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Christian Biblical Studies
God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Genesis 1: 3
THIS SUCCINCT, ELEGANT PHRASE from the King James Version of Genesis 1: 3 is attributed to the great translator of the Hebrew text, William Tyndale. It carries a world of meaning.
The ‘light’ here cannot refer to solar illumination, for the sun was hidden until the fourth creative epoch-day (vs. 14-19). Rather, it is probably the fundamental principle of light – electromagnetic radiation, an innovation which preceded ‘sunlight’ – and which was generated in the primeval earth in some way not explained in the narrative.
The creation account in Genesis assumes the viewpoint of a hypothetical onlooker. The light of verse 3 is certainly literal, but on another level it suggests the instructive value of the narrative. Not only does it tell the observing believer how the earth and its environs came to be, but it is intended to illuminate our understanding of why. In this first chapter of the first book of the Bible the necessary prelude to the Divine Plan of the Ages is revealed. The account of Man’s fall and the hint of his redemption and recovery appear in the subsequent chapters of the book.
Since the presumption of the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis is that of a looker-on, the implication is that the human eye is the chief beneficiary of the ‘light’. Man’s dominion is the one in which the plans and purposes of God relative to salvation were laid down and worked out. The vast human drama in which the dire effects of sin and the ultimate restorative power of salvation by the cross of Christ – the Lamb slain before the earth was created – all this begins with the simple assertion, ‘let there be light’.
Looking Versus Seeing
The faculty of sight existed in mammals and birds and marine animals for long ages prior to man’s creation. Man received his own faculty of sight after the basic structure of the eye was developed. He was made of the same ‘stardust’ as the animals which preceded him. But in his case his vision was allied to a superior brain. He was not caused to ‘see’ for the mere exigencies of survival, like the animals before him, but that he might perceive, understand, imagine – possessing the ability to anticipate by his ‘mind’s eye’ things which were yet future. His eyes were opened (Genesis 3: 5, 7). The world as God first designed it anticipated human vision: ‘And there was light’. Thus Man became a planner and a maker of things – a mini-creator, in imitation of the One who made him.
Atheistic science usually asserts that the narrative and theology of Genesis are useless to the modern mind. So it skips over and beyond to the dark recesses of an instant in ‘time’ when all matter expanded into existence through the mechanism of the Big Bang. In the main, scientists have abandoned the role of observer and instead have created their own spectacle, simultaneously occupying the seats of their own stadium and playing on their own field, crafting the rules of the game and awarding their own goals.
Evolution, according to the standard definition, cannot ‘see’ anything. It is a directing force without predictive understanding or analytical purpose. Were it not for the deliberate and direct creation of Man and his unique brain-vision faculty, the natural world would have existed indefinitely as an unimproved environment, its potential wasted. Vision without perception. In short, Earth would be a pointless decoration in an infinity of space.
‘Let there be light’ does more than introduce a natural phenomenon. It announces that Man, made in the image and likeness of God, was the Creator’s end in view.
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