Monday, September 28, 2009
Let There Be Light
A Bible study lesson by Judy Vandiver
This week’s Bible study continues in the first chapter of Genesis.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He 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 1:3-5 NIV)
In verse two of Genesis, we saw that we were in darkness, but verse three shows that God did not want to leave us there.
While the story of creation may be looked at literally, it pays us to remember that God also speaks to us figuratively. In looking at meanings for the word “light,” it is natural to think of the sun, moon and stars that God created. However, throughout the Bible, light is referred to as more than “sunshine.” Light is illumination. Sometimes light is a physical illumination and sometimes an internal or mental one. When God proclaimed light for the world, stars appeared in the heavens, but I believe He may also have meant for there to be an illumination of understanding in our world.
We often refer to someone as “seeing” when they “understand” a thought or concept. If I use that terminology to paraphrase verse three, it might read like this: “And God said, ‘let Judy see. Bring Judy from the darkness she is in.’”
As I wondered about this, I thought of another meaning for “light” that is used throughout scripture. Light is also used to represent God. John 1:5 states: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (NIV)
As I continued my paraphrase, I understood that what, or who, God wanted me to see and understand, was Him. If light is my understanding and light is God, my paraphrase could read, “ And God said, ‘Let Judy know Me and who I am.’”
Even when I was in a state of being formless, empty, dark, God said, “Let there be light.” Before I ever knew Him, He wanted me to understand who He was, to understand my awful condition, to understand He didn’t want to leave me like that.
Verse four tells us that God saw that the light was good and he separated the light from the darkness. Someday God will separate those who have lived in the light from those who have lived in darkness. And it affirms that the light is good. It is good for us to “see” and “understand” the ways of God.
Verse five states: “God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night’. And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.” What a reminder that when we come to know God, to see the light, and move from the darkness, it is but the first day. Our journey is just beginning. God has much more to come in His plan for us.
To ponder on:
1. Write down phrases where we use the word “light” in different contexts today.
2. How can these phrases be used to see a figurative or deeper meaning to these verses in Genesis?
3. List differences between physical darkness and light.
4. Think about these differences applied figuratively to the verses above.
5. Using the meanings you have thought of for light and darkness, paraphrase the verses above using your name, as if the verses were written specifically for you. Ask God to help you see and understand Him.