Let there be Light

“Then the Pharisees and the Sadducees came, and testing Him [Jesus] asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red”; and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.’ And He left them and departed.”

Matthew 16:1–4

Jesus often used physical realities—the things of nature—to make a spiritual point. He referred to them as signs. These signs were actual, factual, even sometimes historical events intended to direct the minds of the hearers beyond the truths of the physical world to greater spiritual truths.

Paul suggests that God has done the same thing—used physical reality to make a spiritual point—in the act of creation itself. He wrote, in II Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Here Paul is making an allusion to Genesis 1:1–3, which reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

Clearly, Paul considers the creation as recorded by Moses in Genesis to be a historical, factual, and plainly understood and widely accepted fact. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. For Paul, this text points to a real event in time and history—the creation of light around six thousand years ago.

However, God revealed to Paul that the text does even more than record history. God showed Paul that His acts in creation were prophetic and eternal words, foretelling spiritual things to come. Just as God said, “Let there be light!” He now says to helpless, weak sinners, “Let there be understanding of who Christ is.” To quote 11 Corinthians 4:6 again, “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

As the divine light on day one invaded the darkness of the pre-creation void, so God’s grace invades our weak, frail, dark minds. We stand before God without spiritual light and void of goodness. Like the original creation in Genesis 1, we do not yet have spiritual life, but all that changes because of God’s grace. God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light!

God revealed a similar idea to John. John 1:4, 5 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Like Paul, John is alluding to Genesis 1:1–3, understanding that every word of the creation story is historical and literally true.

In addition, God revealed to John that the Genesis text says much more. God intended the historic light of creation to burn an even greater spiritual truth into our minds. The same God who said “Let there be light” is the God who inspired Peter to write, in I Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Allusions to the light of truth penetrating darkness are ubiquitous in both the Old and the New Testaments. Both Job and his “miserable comforters” speak of the contrast between light and dark. In Job 29:2, 3, Job remarks of his misery, “Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me; when His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness.”

David spoke of it in Psalm 18:28, where he wrote, “For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness,” and again in Psalm 112:4: “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” (KJV)

Isaiah used the same metaphor in Isaiah 9:2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”

In speaking for God, Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 42:16, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”

Micah as well made reference to this phenomenon in Micah 7:8: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”

And, of course, we are all familiar with the words of Christ Himself, as quoted in John 8:12: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ”

He made a similar reference in John 12:35, 36: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ ”

In John 3:19, in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus remarked, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

The same God Who, in Genesis 1, transformed the earth, filling it with light, life, order, and rule, is the same God Who is transforming believers by His grace into men and women who are to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), and, when fulfilling the grand commission, will, as Gabriel told Daniel in Daniel 12:3, shine as the stars of heaven. The power of God that was manifested in the historic creation is the same power that is at work in our lives today.

Unfortunately, some professedly Christian leaders have mythologized the Creation, dismissing it as pre-scientific nonsense. Even Pat Robertson, a leading evangelical Christian, has maintained that the Creation is a myth, citing carbon dating and dinosaurs “frozen in time out in the Dakotas” as irrefutable evidence that the earth is vastly more than 6,000 years old. (November 27, 2012, on the “700 Club” broadcast, CBN television.)

Such statements give strength to the Catholic argument that man’s intelligence overrules the teachings of Scripture, and erodes faith in God’s word, leading one to believe that he can pick and choose what he takes as truth in God’s word.

Paul and John took the opposite view. They understood that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.

To trivialize God’s words—any of His words, from the very first words, “Let there be light,” to the very last words, “Surely, I come quickly”—deprives believers of the blessings, the faith, and the confidence in His word that God intended us to have when He gave it to us.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

John Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. After retiring as chief financial officer for the Grand Canyon Association, Grand Canyon, Arizona, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, to join the Steps team. He may be contacted by email at: johnpearson@stepstolife.org.