Why did God start Creation with saying “Let there be light?”
Well, I don’t know exactly why He created light first, but I can tell you why not.
It wasn’t because He couldn’t see in the dark, like Dad needing to turn on the shop light to work in the basement. It wasn’t because light was needed for everything else to happen in a chain reaction: lights, camera, action! It wasn’t for His benefit or as materials-and-methods for God or for us to repeat His science experiment. And it wasn’t so we’d argue about old earth, young earth, Big Bang, Creationism, Darwinism, or any other host of things Christians can find to argue about. It wasn’t even to give scientists something to prove. Such things evidence a misunderstanding of God, of Genesis, and of God’s act of Creation.
Probably the easiest explanation is that God started Creation with saying “Let there be light ” because He could. It was an act of His will, His choice, and His sovereignty. And He did it, not for His benefit, but for ours.
Even among cosmogonies (myths and theories of creation and ordering of the cosmos) from the Ancient Near East, the Bible stands alone in that light doesn’t emanate from God in creation as a divisible part of Himself to create things (divine, quasi-divine or not) or to create other gods (like a sun god, moon god, etc.). Light was created at His command “Let there be light.” And light and dark segments were necessary for time to exist as day and night. To the ancient Hebrews, day and night had far more meaning than any concept of photons in explaining how the universe is ordered. We do Scripture justice when we understand the ancient mindset even as we enjoy the mysteries of this creation.
Fun Fact of Light: Nothing travels faster than the speed of light. Physicists have pondered this for centuries. Summarizing an excellent explanation,
“The faster something travels, the more massive it gets, and the more time slows—until you finally reach the speed of light, at which point time stops altogether.” This was theorized by Albert Einstein who “came up with a crazy solution: the motion of an object must somehow make time slow down. Time was no longer constant and so relativity was born.”
For further thought:
- In Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day. It has been argued that God didn’t just create photons of light. He created time. How do the days of creation (first, second, etc.) get anchored in God’s creation of time through alternating light and dark periods?
- Read Psalm 90.
- In regard to the return of Christ, Peter writes, 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” How might God’s creation of light make that possible? What is God’s relationship to time?
Lord, help us to appreciate you as our Creator. Help us to make the most of the gift of time. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom…Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Amen.