As stated before, it is best to read the following verses several times and compare them with other translations before we begin our study.
14. Then God said, "Let there be light in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
15. and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth "; and it was so.
16. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
17. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18. and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
In these verses God defines the second heaven, and He creates the sun, moon and stars. It is here that we have a created light source, and the termination, or suspension of the visible spiritual light from God as the means of physically lighting the earth. This is confirmed in verse 16 where He says that these new creations will govern over the day and night.
There is also an interesting comparison between this, the fourth day, and that of the first day.
In Genesis 1:3, God said, "Let there be light." The Hebrew word for light used here is "ohr".
In Genesis 1:14, God said, "Let there be lights...". The Hebrew word used here for lights is not the plural word for light, but the word, "m'oh-roht", which is the plural for "light-giver".
God has here separated His light [ohr] from those that physically generated or reflected visible light [mtohr].
When we are told in verse 14, that God said, "Let there be light...", it doesn't mean that this was the time He also created these heavenly bodies; it simply means that He caused the sun and the other stars to produce light. God created them in verse 1, but they did not begin their thermonuclear reactions that produce light until this point in the creation process.
From what we are told here, the earth didn't seem to have to wait for the light to reach here from the distant stars. It would appear that God also created the "light stream" from these stars. The light of the stars only served to maintain the light so that it would continue to be visible. Now I can't prove this, for it only a theory, but so is the scientific "evidence" that tells us that light form some stars took billions of years to reach us. It all depends upon our frame of reference. To say this in other words, the scientific "evidence" indicates that it took God billions of years to created what we have today, while I'm saying that God could just as easily have created everything in its final form. And we can't conclusively prove either one. Thus, we come to the conclusion that creation by God or from any other source is really a matter of faith.
This is also the time when the days and seasons, as we know them, were most likely established.
The rotation of the earth about its axis causes the days, and as it revolved completely around the sun, we get our years, but it is the tilt of the earth upon its axis that causes the effect of seasons. So the tilt could not have come from some catastrophic occurrence, or there would be no seasons (verse 14). It is a creation of God.
God made the stars to show to humankind, and perhaps to other kind as well. Note also from verse 16, that the use of the word "govern", or rule, the times of day and night, could be a way of showing that the days and nights were even longer than they are today, and that things took place during the night, that don't usually take place today. And furthermore, the greenhouse effect could have reflected the light further around the zone of light and darkness than occurs today.
It is also the human beings fascination with these particular creations that has led human beings to worship the creation rather than the Creator. See Romans 1:24-25.
24. Therefore God gave them over to the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.
25. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen
Listen to Stephen's comment on this turning away from worshiping God to that which He created in Acts 7:41-42.
41. "And at that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the work of their hands.
42. "But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the books of the prophets, 'It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel?
Many people seem to find it hard to relate to God, and believe in Him who created all things, yet many of these same people believe in the very things that God created, and even worship them. If we have a better understanding of creation, then this is less likely to happen.
1 Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings, (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1976), 65.