M. Kline on Genesis 1 (Days 1 and 4)

Understandably dissatisfied with the contrived nature of these attempts to avoid acknowledging that the act of making the luminaries was a day four event, other opponents of the non-sequential view of the creation narrative have been driven to seek a solution in a reinterpretation of day one. They would account for the presence of light and the cycle of day and night in day one by positing for this point in time some light source other than the one whose origin they admit is assigned to day four and which (according to their commitment to the temporally sequential order of the narrative) did not, therefore, exist until three days (or ages) after day one.

Some speculate about a supernatural light source, a manifestation of divine glory in space. But that distorts the eschatological design of creation history, according to which the advent of God’s Glory as the source of illumination that does away with the need for the sun awaits the Consummation. 30 Indeed, the assumption of such a supernatural mode of ongoing providence during the creation week is contradicted by the assumptions that inform Gen. 2:5ff. 31

No more satisfactory is the suggestion that the hypothetical lighting system was some natural arrangement. That would raise questions about the wisdom of the divine procedure. Why would God create such a vast cosmic order only to discard it three days (or ages) later? Why create a replacement cosmos to perform the very same functions already being performed perfectly well by the original system?32 Like the gap theory of Gen. 1:2, this scenario, with
its mid-course cosmic upheaval and starting over, would introduce a jarring, discordant note into the simple, stately symphony of the cosmic house-building ” planned, performed, and perfected by the all wise master builder.

Any such approach that disconnects the luminaries of day four from the light of day one, denying the cause-effect relationship of the two, violates the overall thematic scheme of the creation narrative. As we have seen, the successive members of the first triad of days correspond to the successive days of the second triad, the relationship of each matching pair being that of creation kingdom (theme of the first triad) to creature king (theme of the second triad). The correspondence is especially close in the day one-day four pair. It is clearly the light phenomena (kingdom) of day one over which the luminaries (kings) of day four rule, producing and regulating it. Temporal recapitulation most certainly occurs at day four and hence there is no escaping the conclusion that the narrative sequence is not intended to be the chronological sequence.

Meredith G. Kline, “Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony” Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith 48: 1 (Mar. 1996): 6-8.