©2002  by Gerard Wakefield
(This article may be copied for educational purposes only.)

"Light before Stars?"

Genesis 1:3 states, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Critics have made the claim that, since stars were not created until verse 16, verse 3 must be in error. After all, how could light come into existence if stars - the very things that create light - had not yet been created? A closer examination of verse 3, combined with very recent scientific discoveries, may well provide the answer.

According to a careful reading of verse 3, light was created as the result of God's voice: "And God said, Let there be light." Modern science has demonstrated that light can be produced purely from sound, and not exclusively from light-giving sources such as stars. Physicists Keith Weninger, Seth J. Putterman, and Bradley P. Barber of the University of California at Los Angeles performed a remarkable experiment that has confirmed the existence of sonoluminescence - light that is created from sound. Science News reported: "Bombarded with an intense sound wave, a small gas bubble suspended in water can emit a string of extremely short, bright pulses of light. Known as sonoluminescence, this conversion of sound into light occurs during the rapid and violent contraction of the bubble as it oscillates in step with the sound wave" (Peterson 214 [emphasis added]).

Discover magazine similarly stated: "In a process called sonoluminescence, sound waves cause an air bubble in water to pulsate 20,000 times a second. Each collapse can create a miniature pressure front inside the bubble, which emits a tiny white glow believed to be much hotter than the surface of the sun. Such temperatures could theoretically be harnessed to produce fusion" (Saunders 50).

A later issue of the same journal reported on further developments in the science of sonoluminescence. The discovery on which it reported ties in with the formation of the Universe, which of course is what the first chapter of Genesis is all about. The magazine stated: "As strange as it may seem, cosmologists believe that before…light could travel unhindered through space, sound waves reverberated freely throughout the universe. The sound waves may have originated in the first instant of the universe's life, when the cosmos underwent an extraordinary expansion" (Folger 48).

This theory that sound existed at the exact moment of creation, and that it had a major role in the formation of the Cosmos, ties in wonderfully with the statement that God said, "Let there be light." Before the discovery of sonoluminescence, theologians and Bible scholars could only offer guesses as to why God thought it necessary to "say" anything to create light. It now seems that His purpose was to use sound waves to create the light of Genesis 1:3. Once again, cutting-edge science clears up another alleged "error" in the Book of Genesis.


Folger, T. (2000). "The Magnificent Mission." Discover 21, no. 5.

Peterson, I. (1996). "Glimpses inside a tiny, flashing bubble." Science News 150, no. 14.

Saunders, F. (1999). "Bubble, Bubble." Discover 20, no. 8.

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