And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.Genesis 1:3
The Biblical account of creation is a fascinating yet mysterious subject which, because of its mystery, continues to be a target of criticism. It’s not surprising that man would formulate such elaborate descriptions of how our world came into existence without any attribution to a divine being. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Without Christ in us we simply cannot understand the truth of God’s word. We shouldn’t get upset at unbelievers for claiming that our Bible is nothing more than a fairy tale. Wisdom and understanding is given to us by the Holy Spirit in His perfect timing.
Back to our key verse though, let us reflect on the creation of light. To be clear, the light in verse 3 is not the sun. God created the sun on the fourth day as we see in verses 14-19.
Genesis 1:14-19 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
So, what was the light created on the first day? A few of our Bible commentaries from the 17th and 18th century give us a bit of insight.
John Gill (1697-1771) compared the light to the pillar of fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness, in effect, Jesus Christ.
Adam Clarke (1762-1832) took a more scientific approach, giving that latent heat is present in all matter and with that heat is potential for light, (basically saying that is when God created the nature of atoms). I’m always a little leery when someone tries to use science to prove God’s word. I think it should be the other way around.
Matthew Henry, (1662-1714), my favorite commentator but also the most difficult to understand sometimes, commits about 3 pages to elaborate on the 1st five verses. He references many verses which refer to Christ as light but also to Christ as the Word.
The first light is God manifesting His holiness and purity in a way that the crown of His creation, mankind, could understand. The entire design for God’s plan for all creation was written on that 1st day. Think about it, we were loved and chosen before the foundation of the world, (Eph. 1:4), and on the first day the earth had no foundation, it was without form and void. Jesus isn’t a creation, He is from everlasting to everlasting, but the Light for our understanding, the Word of the gospel, was manifested in Christ on that first day.
Let’s continue to verse 4, And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
God saw that the light was good, but He doesn’t say that about the darkness. Although the Bible doesn’t tell us when angels were created but I believe the first day is when Lucifer, darkness, is separated from Christ, the Light.