In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. [Genesis 1:1-5 ESV]
When God created He made something out of nothing. Before He created even the inconceivably smallest particle of matter did not exist. But God exists outside of the physical universe. Then God spoke, acted, created, began creating, and there was something.
God created all physical reality with order and precision, having no defect. Yet, within these verses we see the reality of darkness and light. Before God did anything else in creation He created light. He separated the darkness from the light. Notice there was darkness over the all the earth. By this I think He means the physical planet upon which we live before the planet was habitable.
Yet, He didn’t just create. God created the universe, the earth, and people with His image, pointing to Himself. All of the evidence of creation shows the Creator at work. But God has revealed more about Himself in Scripture which we could not understand through simple observation of the physical universe. A finite mind cannot comprehend an infinite being.
Since God is omniscient His eternal foreknowledge knew intimately the reality of coming sin and the resulting separation of those He created from Himself. Perhaps sin had already been introduced into eternity through the rebellion of Lucifer and the expulsion of those angels who followed him.
In Scripture darkness is a symbol for sin. Light is a symbol of righteousness and perfection. Separation is a theme in Scripture. God cannot allow any sinful person or thing in His presence. He separates from Himself that which does not conform to His exact, perfect standard.
From the beginning God has shown the reality of separation, light from darkness, and the truth of the righteous being set apart from the unrighteous. Separation is always from something to something different, from sin to something greater, something not sin. Separation from sin means separation to righteousness. But first those who sin must be separated from Him who cannot sin.
When Adam sinned he was separated from the place created by God for him and his enjoyment. He, and all who followed were also separated from God, unable to have the intimate relationship for which they were designed.
Cain killed Abel, separating his brother from life and himself being separated from his people. Others joined him, a group of separate people who did not follow God.
Seth was born and through him God chose to send His Son.
Then the “sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose” [Genesis 6:2 ESV]. Do not think these were angels. They were not. God’s sons were the line of Seth and the daughters of men were of the line of Cain. The marriage of the godly with the ungodly corrupted and further separated all from their relationship with God.
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Genesis 6:5 ESV]. But God separated for Himself Noah and seven others.
Then God separated for Himself one of Noah’s sons, Shem
Then God separated for Himself Abram from all of the pagans of the world. Then God chose for Himself Isaac, not Ishmael. Then God chose for Himself Jacob, who would become Israel, not Esau. Israel was separated from the world to serve God and to bear witness of His righteousness. Even Israel sinned and parts of the nation were separated from the rest and exiled.
Sin corrupts all it touches but God’s Spirit recreates, taking away the sentence of separation. His light cannot be extinguished.
God kept His promise to the sinful world. From the beginning He determined to send His Son to take upon Himself the sentence demanded by justice for sin. Israel was chosen not because they were sinless but because of His eternal determination of the genealogical line through which Jesus would descend. All of creation points to Him.
He is the light of the world and reveals the truth of separation and the gift of restoration.