to greatly reduce the amount of light that shines forth from us. We must be very careful to let as little of the world as possible to get in between God and ourselves.
In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” God, who was the Light that lit the world when He first created it, was now walking as a man on the earth. Very few people recognized Him for who He was and is. Light came to earth and the darkness fled. So the forces of darkness came up with a plan: crucify the Light and make it go away. Isn't it interesting that for three hours before Jesus (who is Light) died on the cross, the sun stopped shining? For the first time since the first day of creation, the entire earth was covered in darkness. Creation mourned as Light died on the cross for our sins. But it did not end there.
Three days later, the Son of God rose from the dead and with that resurrection was the dawn of a whole new spiritual day. Darkness fled as the Son rose from the dead. It is a day where Christians are the light to those who are in darkness. When we become Christians, we become light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). God's light shines through us and we become lights in this dark world (Philippians 2:15).
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said that we are the light of the world and that we are to let our light shine before men which would glorify God the father. It is our job to shine forth God's light in a world filled with darkness. 1 John 1:5 says that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. To shine forth God's light is to shine forth God himself. When we shine God's light, sinners are shone the path of salvation. We light the path which leads to the cross and salvation. In the darkness we need light to find our way home. So also does the sinner, who looks to us to light his way to Jesus. This is an awesome responsibility given to us by God. We must therefore always endeavor to be a “full moon” for Jesus.
So when you look into the night sky and see the moon, remember your mission. You and I must lead sinners to Jesus. When you look at the moon, consider whether or not any of the world is blocking God's light from shining forth from your life. If we are not “full moons,” then it is time to repent and rededicate our lives to God. The moon reminds us that it is our job to light the path that leads to the cross of Jesus. The moon reminds us that it is our duty to reflect the light of God. Now you know what we are here to do, and now you know why God made the moon.