January 31, 2008
by: jovial_cynic

image: Universum.jpg (cc) Heikenwaelder Hugo

Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 ~NASB~)

I previously mentioned that the first verse of Genesis allows for a 13.7 billion year universe. I won't go into that too much, but for people who are reading this post without the context of the previous posts in the cynical theology section of my site, it might be useful to refer back. Knowing that the text aligns with the scientific age of the universe is a good starting point.

Genesis 1:3 is the first instance in the text of the spoken word of God, and it has been the source of a lot of terribly made bumper-stickers and t-shirts. For example:

This bumper sticker reflects a particularly odd interpretation of the text, when you consider that God created the heavens and the earth back in verse 1, and did not speak until we have light. The Big Bang theory (from which we derive the origin of all matter) would occur in Genesis 1:1, not Genesis 1:3. Anyhow, there's no sense in heading off on another tangent on account of a silly bumper sticker.

Day 1: Light
If we go back to the idea of creation as metaphor of God's relationship with man, the first step made by God is the revelation of light. What is this light? Did it not exist prior to God's spoken word? Or, in the case of revelation, was the light simply not visible from the surface of the earth?

Remember -- the earth was as a barren wasteland, formless and void. By this point in the text, we know that the earth exists, and because it exists, we have a sun; Astronomy 101 explains that you can't really have planets that don't start by orbiting a star; planetary formation requires the gravitational pull of a star. And if there's a star (or even a protostar) that has enough mass to harbor a planet, that star is far enough along in its lifespan to give off light.

However... the surface of the earth might not receive any light; cosmic impacts from meteors, asteroids, and comets would throw a tremendous amount of matter into the atmosphere, obscuring the heavens from view. Again - barren wasteland, formless and void. Take a look at this shot of the moon, and the description of "barren wasteland" makes a lot of sense:

image: Moon Craters (Public Domain)

But at some point on that "first day," (don't forget that the text has already allowed for a 13.7 billion-year long first day) God reveals Himself -- God is light (1 John 1:5). This is not the creation of light in Genesis 1:3. Rather, it is the revelation of light, and it is by that light that all other things become visible.


Ken said:
Interesting. "God is light."
What does that say about the one called the "Bringer of Light," or the
"Light Bringer?" ie; Lucifer... ?

January 31, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
No no -- "light bearer" is the Latin rendition of the term. That's a translational corruption of the word.

The Hebrew phrase that we translate as "Lucifer" in English is "morning star," or "star of the morning." There is no connection between the Light that God uses to describe Himself, and the light of the morning star. At least not in the text.

January 31, 2008

ken said:
February 01, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
I'm not sure if you're saying "dig" as in, "I dig," as in, "I get what you're saying,' or if you're telling me to dig further to find text that agrees with your presupposition about the relationship between the devil and God.

We can have a side discussion about the person of "satan" in the text, but perhaps that should wait until the serpent comes on scene in a couple of chapters. At least that way, we're commenting on the topic of the post itself. Too many tangents otherwise.

February 01, 2008

francisco said:
"Let There Be Light"

"In The Beginning" The Creator said,

"Let There Be Light, and there was Light"

"Let There Be Light" "

"The Beginning of The Creation of Elohim('god')"
('god' is of greek mythology)


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February 01, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
francisco - thanks for your comment, but posting a giant wall of text probably isn't ideal for a comment. I suggest you use a site like and linking to it instead.

Sorry to have to trim your comment.

February 01, 2008

ken said:
Heh. I was saying "dig" as in "I dig."
There are many other things that could be brought into consideration; many tangents, as you said, many other things that relate to the light.

February 01, 2008

Max Hyland said:
So, from my shaky memory, the majority of ancient languages, hebrew and greek among them, the word for "light" and "fire" are the same, or very similar. Being as it was either the sun, or fire, giving light.

Could be, "Elohim lit the camp fire, and saw that it was good (enough for weenies)"

It's a stretch, but still. lol

February 08, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Max - not true in this case. The ancient Hebrews have specific words for both light (owr) and for fire (esh), and they are not related.

But it's interesting that you bring up the word fire, because the Hebrew word used for day (yowm) comes from an unused root which means "to be hot." And what a fascinating link to the dawn of creation -- a cosmic inferno, hotter than anything that can be reproduced in that big bang that started it all. The beginning of the first day (Genesis 1:1) was hot, and as nothing will ever be as cataclysmic as that moment of creation, the root word itself is no longer even used in the language.

I find that fascinating.

February 08, 2008

Max Hyland said:
Yeah- I think it's just ancient greek, on further review.
February 09, 2008

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