Here, part way through Day
One, God took a significant step in making the as yet uninhabitable
earth habitable. He created light. What is light? At its most basic
level, light is energy (see The
Basics of Light, offsite). Light is a
means of transferring energy through space. We can also say that light
is electromagnetic radiation. Typically, when we use the word light, we
think only of optical light. But optical light is only the portion of
the complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that is visible to
the human eye. In addition to optical light, for example, there exist
gamma-rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, and radio waves. To
illustrate the notion that light is energy, it is helpful to understand
that light travels in waves of particles. Each particle is called a
photon. Different kinds of photons carry different amounts of energy.
An X-ray photon, for example, carries much more energy than an optical
or radio photon. These photons travel in waves, or measurable speeds of
vibration. In the optical realm, “blue
light has a higher frequency of vibration (or a shorter wavelength)
than … red light.”
Light, like most entities in the created order, is a lot more
complicated that it appears to be.
is significant to note that God created light on Day One before He
created the sun or moon or any stars. That did not take place until the
fourth day. There are some who object to the idea that God would be
recorded as creating light before the existence of the sun. But that is
a specious objection. Let me illustrate by asking a couple of simple
questions: Has man been able to create artificial light independent of
the sun? The answer is, “Of course!” We burned wood or anything
flammable as an artificial light source for millennia. More recently we
burned coal oil or kerosene as a light source in our lamps. Then we
created the incandescent light bulb. We have invented fluorescent
lights and neon lights. More recently, man has invented LED lights (Light-Emitting
Diodes). If man can create artificial light sources that operate
without the sun, why could God not create light on Day One that existed
independently of the yet-to-be-created sun or stars? That is a trifling
matter for God. What would be the source of the light that God created
on Day One? That source would be God Himself. Let me illustrate this
way. The ultimate capital city of New Earth will be New Jerusalem,
described in significant detail in Revelation 21:1-22:15. We are told, “And the
city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations
will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their
glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its
gates will never be closed;” (Rev. 21:23-25).
“God is light” (1 John 1:5),
both in a physical and a metaphysical sense. The light that God spoke
into existence consisted, at least, of a visible (optical) and probably
an invisible display of His own glory. And this transference of energy
from God to the physical universe would have taken place irrespective
of the sun or any stars. There was an independent light source created
on Day One in relationship to which the planet earth rotated to
complete the first cycle of Day One (Gen. 1:5).
That light source, I submit, was a visible manifestation of the glory
saw that the light was good (Gen. 1:4a).
This almost amounts to a Divine pun. When the light appeared, God could
see (raah) that it was good (insert
smiley face). The light, of course, did not enable God to see. He sees
equally well in darkness or light (Psa. 139:11-12, demonstrated by Psa. 139:13-16).
But man cannot see at all in total darkness, and God was incrementally
molding the earth and the universe into conditions that were optimal
for man to thrive and enjoy. (See The
Good (tob) means that God perceived
the light as being good, pleasant, or agreeable. If there were no
(optical) light, think of the incredible joys we would be denied! A
blind person can experience a great deal of life. He still possesses
intelligence and can communicate. But think of all the incredible
vistas he would never experience! We could also add that light, as
being good (tob),
is beneficial. Light, for example, provides warmth for the planet,
absolutely necessary for survival in the frigid realms of space, and it
provides a necessary engine for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the ability God has
given plants to produce complex organic materials, especially
carbohydrates, from water, carbon dioxide, and inorganic salts, using
light as a source of energy along with the aid of chlorophyll and
associated pigments. So light is beneficial to plants, and since plants
would be the food source for both animals and man (Gen. 1:29-30),
light would also be good, in the sense of beneficial, to man and
animals on that account.
M. Morris (The
Genesis Record, pp.56-57) speculates in a
remarkable way on the action of the Godhead in creation to this point:
the types of force and energy which interact in the universe involve
only electromagnetic, gravitational, and nuclear forces; and all of
these had now been activated. Though no doubt oversimplified, this
tremendous creative act of the godhead might be summarized by saying
that the nuclear forces maintaining the integrity of matter were
activated by the Father when He created the elements of the
space-mass-time continuum, the gravitational forces were activated by
the Spirit when He brought form and motion to the initially static and
formless matter, and the electromagnetic forces were activated by the
Word when He called light into existence out of the darkness. Of
course, God is One, and all three persons of the Godhead actually
participated in all parts of the creation and continue to function in
the maintenance of the universe so created.
God separated the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:4b).
When Moses wrote these words, he could not possibly have known about
the portions of electromagnetic radiation that are invisible to the
human eye. His concern (and God’s concern also) was differentiating
between optical light and darkness. Some observations about light are
in order here.
as initially pervasive. First, when God initially
created light, it appears that light may have been pervasive. What do I
mean by pervasive? Let me illustrate. In the distant future, God will
create New Heaven(s) ("heavens" - in the OT the noun shâmayim appears only in the plural, and in the NT the Greek noun ouranos appears both in the singular and in the plural). The respective nouns for "heaven(s)" are plural in Isa.
65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13, and singular in Rev. 21:1). He will also create New Earth (Isa.
65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1) because the existing
heaven (universe) and earth have been irremediably contaminated by sin, decay, and death.
From an exceedingly high mountain, John was privileged to see the Holy
City, New Jerusalem in the process of
descending to or near New Earth (Rev.
21:2, 10) from
the Heaven where God presently
dwells. This New Jerusalem John saw was continually
manifesting the glory of God in terms of an optical brilliance (Rev. 21:11).
The glory of God and the Lamb (Jesus) illuminating the city was so
intense that there was no need of either sun or moon to shine on it (Rev. 21:23).
This brilliant glory John saw was not confined only to the city. He
predicted that when these conditions manifest themselves in the future,
the nations of New Earth will be able to function
by means of the city’s great light, and the kings of New Earth will be able to transport
their glory (presumably produce and manufactured goods) into the city
twenty four hours a day. This will be true because there will never be
any night there and the gates of the city will never be closed (Rev. 21:24-26).
So the optically unveiled glory of God and the Lamb will be so great
that there will be a visible brilliance both within the city and an
external brilliance from the city casting light on huge portions of New Earth. (It is likely, in view of
the present participle descending (katabaino) used in both Rev.
21:2 and 10,
that the enormous city never actually rests upon New Earth, but rather is suspended
as a satellite city, perhaps in geosynchronous orbit above the land of
Israel on New Earth.)
Not only will there be an external brilliance from the glory of God and
of the Lamb emanating from New Jerusalem, but there will be an
internal brilliance. Apparently there will be no need of artificial
lighting within the buildings and homes of the city. John affirms that
there will be no need, not only of illumination from the sun, nor either for
any illumination from any lamp (Rev. 22:5).
So the glory of God and of Jesus will not only illumine the city and
radiate outward from the city, but it will illuminate the interiors of
buildings and rooms in the city! This light from the glory of God will
be pervasive indeed.
I say all that to say this: Evidently when God
said, “Let there be light!” on Day One (Gen. 1:3),
that light was pervasive in the sense that it illuminated the whole
hemisphere of the earth facing that light. At the same time, God knew
that the finite
creatures He would create would need periodic, regular rest. For that,
there must be a regular period of darkness. So part of God’s creative
act with reference to light on Day One was not to obliterate darkness
entirely, but to allow for alternating periods of light and darkness as
the Earth rotated on its axis in reference to that light He had created
on Day One (Gen. 1:3). So God
centralized or focused the light reflecting his own innate glory to
allow for nocturnal rest and rejuvenation. It is in that sense, I
believe, that God separated the light from the darkness.
as functionally good. Second, some,
unfortunately, have portrayed light upon the newly created earth as
being good (tob) not only in an aesthetic
and functional sense, but in a moral, ethical sense. And the darkness,
they opine, signifies an unethical, unholy, evil aura (Ross, TBKC, I, pp. 28-29). In that sense, they hypothesize, the initial earth must have
become contaminated. And by whom? By Satan, of course. Now it is
true, of course, that later on in time and in Scripture, light and
darkness are portrayed as polar opposites in the moral, ethical
spectrum (see e.g. Isa.
5:20; 9:2; Matt. 6:23; John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46; Rom. 13:12; 2 Cor.
6:14; Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 John 1:5; 2:9).
And that is the point. The negative ethical and moral connotation of
darkness was a later development. The difficulty with
the “darkness is evil” hypothesis in Genesis 1:2-5 is that there is NO RECORD
in the text of Gen.
1-2 that Satan was present on Earth any
time before his mention in Gen. 3. In fact, there WAS NO SIN
in connection with the Earth God created. So the darkness that needed
to be rectified by light was not an ethical or moral darkness, but a
functional and aesthetic deficiency. If it is dark, neither man, nor
animal can see, and plants, the source of food for both, cannot grow.
So created life could not survive without light. To insist that the
darkness of Genesis
an ethical or moral deficiency is to import later ideas from later
passages of Scripture into a beginning text in which they do not exist.
Quite to the contrary, periodic darkness was necessary to provide
nightly rest for the creatures God would soon create. And the darkness
would never be total, for God would create a lesser light, the moon, to
govern the nighttime (Gen. 1:16).
Furthermore, God would later pronounce the developments upon earth,
which included alternating periods of light and
darkness as being good (tob) (Gen. 1:16-18).
called the light day, and the darkness He called night (Gen. 1:5a).
This is the first of five times that God “called” in this Creation
Each time (in this context) the verb called (qara) means that God named or
labeled an entity. (1) God called the light day (Gen. 1:5).
(2) God called the darkness night (Gen. 1:5).
(3) God called the expanse heaven (Gen. 1:8).
(4) God called the dry land earth (Gen. 1:10).
(5) God called the gathered waters seas (Gen. 1:10). ***
Hebrew thought, the idea of naming something is not merely attaching a
random label to it. It carries the idea of identifying the essence of
that thing (see H. C. Leupold, Exposition
of Genesis, I, p. 55, i.e. Section 1.55). The idea of naming something or labeling it also shows a
certain mastery of that entity. (See Constable, Notes
on Genesis, see comments on Gen. 1:5). See Genesis
41:45; 2 Kings 24:17; Daniel 1:7.)
To name or identify or classify something is part of the very nature of
God. Since God later created man in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27),
He would bring animals to man and see what man would call (qara)
them. And whatever man called (qara)
a living creature, that was its name (shem)
(Gen. 2:19). Genesis 2:20 records, literally, that
the man “called (qara)
to all the cattle, birds and beasts. That naming/labeling/classifying
process revealed to man experientially that he had no suitable helper,
as did the animals. After God created a female counterpart to man and
brought her to him, the man called (qara)
her woman (Gen.
The point is this: to call something is to name it, or accurately
classify it and, to a certain degree, to exercise mastery over it. By
way of illustration, we have all gone to the doctor with certain
symptoms that we cannot identify. When he diagnoses our illness, we are
somehow comforted. We don’t feel any better physically, but we feel
better emotionally and psychologically, because both the doctor and we
ourselves now have a degree of mastery over the inexplicable symptoms.
We have the flu, or the ankle is badly sprained but not broken. Even if
we are diagnosed with some kind of cancer, there is a certain amount of
relief in knowing what kind of cancer we have and what the alternative
methods of treatment are and what our prognosis might be. Similarly,
those who favor abortion seek to control others’ perception of them by
naming themselves as “pro-choice” rather than “those who seek to kill
unborn babies.” God exercised mastery over the conditions of light and
darkness by classifying the light as "day" and the darkness as "night."
two labels are very geocentric and anthropocentric. By geocentric
I mean that day and night have significance with respect to our earth.
The existence of day and night demonstrates that the light that was
initially pervasive was now localized, and that the earth was now
regularly rotating in respect to the light source God had just created.
Out in the middle of deep space, the terms day and night have no
significance. Their significance is related to the earth. By anthropocentric, I mean that the terms day
and night have primary significance for man, as
opposed to animals. Obviously animals can differentiate between light
and darkness, but they don’t call the darkness "night" nor do they call
the light "day." Those are human terms, understood by man. God labeled
the darkness and the light for man’s benefit, not for the benefit of
is the meaning of the word day (yom)?
Here it clearly means the illuminated portion of a 24-hour period of
time. So also night (layelah)
refers to the non-illuminated portion of a 24-hour day. So in the very
first occurrence of the word day in the Bible, it is self limiting. It
is unequivocally linked to a 24-hour period of time, not a vast span of
time (as theistic evolutionists would have us believe).