You wrote, "Because the sky was
solid, this meant that the sun, moon, and stars -- which were created later
than earth, and later than light -- were located beneath the solid sky.
Otherwise, they could not be seen, nor could they illuminate the earth."
I disagree. I understand that the creation
account recorded by the author of Genesis chapter 1 was as he saw things in a vision given to him by God, from the perspective of an earth-bound observer, soon after "God
created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) For Genesis 1:2 tells us
that the earth was then "formless and empty" and "darkness
was" then "over the surface of the" earth's "deep"
global ocean, as "the Spirit of God was" then "hovering over the
This is exactly how scientists now tell us that the earth
would have appeared from its surface 4.3 billion years ago, as "thick
clouds of earth's early atmosphere blocked sunlight and darkened its
water-covered surface." (See The History of Earth - An Illustrated
Chronicle of An Evolving Planet, 1991, page 65)
Yes, Genesis 1:3 does tell us that God made "light on "Day" one, which was during the same creative
time period that He "created the heavens and the earth." This time period began
with the "Big Bang" about 13.7 billion years ago, which was over 9 billion years before our Sun, Earth, and
Moon came into existence. However, no sunlight, moonlight, or starlight would have then been able to be seen from the surface of the dark water-covered
Earth 4.3 billion years ago. For scientists tell us that its skies were then completely filled with dark clouds, largely made
up of volcanic smoke and ash.
So far as your contention that Genesis tells us that God created light before He created the Sun, moon, and stars, I disagree. I contend that when Genesis 1:14-16 tells us that God
"made" the Sun, Moon, and the stars on the 4th creative
"day," it is not telling us that God then
"created" these heavenly bodies. Rather, it is telling us that God then “made” them appear in Earth’s skies for the first time, about “4.2
billion years ago.” For scientists tell us that even though Earth's thick
steamy atmosphere had cleared by condensing into rain about 4.4 billion years ago, the Sun, Moon, and stars would not have then been visible to any
Earth-bound observer. For Earth’s dense largely CO2 atmosphere would
have then allowed only a very unclear view of the Sun, Moon, and stars from
Earth's surface. And they tell us Earth did not develop a fully transparent
atmosphere for another 3.5 billion years, after plant life fully changed it,
replacing most of its hazy CO2 with clear oxygen. (See The History Of Earth – An Illustrated Chronicle Of An Evolving Planet, pages 66 – 73.) So I understand that God "made" the Sun, Moon, and the stars begin to appear in earth's skies 4.2 billion years ago and that He "made" them become fully visible to all Earth-bound observers about 700 million years ago.
In this regard, it is
important to here note that Genesis 1:16 uses the Hebrew verb "asa" in reference to
the Sun, Moon, and stars being "made" by God on the “fourth day"
of creation. And Hebrew lexicons tell us that "asa" does not
connote "the absolute newness of the object" that has been made, as
does the Hebrew verb "bara" used elsewhere in Genesis chapter
one. Rather, we are told that "asa" primarily refers to
"the fashioning of" pre-existing materials. This being so, we can understand
that the writer of Genesis was in this passage of Scripture telling us that God
caused the pre-existing Sun, Moon and stars to first become visible from the
Earth's surface during this 4th “day” of creation. The writer of
Genesis used the Hebrew word for "create," “bara,” only when he
described God's bringing into existence, “the heavens and earth,” life in the sea, and mankind. (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27) See Theological
Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1980, Moody Press, Volume 2, page 701.