Creation: Day 1 (part 2)
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Light and Dark
So in this passage we have the creation of light and separation of light and dark. But a question can arise out of this thought and that is , “Was darkness created?”. We have no specific mention of God creating darkness and then light or vice versa. Darkness just seems to be there and light comes into existence later. We have to realize we are looking at this from a human standpoint. Darkness is commonly defined as the absence of light. When we think about it, this is true. One can neither add darkness nor take away darkness. If you want to make a room brighter, which means taking away darkness, you add more light. If you want to make a room darker, which means you want to add darkness, you take away light. Light is something we can add more of and take away but darkness cannot be manipulated in that way. Darkness is dependent on light and it is simply the absence of light. From this view, we can say that darkness already existed and light then came into existence by God’s power.
Another question can arise from this and that is, “If darkness has always existed, does that mean that God existed in darkness?”. It would seem that way but it is actually not the case. We have to keep in mind that God is creating this 3D universe as we know it today. God already existed beforehand in most likely another dimension or “world” we do not understand. He is outside of our limited three-dimensional world and that is how He could create this universe. With this in mind, before creation there was not even space in a three-dimensional world as we discussed in the last article. There was absolutely nothing. God created space and since there was no light at the point of the creation of this space, the result is darkness. God did not have to dwell in this darkness because He was outside of the world He was creating. So the answer to the question would be no because God existed outside of this dark world He created.
So God speaks and says, “Let there be light” and then light appears. First I want to make note of God speaking. This is the first action of God we see in the Genesis account. Now you may say. “Well wait a minute, God already created the heavens and the earth, that was His first action”. Well, in our english translations, it would appear that way, but in the ancient Hebrew text, like we talked about last time, it did not start with God creating the heavens and the earth. It started by stating that “When God began to create”, way back then. This is the first present action God does and it is so fascinating. We already have the existence of God and last time we learned about the Spirit of God can be seen as the Holy Spirit. We also know God is triune in nature, He is three in one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Well we have this father figure creating everything and then we have God’s Spirit so that’s all good. But what about the Son? Where is He at? To answer that question, we need to go to the New Testament.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Ok, all fine and dandy. Then down in verse 14 we see that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”. So if the Son was and is the word, and God spoke creation into existence, we see the Son right here in Genesis 1. The words of God reflect the Son and His image and now we have this Trinity of God right here in the first few verses of the Bible.
What about the light?
This is also something that is so fascinating. There is no mention of God doing any “work” to make this light appear. All He has to do is speak and it appears. So now we have light, God spoke and light came into existence. So this always begs the question, “What is this light?”. The sun wasn’t created until the fourth day of creation so what substance made this light on the first day? Many have speculated on this question but there is only one clear answer in my mind and that is God Himself. God is light as we see in many passages like 1 John 1:15. Therefore, since God is light, there is no reason to believe that He could not have provided light the first three days of creation. (After all He is God and can do as He pleases). It was this light, the light of God, that is able to make life possible as we see in the following verses. It is also interesting to note that Jesus, who is light (John 8:12), provides eternal life, the best life of all. So it is God at this point providing light to His new creation because He is light. The apostle Paul also references God’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:6. There Paul is talking about the “light” that shines in our hearts through Christ and he correlates this light to the light that came out of darkness here in Genesis 1. So we can see that even in the beginning, there are things that happen that symbolize or represent things later to come.
So we have all these beautiful images and symbols of what light is. But what did the Hebrew authors think about the light? Well, scientifically, visible light as we know it is made of photons, which is how we see. But to an ancient Israelite, light is not a thing. God calls the light something right here. He calls the light “day” and the darkness “night” in verse 5. Why would God give names to light and dark? Well, right here God is organizing time. God is organizing and setting in sequence the order in which time runs and it is by day and night.
God saw that the light was “good”. God calls everything “good” in His creation except for two things, darkness and the expanse between the water which we’ll get to later. God never calls the darkness “good”, only the light He calls “good”. Then we see something very interesting happen. God separates the light from the darkness. With all the bad things associated with darkness (sin, evil, death, etc) you would think that God would have eliminated the darkness completely, but He didn’t. Instead, after He makes light appear, He separates the two or divides light and dark and gives names for them. The light -”day” and the darkness- “night”. What we need to keep in mind at this point is that there is no mention of evil here. There is no association between evil and darkness at this point, only the fact that God never calls the dark “good”. The darkness is still as important as the light and it is not until sin enters the picture that evil becomes associated with darkness.
Day & Night, Evening & Morning
There is also a lot of controversy about these words “evening” and “morning” and whether they refer to 24 hour time periods or indefinite periods of time. We can determine the times by looking at the Hebrew meanings of these words. The Hebrew word for evening is “erev” meaning evening or night. The Hebrew word for morning is “boqer” meaning morning or day. Both words can be translated literally and the order in which they occur in the Bible is crucial. The Bible tells us that “there was evening and morning”. This means that God was creating during the “day” and then there was evening or night, then morning or the next day. What we see as the pattern for the rest of creation is this evening and morning pattern. In other words, we see God creating and working and then there is evening and morning. We see no mention of God creating during the evening or night. We get this picture of God creating and bringing life into existence and then evening comes and the action doesn’t pick up until the morning of the next day. It is hard to say for sure whether these days were literal 24 hour days or not. What we do know, is that there was a cycle being used as a time separator and determiner. God wanted us to know that He created all things and that space, time, matter, light, and dark came into existence on the first day.