The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleGenesis 1:16
And God made two great lights…
This was his own
work which he himself did, and not by another; and may be
particularly observed to express the folly of idolaters in
worshipping these luminaries which were the creations of God, and
were placed by him in the heaven to serve some purposes on earth
beneficial to men, but not to be worshipped. These two "great
lights" are the sun and the moon; and they may well be called great,
especially the former, for the diameter of the sun is reckoned to be
about eight hundred thousand miles. According to Mr. Derham F9 its
apparent diameter is computed at 822,145 English miles, its ambit at
2,582,873 miles, and its solid contents at 290,971,000,000,000,000:
the lowest account makes the sun a hundred thousand times bigger
than the earth; and according to Sir Isaac Newton it is 900,000
bigger. The moon's diameter is to that of the earth is about twenty seven
per cent, or 2175 miles, its surface contains fourteen hundred thousand
square miles F11: it is called great, not on account of its
corporeal quantity, for it is the least of all the planets excepting
Mercury, but because of its quality, as a light, it reflecting more
light upon the earth than any besides the sun.
The greater light to rule the day:
not to rule men, though the
heathens have worshipped it under the names of Molech and Baal,
which signify king and lord, as if it was their lord and king to
whom they were to pay homage; but to rule the day, to preside over
it, to make it, give light in it, and continue it to its proper
length; and in which it rules alone, the moon, nor any of the other
planets then appearing: this is called the "greater" light, in
comparison of the moon, not only with respect to its body or
substance, but on account of its light, which is far greater and
stronger than that of the moon; and which indeed receives its light
from it, the moon being, as is generally said, an opaque body:
and the lesser light to rule the night;
to give light then,
though in a fainter, dimmer way, by reflecting it from the sun; and
it rules alone, the sun being absent from the earth, and is of great
use to travellers and sailors; it is called the lesser light, in
comparison of the sun. Astronomers are of opinion, as Calmet F12
observes, that it is about fifty two times smaller than the earth,
and four thousand one hundred and fifty times smaller than the sun;
but these proportions are otherwise determined by the generality of
modern astronomers: however, they all agree that the moon is
abundantly less than the sun; and that it is as a light, we all
[He made] the stars also;
to rule by night, (Psalms 136:9) not
only the planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, but the
vast numbers of stars with which the heavens are bespangled, and
which reflect some degree of light upon the earth; with the several
constellations, some of which the Scriptures speak of, as Arcturus,
Orion, Pleiades, and the chambers of the south, (Job 9:9)
(Job 38:31-32) (Amos 5:8) though some restrain this to the five
Ed. Contrast the foolishness of modern cosmology with the
writings of the early church father, Theophilus when he states F10:
``On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence.
Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of
the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the
things produced on earth came from the stars, so that they
might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth
might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into
existence before stars. For what comes into existence
later cannot cause what is prior to it.''
F9 Astro-Theology, B. 1. c. 2. & B. 6. c. 2.
F10 Cited from Impact 251. ICR "Acts and Facts" (May 1994); Theophilus,
"To Autolycus" 2. 4, Oxford Early Christian Texts, as cited in
Louis Lavalle, "The Early Church Defended Creation Science"
Impact 160. ICR "Acts and Facts" (October 1986): ii.
F11 Chambers's Dictionary in the word "Moon".
F12 Dictionary in the word "Moon".
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 1:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ge&chapter=001&verse=016>. 1999.