Light From Nothing

Genesis 1

Genesis 1 is a fascinating chapter. Sometimes it may not feel that way each time you read it (because, you think, exactly how am I supposed to be excited about livestock and “everything that creeps on the ground?”), but that’s missing the point. The point is that God made all of these things out of absolutely nothing. He simply spoke them into existence. If that just washes over you without moving you in the slightest, just try doing it yourself. God did it. And one of the most interesting and important elements of his creation is light. Did you notice that God said, “Let there be light” (and there was light, verse 3) on Day 1 long before he said on Day 4 “let there be lights” (i.e., sun, moon, and stars to give light to the earth)? Light before the lights? Yep. God himself is the light. The sun, moon, and stars were created to be pictures of God’s brilliant glory, and He gives to each of them the light that they shine day after day.

Also interesting is that God created us in His own image, meaning we were created to be images of His character and worth in the world. In other words, we were created to be holy and righteous people, who love God and all that is good and hate what is evil at all times.  The Bible sometimes describes this holiness and righteousness as light vs. darkness. John says of God’s holiness, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The sad truth is that because of the sin and rebellion against God in our hearts, Jesus said we have all “loved the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19). God is light, and we have loved the darkness rather than the light. What are we to do?

Look to Jesus, who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). God Himself took on human flesh in Jesus Christ to live the life we were supposed to live, not just as our example but in our place – as our substitute before God. When he died on the cross, he was taking on himself the judgment of those who for all of their lives had loved the darkness rather than the light, who had lived as though evil was good and good was evil. Having now lived a perfect life for us, and died our death in our place, He now calls us to come to him in repentance of our sins and trust in his saving work for us. The only remaining problem, though, is still us. We’re so messed up by sin that even though Jesus has done all of that for us, we still sinfully choose our own way. Jesus himself said it. He said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world (i.e., Jesus), and people (i.e., us) loved the darkness rather than the light” (John 3:19). Again, what are we to do?

Thankfully, God is gracious and God is good. Remember Genesis 1, where God the Creator simply spoke and created light out of nothing? Well, the apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” What? Simply put, just like God spoke to the darkness and created light out of nothing, He speaks to the darkness of our hearts to create for us the light of repentance and faith in Jesus. Jesus really does save. And from that day on, as we “walk in the light as he is in the light” throughout this life (1 John 1:7), we will one day spend eternity in heaven in the presence of Christ himself where there is “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23) – freed finally not just from the penalty of sin and the power of sin, but the very presence of sin.

  1. What does all of this teach you about God?
  2. What does it teach you about yourself?
  3. What does it lead you to do in response?