The Moon: The Light That Rules the Night

Moonlit night in the mountains

Our Moon. God created it. Man reached it. Poets have written about it.  Find out about some fascinating truths behind our great ‘lesser light’…

by Jonathan Sarfati

The moon—an object of wonder since the dawn of mankind. It lights up the night sky like nothing else in the heavens, and appears as if it regularly changes shape. As we shall see, it is well designed for life on Earth, while its origin baffles evolutionists.

The moon’s origin

Although there are many different ideas on how and when the moon formed, no scientist was there at the time. So we should rely on the witness of One who was there (cf. Job 38:4), and who has revealed the truth in Genesis 1:14–19:

‘14 And 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:

‘15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

‘16 And 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 …

‘19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.’

This passage clearly states that God made the moon on the same day as the sun and stars—the fourth day of Creation Week. It was also created one day after the plants. This order of events is impossible to reconcile with evolutionary/billions of years ideas.

The moon’s purpose

The answer’s in Genesis! A major purpose is to light up the night. The moon reflects the sun’s light on to us even when the sun is on the other side of the earth. The amount of reflected light depends on the moon’s surface area, so we are fortunate to have a moon that is so large. It is over a quarter of Earth’s diameter—far larger in comparison with its planet than any other in the solar system. Also, if it were much smaller, it would not have enough gravity to maintain its spherical shape.

Another reason for the moon is to show the seasons. The moon orbits the earth roughly once a month causing regular phases in a 29½ day cycle (see diagram right). So calendars could be made, so people could plant their crops at the best time of the year.

An important feature is that the moon always keeps the same face towards the earth. If different parts were visible at different times, the moon’s brightness would depend on which part was pointing towards the earth. Then the 29½ day cycle would be far less obvious.

The moon’s size and closeness to Earth means it has the greatest tidal effect on Earth. Even the sun has less than half this effect, and the effect of the other planets is negligible. When the sun and moon are aligned, their combined gravity results in strong spring tides. When they are at right angles, their gravity partly cancels, resulting in weak neap tides…

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image credit: Kym