Does the Moon Really “Give Light”?

God said of the sun and moon, “Let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:15).

This passage raises a question. Why does God say the moon gives light when it only reflects light?

Since the Bible is God’s Word and is inerrant, this cannot be an error. So we must take into account the Author and His intent. The statement “to give light on the earth” does not in any way contradict what we observe about the sun and moon. The sun “gives” light on the earth by burning gas and emitting high-energy photons of light, whereas the moon “gives” light on the earth by reflecting the photons of light. The sun and moon both “give” light, just by different means.

By analogy, when I was a young child I wanted to give my dad a letter opener for his birthday. Unfortunately, being a young child and jobless, I didn’t have any money to buy one. So my mom bought the letter opener for me and also bought him a present she wanted to give. On my dad’s birthday, I gave him the letter opener, while she also gave him another present. Now, did I really give the present even though I didn’t buy it? Of course. Even though I did not buy the gift, I was still the one who gave it to my father.

And even though the light does not originate from the moon, the moon still gives light on the earth.

Answers Magazine

January – March 2008

This collector’s quality issue is a special, extended 112-page issue about astronomy, covering the big bang, black holes, space exploration, and much more!

Browse Issue Subscribe


Get the latest answers emailed to you.

I agree to the current Privacy Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390