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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Genesis > Gen. 1:3-4


Darkness and Light
Gen. 1:3-4


Then God said,
“Let there be light”; and there was light.
God saw the light, and it was good.

Textual Considerations

    “Let there be light”

Subsequent to God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, the earth was surrounded by darkness; light is the next creation of God.

An imperative of the verb “become”; lit., God says: “Light, be!” God commands the light to come into existence; God speaks and it is done; all of creation was by God’s word (see: Ps. 33:6-9; Ps. 148:1-5; Heb. 11:3; II Pet. 3:5-7; and By His Word).

    “there was light”

Immediately the darkness was dispelled; God’s will is irresistible; what He desires must be; it will be; it cannot not be; whatever light is, it is because God determines it to be (see: God is Sovereign and Theistic Determinism).

Light is created in v. 3 on Day One, while the sun, moon, and stars are made on Day Four (vs. 14-16); two options to the problem: one, on Day One God made all the bodies (sun, moon, and stars) of the cosmos and He made light, but on Day Four God revealed the function of the sun, moon, and stars by localizing the light in them, thus giving them their function; two, on Day One God made light and on Day Four God made the sun, moon, and stars and made the light to originate from them at the point of their creation; the issue is whether Day Four relates to function only, or to creation and function.

    “God saw the light”

None of creation is part of God or emanates from God; all of creation is over against God, totally separate from Him; Pantheism is not an option; the light was not an extension of God; the Text states that God saw the light; the light was outside of Him, external to Him; it did not partake of Him.

    “it was good”

“Good” is the word used to describe creation at each step of completion; the light was good (v. 4); the earth and seas were good (v. 10); the vegetation was good (v. 12); the sun, moon, and stars were good (v. 18); the fish and birds were good (v. 21); and the creatures were good (v. 25).

On the Sixth Day God made man, and “then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (v. 31).

God’s evaluation of His creation is “good” and “very good”; this is not the estimation of man, but it is the knowledge of God.

After six days all of creation was very good—no chaos with millions of years ahead (see: A very Good Creation, Six Days of Creation and Literal or Symbolic Days).

Theological Thoughts

* Light and darkness are used in Scripture to speak of good and evil, the saved and the lost, the saint and the sinner, the right way and the wrong way; “let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12), and “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8).

* The multiple uses of darkness; use of:

Evil and evil men (Prov. 4:19; Rom. 13:12)
The world system (Eph. 6:12)
An individual’s state outside of Christ (Jo. 12:46; Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:13; I Pet. 2:9)
Ignorance of God and His works is darkness (I Thess. 5: 4-5)
Men love darkness (Jo. 3:19)
Ignorance of God’s Word (I Thess. 5:4)
The state of fallen angels (Jude 6)
The believer fights against rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12)
The end-time (Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20)
The final state of false teachers (Jude 13)
The final state of the lost (Matt. 8:12; 25:30)

* The multiple uses of light; used of:

God (Ps. 27:1; I Tim. 6:16; I Jo. 1:5)
Jesus Christ (Jo. 1:5-9; 3:19; 8:12; 12:46)
God’s Word (Ps. 119:105, 130; Prov. 6:23; II Cor. 4:4)
A synonym for truth (Ps. 43:3)
Israel is a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6)
The Gospel (II Cor. 4:3-4, 6; II Tim. 1:10
God’s people (Jo. 12:36; Eph. 5:30; I Thess. 5:5)
The position of the believer (I Pet. 2:9)
The believer’s walk (Isa. 2:5; Eph. 5:8; I Jo. 1:5-7; 2:10)
Believers are to be light in the world (Matt. 5:14, 16)
The glory of the heavenly city (Rev. 21:23)


See: Gen. 3:15 - Protoevangelium

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