For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2Co 4:6
Everything God does originates out of a heart of love for others, is orderly, and truth-centered. He does nothing without thought and purpose. And uppermost in His mind is the benefit of all His subjects. Creation Week is no exception.
We noticed on Day 0 that the earth was without form and void, and in a miserable state. As we examine the Creator’s approach to changing all this it becomes obvious that in the first 2 ½ days He first addresses the “without form” part, and then, in the next 3 ½ days, the “void”. This two-sided approach was not unique to Creation.
When Noah was preparing for the Flood, he faithfully followed God’s instructions for building the ark. When he finished God took over and filled the boat with creatures of all kinds, according to His purposes.
Years later, when God instructed Moses to build a Sanctuary, He put His spirit upon two Israelites to help supervise the work: Bezaleel, to lead out in the basic construction, and Aholiab to supervise the interior decorating. Then God filled the tabernacle with His presence, but only after the divine commissions on the form were completed “as the Lord commanded Moses” (Exodus 40:32-34).
In Ezekiel’s vision of a valley full of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) he sees God first joining the bones in an orderly fashion, then covering them with sinews, muscles and flesh, and finally, when everything is in order, filling the bodies with His Spirit, making “an exceeding great army”
This approach requires a complete makeover, changing darkness to light, confusion to order, and isolation to community. This change requires a renaming of each part, like what the Bible will later describe when covenants would be made with individuals: Abram and Sarai (Gen. 17), Jacob (Gen. 32), and all the redeemed (Rev. 2:17).
THE FIRST CHANGE
Getting light to our darkened world was God’s first priority. Light brings with it not only visibility, but also the power to make changes —permanent changes. Being able to see things, and see them clearly, really helps to do a job better, faster, and more thoroughly. Though light may symbolize many things, high on the list is TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, or UNDERSTANDING… of or about God (Psalm 43:3). Darkness aptly describes its opposite, ignorance, foolishness, rebellion… of, about, or to God. How we understand or relate to God, our Creator, will affect how we relate to the world around or within us.
Whenever God tries to do a good work, Satan is there to hinder it, to mess things up. He always does that.
1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel
Zec 3:1 And He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
1Th 2:18 Therefore we desired to come to you, truly I, Paul, both once and twice; but Satan hindered us.
Sometimes it takes God or His heavenly messengers time to work through the devil’s obstacles.
Dan 10:12-13 Then he said to me, Do not fear, Daniel; for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come for your words. But the ruler of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days. But lo, Michael, one of the chief rulers, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
The only evidence we have of an antagonist present during this transforming process of creation is a single command word “Let”. God will use the same word on all six days, in every phase of creation. “Let” has various meanings, but most often it stresses the offering of no opposition or resistance. It tells us that every aspect of Creation was challenged, yet God always had the ascendancy. In essence the Creator was clearing the channels of resistance. He was taking charge. This is part of His creative (as well as His re-creative) work.
We can better understand the command on this first day, “Let there be light” by a similar command Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We notice here that the light we are to let shine has a purpose, to bring glory to God, not ourselves. This would make sense if He is the Source. If we have received the grace of God, He is within us, wanting to shine out. It is our responsibility to remove the obstructions so the Lord’s glory can shine out to dispel the darkness around us.1
By God’s grace we can have light in our hearts, yet it may not dispel the darkness around us. Why? Because something is obstructing the light. It could be a problem we have (disregarding the light God has given, not living by it, unbelief), a problem others have (prejudice, pride of opinion, drunkenness, etc.), or just the fact that an adversary, the devil, is close by to hinder and thwart the work. When we realize this is happening we have access to the throne of God through prayer for help.
Mark 4:15 And these are those by the wayside, where the Word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts.
It is God’s purpose to dispel the darkness, Satan’s to hinder it, and ours to choose whom to serve. It’s the last part that (by the grace of God) turns the tide.
What an encouragement when we look at Creation as representing how God regenerates fallen man back into His image! That’s why we are studying the Creation Story, to understand how to cooperate with our Redeemer in the reforming of our character and the characters of those around us. God uses the same steps. Every stage of advancement in the divine life will be met with resistance, but be encouraged. Our Creator/Redeemer has power to overcome every obstacle!
Acts 14:22 GNB They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught.
The only difference in the story of Creation and the story of Redemption is the state of willingness of the subject. The earth is represented as totally willing and submissive, though it was in a miserable condition. On the other hand, we may still be afraid to let God have complete control. We may want to be masters of our own destiny. The Lord will not force Himself on us. In our self-sufficiency and complacency, we are content with little, so He waits. It took the Creator only a week to complete His work in the earth. It often takes Him a lifetime to finish His work in us. How patient He is and stubborn we are!
What about this light? Many have puzzled over exactly what went on this first day of Creation. Especially when the story goes on to say that God made the sun and moon on the fourth day, to give light upon the earth. (Genesis 1:15)
The light of the first day was the light of His presence.
1John 1:5 And this is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, that they might shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
There is a little detail here we must not overlook. Though the light is now illuminating the earth the sun will not be visible until the fourth day. Why is this? This first part of the week is describing how God is working with the sinner early on, BEFORE HIS CONVERSION, while his focus is still on self. Remember, sinners love darkness.
John 3:19-20 ERV They are judged by this fact: The light has come into the world. But they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. Everyone who does evil hates the light. They will not come to the light, because the light will show all the bad things they have done.
So we would expect, if Creation is truly portraying God working with an out-and-out sinner, all caught up in himself, the light on his pathway would be (of necessity) gentle, condescending, mild, not bright and forceful. So until the sinner’s heart is won, the Messiah remains in the background, invisible, and all that the selfish heart can detect is “something out there that is wonderful.” Look at the twelve disciples. They had been with Jesus for three and a half years, and had seen Him do wonderful things, but they didn’t really see Him as the Messiah of prophecy, the Lamb of God, as the Bible portrayed Him. They thought of Him, yes, maybe as the Son of God in human flesh, but more as Israel’s future king. Jesus had to die first, then be resurrected, then continue ministering to them for another forty days, then ascend up to heaven while they watched, before it finally started to sink in that their friend and teacher was, indeed, the Messiah of God. And even then they still needed the enlightenment of the Comforter on the Day of Pentecost to remove the scales from their eyes so they could finally see Him as the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in His beams. It was only then that God would finally have their whole heart, unreservedly.
In Redemption’s story this light is the arrival of the Messiah, God’s personal presence among us, though He would not yet be seen as the Lamb of God, destined to die for the sins of the world. Daniel 9:25 predicted this event. This was a prophecy of hope and doom – hope for those wanting deliverance from bondage and doom for those who resist it. It expressed the limits of God’s forgiveness—His “70 times 7” (Matthew 18:22). The anointing of the Messiah at His baptism began the final week (seven years) of probation for the nation of Israel. During this time God in love pulls out all the stops. He holds back nothing, not even Himself. And part of His responsibility was to become our light.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Visibility is not the only reason light is important in this project. Though light is a universal symbol of truth or knowledge, and it helps us see where we are, it will have little positive effect on us if we are not obedient to it.
I’m driving on a highway at night and my car’s headlights shine on a sign ahead of me WARNING! BRIDGE OUT AHEAD. I know the road well and am aware of the bridge and know it is a very strong bridge and has been in good operation for many many years. So I continue on my course, slowing only enough to drive around the sign, thinking some prankster was having fun. Then I come across another sign. FLOOD DAMAGE. BRIDGE OUT AHEAD. Still secure in my earlier reasonings I don’t slow my pace. Then a third sign. CAUTION! DON’T GO BEYOND THIS POINT! BRIDGE OUT! I know this road like the back of my hand, so, irritated by this prankster’s signs I turn off my headlights and keep moving forward without a care. The moonlight is sufficient to see what I need to see, I reason.
Would you think I was being sensible?
Light also supplies heat or warmth. Truth that comes from God contains creative power…to those who submit to it. According to the laws of natural science, light or heat is an essential factor in all physical changes. It provides, in essence, the energy needed for transformations. As light is analogous to TRUTH, so heat is to COMPASSION, SYMPATHY, and MERCY. When God lightens our life with truth, He always includes mercy with it.
1Co 10:13 ISV God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. Instead, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it.
Whenever you find darkness in your life, whether it be in your mind (confusion, anger, lust, despair), or in your life (divorce, loss of a loved one or friend, trouble in the workplace), call out to God and ask Him to turn on the light! That’s the Messiah’s job— His first work. And He is good at it. You don’t have to tell Him how or why or when or what to do. He already knows you have no power, on your own, to do battle with the prince of darkness, the obstructer. So He turns on the light, gentle, warming, in hopes that you will be drawn to Him. He knows just how much light you can tolerate.
Go on to Day 2.
Lesson for Day 1: Light or heat is needed for making positive changes
1 Christ’s Object Lessons p. 420 “If you desire to put forth the energies of your spiritual life, if you would have your heart illumined by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, remove every obstruction, throw open the passage of communication between Christ and the soul, that the life which is in him may flow freely to you, and that you may impart the same to others.”