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. 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 sees the world that He has begun to create. It is formless and empty and dark. It seems chaotic and unordered. And God's first act in response to this world is to shed His light on it. There isn't a battle between the light and the dark. God's light simply overcomes the darkness. The darkness is exiled to the portion of the day for which it has been appointed. This way the light and the darkness are kept separate and easily distinguishable. And God does distinguish between them for He doesn't give approval of the darkness but He acknowledges that the light is good.
I know that at its most basic level this passage of Scripture is a straightforward declaration of God's creation of literal light to overcome literal darkness. But the Bible oftentimes uses light and darkness as symbols. Light represents God and holiness and purity. Darkness indicates evil or sin or worldliness. And I think, at a deeper level, this passage teaches us a precious truth about how God's figurative light always overcomes the figurative darkness of our world.
Take a moment to consider this truth with me. Throughout the gospel of John Jesus' coming to earth is discussed in terms of a great light coming into the world and being rejected by it because the world loved darkness. Jesus 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). We know that Jesus is the true light because wherever He goes, He overcomes the darkness just as God's light did in the beginning. The New Testament also tells us that not only is Jesus the true light, but all Christians are called to be lights as well. "You are the light of the world," Jesus says. Don't hide your light; shine it brightly that your Father may be glorified. But this is not all. To make this truth even more glorious the Scriptures go on to tell us that on the last day God will defeat Satan once and for all. He will cast him into the Lake of Fire. And how will God choose to show His surpassing greatness? Our God will reign victoriously from His heavenly city of light for all eternity. A city that will have neither sun nor moon nor lamp for "the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp" (Revelation 21:23).
The simple truth is that while God's light and the darkness of this world are constantly in conflict with one another, there is no real contest. God's light overpowers the darkness of our world everytime. You have nothing to fear! Our God is in control and "greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4). Praise be to the Lord!
For further reading...
- Matthew 5:14-16: You are the light of the world.
- John 1:1-18: A great light came into the world.
- John 3:19-21: People loved darkness instead of light.
- John 8:12 , 9:4-5 & 12:45-47: Jesus is the light of the world.
- II Corinthians 4:4-6: The light of the gospel.
- I John 1:5-7: God is light.
- Revelation 21:23-25 & 22:1-5: The city of light.