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First Light

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Gen 1:3-4.

The first thing that strikes me as I read these verses afresh this morning is that the light referred to here on the first day has nothing to do with the light shed by the sun or reflected by the moon! They are not created until the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-18). This is uncreated light (there is no “made” in these verses) — a different, more fundamental light; and by its very existence from the first moment of creation it brings a fundamental division into the universe on every level which will exist to all eternity — the division between light and darkness.

Significantly, in the first chapter of John’s Gospel which is in many ways a commentary on the first chapter of Genesis, light features very prominently too. Here, the light is the light of Christ who, “in the beginning was … with God, and … was God.” And it is in the pre-existent Christ that there “was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.” When Christ was born in Bethlehem, John tells us, “the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:1-9). Graham Kendrick expresses this beautifully in his song “God is with us” …

Like a candle flame,
flickring small in our darkness,
uncreated light
shines through infant eyes.

Today’s world is a world of relative values — “you have your truth, I have mine” — but here in Genesis 1 and John 1 are two absolutes: light and darkness; and the one will always dispel the other. You can generate light in all manner of ways and the light will always make the darkness around it flee; but you cannot generate darkness and make light flee. Darkness is the absence of light. It is entirely negative. Light will always reign over it. And the light of Christ is available to all. Judgement is all about our response to the light of Christ:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God” (John 3:19-21).

When I come to Christ not only do I come into the light but I receive the light. Note the striking language of Paul in his letter to the Christians at Ephesus: ” For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5.8). Christians are people in whom the light of Christ has not only dispelled darkness but in whom the light of Christ resides. And we are to shine with that light. As we say to those who are baptised: “Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.”

Lord Jesus, let me so shine with your light this day that any darkness within me or around me will be made to flee. Amen.

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