Why did God create light twice, day one and day four?


My best guess is that one is literal (day four) and the other figurative (day one). But if this is so, how do we interpret day one? I do not know for sure, but I lean towards a Jewish interpretation where the light is that of God.

[This world] is the lowest in degree; there is none lower than it in terms of concealment of His light and no world compares with it for doubled and redoubled darkness; nowhere is G d’s light hidden as in this world.

I would like some Catholic interpretations.

LOVE! :slight_smile:


Genesis 1: 3-5; day one

3 Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day.

Genesis 1: 14-18; day four

14 Then God said: Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the seasons, the days and the years, 15 and serve as lights in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth. And so it happened: 16 God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night, and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

Day 1: creation of time
Day 4: creation of objects in the sky

Please understand that this cannot understood as a blow-by-blow account of the creation. (Read Genesis 2 and compare it - it’s totally different). Rather, given when this was written, and the environment it was written in, it is a radical departure of the mythological understanding of heavenly bodies. It seems like just about everything was a god in Egypt - the sun, moon, and rivers, etc.

There’s a whole lot of commentary on this part of the bible. I suggest you pick up a copy of “Our Father’s Plan,” and you’ll see some great things in there.


It is thought that in the first three days, three realms were created:
2-space or sky (from the separation of the waters)
3-earth (from the separation of land from water)

In the second three days, correspondingly, were created things to fill the voids of those realms:
1-sun, moon, stars by which we measure time
2-birds in the sky and fish in the sea (to delineate sea from sky)
3-animals, with the crowning achievement…human


Light was not created twice. God created light Itself on the first day. God created objects which give light on the fourth day.

Light is in the very beginning of the Bible, in the Gospels, and right at the end of the Bible.

*The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (John 9:5)

And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever. . (Revelation 22:5)*

The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ is the light.



God created light twice for the same reason that he created Adam and Eve twice. The first two chapters of the Book of Genesis were written by two different authors. The J (Jahweh) source was used for chapter 1, and the E (Elohim) source for chapter 2. That is why there is so much redundancy. Creation is described first by one author, and the same creation is described by the other author, each one writing it according to his own version.



If you wanted to align it with scientific theory, day one is the big bang, day four is the coalescing of stars and their light arriving at the Earth.


I’ve always thought that ‘let there be light’ was just that - light diffused behind a layer of cloud and/or haze.

The sun, moon and stars were revealed later, as the clouds cleared.


The light is Jesus.

God’s first act was to call light into existence.

And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

Jesus is the light of men. Let there be light" refers to Christ. We testify to this in the creed…

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father

The opening lines of the Bible, God’s first act, is a reference to the Light of light, the Light of life, the Light of men, the Light that shines in the darkness - Jesus Christ - eternally begotten of the Father, just like it says in the third line of the Bible.



Chapter 1 is P, chapter 2 and following is J.


Whether you hold to the P or E source, it is clear that Genesis incorporates two different versions of the Creation (as well as two different versions of the Flood).

Understanding the source and purpose of the first Chapters of Genesis goes a long way to helping understand them. One of the primary goals was to refute the beliefs of other religions (particularly Babylonians). For example, that God is good (as opposed to a balance between good and evil as in other contemporary faiths), that creation itself is good (ditto), that God created everything from nothing (and not that one divine being created the world from the remains of another), and so on.


The Jahwist and Elohist sources are mulch older than the Priestly source, which according to scholars, was written with an agenda in mind. This agenda was not to tell an accurate account but to slant it toward a priestly point of view in order to propagate a theology.

The Elohist source is difficult to detect, but scholars have identified certain passages that are likely derived from there.


Nothing like a modern day conspiracy theory in order to propagate a theology. It is the predisposed bias that makes a thin line between scholar and speculator.


So is the light and lesser light created by God in the expectation that the Light of Day 1 would need to be withdrawn as a consequence of departure from God? In Revelation the city New Jerusalem does not need a sun and moon to shine on it, for the Glory of God enlightens it and the Lamb is the lamp.


I don’t know…

I know that the greater and lesser lights are not light itself, but things that give light. Light is what comes from lights.

*** And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.** (Genesis 1:6)*

It also occurs to me that Mary was clothed with the sun (greater light) and the moon (lesser light) was beneath her feet. Stars very often represent angels.

Again, I don’t know. It would make for some good meditation.



Ultimately the question is unresolved, as there were no human witnesses to the creation.

In elaboration of previous comments that the text of Gen 1 is attributed to the priestly tradition, the Jewish commentaries point out that text is highly poetic, with extra repeated words for poetic effect (apparently).

The Jewish Publication Society commentary on Genesis points out that in the first creation account, the Hebrew verses are either seven words in length or a multiple of seven Hebrew words.

So, that literary analysis blows wide open the subject of the significance of the number 7, in my view underscoring how Gen 1 points to the creation of the Sabbath rest in the first seven days.

A catholic author and theologian describes Gen 1 (the first creation account) as like a great hymn of introduction, underscoring the poetic and priestly liturgical form of the writing. It’s like an overture of the Bible (that’s the word I was looking for.)

The JPS commentaries look for harmony everyplace in scripture. So, they rationalize that the two creation accounts represent different traditions. To avoid having to choose between them, they were included together. I think these commentaries say that the account of Noah’s flood consists of three different accounts interwoven, if I remember correctly.

A previous post describes how days 1-3 represent the creation of domains, generally in a state of chaos, which were then put into order on days 4-6. That’s not a scientific explanation, as it was never intended to be. It is a theological explanation.

A high percentage of the OT is poetry – inspired poetry at that. Analogously,the NT commentary that I’m reading now about the gospel of John notes that “something” happens, like the “word was made flesh and dwelt among us” which tells us a truth, but does not tell us the “how” – like how light was created on the first day or how God took on flesh. Early scripture commenters like St. Augustine say that we will never understand the “how” of scripture.


It is curious that light was created, but light emitting sources were not created until after light was there. In Biblical days, light came from the sun, moon, stars, fire, and perhaps auras. But these were not cited as being created before light itself. How curious!


What a coincidence that within a 24 hour period two people thought to start a thread on this very same question. I recently started a thread and I had not seen this one.

I was actually embarrassed to start it :blush: but the question came up so - I did. I am reading Genesis.

Well, I don’t think the light was Jesus because Jesus was not created.


Welcome to the discussion! I like the Jewish interpretation.

Christ was not created, but always existed.

LOVE! :slight_smile:


That is the Jewish faith which consists of fundamentally different understandings of God, Creation, and God’s relationship with mankind and as per the article, even the reason of Creation and the creation of mankind. I love the Jewish people and appreciate their role in salvation history. However, I am Catholic and I try to grow in my Catholic faith and I try to make sure that I do not syncretize my faith with any other faith. I suppose I can do that with no problems and as a matter of course, because I actually feel blessed to be Catholic and consider it a great gift. I feel so because I know that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Our Lord Jesus Christ. I appreciate what Peter said:

John 6:68
…67So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69"We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”…

and this advice;

Ephesians 4:14
…13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,

So, I do not share your appreciation for that understanding as it is not in harmony with Catholic teachings.




Christians may have originally had a uniform doctrine and belief system after Pentecost. This was the Apostle’s Creed. But soon thereafter, Christianity began to be complicated by assertions on the nature of Jesus in addition to the original creed. When this happened, various bishops throughout the Mediterranean began to teach their own ideas about Jesus. When this happened, Christianity began to be more about Jesus than his teachings. This went on for three hundred years with bishops arguing against each other and the pope… Finally Emperor Constantine put a stop to that. At last the Council of Nicaea established the Catholic Church with a unified doctrine. However, it was not until Emperor Theodosius made the Catholic Church the official state church that the church became the Roman Catholic Church. Anyone not toeing the line was branded a heretic.

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