God has been doing a wonderful thing in my life lately, and that is to bring me right back to Genesis, Chapter 1, in my readings. As I was reading Genesis 1:3 (“Then God said, “Let there be light”: and there was light.”), I was suddenly struck, as it were, with this thought.
“Now why did God make light?”
I could not read any further until I had pondered this question (and, indeed, those three verses were as far as I got during that particular session of meditating on the Scriptures).
I concluded (I believe with the Lord’s help) that the reason that God made light is, fundamentally, because he is a God of revelation. Now, by “revelation,” I mean, he reveals things. And what better way to reveal things than to expose them with light?
Now “light”, of course, is not only used in the physical sense, in Scripture. It is also used to describe Jesus Christ himself (the “light of the world” — see John 1-3). But again, the manner in which the word “light” is used in describing Jesus is also — fascinatingly — revelatory in nature:
“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (John 3:20)
So, then, God is One who reveals things, by physical light, and by the light of his holy presence. When he is near, things get “exposed” (which is sometimes why we are afraid around holy people).
Well, not too long after I pondered this issue, I was back in Genesis again, this time reading just a few more verses. Genesis 1:4-5 (the very next verses) read as follows:
“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:4-5)
Now that is a pretty interesting passage. That is the first day of creation. Fundamentally (and this will act as a recap), what then did God do on the first day? More importantly, why did he do it (I think you will find this extremely fascinating)?
According to the passage, God:
1. Created light
2. Saw that he light was good
3. Divided the light from the darkness
4. Called the light “Day”
5. Called the darkness “Night”
And the cap summary of this first day of creation is given in the latter part of Genesis 1:5: “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
What does the passage seem to be saying to you? If you read it “as it appears” (and so you should), does not this passage clearly define the meaning of a day? It does so in the sentence “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
So then, that is what a “day” is here. The context of this passage makes it plain. Its meaning is necessary assigned according to what the “evening and the morning” are. And what are these? These have been defined for us by the breaking up of the “day” and “night”.
Wow. It seems awfully simple to me. One of the main things that God did on that very first day of creation was to describe for us what a “day” really was! It was this thing that can be referenced by (strictly speaking, not “defined by”) one evening and one morning.
And to make it very plain for us, that God did indeed create the world in six 24-hour days, this same expression — based on the meaning ascribed in Genesis 1:5 — is repeated 5 other times.
“So the evening and the morning were the second day.” (Genesis 1:8)
“So the evening and the morning were the third day.” (Genesis 1:13)
“So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” (Genesis 1:19)
“So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:23)
“So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)
To be sure, I believe that the reason the expression “the evening and the morning” is used here, is to guarantee for us that not more than one single evening and morning passed for each of the individual creation days. It was not “several evenings and several mornings” but “the evening and the morning” — period!
Did God make it clear? I believe he did. Unfortunately, I think too many people — Christians included — have been a little too quick to skip over just exactly what it was that God did for us on that first creation day. That day was a special creation day. It was the “day” itself that God created to define for us what a “day” really is: that which is referenced by “the evening and the morning” — clearly, in relationship to the “darkness and light” which God separated on that first creation day.