Don’t miss yesterday’s post if you haven’t seen it. Today’s may not make much sense if you don’t read yesterday’s.
The Fourth Day: The Lights of Heaven
The fourth day is very tied to the previous three. Light and darkness were divided on day one. They were even called day and night on the first day. On the fourth day, however, God creates lights in the firmament to divide the day from the night.
How should we understand this? I suggest that what was once tied purely to God is being shared with us. Light and darkness were separated the first day, but there was no tie between the light and the rest of creation. The waters above which the Spirit of God was hovering, preparing to do his work of creation, were the focus of the second and third day, completely separate from the light and darkness of the first day.
On the fourth day, he gives us two lights to help us separate light from darkness and night from day. He also gives us many much smaller lights for signs and seasons, days and years.
What these lights represent is easy. The greater light that rules the day is Son of God. He said, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn. 9:4-5).
The night has now come, but there is another light that God has given, a lesser light to rule the night. That light, of course, is the church.
Like the moon, the church does not have its own light. Its light is the light of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that as long as he was in the world, he was the light of the world. He has departed and sent us his Spirit. Now we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14; Eph. 5:8).
And the stars? While the moon represents the church, the collective light of all the saints, the stars represent the individual saints. Paul compares us in the resurrection to stars that differ in glory (1 Cor. 15:38-44). God describes Abraham’s descendants as being like the stars in multitude (Heb. 11:12). Jude even compares false prophets to stars. In Jude 13 the planets are used as bad examples, called “wandering stars” and applied to false prophets that will not keep their place.
The saints vary in their shining. Even the church reflects more or less of the light of the Son, though the analogy breaks down there, for we should always reflect the fullness of the Son. It is sin when we do not.
I have been tying the days of creation to the description of the growth of the new creation, which is us, in 2 Pet. 1:5-7. So how does this fourth day compare with perseverance, the fourth trait given by Peter.
It is self-control that produces the fruit we see in the soul on the third day. If the earth is to produce fruit, then the sun must shine and the seasons must come. So, if we are to continue to produce fruit, to persevere in our self-control, we need the light of the Son, the light of the church, and the admonition of individual saints.
In Hebrews 3:13 we read, “Exhort [or encourage, console, beg, plead] one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
We haven’t gotten to the deceitfulness of sin yet. That comes in chapter three, and it produces thistles, thorns, and pain rather than food for all the earth as self-control does. However, if we want to persevere in self-control, we need the influence not just of Christ, but of the church and of the individual saints around us as well.
I don’t have time to go into a long description of the role of the church in a post like this, but the church is called “the pillar and support of the truth” in 1 Tim. 3:15. The church is described as growing together as each part does its share in Eph. 4:13-16. And every individual member of the church is needed by the other members according to Paul in 1 Cor. 12.
The Fifth Day: Filling the Seas and Air with Life
The fifth trait in 2 Pet. 1:5-7 is godliness. On the fifth day, God filled the seas with sea creatures and the sky with birds.
At this point, the creatures of the sea and the birds are not given as food to man. When man is created on day six, God gives all the plants to him for food, but he does not give him the fish or the birds for food. That won’t happen until after the flood.
So the emphasis here has to be life, not food. The waters below, we saw, represent the soul.
Picture this, if you will. You are walking in a beautiful garden. There are trees filled with luscious fruit. Occasionally a field sprawls before you in “golden waves of grain.” Flowers grow along paths that run between the trees.
But it is quiet. There is no sound except the wind. Not a hint of life. For there are no birds, no animals.
When our perseverance in self-control becomes real godliness and not just good deeds, we begin to see not just fruit, but life. Others who touch a godly person are not just fed. They do not just hear the Word of God from such a person, they imbibe it. A godly man influences others by the very life that he brings around them.
What a difference in the world between day four and five! A quiet and empty garden island on day four. On day five, there is the chatter of birds and the splash of fish and dolphins. Life has come to the world, and so godliness will bring life into your soul.
I believe both creation accounts, the account of the old creation in Genesis one and two, and the account of the growth of the new creation in 2 Peter 1:5-7, are going somewhere. They have a purpose, a goal.
The sixth and seventh day embody that purpose, so we will set both aside until tomorrow.