While browsing an online media source this week, I read a statement that gave me pause. It’s a strange sensation we feel when someone posts what they believe to be the ultimate “gotcha,” but their gotcha is so far off base that we want to shake them awake and get them to see that they are not so clever as they believe themselves to be.
In the instance I just mentioned, the guy was trying to prove that the creation events could not possibly be real. The events are totally mythical if not an outright lie. In his delusion of brilliance, the man constructed an argument that claimed creation could not be true because on Day One, God supposedly created light, but the sun, moon, and stars weren’t created until Day Four.
No, my online debate adversary, you didn’t “got me.” No slam-dunk here.
Let There Be Light
The thing about Day One of creation I find fascinating is not that God created “lights,” but that he created “light.” God made it such that there is a thing we can call light. There was no such thing as light until God said, “Let there be such a thing as light. Let’s allow that there is a reality that we will call light!”
And then the real mind-blower for me comes in the very next verse. God separated the light from the darkness! What does that even mean? Prior to God doing this, we had light because he created it, but we couldn’t distinguish between light and darkness. Can you even wrap your mind around that concept?
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
– Genesis 1:3-4, ESV
But the astonishing realities we are talking about get even more puzzling.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
– 1 John 1:5, ESV
So, God created the reality of light. There is such a thing as light, but we couldn’t distinguish light from darkness, so God created a separation between them. And now . . . God IS light.
I read once that light is “the most constant, clearly observable, and all-pervasive experience in our universe.”1 So, if God is light, God is the most constant, clearly observable, and all-pervasive experience in our universe.
Light as Metaphor
The biblical text is burgeoning with similes and metaphors. John is especially fond of using metaphor, and he seems particularly interested in light. Let’s look at a few of those.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
– John 1:4, ESV
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:5, ESV
But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
– John 3:21, ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
– John 8:12, ESV
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
– John9:5, ESV
From this collection of verses, we learn that the life of God is the light of humanity. Light is never conquered by darkness. You can cram as much darkness into a room as it will hold, but when someone lights a match, the darkness is defeated—every time. Light attracts truth lovers. Jesus is the light of the world who dwells in unapproachable light,2 and he attracts truth-lovers. If we want to walk with Jesus, we will do that by walking in the light.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
– 1 John 1:6-7, ESV
Am I Walking in the Light?
But how do I know if I’m walking in the light or in the dark? The most telling evidence is how I view and treat other people. Am I a man of love, or a man of hatred?
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes
– 1 John 2:9-11, ESV
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:5, ESV
Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
– 1 Ephesians 6:7-8, ESV
As the adopted of God, we are light bearers, reflecting the light of God onto a world darkened by sin.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
– Proverbs 4:18-19, ESV
Taking the Light to the Darkness
The people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.
– Matthew 4:16, ESV
Note that the people sitting in darkness didn’t come to the light. They may not even know that there is light. They are just sitting there in the darkness, dwelling in the shadow of death. The reason they have seen a great light is because Jesus took that light to them! We are called to do the same.
I want to close with an excerpt from my manuscript, The Christ-Saturated Life.
As Jesus launched his ministry, he did not sit in the local synagogue, restructuring the approach to worship activities in order to make them more palatable to seekers. Jesus did not go to the “lighted people,” but rather to those who were beaten down, lost, broken, and frustrated with the religious systems of their day. Jesus pursues those who are imprisoned by prostitution and sex trades, those who are addicted to methamphetamines. He looks for the crack addict and the pornography addict. He is seeking out the man who beats his wife and the woman who beats her children. Jesus goes to people who understand darkness, because they are drowning in it every day.
You’re a child of the light. Be a bearer of light to those wallowing in darkness.
1. Morris, H. III. (July 6, 2018). The “Light” Equation. Days of Praise (June, July, August 2018), 40. https://www.icr.org/i/pdf/dop/dop1802.pdf
2. 1 Timothy 6:16