Light is one of those lovely mysteries that we see and take for granted. It’s always there — sometimes by our doing and sometimes as a byproduct of the world around us. But what is light’s ultimate origin? At the start of a 3-part study on Light, I believe there’s only one place to begin……at the beginning.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.Genesis 1:1-5
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.
With the inception of our world, of life as we know it, God knew this first: light was needed for life.
In a scientific sense, when God created the Sun he knew that it had to be just right to grow vegetation and to provide a helpful source of warmth and light to the humans he was yet to design. God knew that nothing would travel faster than light, clocking in at 186,400 miles/second. And I think God knew that in creating light, he was thereby allowing an almost equally profound opposite: darkness.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:5
Now, what’s truly fascinating is that light beams to do not curve. They can change their course through reflection or refraction, but light doesn’t account for darkness; it doesn’t give it a second thought. In other words, anywhere that a fraction of light exists, darkness is threatened. It cannot overcome that which threatens it.
By design, darkness must exist only to be eliminated by inevitability.
I hope this is beginning to sound familiar to you. When God created the world, darkness filled the void until he put light into it. It was the first of two times he would add Light for our sake.
Next, God created heaven. Then dry land, Earth, and the seas followed. Further still, God filled the dry land with a multitude of plants, some that would bear fruit. Afterward, God put the stars and the moon in the night sky to separate it from the day. Brimming with anticipation, the seas welcomed the creatures that God formed out of nothing and the skies smiled as they were filled with winged things. And then the land animals, of every shape and size. Finally, man and then woman were added to tend to the living things, to name them, and to multiply. And it was good.
Anything we make, as humans, is a reflection of our abilities. I think that can be said of God, too. Nothing that he created stood apart from who he was (and is). Everything that he shaped into existence he determined as “good” because he is Good. The very first thing that appeared at the (metaphorical) snap of his fingers was a life-giving Light. 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
God is incapable of creating anything bad because he is filled with Light. It’s his life force. And that is why our world needed it’s own life force — a reflection of our Creator. And because he put this Light in our world, it needed things to give life to, something that could reflect another bit of his goodness.
Humans may be made in the image of God, in likeness with his goodness, but God knew that because the Sun created shadows on the Earth, so too would humans create shadows in their own lives. 1 Timothy 6:15-16 says, “He who is the blessed and sovereign, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” We know that because God dwells in unapproachable, unending, unwavering light, humans – as a mere glimpse into God’s likeness – could never be his equal and therefore must experience darkness as part of their humanity.
Just as he intended, the almost equally profound opposite that he allowed to exist outside of the reaches of light became the free will that would break us.
He made us dependent on light because we need it for our health and for our food sources. But he also made us dependent on his Light because our irrevocable brokenness could only be pieced back together by the healing Light that he would bring into the world many, many centuries later. We know what’s coming next. God saw that we would fail by design and built in mercy. That mercy was the Light of the World. And He would save us from ourselves, from our own darkness.
You see, our hamartia was planned for. The fatal flaw that we were given was given as a gift. Ultimately, that Gift was him.
And it was good.
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