The Stars of Lights

“Praise Him, sun and moon! Praise Him, all ye stars of light! Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created” (Ps. 148:3-5).

The word for star (chochabh) is a general term which includes all the bodies in the heavens, including the planets, satellites, suns, nebulae, galaxies, meteors, bolides and comets. The word literally means, “something rolled up into a ball.” Their creation came about as follows.

“And said Elohim, Let the lightbearers in the expanse of the heavens to cause to divide between the day and between the night; and let them be for signs, and for times, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to cause light upon the earth; and it was so. And made Elohim two of the lightbearers, the great; the light, the great, for dominion of the day; and the light, the small, for dominion of the night; and the stars! And gave them, Elohim, in the expanse of the heavens to cause light upon the earth, and to rule in the day and in the night, and to cause to divide between the light and between the darkness; and saw, Elohim, that, good! And was evening, and was morning, day fourth!” (Gen. 1:14-19).

The purpose of the stellar bodies is, 1) to divide the light from the darkness, continuing and rendering permanent the distinction established on the first day, when the light of day was divided from the darkness of night by the earth rotating on its axis and revolving in its orbit; 2) to give light upon the earth. Light travels through space invisibly. Mere space, without the particles of our atmosphere, or an atmosphere, is as dark as our midnight. Light passes through this with no apparent visibility until it meets with an obstacle, such as the atmosphere, which, then, makes the obstacle and the light apparent to the eye. A magnifying glass will prove this. Focus the light to a very tiny point on an object. The point of light is visible on the object, but the ray of light as it is bent through the lens, is invisible. The conical shape of this beam of light may be seen by sprinkling it with chalk dust. But then that which is visible is illuminated particles of dust. 3) To rule the day by the sun, and the night by the moon. The sun can illumine the earth, because of the atmosphere which catches and diffuses the light. For the same reason, the moon is able to illumine the earth at night, at times with enough brightness as to enable one to read easily. 4) To be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, for calculating time, for marking out the four seasons, the time of animal breeding, the migration of birds (Jer. 8:7), the time of worship services and religious observances (Zech. 8:19). They are for symbols. There is the single star (Mercury or Venus), the stars in groups of three (Triangula), and four (Libra), and seven (Ursa Minor). They symbolize, respectively, the Triune God, one in Being, Three in Person; the world, and God’s covenant.

All creatures reflect God’s glory and tell us something of the heavenly kingdom. Our Confession makes this clear: “We know Him by two means: first, by the creation, preservation and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely His power and divinity, as the Apostle Paul saith, Rom. 1:20” (Belgic, II). Romans 1:20 says, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” All creatures in the universe, great and small, whether telescopical or microscopical, are so many characters, signs, letters or words which lead us to contemplate God. God and the things of God are understood by the things that are made. Whether it be the sun or the infinitesimal creatures in a drop of water, each one is the embodiment of a divine thought. A flower is a word of God; the moon is a word of God. Every creature in the universe is the incorporation of a word of God. Every creature in the universe as to its being and essence .is a symbol — of something heavenly and spiritual. It is a signature or a footprint of God. The word “signs” (othoth) means an engraving, a mark, an instruction. God could not create or make a creature without it expressing a divine thought. For God could not make a mute word; Pie cannot make a “brute fact,” Pie cannot make a mere abstraction. A vacuous, meaningless creature is unthinkable and impossible. For all things were made by the Logos, the Word, the Divine Thought of the Triune God. All things declare the glory of God; they are all expressions which sing His praise! “Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood be joyful. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof” (Ps. 96:12, II).

It was Dr. C. I. Scofield’s opinion that the sun, moon and stars were not made on the fourth day. “Neither here nor in vv. 14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used (asah, “to make”). The sense is ‘made to appear; made visible.’ The sun and the moon were created ‘in the beginning.’ The light, of course, came from the sun, but the vapor diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.” But against this it is simply a fact that the Hebrew asah, “to make,” by no stretch of the imagination can be translated “made to appear,” or “made visible.” And although there is nothing principally wrong with the opinion that these heavenly bodies were created in the beginning at least as to their material and mass, they nevertheless did not have light centered in them until the fourth day. Light, therefore, on the first three days did not come from the sun, but from the original creature light itself. What then do you think of those “scientific” opinions that the sun is older than the earth? that the earth comes from the sun? and that the sun holds the earth in its orbit about the sun?

The stars are among the great marvels of the creative power of God, and the Bible speaks of them as the noblest work of the Creator, “when I consider Thy heavens . . . the moon and the stars . . . what is man!” (Ps. 8:3f). Emphasized is their height above the earth. “Behold the height of the stars, how high they are!” (Job 22:12). Their number is also prominent. “The host of heaven cannot be numbered” (Jer. 33:22), but God numbers them and calls them all by their names (Ps. 147:4). Besides the stars mentioned in Job 9:9, the Bible is said also to refer to Saturn in the name Chiun (Amos 5:26). Amos may have, in 8:9, referred to an eclipse of the sun: “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.” There is probably no mention made in the Bible of an eclipse of the moon. More than any other science, astronomy enables us to realize the omnipotence and glory of God!

Our Bible looks at the stellar heavens from the viewpoint of the earth, and from the viewpoint of the solar system, which is but an infinitesimal sector of our galaxy. The moon is a little over 238,000 miles from Earth. The Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter, while the moon is 2,160 miles in diameter. This seems rather enormous, until you consider the solar system. The sun’s fight reaches throughout this expanse to Pluto, 3,666,000,000 miles away, while the Earth and Moon are tiny infinitesimal specks in this sea of stars. The solar system seems gigantic, until you consider our galaxy. This is said to be a vast spiral nebula, looking at it edge-wise shaped much, like a flying saucer, and being about 100,000 light years in length and about 10,000 light years in thickness. A light year is about 5.8 trillion miles! The solar system looked at edge-wise in the galaxy would appear like a minus sign! But our galaxy, though it seems colossal, when you consider the entire Universe, seems in comparison itself no longer than a minus sign! But let us have a look, a moment, at our Earth.

The Earth inclined on its axis at an angle of 231/2 degrees turns upon itself from W. to E. in 24 hours with a velocity of about l,039 m.p.h.; and this motion creates the impression of the whole sky turning around us. (The same impression is obtained while sitting on a spinning merry-go-round, and facing and looking at the center. The scenery all about appears to turn around that center.) The earth is distant from the sun about 93,000,000 miles, and moves in a path around the sun with a speed, of 66,600 m.p.h., continuing at this rate for one year, when a complete revolution around the sun is accomplished, and a distance of 584,000,000 miles traveled. Because of these motions, there is always a side of the earth which is illuminated by the sun, and the opposite side which is in shadow, the shadow conical in shape, extends into space for over 850,000 miles where it terminates in a point. Here please read Job 38:19, 20, 24. The earth moving in its orbit, and the inclination of its axis cause the four seasons and the difference in temperature between each of them.

The moon is earth’s satellite, 238,854 miles away. It follows the earth round the sun at the same time revolving around the earth in a period of 29% days. Circling the earth, it slowly turns on its axis taking about the same length of time to do so, and that is the reason the same side of the moon is always turned toward us. The moon is an amazing sight as viewed through even a weak telescope. The strongest telescope in the world at Mount Palomar brings the moon to within 200 miles from us. It consists of rugged mountain peaks, higher than, the mountains of earth, (measured by the length, of their shadow), flat, desolate plains and many craters caused by meteorites crashing into its surface. It is said to be a dry, dead world, with, no noticeable moisture or atmosphere, and no organic life. The absence of an atmosphere places the moon in a black void surrounded by an infinite number of stars which shine during the day as well as night. The day on the moon lasts 354 hours, and the night as long. There is not a single cloud, to moderate the 250 degree F. heat of the sun during the day, nor a thing to prevent the 200 degree below temperature at night! “The precious things of heaven! . . . the precious things put forth by the moon!” (Deut. 33:14).