And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. – Genesis 1:16-19
The first sunset and the first sunrise. Imagine how beautiful that was.
We can only imagine how beautiful that was because Adam and Eve were the last people to see those kind of sunsets and sunrises.
I set my alarm for 5:20 every morning and nearly every morning I get to see a spectacular sunrise over the Illinois prairie. Most evenings I also take a moment to watch a spectacular sunset.
But Adam and Eve spent most of their lives never seeing any sunset or sunrise nearly as spectacular.
They may have seen some beautiful sunsets, especially after a long day of taking care of young children and working in the fields. They most likely would have paused every morning to watch the sun peak over the eastern horizon and breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His bountiful gifts.
But I suspect that Adam would not have described those sunsets or sunrises as I would.
Because Adam knew what a truly awesome sunset looked like. He saw sunrises that were immeasurably more spectacular that any we could see in this lifetime.
But after he and his wife sinned, those sunsets and sunrises were no more.
When I see the sunrise, I think about how beautiful it is. I feel so blessed to be able to witness it.
But what must have Adam felt every time he saw the sunset or sunrise? A longing? Crushing regret over what could have been had he only not eaten a single piece of fruit his wife offered him? A yearning, perhaps. A yearning to the day that this promise would come to pass:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
That promise, I imagine, made every sunset and sunrise that Adam and Eve had to endure just a little be easier.
Today, I was again awake right before sunrise. And again, I was thinking about beautiful it was and I thanked God for that sunrise.
And then I remembered Adam and Eve and all the sunrises they saw after they left the Garden of Eden.
And that reminded me of yet another sunrise many millions of sunrises after Adam and Eve saw their last sunrise on this earth.
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb…. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead….
The Son rise makes all sunrises and sunsets mere shadows, faint reflections of the glory that awaits us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
When I see another sunrise and sunset, I will remember, not the pained longing or crushing regret of Adam and Eve, but of the day that will come when we see Jesus face to face and look no more to a sunrise or sunset, because the Son will always be with us.