God said of the sun and moon, “Let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:15).

This passage raises a question. Why does God say the moon gives light when it only reflects light?

Since the Bible is God’s Word and is inerrant, this cannot be an error. So we must take into account the Author and His intent. The statement “to give light on the earth” does not in any way contradict what we observe about the sun and moon. The sun “gives” light on the earth by burning gas and emitting high-energy photons of light, whereas the moon “gives” light on the earth by reflecting the photons of light. The sun and moon both “give” light, just by different means.

By analogy, when I was a young child I wanted to give my dad a letter opener for his birthday. Unfortunately, being a young child and jobless, I didn’t have any money to buy one. So my mom bought the letter opener for me and also bought him a present she wanted to give. On my dad’s birthday, I gave him the letter opener, while she also gave him another present. Now, did I really give the present even though I didn’t buy it? Of course. Even though I did not buy the gift, I was still the one who gave it to my father.

And even though the light does not originate from the moon, the moon still gives light on the earth.

David Wright worked in the AiG Correspondence Department where he answered emails, letters, and phone calls on biblical authority, theology, and science. He is currently working on his aerospace engineering degree at a major secular university.

Help keep these daily articles coming. Support AiG.

Risk-free trial issue!

Risk-free trial issue!

If you decide you want to keep Answers coming, simply pay your invoice for just $24 and receive four issues (a full year) more. If not, write “cancel” across the invoice and return it. The trial issue is yours to keep, regardless!

Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
New subscribers only. No gift subscriptions.
Offer valid in U.S. only.