"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." Genesis 1:3-5
During last month's Creation Club meeting I was teaching about what God created on the first day of the creation week. For years, I have taught about God's creation and how He made different parts of our world and universe on the six (literal) days of creation and then rested on the seventh day. I don't know why I never really thought about it before, but this time several "lightbulbs" turned on for me as I was presenting the Genesis account to the club members.
First lightbulb - scripture does not say that God created light but it says that He said, "Let there be light!" And it showed up. Now before I am dismissed as a heretic, let me explain why I think He didn't create it. The Apostle John writes in 1 John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." Note that this is not the Apostle John's idea about God, but it is a message that John and others (presumably the other apostles) heard directly from God and are now telling to the early church and to us. Where and when did they hear such a message? Well, one occasion that John might have been referring to is when Jesus proclaimed to the crowd, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12). Later, this same apostle, while exiled on the Island of Patmos, saw a vision of the future and heaven. John describes the New Jerusalem by stating, "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." (Revelation 21:23) Jesus is the Lamb of God, and is, therefore, not only the light of the world but also the light of the heavenly one. So back to Day 1 of Creation Week - I believe when God said "Let there be light!", the Son of God, Jesus stepped into creation and with Him entered light. The Apostle Paul wrote something about this in his letter to the Colossians ...
"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17
So, I don't think it is a stretch theologically to believe that, when God said "Let there be light", Jesus entered into the realm of creation. Also, you might have observed these scripture references seem to include both a physical sense and a spiritual sense. The Colossians passage actually says that it is both - visible and invisible. Now, Christ did not make light because God cannot create himself since He is eternal and has no beginning or end. Later during the creation week (on Day 4), He made light sources (and some pretty amazing ones at that too!). But just as Thomas Edison did not create light but invented a light source, God being the ultimate light source himself did not need to create light. He just shone it. Now a very important point of distinction - while God is light, it is important to note that light is not God. Similarly, scripture also teaches that God is life, but to believe that life is God is idolatry.
Second lightbulb - Stop and think for a moment what happened when Jesus, the ultimate source of light, stepped into creation. Well, Genesis 1:3 tells us what happened - there was light. But what did it look like? Was every corner of the universe lit up like turning on the lights at a stadium? Did it stay lit up? The Genesis text would seem to indicate that it did not say lit up, because God "separated the light from the darkness" so that there was daytime and nighttime. As we read through Genesis Chapter 1, it becomes evident that the perspective of the narrative is from or near the earth. It is not looking at the entire universe except from the vantage point of earth. So to separate light and darkness, day and night, what did God do? We don't know for sure; but one practical way would be to start the rotation of the earth. As it spun on its axis, the portion of the globe facing the light source (at this time, God himself) would be experiencing daytime. The portion facing away from God would be dark, which God called night.
Third lightbulb - We know God is light and we observed that light is not God. So what is light? Light is what helps us see. But, did you know that there are animals God created that use light humans cannot see to help them see their environments? Cats, dogs, pigs, cows, reindeer, and many other mammals can detect ultraviolet (UV) light and actually see the world and colors in a completely different way than humans. Some fish and birds use ultraviolet light to help find prey, or to protect themselves from becoming prey. They also use it to distinguish between the sexes within their species. Other animals such as mosquitoes, vampire bats, bed bugs, and some snakes and beetles use infrared light to see their environments and to help them find your body for a yummy meal. The point is that humans and these animals have a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that they use for "light". In fact, all of the electromagnetic spectrum can be considered to be "light".
In the last one hundred years or so, scientists, such as Albert Einstein, advanced our understanding of light. Scientists have discovered that light behaves both as a wave and a particle. The smallest particle of light is known as a photon. (Click here to watch a fun video to learn more about photons.)
A photon can be thought of an individual packet of energy that sometimes behaves as a particle, but does not have an electric charge or any mass. Photons are emitted from the entire electromagnetic spectrum not just from visible light. The different portions of the spectrum, from x-rays to radio waves, only vary in the length of the waves and the energy of the photons associated by the portion of the spectrum from which they emanate.
All of that is background to help us contemplate what happened when Christ Jesus stepped into creation. By introducing the Light of the World into creation what was the result? This is especially puzzling when you think about the other five days of creation. We can still observe the effects of what God created on Days 2 - 6; such as dry land, the atmosphere, the sun, moon, stars, plants, fish, animals, and humans. But what about light? We see the sun and stars. There is fire and other light sources man has made out of things God placed in His creation such as the monofilament lightbulb (thank you Thomas Edison!) But is there a significance in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, entering creation on the first day of history and shining His light? What evidence do we have remaining of this creative event?
First Law of Thermodynamics
Energy had to have a beginning. When God rested on Day 7 having completed His creative work, the First Law of Thermodynamics began, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it just changes forms. On Day 1 of the creation week, when Jesus the Creator and Almighty God stepped into the universe, I believe immense light issued from Him throughout the creative realm. Light came forth! An infinite amount of photons - individual packets of energy - were introduced into creation. Because of the First Law of Thermodynamics, remnants and transitional forms of that energy are still present and is what is fueling the light sources that we observe today. Every time we turn on a light switch, see a sunrise, use the microwave, get our teeth x-rayed, or use the Wi-Fi, we are experiencing the movement of photons that are transitional forms of energy that originated when God said, "Let there be light."
... and there was light.
But, let's consider for a moment darkness. What is it? It's nothing ... nothing but the absence of light. Created light sources will come to an end. You have probably had to change a few lightbulbs in your lifetime, or the batteries in your flashlight. The sun and stars will eventually consume all of their fuel (don't worry, not anytime soon). But, the ultimate light source - the Lamb of God - will never dim. As mentioned earlier, He will be the eternal light source in heaven. But, we do experience darkness. Is it because the light source went away? No, it is because something has come between us and the light source and has put us in the shadow.
Another way to have the light dim is when we move far away from it. Go far enough in outer space and you will cease to be able to see the light of our sun. When the light source is blocked by something, or we have moved far enough away from the light source, we experience darkness, which is the absence of light. Can we be separated from God's light? Can something get between us and God? The prophet Isaiah wrote, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." Isaiah 59:2 And, unfortunately that is true for all of us, because, as the Apostle Paul wrote, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23
"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned."
But, the prophet Isaiah also prophesied about the coming of a light for people walking in darkness. That coming light was Jesus Christ, born to a virgin in Bethlehem, just as Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophets predicted. This same Jesus is the one who said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12). Have you stepped out of the shadow of your sin into the light of Jesus? Are you tired of stumbling around in the darkness of your heart? You can experience light - immense eternal light - right now.
If that sounds good to you, please pray with me:
Dear Jesus. I have been walking around in the dark. My sins have separated me from You. Please forgive me for sinning against You and others. Please turn the light of Your face onto me and flood my life with Your light. Thank you for dying for me on the cross and paying the penalty for my sins. Come into my life and help me to love and serve you all the days of my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
If you prayed that prayer, Jesus Christ, the light of the world is now shining in you and through you. In fact, in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says that you are now the light of the world. Just as a full moon can light up a dark night, you are reflecting the light of Jesus into a dark world. Shine forth!
Let me know if you prayed that prayer, I would be happy to talk to you more about it.