“Let There Be Light”

6 Things You Need to Know about the Light God Gives You

God is the source of illumination, wisdom, knowledge, and truth. By creating light three days before he created the sun, moon, and stars, he made this crystal clear. The sun is merely God’s tool, God’s torch. We could say that in the same way the moon dimly reflects the light of the sun, the sun dimly reflects the light of God.

 

Human beings have a natural love for light. It is no wonder, for light and all it represents was the very first thing that God introduced into his creation.

The first two verses of the Bible proclaim,

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:1-2)

Creation was a structureless, lifeless, lightless, and watery chaos. And the Spirit of God hovered like a mother bird over the chaos. He loved the chaos, cared for the chaos, and was about to develop the chaos over a period of six days. Remember that we shouldn’t, strictly speaking, talk of “six days of creation,” for creation was achieved in a moment. Rather, Genesis 1 describes six days of God enlightening, ordering, filling, and enlivening his creation. This is day one:

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 (Gen. 1:3-5).

1. God spoke light into existence.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Gen. 1:3). Witness first the power of God: he speaks, things happen. In other words, what God wills happens. As Basil of Caesarea explained in his sermons on Genesis 1: “The divine will and the first impetus of divine intelligence are the Word of God.”

What happens, happens because God wills it to happen. There is no higher will than God’s, there is no will strong enough to compete with God, and there is no realm where God is not present and where his will does not rule. This is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, and it is inherent in the word “God.”  God by definition is the eternal being whose will reigns supreme and unchallenged. Thus, we call God “Lord” or “The Lord Almighty” or “King of kings and Lord of lords.”In the Greek Pantheon, each god competes with the others. Even Zeus—king of Olympus—is outwitted and manipulated and frustrated by the mischievous wills of both gods and men. Elohim is not at all like this. He rules, full stop.

Note especially the power of God’s words. For Paul, this underpins the gospel mission. The gospel is God’s Word, so it is inherently powerful. Mighty Rome might find it pathetically weak, and the philosophers might find it grotesquely foolish—but even the “foolishness” of God is wiser and mightier than the power and wisdom of humanity (1 Cor. 1:18-25). And when God speaks directly to the human heart and spirit, his word is invincible (2 Cor. 4:6).

2. Light is a marvelous thing.

For starters, light is very quick, moving just shy of 300,000 kilometers per second. If you drove your car to the sun at 110km/h (the speed limit) it would take you 157 years to arrive. But if you could ride a beam of light to the sun, it would take you only eight minutes and twenty seconds. I am always delighted by the thought that when I look up at the stars, not only do I see a glorious picture of the number of Abraham’s descendants, I see also the distant past, the light of far distant stars and galaxies that may have taken thousands of years to reach me.

Our amazing scientists still do not wholly grasp the paradoxical nature of light. Physicists talk about “wave-particle duality,” or a “duality paradox”; for on the one hand light behaves like waves and has frequency and amplitude, but it also behaves like particles that can be amassed and focused into a laser beam that can cut through steel. The Jedi knight’s brilliant light sabre might be mythical, but the sheer awesome potential of light is not. These two distinct properties of light have not yet been harmonized. Albert Einstein said,

It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do. (The Evolution of Physics, p. 278)

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