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Genesis 1:16

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.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The Manichaeans ask how it could be that the heavenly bodies, that is, the sun and the moon and the stars, were made on the fourth day. How could the three previous days have passed without the sun? For we now see that a day passes with the rising and setting of the sun, while night comes to us in the sun’s absence when it returns to east from the other side of the world. We answer them that the previous three days could each have been calculated by as great a period of time as that through which the sun passes, from when it rises in the east until it returns again to the east…. This would be our answer if we were not held back by the words “and evening came and morning came,” for we see that this cannot now take place without the movement of the sun. Hence we are left with the interpretation that in that period of time the divisions between the works were called evening because of the completion of the work that was done and morning because of the beginning of the work to come. Script...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Everyone understands that there is a great difference between astrological prediction and observing the stars as natural phenomena, in the way that farmers and sailors do, either to verify geographical areas or to steer their course somewhere, as pilots of ships do, and travelers, making their way through the sandy wastes of the south with no sure path; or to explain some point of doctrine by mentioning some of the stars as a useful illustration. As I said, there is a great difference between these practical customs and the superstitions of men who study the stars not to forecast the weather or to find their way or for spiritual parables but in an effort to peer into the predestined outcome of events. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
9. The word great, if, for example we say it of the heaven of the earth or of the sea, may have an absolute sense; but ordinarily it has only a relative meaning, as a great horse, or a great ox. It is not that these animals are of an immoderate size, but that in comparison with their like they deserve the title of great. What idea shall we ourselves form here of greatness? Shall it be the idea that we have of it in the ant and in all the little creatures of nature, which we call great in comparison with those like themselves, and to show their superiority over them? Or shall we predicate greatness of the luminaries, as of the natural greatness inherent in them? As for me, I think so. If the sun and moon are great, it is not in comparison with the smaller stars, but because they have such a circumference that the splendour which they diffuse lights up the heavens and the air, embracing at the same time earth and sea. In whatever part of heaven they may be, whether rising, or setting, or...
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Basil the Great

AD 379
The word great, if, for example we say it of the heaven of the earth or of the sea, may have an absolute sense; but ordinarily it has only a relative meaning, as a great horse, or a great ox. It is not that these animals are of an immoderate size, but that in comparison with their like they deserve the title of great. What idea shall we ourselves form here of greatness? Shall it be the idea that we have of it in the ant and in all the little creatures of nature, which we call great in comparison with those like themselves, and to show their superiority over them? Or shall we predicate greatness of the luminaries, as of the natural greatness inherent in them? As for me, I think so. If the sun and moon are great, it is not in comparison with the smaller stars, but because they have such a circumference that the splendour which they diffuse lights up the heavens and the air, embracing at the same time earth and sea. In whatever part of heaven they may be, whether rising, or setting, or in...

Basil the Great

AD 379
10. See again another evident proof of its greatness. Although the heaven may be full of stars without number, the light contributed by them all could not disperse the gloom of night. The sun alone, from the time that it appeared on the horizon, while it was still expected and had not yet risen completely above the earth, dispersed the darkness, outshone the stars, dissolved and diffused the air, which was hitherto thick and condensed over our heads, and produced thus the morning breeze and the dew which in fine weather streams over the earth. Could the earth with such a wide extent be lighted up entirely in one moment if an immense disc were not pouring forth its light over it? Recognise here the wisdom of the Artificer. See how He made the heat of the sun proportionate to this distance. Its heat is so regulated that it neither consumes the earth by excess, nor lets it grow cold and sterile by defect. To all this the properties of the moon are near akin; she, too, has an immense bo...

Basil the Great

AD 379
11. On its variations depends also the condition of the air, as is proved by sudden disturbances which often come after the new moon, in the midst of a calm and of a stillness in the winds, to agitate the clouds and to hurl them against each other; as the flux and reflux in straits, and the ebb and flow of the ocean prove, so that those who live on its shores see it regularly following the revolutions of the moon. The waters of straits approach and retreat from one shore to the other during the different phases of the moon; but, when she is new, they have not an instant of rest, and move in perpetual swaying to and fro, until the moon, reappearing, regulates their reflux. As to the Western sea, we see it in its ebb and flow now return into its bed, and now overflow, as the moon draws it back by her respiration and then, by her expiration, urges it to its own boundaries. I have entered into these details, to show you the grandeur of the luminaries, and to make you see that, in the in...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Indeed Moses said, "God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and [ He made ] the stars." [ Gen1:16 ] Although all that was done before the fourth day was begun in the evening, the works on the fourth day were fashioned at dawn. Because the third day had been completed, in that it is said, "It was evening and it was morning; day three," God did not create the two lights in the evening lest night be changed into day and morning be given priority over evening. Because the days followed the same order in which the first day was created, the night of the fourth day, like that of the other days, preceded its day. And if its evening preceded its dawn, the lights were not created in the evening, but rather at dawn. But to say that one of them was created in the evening and the other at dawn cannot be allowed for Moses said, "Let there be lights," and "God made the two great lights." If they were great when they were created an...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Two great lights. God created on the first day light, which being moved from east to west, by its rising and setting made morning and evening. But on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun, moon, and stars. The moon, though much less than the stars, is here called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to earth than any of them. (Challoner) To rule and adorn, for nothing appears so glorious as the sun and moon. (Menochius) Many have represented the stars, as well as the sun and moon, to be animated. Ecclesiastes xvi ix. 6, the Levites address God, Thou hast made heaven and all the host thereof; and thou givest life to all these things, and the host of heaven adoreth thee. St. Augustine Ench. and others, consider this question as not pertaining to faith. See Spencer in Origen, contra Cels. v. (Calmet) Whether the stars be the suns of other worlds, and whether the moon be inhabited, philosophers dispute, without being able to come to any cer...

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
two great lights: As Chrysostom says, the two lights are called great, not so much with regard to their dimensions as to their influence and power. For though the stars be of greater bulk than the moon, yet the influence of the moon is more perceptible to the senses in this lower world. Moreover, as far as the senses are concerned, its apparent size is greater. In the words of Basil (Hom. v in Hexaem.), plants were recorded as produced before the sun and moon, to prevent idolatry, since those who believe the heavenly bodies to be gods, hold that plants originate primarily from these bodies. Although as Chrysostom remarks (Hom. vi in Gen.), the sun, moon, and stars cooperate in the work of production by their movements, as the husbandman cooperates by his labor. ...

Victorinus of Pettau

AD 303
To me, as I meditate and consider in my mind concerning the creation of this world in which we are kept enclosed, even such is the rapidity of that creation; as is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about its creation, and which is called Genesis. God produced that entire mass for the adornment of His majesty in six days; on the seventh to which He consecrated it . . . with a blessing. For this reason, therefore, because in the septenary number of days both heavenly and earthly things are ordered, in place of the beginning I will consider of this seventh day after the principle of all matters pertaining to the number of seven; and as far as I shall be able, I will endeavour to portray the day of the divine power to that consummation. In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men's labours; that, again, day might over...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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