Genesis of Light
G. D. Boardman.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.…
I. EXPLANATION OF THE PASSAGE.
1. “God said”: an anthropomorphism.
2. The God-said of Moses the God-word of John.
3. The first light chemical.
4. “And God saw the light, that it was good.” It is to light that the cloud, the sunset, the rainbow, the diamond, the violet, owe their exquisite hues. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun (Ecclesiastes 11:7). Nay, more: Light is one of the essential conditions of all life itself — alike vegetal, animal, human, and, doubtless, angelic. Yes, there is a better curative than allopathy or homeopathy, hydropathy or aeropathy; it is heliopathy, or light of the sun. Physicians understand this, and so seek for their patients the sunny side of hospitals. And so they unconsciously confirm the holy saying, “To you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2).
5. Evening: Morning. Observe the order of the words: It is not first morning, and then evening; it is first evening, then morning: “And there was evening, and there was morning, day one.”
II. MORAL MEANING OF THE STORY.
1. God is light (1 John 1:5). For aught I know, the apostle’s message is literally true. Remember that when we are talking of light we are moving in presence of a very subtile mystery. The origin and nature of light is still a profound problem. True, we talk learnedly and correctly about the laws of light; its laws of reflection, refraction, absorption, dispersion, polarization, etc. But these are only phenomena; they tell us nothing about the nature or origin of light itself. All we know of light is merely a knowledge of the mode and laws of its motion. We do not know the essence of light itself. One thing is certain: light is the nearest known, sensible approach to immateriality, being classed with its apparent kindred — heat, electricity, magnetism — among the imponderables. Indeed, the modern magnificent undulatory theory denies that light is material, and affirms that it is but a mode of motion. We are accustomed to say that there are but two things in the universe — spirit and matter — and that the chasm between these is infinite. Possibly this is one of those assumptions which, did we know more, we would affirm less. Possibly light is an instance of what the philosophers call tertium quid — a third something, intermediate between spirit and matter, ethereally bridging the measureless chasm. Possibly light is God’s natural expression, outflow, radiation, manifestation, vestment (Psalm 104:1, 2). Possibly, when the Creator moves in that finite world we call time, He leaves light as His personal vestige and train. His mantle ripples into light, is light itself. In view of this possibility, how natural as well as fitting that the ancient token of God’s personal presence among the Hebrews should have been the shechinah, or dazzling glory cloud.
2. And as God is light, so also are His children light. Expressly are they called Sons of Light (Luke 16:8). Expressly is He called Father of Lights (James 1:17). We know that light is latent in every form of matter; for, when sufficiently heated, it becomes incandescent — that is to say, self-luminous. What is flame but a mass of heated, visibly glowing gas? True, it doth not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2). Nevertheless, I believe that light is latent within us all, and that by-and-by, at least in the case of God’s saintly children, it will stream forth; not that it will be evolved by the action of any heat or chemical force, but that, under the free, transcendent conditions of the heavenly estate, it will ray forth spontaneously.
3. Jesus Christ Himself, as Incarnate, is the shadow of God’s light. Infinite God, Deity as unconditioned and absolute, no man hath ever seen or can ever see, and live (Exodus 33:20). He dwelleth in light which no man can approach unto (1 Timothy 6:15), is light itself. “Dark with excess of light,” we poor finite beings cannot behold Him except through the softening intervention of some medium. Therefore the Son of God, brightness of His glory and express image of His person (Hebrews 1:3), radiance of His effulgence and character, or impress of His substance, became incarnate, that in the softer morning star and suffused dayspring of the Incarnation we might be able to look on the dazzling Father of Lights, and not be dazed into blindness.
4. Jesus Christ is not only the shadow or tempered image of God: in the very act of becoming that shadow Jesus Christ also became the Light of the World (John 8:12). Ah, how much the world needed His illumination!
5. As Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, so also is His Church. He, clear as the sun, she, fair as the moon, both together resplendent as an army with banners (Song of Solomon 6:10).In conclusion:
1. A word of cheer for the saint. Ye are sons of light. Recall now how much light means. It means all that is most bright and clean, and direct, and open, and unselfish, and spotless, and lovely, and healthful, and true, and Divine. How exceedingly great, then, your wealth! Oh, live worthily of your rich estate.
2. A word of entreaty to the sinner. Of what use is the most abounding light if we persist in keeping our eyes closed? As there is an eternal day for the sons of light, so there is an eternal night for the sons of darkness.
(G. D. Boardman.)
Darkness Before Light
J. Vaughan, M. A.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.…
And do you think, children, that you were first light and then became dark? or that you were first dark and then became light? Because when you were a baby boy or girl you did not know much; it was very dark: now I hope that the light of the Sun of Righteousness is upon you, that the evening has become the morning. The morning star has risen, I hope. It is light! light!
(J. Vaughan, M. A.)
All the Blessings of the Light
J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.…
We, who worship “the Father of lights,” have reason every day that we live to thank God for life and health, for countless blessings. And not least among these may be reckoned the free gift of, and the many “blessings of the light.” For in many ways that we can tell off, at once, upon our fingers, and in very many more ways that we neither dream of nor think of, does light minister to our health, wealth, and comfort.
1. The very birds sing at daybreak their glad welcome to the dawn, and the rising sun. And we all know and feel how cheering is the power of light. In the sunlight rivers flash, and nature rejoices, and our hearts are light, and we take a bright view of things.
2. So, too, light comes to revive and restore us. Darkness is oppressive. In it we are apt to lose heart. We grow anxious, and full of fears. With the first glimmer of light in the distance, hope awakens, and we feel a load lifted off our minds.
3. Again, we have often felt the reassuring power of light. In the darkness, objects that are perfectly harmless take threatening shapes; the imagination distorts them, and our fancy creates dangers. Light shows us that we have been alarmed at shadows: quiets and reassures us.
4. Once again, the light comes to us, often, as nothing less than a deliverer. It reveals dangers hidden and unsuspected; the deadly reptile; the yawning precipice; the lurking foe.
5. And when, over and above all this, we remember that light is absolutely essential, not to health only, but to life in every form, animal and vegetable alike, we shall heartily echo the words of the wise king in Ecclesiastes: “Truly the light is sweet; and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.”
(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)
The First Day: Light
…2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.…
New American Standard Bible
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
Treasury of Scripture
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Psalm 33:6,9 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of …
Psalm 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
Matthew 8:3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be …
John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Job 36:30 Behold, he spreads his light on it, and covers the bottom of the sea.
Job 38:19 Where is the way where light dwells? and as for darkness, where is …
Psalm 97:11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Psalm 104:2 Who cover yourself with light as with a garment: who stretch out …
Psalm 118:27 God is the LORD, which has showed us light: bind the sacrifice with …
Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: …
Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness …
John 1:5,9 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, …
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined …
Ephesians 5:8,14 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: …
1 Timothy 6:16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can …
1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare …
1 John 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in him …
Matthew Henry Commentary
1:3-5 God said, Let there be light; he willed it, and at once there was light. Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. Darkness would have been always upon fallen man, if the Son of God had not come and given us understanding, 1Jo 5:20. The light which God willed, he approved of. God divided the light from the darkness; for what fellowship has light with darkness? In heaven there is perfect light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter darkness, and no gleam of light. The day and the night are the Lord’s; let us use both to his honour, by working for him every day, and resting in him every night, meditating in his law both day and night.