Genesis 1:16 & 8:22 — Yes, the World is Looney-Tuned
or “Looney Tunes and Looney Rhythms“
by James J. S. Johnson
Reading about Jewish feasts reminds me how Genesis reports on looney tunes and looney rhythms. As shown below, even the motions of plants and animals are “tuned in” to lunar rhythms, confirming Genesis 1:16 & 8:22.
These lunar influences are not optional: the moon really “rules” the night. Likewise, the interplay of sun and moon regulate yearly seasons.
Consider ripe barley and ready-to-harvest wheat. Think also of reproducing red crabs crawling to the beach, barnacles glued to tidewater-splashed pier posts, or sneaky salmon smolts swimming downstream to sea, or confused adult salmon in artificially lit Norwegian Sea netpens. How do the rhythms of day and night – or of cyclical lunar phases – affect these various creatures? Are all of these animals being ruled by extraterrestrials?
Yes, each is forcefully regulated by lunar gravity, diurnal moonlight, and the “monthly” lunar cycle. (Of course, they are also “ruled” by sun, too, as noted below.) In other words, each of God’s creatures, described below, is “tuned in” to the moon’s regulation of night life. But to understand how this is true, the ecological concept of “phenology” must first be appreciated.
“Phenology” is an ecological term that covers how plant and animal activities are synchronized to physical environment rhythms (such as periods of sunlight, lunar phases, and yearly seasons), especially the timing of biological developments and motions that are fine-tuned to photoperiodicity and tidal cycles – such as bird migrations, mammal hibernations, plant flowering, shedding leaves, etc.(1)
When it comes to life on Earth, who “rules”, biophysically speaking? Before we look to Genesis for answers, regarding the impact of sunlight and moonlight, consider this ecologist’s empirical perspective on the regulation of life on earth:
No physical factor is of greater interest to the ecologist than light. It is, first, a source of energy; second, a limiting factor (since too little or too much kills); and third, an extremely important regulator of daily and seasonal activities for a great many organisms, both plant and animal. … One of the most dependable environmental cues by which organisms time their [developmental and periodic] activities in temperate zones is the day-length period, or photoperiod. … Photoperiod [can regulate] a physiological sequence that brings about molting, fat deposition, migration, and breeding in temperate-zone birds. … However, one can produce out-of-season fat deposition, migratory restlessness, and an increase in size of reproductive organs in midwinter in the laboratory by an artificial increase in the light period.(2)
So truly the moon and the sun, together, “rule” all life living in Earth’s diverse ecosystems, by complex patterns of differing light intensities, wavelengths, and durations.
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. (Genesis 1:16)
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)
But there is more, because the moon (in dynamic equilibrium with the sun) also uses its gravitational force, pulling on Earth and its inhabitants, ruling the tides.(3)
Tidewater-dependent creatures – like red crabs(4) and tidewater-washed barnacles(4) – depend on the moon’s gravitational pulling, as well as how the moon varies its moonlight, diurnally and in lunar phases, and in the annual seasons (that vary the daylight/moonlight ratio from equinox to equinox).
Such phenological rhythms illustrate the recognizable reliability of Genesis 1:16 and Genesis 8:22 in action, as the moon regulates life on earth, by ruling the ocean tidewaters. But it’s not just the tides that are “looney-tuned”.
For example, Pacific salmon smolts routinely time their downstream migration (to the ocean) for a night with little or no moonlight, so they are inconspicuous to piscivorous predators hunting for midnight snacks.(5) Artificial lighting, however, can confuse phenological development of adult salmons, retarding their sexual development – because their photoperiodicity-sensitive receptors interpret the artificial lighting as the “midnight sun” of summer.(6)
In fact, even the timing of the Jewish feasts (of Leviticus 23) depends upon the “monthly” lunar cycle, because those holy feasts link to sowing-and-reaping harvest cycles (of barley and wheat), which in turn depend upon the moon’s gravitational regulation of crops on earth:
The four stages of the moon are important to raising crops: new moon, second quarter, full moon, and fourth quarter.
When I studied forestry in college, I learned that the new moon gravitationally pulls water up through the soil and causes seeds to swell and burst. This makes it the best time to plant grain crops and other plants that are grown for above-ground produce. The increasing moonlight also causes a good balance between the root development and leaf growth.
The second quarter produces less gravitational pull, but provides vibrant moonlight. This is very beneficial to leaf growth.
On the other hand, after the full moon, the moonlight is waning, but the gravitational pull is strong again. This combination makes it best for planting root crops.
The fourth quarter provides less gravitational pull and moonlight. This is more of a resting period, which makes it an opportune time for cultivating and harvesting. …
The harvesting times in Israel occur primarily during the fourth quarter of the moon. Since the feasts of God in Leviticus synchronize with the harvests, they also synchronize with the stages of the moon.(7)
There are many more examples – but these few illustrate how the moon “rules”.
Since only animals and humans are living, how should we understand the motions, gravitational force, and physical effects of the inanimate moon, which “rules” the earth by night, as a result of its photoperiodicity and its gravitational attractions? Without personifying the moon (as animists do), how does the moon forcefully “rule” objects on Earth?
The moon’s mechanical “rule” can be compared to a mechanical device, installed on some trucks, called a “governor” (a/k/a “speed limiter”), which mechanically limits the truck engine’s top speed capacity, by imposing a mechanically forced “speed limit” on vehicles, preventing truck-drivers from recklessly driving at speeds beyond the governor’s set “ceiling”.(8)
This comparison illustrates how to give credit where it is due (Romans 1:19-25 & 13:7). Just as the truck’s inanimate “governor” shows a human inventor’s engineering genius, the inanimate moon’s “rule” over Earth shows the engineering genius of God, the moon’s maker.
Accordingly, we should use exacting care to appreciate and praise God for what we learn about His creation, including how He has arranged interacting systems of living and nonliving things — providentially interfacing cosmic engineering with phenological bioengineering, to produce a living world “ruled” at day by the sun and at night by the moon.
So God was not being “poetical” when He reported to us, via his prophet Moses (in Genesis 1:16-18, as supplemented by Genesis 8:22), that the moon “rules” the night, by regularly exerting physical force (by gravitation) and by reflecting electromagnetic light energy (in diurnal and seasonal rhythms). The predictable results physically limit, control, regulate, and otherwise – directly and indirectly — the behavior and activities of things on Earth, including living things like ourselves.
As Genesis indicates, the world is looney-tuned, ruled by looney rhythms.
1.Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1981), page 853. See also Norah Ruden, Dictionary of Modern Biology (Barron’s Educational Service, Inc., 1997), page 283 (“study of periodicity in organisms, particularly in relation to the local climate and environment … such as flowering, migration, and metamorphosis”).
2.Quoting Eugene P. Odum, Ecology: The Link Between the Natural and the Social Sciences, 2nd edition (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975), pages 113-114.
3.Regarding the moon’s forceful regulation of oceanic tides, see William H. Amos & Stephen H. Amos, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989), pages 27-28 (“The part of the earth that is closest to the moon at any given moment will feel the moon’s gravitational pull most strongly … this pull is experienced as high tide”).
4.Regarding red crab phenology, see James J. S. Johnson, “A Christmas Carol in Four-Part Harmony”, Acts & Facts, 40(12):8-10 (December 2011). Regarding filter-feeding barnacles, dependent upon moon-ruled tidewaters for planktonic food, see Amos & Amos, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, pages 454-455.
5.See Reginald J. F. Smith, The Control of Fish Migration (NY: Springer-Verlag/Springer Science & Business Media, 2012 Zoophysiology series reprint, saying “The 29.5-day cycle of moonlight does have a timing function in some fish behaviour”).
6.See Connie Stultz & Carol B. Eckmann’s “Salmon Thrive on Electric Lighting”, The Research Council of Norway (updated August 2007, posted at http://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Newsarticle/Salmon+thrive+on+electric+lighting/1236685398877 ), as translated by Anne Ditlefsen.
7.Michael Norten, Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts: The Prophecies in the Feasts of Leviticus (Thomas Nelson 2015 reprint edition), pages 38-39.
8.Truck engine “governors” were empirically tested by this writer, years ago, while employed by Canada Dry Potomac Corporation.