In the first chapter of Genesis, God’s word says that He created two great lights: The greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. In fact, the Bible tells us in several passages that light comes from the moon. Is this a scientific blunder? Are Christians who affirm the truth of the scriptures nothing more than scientific goofs? What does the Bible say about the moon being a light or giving off light?
A few years ago, I remember seeing Bill Nye the “science” guy talking on some program, and he was mocking the Bible, saying that it incorrectly called the moon a light in Genesis. According to Nye, this was inaccurate because the moon really just reflects light, and it doesn’t provide light like the sun. He said something like this: We now know the moon is not a light like the sun, and this proves that the Bible is unscientific and untrue.
Is this really what the Bible says? Let’s examine God’s word to see what it says.
Video presentation of this article:
Does the Bible Say the Moon is a Light?
The first mention of the moon being a light occurs in Genesis 1:16:
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”
The Bible goes on in many other passages, both in the Old Testament and New, to use similar language. Here are a few examples:
- Job 25:5: “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.”
- Isaiah 13:10: “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
- Isaiah 30:26: “Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bideth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”
- Ezekiel 32:7: “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.”
- Mark 13:24: “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.”
As we can clearly see, the Bible calls the moon a “lesser light,” says that the moon “shines,” and that the moon “gives light.” Question: Is the Bible accurate when it calls the moon a light, or says that it gives off light? Of course it is!
First, let’s examine the Hebrew word used for light. The word is ‘Owr. This word can mean one of two things: “to be or become light,” or “to be illuminated or become lighted up.” This term clearly fits our modern understanding of the moon, because it certainly becomes “lighted up.”
If the Bible said that God created two flaming fireballs in the heavens, each burning through the process of nuclear fusion, then the skeptics might have a leg to stand on in their criticism. However, that’s simply not the case.
The moon is a light, gives light upon the earth, and it does shine. It’s also a great reflector. These are all factual statements that align with both the Biblical use of the term light, as well as our modern usage of the term. Both the sun and the moon give light upon the earth. However, they do it by different means. The sun gives us light through the process of nuclear fusion. The moon gives us light through the process of reflection.
The moon gives off so much light, in fact, that on a clear night with a full moon, the moon will create a shadow of your body. You can actually read in the moonlight. That’s clearly a significant light source in our night sky. And the Bible is 100% accurate: The two greatest light sources for planet earth are the sun (by day) and the moon (by night).
Now, here’s the funny part: Just in case skeptics like Mr. Nye aren’t sure, let’s look up a simple definition of light in a modern dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster.com, June 2015, light is defined as follows:
a: something that makes vision possible. b: the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual receptors. c. electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles per second; specifically: such radiation that is visible to the human eye.
Does calling the moon a light fit with the modern definition of light? Of course it does. The moon makes vision possible at night, and it gives off electromagnetic radiation (visible light) via the process of reflection.
What’s even more hilarious is this: On Merriam-Webster’s article, a section below the definition says, “Examples of Light.” Wanna guess what their third example of light is? Here it is: “The light of the moon.”
Not only that, but a quick search online will reveal articles from scientific magazines and blogs with titles such as, “Why does the moon shine” and “How the moon gives off light.” In other words, even scientific articles, blogs, and so forth still use language today that indicates the moon is a light, gives off light, and shines.
Do the skeptics scramble to call modern dictionaries and websites “unscientific?” Of course not. But they incorrectly claim that the Bible is wrong when it says the same thing. The tragedy is that most skeptics you’ll come across today don’t really have an intellectual problem with the Bible. Instead, they have a sin problem, and the Bible doesn’t mince words about sin. Therefore, they pick any little issue they can to scoff and mock, hoping to justify themselves in their sin and rebellion against God.
In summary, the Bible does say that the moon is a lesser light in our night sky, it gives off light, and it shines. All are factually correct when considering the Hebrew word used, the context of the passages, as well as our modern definitions and usage of the term light or moonlight.
By the way, did you hear about the new restaurant they built on the moon? It’s crazy that someone would ever build a restaurant on the moon, but apparently they’ve done it. People have given it mixed reviews, though. I mean, they say the food is great, but there’s just no atmosphere…
Corny joke, I know.
On a more serious note: Have you accepted Christ as your savior? Regardless of how many sins you’ve committed in your life, God stands willing to forgive you. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins. The Bible says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. I hope you place your faith and trust in Christ today, for today is the day of salvation!