Monthly Archives: April 2016

Light Overcomes Darkness

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-19 ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)

Where there is darkness God gives light. There is a spiritual element to light and darkness as well as a physical element. God does nothing arbitrarily but thoughtfully, with ramifications which cross physical boundaries into the spiritual, eternal realms. Man, whom He created for eternity, is embedded with the eternal light of God. But darkness corrupted Man. Darkness cannot corrupt light.

Where there is darkness He brings light. On the fourth day of creation God filled the heavens with lights. He made the Sun to “rule the day” and the Moon and stars to “rule the night.” He separated day from night but did not allow complete darkness to rule the night. Night was dark but there was always some light. At times the light reflected by the Moon would be strong or dim. When the Moon was hidden by the earth there were the stars. Until God rolls up the heavens, bringing an end to the universe, stars will shine. Only when eyes are hidden from the light will there be no light to see.

A brief look at history will show God working according to the principle of light and darkness, and of separation. God separated out a people from the rest of the population, not because they were special but because through them would come His Son. Yet, He gave these people His laws, both civil and criminal, and rules for living. He made them different than from the rest of the people of the world. Giving them His law made them a light to the world. His law was the light and the people were the instrument used to shine the light. No matter how hard they tried to suppress God’s light, to exclude any not “chosen” according to their traditions, God used His light in them to bring many people to Himself.

Through the nation of Israel came His Son, God’s absolute light to a world enveloped in darkness. God’s chosen are not the nation through which Christ came but those who are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, chosen by God. Jesus is not simply a vessel or instrument of light but the actual, spiritual light to physical people corrupted by sin, filled with darkness. His righteous light overcomes the spiritual darkness of sin.

Finally, God set His Church in the world, scattered throughout as many points of light. Each person filled with the Spirit of God is not only the vessel but a source of light.

God separated people from Himself because of the darkness of sin. Yet, His purpose since the fall is to draw people toward Himself. He came and dwelt with the nation of Israel, shining His light through them to a world enveloped in darkness. He sent His Son, completely God and completely Man as God originally intended in Adam, as the absolute source of light, both physical and spiritual. When Jesus ascended, God sent His Spirit indwelling those who are His while they continued living in a world covered in darkness. Throughout history God has provided light, even a dim light, to a world darkened by sin. Until the end of time, which will come, God shines light in darkness. Ultimate separation from God is absolute darkness while absolute inclusion with God in eternity is refulgent light.

Principle of Separation

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 ESV)

From the beginning of creation through its end God established a principle of separation.

God separated that which is below from that which is above. He made a “firmament” which may better be translated “expanse” but which means much more than expanse.  It can mean a solid surface, a flat base or support, or the space above a solid, firm surface. On the earth it is the solid surface which supports the waters, the oceans, lakes and rivers.

God calls the expanse above the earth “Heaven” which could be simply the atmosphere which surrounds the earth and holds the gaseous waters for rain. Beyond the atmosphere the Sun, Moon and stars are placed. So, the firmament is the expanse above the earth which includes the atmosphere and everything else surrounding the earth in the universe.

God uses the word “water” five times in these two verses. “Water” does not mean the chemical compound H2O as we know water. Here, water means a liquid “juice” such as urine. It is a waste, a dangerous mixture some have called a “primordial soup.” God separated that which is good, wholesome and healthy, that which is needed to sustain life, from that which is dangerous and adverse to any and all life. Without knowing exactly how He does this it would seem He begins to strain the hazardous liquid through the atmosphere to separate that which is good for life from that which is deleterious to life.

God separates out the earth, a place which He will fill with life, from the rest of the universe. He names the atmosphere and everything beyond it just as He named the period of time of light and darkness. God separates out the chemicals needed to sustain life from those which are adverse and kill life. God separates the solid earth, a small speck of dust in a beyond imaginably vast universe, from the universe. God separates.

This principle of separation He uses from the beginning of creation through its end. He separates that which is not life or harmful to life from that which is life and sustains life.

 

Day Separated From Night

Studies in Genesis 1

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:5 ESV)

Day and Night. Why do these two words cause so much questioning and so many arguments among Christians? Especially when it comes to the timing of God’s creation during the first six days? God created darkness and called the darkness Night. God formed light, said “let there be light” and called the light Day. From the context of Genesis chapter 1 Day is a period of time of light. Night is a period of time of darkness. Since God is not constrained by time, existing outside of the space-time universe, the period of time is determined by Him, not by us.

Day and Night are used in literal and figurative senses. Day can mean a literal 24 hour period but Night never means 24 hours. Day can mean the time from sunrise to sunset and Night the time from sunset to sunrise, splitting the total 24 hours into segments. Day can also mean a period of time of a particular occurrence, such as “the Day of the Lord” (see Isaiah 13:6, 9; Amos 5:18, 20; Acts 2:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5) or an indefinite time of prosperity or trouble.

Day also has figurative meanings. A Day’s work is a period of time of labor. Yet, “work while it is day” (John 9:4 ESV) suggests labor during a period of time of enlightenment. Genesis 2:4 is the beginning verse of the second description of Creation. “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4 ESV). God calls the time He spent creating “in the day that the LORD God made” the whole time of creation. So, Day can be from human perspective a set time or an indefinite time. Since God has determined all things He knows exactly how long each Day, or period of time, lasts. We do not necessarily know.

Night is a period of time of darkness, either literally or figuratively.  Darkness is not just an absence of physical light but also and absence of knowledge and understanding which brings despair and chaos. Night is also the end of the opportunity to work or to gain knowledge, understanding and insight. Night is a time of sin, where the works of darkness reign and where a person will spiritually stumble.

Night is for those who rebel against God while Day describes a time when those who obey and follow Him receive His promises.

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (see Psalms 90:2-4). The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:4-10 ESV)