Let there be light

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Genesis 1:3-23

In the beginning was the life and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Before there was a universe there wasn’t nothing, there wasn’t chaos and there wasn’t a lonely god.  Our origins are not darkness but entirely light.

But when this God creates, the equation changes.  Suddenly there is something else other than God.  The Father, Son and Spirit are radically relativised!  They are not everything.  God ‘makes room’ if you like for something else to be alongside.  In fact, for something else to be drawn in.

But that process is not straightforward.  Here’s what the second verse of the Bible says:

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

This should shock us.  ‘Without form’, ‘void’, ‘darkness’, ‘the deep’, ‘waters’ – here are biblical words and phrases associated with sin, chaos, de-creation.  Darkness is not a good thing in the Bible – it means fearful ignorance, death and judgement.  But these are the very first descriptions of the heavens and the earth!

It’s as if the universe is still-born.  All the excitement of a new arrival in verse 1 turns to anguish.  There don’t seem to be any signs of life.

But take heart – the life-giving Spirit is there, hovering in a motherly, brooding kind of way.  There is hope.  But how will things be resolved?  Genesis 1, verse 3:

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Here’s what creation needs – the Word of God to be revealed.  And when God’s Word is revealed the darkness must flee.

The Apostle John understood what Genesis was saying.  You see God’s Word is not a what – God’s Word is a Who.  God’s Word is Jesus, who was there creating in the beginning.  It’s Jesus who needs to be revealed, and to shine His light.

John comments on our verse:

“In Him [in Jesus] was life and the life was the light of men.  The Light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”  (John 1:4-5)

When the Light shines the darkness can’t cope and new life is born.

We tend to think of light and darkness as equal and opposite powers, but of course they’re not.  A battle between light and darkness is over in an instant.  Wherever light is present, the darkness must give way.  Yet darkness has no power to push back in the other direction.  Light shines.  Darkness doesn’t darken.  It can only have a shadowy existence.  It is not a positive thing.  It is a lack of a positive thing.  And when Light shines, darkness is defeated.

The whole of the first day of creation is given over to the conquering power of light.  In fact, the whole definition of Day and Night is given in these verses:

“God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)

Do you notice when a day begins according to the Bible?  It begins with evening, but the evening gives way to the morning.  The Light triumphs.  That’s the Bible’s view of things.

Julius Caesar changed all that for us.  He decided that our days should begin and end at midnight – from darkness to darkness.  That was his view of the world and so that was how he framed his days.

But what do you think?  Is darkness an equal and opposite force?  Is darkness our origin?  Is it our destination?

The Bible has good news.  There is an uncreated and eternal Light.  And His shining dispels the darkness.

Jesus said:

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  (John 8:12)

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