The fourth day of Creation: the luminaries- sun, moon, and stars
The creations on this day, the luminaries known as the sun, the moon and the stars, are listed as being created with two sets of three purposes.
The first set of three purposes, as it is said, are as follows: for the luminaries to separate between the day and the night (light and darkness), for the luminaries to serve as signs, and for the luminaries to serve to shine upon the Earth.
Starting with the very first purpose listed, this is an embellishment on the Creations of the first day. If the separation between light and darkness already occurred on the first day then why are the luminaries there to serve that function as well? The luminaries are indicators, markers to further distinguish the characteristics between the Light and the Darkness. Light and Darkness, or Day and Night as they are called, are in existence prior to the creation of the luminaries denoting that ‘light’ is not generated by the sun but rather the sun is there to represent that light exists. The pure and unrefined forms of Light and Darkness are now given more detailed physical representation with the formation of this new celestial topography. In this way they are also embellishments on the second day due to their placement in the firmament that is Heaven. The luminaries (sun, moon, and stars) are set in Heaven to then serve the Earth.
These luminaries are to serve as signs, which is a form of communication between the divine energy that is the source of these creations and to that (and later, those) which is on Earth. The signs, in this way, are given three specific further designations: to be there as a reflection of G-d’s glory, for the indication of festivals (as in the coming together to celebrate or worship,) and the marking of days and years (perhaps as a way of establishing the passage of time.) The luminaries are next listed as there for the purpose to serve to shine upon the Earth. From the lofty position in Heaven, the Luminaries are there for that and those on Earth to know the shining of the light during the day and the reflective light that shines during the night. The sun, moon, and stars are markers and offer us a way of connecting the physical world with the dual energies that are of the separation of Light and Darkness. They are there for us to find our way back in the process that is this separation and knowing the balance between the two, as they are recognized in the transition between day and night. It is to know or have a sense of the light from the dark or the dark from the light, as represented in the associative dualities of fullness and emptiness, motion and stillness, having and not having. It is for us to know the process that is there, and the luminaries function as reminders of that.
The second set of three purposes, as it is said, are as follows: for the luminaries to give light upon the earth from their place in Heaven, for the luminaries to dominate by day and night, and for the luminaries to separate between the two.
A palindromic pattern is established here between the first and second set of purposes (this pattern of a palindrome becomes a repeated theme throughout the Text). This pattern can be displayed figuratively as 1a, 1b, 1c, 2c, 2b, 2a, going in order of the six listed purposes between the two sets that are attributed to the function of the luminaries. The ‘a’ purposes represent G-d’s presence or the Divine energy, the ‘b’ purposes represent a link between G-d and Earth by way of the firmament that is Heaven, and the ‘c’ purposes represent man, plants, and creatures that inhabit the Earth. The ‘a’ purposes (the first purpose of the first set and the last purpose of the second set) refer specifically to the ‘separation’ between Light and Darkness, the first act of Creation. The ‘b’ purposes (the middle purposes of both sets) pertain to the luminaries, from their position in Heaven, as functioning to link that initial Divine energy that separated between Light and Dark to those that are to experience it, in the expression of the dual identities of light and darkness. The ‘c’ purposes (the last purpose of the first set and the first purpose of the second set) deal with the presence of the luminaries as it is to be experienced from Earth, with the actions of ‘shining’ and ‘giving light;’ these are the first steps with which those on Earth are to acknowledge the difference between light and dark (even when the sun is ‘shining’ the moon never leaves as it is only veiled by the light and even when the moon is out the sun is still known by the reflective light that it provides in the darkness.) The palindromic pattern here is depicted symbolically as the structural form of: G-d, the link between G-d and man, man, and, then in reverse, man, the link between G-d and man, and then G-d. From G-d we get to man and from man we get back to G-d. G-d is the universal source, and from there we have the Divine expression on Earth, and then as beings on Earth we acknowledge, reflect and express that Divine energy that ends back with G-d.
What is important about the separation of light and darkness? G-d is the energy that separated light from darkness. The luminaries express this energy in the natural world. To know G-d is to know the separation of light and darkness as well as the divine energy that establishes that process, unites its duality, and maintains its balance. From their place in Heaven, the luminaries, govern the representation of the presence, transition, and expression between day and night, Light and Darkness, as experienced here on Earth.
Day 5, the Creation of living creatures across Heaven over Earth, and the waters.
The creations on this day relate to both Heaven and the waters below the Firmament, and as such are embellishments on the second day and the first half of the third day. Essentially this is the day of the creation of fish and birds, living creatures for the water, and flying fowl across the heavens over the earth. The living creatures of the water are of two types, sea giants (dinosaurs?), and living beings that creep. The living creatures of the Heaven over Earth are described generally as winged fowl.
Here we have the first usage of the phrase “G-d created” in reference to the act of creation instead of the previous “Let there be…” These living creatures are the first instance of a creation rather than an extraction or emergence, as in all of the other instances the creations appeared from within preexisting material or emerged from preexisting conditions. In this case, the creations were ‘created’ rather than simply told to ‘let be.’
Here we also have the first usage of the phrase “Be fruitful and multiply,” the blessing by G-d for procreation and self-generation. These new creations of the waters and heaven and earth, as inhabitants of this restructured world, are given the power of reproduction with G-d’s blessing. They are to continue their presence in this world but now the act and responsibility of their creation, or re-creation, is left to them. Each successive generation has this responsibility to uphold it for themselves and carries this ability as the blessing by G-d. It is not for a single generation to live eternally, necessarily, but rather that its existence is made continuous by the constant rebirth of itself in a new generation. This possibly allows for change, growth, and development over the course of time, which in our finite scope has no beginning or end, only the limited terms of our physical mortality as the progression of life continues. This first generation receives the original direct blessing by the source itself.
In G-d’s treatment between the fowl and fish, as depicted in the wording of the text, there is a stark difference. All statements directed to the fowl are short and succinct and those directed to the fish are lengthy and elaborate. The fish get more instruction as if otherwise they wouldn’t know what to do, and the fowl get more a statement of condition as if they are being read the rules. It is also interesting to note the fowl cover two elements, heaven and the earth, as they have the distinction of flying across heaven but when it comes time for them to enact their blessing of procreation they are to ‘increase’ on the earth. The fish of this day, the sea giants and living beings that creep, as inhabitants of only the water, get more attention as instruction whereas the fowl, inhabitants of both heaven and earth, get brief statements as if only needing guidelines.
Day six: the creation of living creatures on Earth
Day six establishes the conclusion of a pattern of symmetry. Days four, five, and six, are ‘embellishment days’ as they are embellishments on the first three days of creation: day four is to days one and two, day five is to days two and the first half of three, and day six is to the second half of day three. On the first three days the structure of the world was established, and on the second three days each particular element from the first three days is embellished in sequence. Day four adds to the Heavens the final details relating to the interplay of Day and Night which are eventually to serve as signals for the creations that follow. Days five and six place living creatures in the waters and on the Earth to function in an interactive way within this scheme.
Specific textural phrases that link this day to that of the second half of day three are “And it was so,”, “the Earth brought forth,” and “each according to its kind.” The first two phrases are used in reference to the coming to be of both the vegetation from the earlier day and the living creatures of this day. As relates to the vegetation of day three, the pattern is as follows: G-d commands to the vegetation to sprout, an “And it was so” is declared, and then an “Earth brought forth” (1:11-12). For the living creatures of day six it is: G-d commands for Earth to bring forth, an “And it was so” is declared, and then “G-d made” (1:24-25). The ordering of phrases in this pattern creates a palindrome like we saw in the structure of the creation of the luminaries. Again, we have the theme of G-d, then to living creatures, and then back to G-d, in that G-d starts it, then there is us, and then it leads back to G-d (as it states: G-d commands, “And it was so,” the “Earth brought forth,” and then in reverse, the ‘Earth brought forth,’ “And it was so,” “G-d made.” The process starts with G-d, culminates with its manifestation on Earth, and then leads back to G-d. The “And it was so” statements function as a transition phrase as noted by their similar placements in the verses.) In reference to the vegetation, there is no phrase, ‘G-d made,’ as the vegetation is inherent within the Earth and only required sprouting in order to come to be and all the Earth was to do was to bring it forth (I imagine it emerging from beneath the ground as if previously contained). The living creatures required being made in order for them to be brought forth to exist on the land. The goal is the bringing forth. Two kinds of vegetation are brought forth, herbage and fruit trees, and four types of living creatures are ‘made,’ animal, creeping being, beast, and man. G-d made the first three living creatures, before making man, in order of beast, animal, and creeping being, most likely relating to its level of impact on the earth. Like the vegetation from the second half of day three, “each is made according to its kind.” Each species has its own characteristics and distinguishing features. They are of the same source but unique in their aspects. It is the conditions with which G-d created them to have them self-generate each in their own kind.
The fourth type of ‘living creature,’ ‘man,’ gets a special ‘making’ separate from the others. There are four key words used in the making of man: Us, image, likeness, and rule. With the usage of the word “Us,” G-d enlists the involvement of other elements of divinity in the creation of man (“Let us make man in Our image,…” [1:26]). The word “Our” is capitalized implying that G-d is included in the group with these other elements that have influence over creation. The term “image” signifies a type of reflection, and, as many people as there are that exist in the world, there are manifestations of G-d’s image. G-d is at the center and the image of G-d is reflected in human kind, a singular source reflected into an infinite multitude of images. Looking into a mirror we see ourselves looking back at us, the external manifestation, but to know us as an image itself is to know ourselves as a reflection of the singular source that is at the core, projected in all directions from the center. The “likeness” is mentioned next (“…after Our likeness.”) Man is made in the image, and after the likeness: the moment now and the moment that is to be, substance and form, inspiration and structure; the ‘image’ fills the ‘likeness.’ We have the essence of divinity within us as our nature and functioning gives it shape. In the words ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ we know ourselves not as an exact replica of G-d but more as a representation of G-d in that we are made with all that is G-d-like in its qualities, as relating to creation and creation. The image reflects the images and the likeness of the object is of the likeness of the subject. You are of me as I am of you as we are of it. Man (mentioned with the word “They” possibly in reference to man as many) is then given “rule” (1:26) over elements of creation from previous days, specifically the fish, birds, animals, “the whole of the earth,” and creeping things (here, beasts are omitted from this list.)
The moment of the creation of man (1:27) occurs in a two part phrase: “G-d created Man in His image” – simple and direct as an act, and “in the image of G-d He created him.” – first, identifying that the source and inspiration for man’s creation as the image of G-d and then the creating from that inspiration; “He created him” is a pronouncement similar to the first part of the phrase but instead with more general terminology framing the creation here with an expanded scope. G-d created man, but not only did G-d create man, it was in the image of G-d that He created him. The link between man and G-d is the image of G-d. G-d created man in His image, and, in the image of G-d, He created him. For man to know the purpose of his coming to be is to know that image with which he is created. Another three-part palindrome is presented here over the course of this two part phrase: “G-d created Man”, then, “in His image”/”in the image of G-d,” and then, “He created Him.” “Created”/”image”/”created:” the creation when in the image of its maker leads back to its creator, the original source. The link between the two sentences is the “image,” from Divine to earthly is lead the earthly to the Divine.
The creation of woman is included next in the line, “male and female, He created them” (1:27). This also establishes another duality, a balanced pair of opposites with a single source as its origins. Here G-d then gives two ‘saids’ to man and woman. The first one, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it.” When compared to its counterpart from the fifth day when the creatures created then were given similar instruction, man and woman are given the additional responsibility to “fill the Earth and subdue it.” To subdue the Earth designates Man and Woman as its caretakers, and those of the fish, birds, and every living thing. In making the Earth inhabitable is to tame its wildness for the purpose of prosperity, longevity, and sustainability; it does mean to overtake it so that it fights back (which would not be having it subdued!- hello, global warming..) The second ‘said’ given to man and woman states what is to be the form of sustenance for the living creatures on earth. The herbage on the surface of the earth and the tress that have fruit are to be food. It is important to note that plants, fruits and trees, as stated, contain seeds for the purpose of procreation and can be regenerated. It is then elaborated upon that every beast, bird, and everything that moves on the earth, within which is a “living soul” (1:30) are to eat green herbs. This is followed by an “And it was so,” the end of the command having it say that it was.
G-d saw, evaluated, and looking at it all saw it as very good. This being the final day of the work of G-d’s creating the Heavens and the Earth, an overall ‘very’ is added to the ‘good.’ Then there is evening and morning, making it into being, concluding the sixth day.