this lesser light of mine

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. Genesis 1:16

Photo: Thom Roland

Photo: Thom Roland

According to the Bible, the Moon is a light source. Scientific ignorance in a pre-science culture is certainly excusable, but consider this: how humans learn (observation, contemplation, experimentation) hasn’t really changed over the millenia; only our methods have improved. Simple observations with the unaided eye show that the Moon itself is not a light (eclipses anyone?). Shortly before sitting down to write this I looked at the Moon: outside it was snowing lightly, but even through the haze and light pollution I saw the lunar topography. With the development of telescopes and, more recently, cameras, our ability to examine the “lesser light” has grown astronomically.

Photo: Thom Roland

Photo: Thom Roland

The above photo was taken last year from my balcony using a DSLR and a very mediocre 300mm zoom lens. Instead of a light shining on us, the Moon appears shone upon. Even with hobby-level gear the Moon looks like it’s composed of dust and rock. Imagine that.

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Oh right, we no longer have to.

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

So either the Moon is a light source that’s incredibly dirty (to be fair there is no wind to blow away the dust), or the Bible got a very simple fact very wrong–in the first chapter, no less! Just to stave off the inevitable whines about appeals to “context,” photosynthesis requires a light source. Oops.


1 Response to “this lesser light of mine”

  1. 1 Mike Martin
    January 24, 2014 at 14:22

    The other thing of course, is the making of plants before the sun. It is the sun that provides us with heat. As a for instance, Pluto, which is around 4.4billion miles from the sun, has a temperature of minus 240c. Further away, the temperature drops to minus 270c. We could expect the temperature on Earth without a sun to be in that range. Hardly conducive to a “green and pleasant” land. Most, if not all plants, could not survive 24 hours at that temperature.

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