Key Verse: “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”
TODAY’S LESSON CENTERS on the work of the fourth, fifth and sixth creative days. Our Key Verse says concerning the fourth day that God created special sources of light in the heavens, designed strictly for planet Earth, to divide day from night, to indicate seasons, and to help measure the passage of time.
Although the appearance of the sun, moon, and stars was not until the fourth creative day, or epoch, they were all most likely created much earlier, but were previously only partially visible because of the veils of moisture which covered the earth. As these layers gradually dissipated, the “lights” became clearly evident. The use of the sun and the moon to distinguish between day and night now was put into effect. The proper thought of the separation of lights during the fourth creative day is explained in verse 16 of our lesson. The word translated “rule” in this verse describes the relative dominion of each. God caused the sun to have dominion over, or dominate, the day, and the moon to have dominion over, or dominate, the night.
With vegetation and the “greater light” of day and “lesser light” of night established, God was ready to begin the creation of animal life. During the fifth creative day the waters brought forth moving creatures that had life as well as birds. (vs. 20) The extent to which warm oceans at that time swarmed with living creatures, from crustaceans to whales, may be judged by the profusion of life in the warm southern seas of the present time. Reptiles and amphibians, existing partly in the water and partly on land, are also found to have lived in this period, designated the Mesozoic Era.
There may well have been some overlapping of the fourth epoch work into the fifth day, as continents and islands were gradually rising and forming into their more permanent state. This accounts for the fact that remains of shellfish are sometimes found in the highest mountains. The immense beds of limestone in all parts of the earth are sometimes called “shellfish cemeteries,” because they are composed almost exclusively of conglomerate remains of shells.
In this connection it may be noted that the Bible does not assert that God created separately and individually all the myriad kinds of fish, birds, and reptiles. The same is true for “the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind” described in the first part of the sixth creative day in verses 24 and 25. The Spirit of God, his divine power, moved upon the face of the waters and the land, and brought forth living creatures according to his design. Hence, all the various forms of life were created by God, whatever may have been the channels and agencies used. We claim further, on the authority of God’s Word, and verified by science, that when the Creator’s intention concerning each species had been reached, no further change took place. In all ages since, no changes in species of either plant or animal life have ever been produced, despite human effort to do so. How thankful we should be for such an unchangeable and trustworthy God!