If you are having trouble viewing this email, click here.
April 26, 2006

Dear Concerned Citizen,

by Dr. Gerald Schroeder and Kelly Walker
side bar side bar Verses 14-19: Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. Then 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. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Over time, as the earth gradually cooled and the bacteria and algae did their work adding oxygen to the air, the atmosphere slowly changed. Eventually, the sky became clear enough to allow the sun, the stars and the moon to be visible from earth. Day became very different from night, as the sun’s rays were finally able to reach directly to the earth. By the end of the fourth day, the earth and its atmosphere were ready for air-breathing creatures!

Although there were no land animals or people at this early time, the description of the sun and the moon and the stars is clearly from a view point of the earth looking upward toward the heavens. The earth is the only location in the universe from which the sun and moon both appear as two great luminaries, the same size. That is because although the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it is also 400 times further from the earth than the moon. Hence from the earth, they both appear as the same size. During a total solar eclipse, when the Moon is between the Earth and Sun, it completely blocks the sun, allowing us to see the faint glow of the corona, the Sun's outer atmosphere. (When the Moon is at apogee, it is 11% farther from Earth than it is at perigee. This is far enough that it cannot entirely block the bright light, so eclipses which occur near apogee are not total.)

The view from the earth looking upward to see these heavenly bodies means that the atmosphere of the earth had become clear, changing from a foggy, translucent atmosphere on day three to the clear atmosphere we have today. This change occurred because of the added oxygen by the algae and plants (photosynthesizers) and because as the earth continued to cool, the vapor pressure (steam) from the oceans became much less.

According to the ancient commentaries, the sun and moon were already in the heavens since sometime in day two, but only became visible from the earth on day four. Science has confirmed this ancient understanding by telling us how the atmosphere of the earth changed in this period from fog bound to clear. The ancient commentators learned this from the phrase “God set them in the firmament of the heavens.” “Set them,” here means “made them visible.”

Note that on day four there is no mention of the further development of life. This contains a subtle piece of information. On day three we learned that life on earth started almost immediately after the crust of the earth had cooled to a temperature at which liquid water could form. Liquid water is a necessity since all life on earth is water based. Though this early crust was still quite hot, the rapid start of life conforms with recent discoveries that the earliest forms of life appear to have been thermophilic microbes. With this rapid appearance of life, one would have expected a further rapid continuing development toward animal life. Yet no such mention occurs on day four. And the fossil record follows suit. According to paleontological data, life remained microscopic for an extended period, only to burst forth in the Cambrian explosion of animal life to be discussed on day five.

Clarifying translation: God said, “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of heaven to separate between day and the night; and they shall serve as signs, and for festivals, and for days and years; and they shall serve as luminaries in the firmament of the heaven to shine upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great luminaries, the greater luminary to dominate the day and the lesser luminary to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, to dominate by day and by night, and to separate between the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening [Erev: chaos] and there was morning [Boker: order, clarity], a fourth day.

content share

Responses to A Closer Look:

There is no sense being mad at Dan Brown for historical inaccuracies. He did not abuse historical truth. He was writing a novel (not even a historical novel), not history. The rest of the article that details some differences between real history and the fictional tales of the book is very interesting and useful. Make these differences an opportunity to discuss the real facts of Christianity. - Alex. F. Burr

When I first heard about this, its hard to believe that so-called Christians would be fooled so easy. Christ told us these things would come, and to stay with sound doctrine. Time is short, and if you know Christ, don't be troubled. Keep telling the truth, at all times. These networks such as TBN and INSP are not Christians, but a den of snakes taking from the poor and sick, and promising heaven. Remember. "Let not your hearts be troubled." That means any lie of Satan. Look up, and be happy. We belong to the living God. All the liars, and sinners, will stand before the Great White Throne of Judjement. All the false teachers, will answer to God. Our Father has everything under control. Be happy, and God keep us all, that love him. - Billy Corbi

Dear Editor: Your newsletter is always stimulates my thinking. Regarding your last column about The DaVinci Code, I want to remind the readers that the book is fiction. I think that what frustrates Mr. Olson is an issue of artistic licence, more than an issue of "historical inaccuracy." Brown never claims to be accurate, but submerges his ideas in characters and fantastical plot like any good story-teller. He writes works of fiction, not of theology or of the history of Christianity. I appreciate the freedom we give artists to spin yarns and tell tall-tales: a good story doesn't have to be a factual account to serve it's purpose. - Suzanne Roose

You goof balls. The Da Vinci Code is FICTION, for Pete's sake. If you don't like the book then don't make such a stink about it and give it more press. - Wendy

Numerous historians and apologists have been making lot’s of money writing books to debunk the “assertions” made in The DaVinci Code. I’m an accountant, but even I had to laugh at the stuff in the book when I read it. IT’S FICTION! I know it has caused a lot of controversy, and if I were Dan Brown or the publisher I would stoke that controversy as much as possible. It’s free advertising. I think it’s great that you are educating people on early Christianity, though. I’ve been studying “The Story of Christianity” by Justo Gonzalez in a Sunday School class. The truth about the process of Christ building the Church and what “Christians” have done through history is a lot stranger than the yarn Dan Brown tells. - Charlie Stine, CPA

Send your letter to the editor to feedback@tothesource.org.

Click for a Printer Friendly Version
about tothesource
We live complex lives. We strive to sort out priorities that sometimes conflict or seem incompatible. A moral framework is needed to help us understand the reality around us. Our Judeo-Christian heritage provides a framework to help us comprehend the choices we make and the conflicts that arise over them. It is not only the main source of our spiritual values, but also many of the secular values we depend on.

tothesource is a forum for integrating thinking and action within a moral framework that takes into account our contemporary situation. We will report the insights of cultural experts to the specific issues we face believing these sources will embolden people to greater faith and action.
subscribe email a friend
We invite you to subscribe to our free email service
that features informed opinion on current cultural issues.
Gerald Schroeder   Gerald Schroeder
BSc, MSc, and PhD all earned at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in two fields: Earth and Planetary Sciences; and, Nuclear Physics. Formal theological training includes fifteen years of study under the late Rabbi Herman Pollack, Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Noah Weinberg.

Seven years on the staff of the M.I.T. Physics Department prior to moving to Israel and joining the staff of the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute and the Hebrew University Isotope Separation Mass Spectrometer facility. Currently teaches at the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish studies in Jerusalem.

Author of GENESIS AND THE BIG BANG THE SCIENCE OF GOD and THE HIDDEN FACE OF GOD. In the first full year of its publication, The Science Of God was on the Barnes & Noble list of non-fiction best sellers and was Amazon.com’s best selling book in the field of physics/cosmology for that entire year. Dr. Schroeder has approximately 60 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 5 children.
Kelly Walker   Kelly Walker
Kelly Walker, M.S. has been a writer and editor for the past 18 years. Walker studied environmental science at New Mexico State University after receiving his bachelor's degree in English and theology. Walker taught for a year at Waterfield Institute in Sri Lanka, where he created the reading curricula for five levels of students, aged 17-23.

He was a bilingual elementary teacher in El Paso, Texas before stepping into the environmental sciences field where he worked as a conservation professional for seven years. Walker, father of two young boys, currently works for Sublime Design, a creative agency in Bend, Oregon that he and his wife own.

Kelly enjoys teaching, writing and "dressing and keeping the garden.” He continues to write, teach and advocate good stewardship of natural resources.
tothesource, P.O. Box 1292, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
Phone: (805) 241-3138 | Fax: (805) 241-3158 | info@tothesource.org