Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
THE FIRST CREATIVE DAY—LIGHT.
Gen. 1: 3-5
THE NATURE OF LIGHT. A SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE. ITS SOURCES. ITS MISSION. THE DIVISION OF LIGHT FROM DARKNESS. HOW "LIGHT BE" WAS SAID. LIGHT'S PRIORITY IN ORDERING THE EARTH. THE MOSAIC ACCOUNT OF CREATION INSPIRED.
HAVING finished our general discussion of creation, and that of Gen. 1: 1, 2, we now proceed to the study of the first creative period as this concerns conditions on earth. We are to remember that the creation of the earth, described in Gen. 1: 1, 2 as a planet, both in its molten mass condition and in its condition as covered by granite, basalt, gneiss and crystalline rock, antedated the ordering of the earth and its surroundings during its six creative days or periods, as described in Gen. 1: 3-2: 4. The distinction between vs. 1, 2 and vs. 3-2: 4 is this: while the former refer to the bringing into existence of the heavens and earth, the latter refer to the ordering of things in or related to the earth. It is only when this distinction is kept in mind that we avoid many absurdities that have been taught with reference to creation as it affects the universe and our planet, and are guided into a correct appreciation of the entire record of God's creative works, as these are set before us in Gen. 1: 1-2: 4. We trust that our previous study has clarified before our minds God's creative work as it is implied in Gen. 1: 1, 2, as we also trust that our study of the six creative days or epochs will clarify before our minds God's creative work as to ordering this earth and things related to it. And above all we trust that both phases of our study will enhance in our faith, love, appreciation, worship and adoration of the great Jehovah who is revealed in His glorious attributes to us by such creative works as our study brings to mind.
Gen. 1: 3-5 treats of the first epoch, "day one," of God's ordering matters with reference to our planet; and it treats as the work of that day God's providing light for our earth. Many misunderstand the statement, "Let there be light; and there was light," to mean God's original creation of light. This, of course, is a misapprehension of the facts in the case. Since light is emitted by any shining object; and since the earth before it got its covering of figurative scum was a fiery mass, it must have emitted light. Ever since the gases from which our sun was formed solidified enough to become a burning mass our sun emitted light, which was, according to Gen. 1: 1, before the first creative period. The same thing holds true with the suns, planets, etc., of the solar systems other than our own. Accordingly, we are estopped from holding that the record of Gen. 1: 3-5 sets forth the original creation of light. If we keep in mind the distinction made above between the original creation as being recorded in Gen. 1: 1, 2, and the subsequent ordering of matters as related to our earth, as set forth in Gen. 1: 3-2: 4, we will be in a position to recognize vs. 3-5 as teaching the fact of light being given to our earth, after it had become covered with a figurative scum, and not as teaching the original creation of light. The fact that in the first creative period there was day and night (v. 5) due to the presence of a measure of light in the day and its absence by night proves that the sun caused at least some light to penetrate through the canopies of the earth to the earth itself. Accordingly, the words, "let there be light," (v. 3) do not mean, let light as a new thing come into existence; but let light penetrate to the earth itself. And the fact that this was done is stated in the words, "And there was light." Accordingly, we do not think that to be a happy translation which gives the involved words as, Light become: and light became.
This brings us to a short discussion of light; for which we suggest the following definition: Light is
the spiritual luminous substance emanating from shining substances. For about a century the view of light as being a substance, the thought of Sir Isaac Newton, who is, perhaps, the greatest of all scientists, and whose intellect was, perhaps, the greatest that graced fallen mankind, has been rejected in the interests of a theory that light is not a substance at all, but is simply the undulations of ether, waves in the ether. But latterly, due to the advances in knowledge of sub-atomic physics and a growing doubt of the ether hypothesis, scientific opinion is returning to the view of Sir Isaac Newton. We are of the opinion that light is a substance. The following considerations as to light are in line with the thought that it is a substance, and not merely an attribute of a substance, as the undulatory theory implies: Under certain conditions light is a curative agent and under others a destructive agent. Pathology makes frequent and various uses of it in effecting cures. Then, too, we know that an excess of it is injurious, e.g., the blinding effect of too much of it. Its absence sets up a set of negative effects, blindness, ill health, deterioration of various kinds. It frequently promotes growth in the animal creation, as its absence interferes with such growth. It certainly promotes growth and quality in the vegetable, fruit and grain worlds, as certainly its absence stunts growth and quality in all of these. Its traveling in varied wave lengths is in harmony with its being a spiritual substance. So, too, is the fact that there are varied lengths of its waves, that these various wave-lengths produce ultra-violet, violet and blue rays when they are short-wave or high-frequency, and red or infra-red rays when traveling in long-wave or low-frequency. The fact that light is of different colors, some dark, some white, proves that it is a substance. The fact that by means of the prism light is distributed into the seven basic colors, the seven colors of the rainbow, is in harmony With the thought that it is a substance, not simply a
quality of a substance. The fact that it is changeable into other things like sound, heat, electricity and magnetism proves that it is a substance. Its being affected by various forms of energy like gravity and magnetism proves that it is a substance. These facts are sufficient in proof of the fact that light is a substance.
That light is a spiritual substance as distinct from a material substance is evident from the fact that it is a force or energy derived from spiritual or material substances. We have already seen that spiritual substances more or less permeate matter, e.g., life-principle permeates the air, electronic protons permeate electricity, heat permeates carbon, etc. All of these are spiritual substances closely related to various material things. So light permeates shining substances. And as the former are separated in various ways from the matter that they permeate, so is light separated from the material or spiritual substances with which it mingles. The Creator has been pleased to make this mingling of spiritual and material substances quite a general thing in nature. That which differentiates light from other spiritual substances is its luminosity. Life-principle vitalizes, electronic protons energize, heat warms, fire disintegrates, the various rays penetrate among others with visibility, ether acts as the medium through which light and heat travel, and by which electricity and magnetism are produced and radio communicates; but the office of light is to make luminous. It is often defined as that which makes the retina of the eye see. Those who so define it usually deny that it has any existence apart from the eye. Thus to them light is not a thing in itself, but is a creature or figment of sight. While our power of sight is acted upon by light, and we cannot see without it, i.e., there can be no sight without light, yet light is an actual energy that exists independently of sight. In other words, if there were no sight at all, light would nevertheless exist, for it is a substance that has actual independent existence apart
from the eye. Spiritual substances, though distinct from matter, are substances that have actual existence in themselves.
But so far as we know light always originates in, or is emitted from shining substances. These substances may be material or they may be spiritual; but whether one or the other it seems always to be emitted by some other substance. Thus the electricity in the lightning, aurora borealis and the electric lamp yield light. The suns and comets in our and other universes constantly exude it. The planets, moons, asteroids, etc., borrow it from their suns and reflect it. It comes from fire, a spiritual substance. Petroleum, its products, olive oil and other carbons produce it through the medium of fire. Then we are Scripturally assured that it emanates from spiritual bodies. Some, at least, of the angels have bodies composed of fire (Heb. 1: 7), which makes light shine forth from them. It is expressly stated of the angel that rolled away the stone from the door of our Lord's sepulchre that his countenance was like light, not lightning as the A. V. gives it (Matt. 28: 3). Our Lord shone with a light above the brightness of the noonday sun when He manifested Himself to the persecuting Saul (Acts 9: 3; 22: 6; 26: 13). So bright was the light emanating from our Lord's body that it blinded Saul's eyes before they could penetrate through it and see the body out of which it shone forth (John 14: 19; 1 Tim. 6: 16), so that when St. Paul says he saw our resurrected Lord, we are to understand that he saw, not our Lord's body, but a representation, a vision, of it, the light that shone out of it (1 Cor. 15: 8; Acts 26: 13) representing that body to Paul. Of the Lord Jesus (1 Tim. 6: 16) it is said that He dwelleth in a Light unapproachable, yea, so bright as permits no man to see Him. This light unapproachable is none less than the Heavenly Father, in whom the Son dwells (John 17: 21). And this light is not only a substantial one that makes luminous, but a
mental one that is the Truth itself. These examples and all our observations are in line with the thought that light shines forth from luminous substances, regardless of whether these substances are material or spiritual.
The fact that we have just set forth lays for us the foundation of understanding the creative work as to light on the first day. Most people understand the language of Gen. 1: 3, "Let there be light," to mean that God thereby first called light into existence out of nothing on the first day. We have seen that in the Bible record of creation there is nowhere taught the thought that God brought our universe and its energies into being out of nothing. We have also seen that Gen. 1: 3 has no reference to the original creation of light. Moreover from the standpoint of light in the first example of it as shining forth from God's body, we would have to consider that form of light as eternal, since God is eternal, even as we have to consider life-principle as it exists in God as eternal. Whether in the creation of the Logos God used the light with which He made the Logos' body replete from that which shone out of His body or used light originating in other substances we do not know. Nor is it wise to speculate on the subject, in view of the silence of the Bible. But this much we can say, that as far as we know light seems always to originate from some luminous body. Hence there has been a continuous succession in the creation of light, e.g., as the gases condensed into the various suns, etc., while they were undergoing the creative process, until they became luminous, light was thereby created. Yea, the creative process continues as new suns come into existence in other universes than our own. These considerations prove that Gen. 1: 3 does not refer at all to the original creation of light, apart from its eternal existence as an emanation from God's body, but to its shining on and
about our earth after our earth ceased to be self-luminous, after receiving its scum.
We have now arrived at a place where the question arises, How was Jehovah's fiat, "Let there be light," realized? We think that it came about by light appearing on this earth from other bodies, and that from two sources: (1) from our sun above earth's canopies; and (2) from electrical discharges perhaps in the form of the aurora borealis underneath the second canopy at and probably before the time that the first canopy was falling. This came about for both of these sources of earth's light through the falling of the first of earth's canopies. While all seven canopies surrounded our earth, i.e., after our earth had received its scum and before the first "day" of the creative period was well over, neither the sun could shine through these seven canopies because of their density, nor could electricity discharge itself under the first canopy in the beginning of the first 7000-years day since it was so dense, and since it came down to the surface of the earth. Hence before light could come from either of these sources, the first canopy had to drop, which it did in its main part as the first creative day was ending, as all along during that day God's power, the spirit of God, was operating to cause its fall, e g., in causing some of its vapors to condense and fall to the earth as rain. As it was falling, which likely took some considerable time, concluded from the fact that the seventh canopy was 40 days in falling, room and other conditions were provided for the electrical discharges that produced light perhaps abundantly enough to form an aurora borealis. Thus this light then arose through electrical discharges made possible by the fall of the lower parts of the first canopy; for the friction created by the conditions produced within the first canopy naturally made electricity, which needed only sufficient space in order to discharge, and which got such space during and after the fall of the first canopy, as well as during
the later of the preceding rain falls. In this way do the conditions imply that light first shone on and about this earth after the latter had received its scum arising out of the fiery molten mass, which our earth once was.
But there was a second source from which light in a very faint measure shone in the first creative day on and about our earth, the sun. We proved that Gen. 1: 14-18 does not refer to the creation of the sun, moon and stars; but to their shining on the fourth creative day on earth with a fair measure of brightness, e.g., in the day time with a light probably like that of a clear half-moon-light night; for by the ending of the fourth day a sufficiency of earth's canopies, the four densest of the seven, had fallen, which admitted of such a degree of light to shine upon the earth from the sun during the day and a much fainter degree of light to shine thereon from the moon and stars at night. If a change of order in some of the words of Gen. 1: 16 is made, the creative process as operative in this sense on the fourth day becomes clear: "God made two lights to rule [shine], the greater light the day, the lesser light and the stars the night." This change of word order gives the precise sense of the original; and the thought of vs. 14-18, if understood as giving the mission of the heavenly bodies as to this earth, which must be done to harmonize with v. 1, since v. 1 places the creation of the sun, moon and stars before the first creative epoch. The general misunderstanding as to the meaning of the fourth creative day's work being set aside, we are prepared to see that in a very faint measure the sun—light as a second kind of light first pierced through the other six canopies while the first one was falling. One may ask why we make this claim. Our answer is that v. 5 tells us that God then called the light (time) day and the darkness (time) night. In such a connection the contrast between light and darkness and day and night implies the period of the sun's revolution about the earth, and a giving at
least of some light to the parts of the earth that the sun faced. Of course, if the light coming at the end of the fourth creative day was about that of a clear half-moon night at present, the light of the sun at the end of the first creative day was perhaps about like that of a moonless and starless night of the present, quite dark; but in contrast with the night at the first canopy's fall, it was light, however faint; and the Spirit of God, working within that canopy during the first day, created the needed electricity there for the electrical discharges to occur when the rains of those times and first canopy fell, which things furnished conditions for electrical discharges and for some of the sun's rays to pierce through its canopies to the earth.
Light has a marvelous mission. It is indeed "that sweet and heavenly messenger which comes to us from the depth of space, telling us all we know of other worlds, and giving us all [much of what] we enjoy of life and beauty on our own," and that in all natural spheres. In the vegetable world it performs wonders in the way of producing growth and in its ripening herb, grass, plant, fruit and flower. It assists in imparting red to the apple and pear, yellow to the lemon, orange and grapefruit and other colors to other fruits. It helps to add vitamins to fruit and vegetables. It assists in filling the floral world with sights of beauty in most various forms. With its usual companion, warmth, it is indispensable for beauty, variety and utility in the vegetable world. It likewise has a blessed ministry in the animal world. Through the eye it brings the animal world in touch with the objects indispensable to life, like heat, water, food and places of security and rest. Without it how could animals locate these? What it does to the world of vegetables and fruit ministers indirectly to the animal world. And in the case of the domestic animals it ministers indirectly to them by giving men, their lord, necessary contacts
with them for their sustenance, refreshment and comfort.
It is to man that light gives its highest ministries. By its assistance to the eye it enables man to establish his contacts with nature, whereby his physical needs are supplied and furthered, as it enables him to recognize the approach of danger and injury in many forms to his body and its interests. It is increasingly ministering to man curatively by its disease-healing and health-sustaining effects. Its withdrawal is conducive to his finding rest after the fatigues of the day's labor. It greatly assists his mental life by bringing inanimate nature to his sight in its many natural objects on which the roving mind may exercise its perceptive, reproductive and reasoning faculties. Through the contacts that it assists to establish with persons it helps toward the knowledge of mankind in perceptive, reproductive and reasoning respects. By the same means it also opens up the field of natural history whereby man learns much of the lower animate creation. By the contacts that it enables one to have with books it gives opportunities for the employment of all his mental faculties. By bringing him into touch with the works of art in poetry, painting, sculpturing, music and architecture it makes it possible for him to enjoy many pleasures of the mind as it perceives their beauty, etc. Many indeed are the mental pleasures that he derives from the beautiful and sublime objects in nature brought to his view by the revealing power of light. It contributes to his moral elevation by the contacts that it establishes with good books, elevating works of art and noble examples of plain living, high thinking and excellent conduct, as the warnings that it gives against evil books, wicked art and bad examples shield from their contaminating effects. It likewise contributes to man's religious well-being through bringing him into touch with religiously elevating books, works of art and fine religious examples. The contemplation of its many
blessings arouses the heart and mind to gratitude, praise, worship and adoration Godward. Thus it has indeed a benign ministry.
Surely these considerations are some of the things that God had in mind when beholding the light He recognized that it was good, good in the sense that it is useful (v. 4). How sublime is the statement of v. 3: "Let there be light; and there was light." The literal rendering of the Hebrew for these words is "light be and light was." Sublimely terse and clear indeed is the statement. That in v. 4, "And God divided between the light and darkness," is likewise in line with the thought that some, though little, light from the sun reached the earth as the first canopy was falling. This division between light and darkness is based primarily upon the rotating of the earth upon its axis, giving it the orderly succession of day and night, as the next verse implies, and secondarily upon its revolving about its orbit whereby the duration of light and darkness is varied. From this remark we are not to construe that such rotation and revolution began on the first day; for we have already shown that they were going on while the earth was yet in its spiral. Rather we are to understand that such a succession of light, however obscure, and darkness, however dense, first set in for the scum-covered earth while the later rains under the first canopy were falling and the first canopy itself was falling, by which latter thing the first rays of the sun's light shone on the scum-covered earth. It will be noted that the word, day, in its first, differs from its second use in v. 5. In the first use it carries the thought of the light part of a 24-hour period; while in its second it means a 7000-year period, which is quite a difference.
Benign is the division of day and night. Plant and tree life finds it good. During the daytime it imbibes oxygen from the sun-lit air; and at night it exhales the poisons left after the life-giving powers of the oxygen
have been absorbed by the plant, tree and flower. This consideration should move people not to sleep at night in a room where there are plants and flowers. To man and beast the succession of day and night is beneficial. In the day time they get energy from the rays of the sun whereby they are strengthened for their day's experiences; while the night air due to the withdrawal of the sun's rays becomes conducive to relaxation, rest and sleep, even as the darkness of the night is of itself conducive to these. The last clause of v. 5 may well be translated, There was an evening and there was a morning of day one. While the day one of this verse is a period of 7000 years, the expression is an indirect allusion to a 24-hour day in harmony with the view of the 24-hour day as beginning from the Divine standpoint, which Israel accepted as such, with the evening and as ending at the next evening's approach. From the standpoint of a 7000-year day the word evening suggests the obscure beginning of creative works of the pertinent period and the expression, morning, marking the progressive development of such creative works. It will be noted, too, that the Hebrew uses ordinal numerals in giving a summary of the various creative days' activities, however, there is an exception with the initial day having a cardinal numeral (See Young's Literal Translation). It uses the cardinal numbers; for the expressions are day one, day two, day three, etc. Nor are we to understand the words of v. 3, "Let there be light," to have been uttered by God audibly as a command. Rather these words were uttered in pantomime, i.e., God did such speaking by acts, in harmony with the principle expressed in the proverb, "Acts speak louder than words." This would mean that God's varying acts whereby He produced conditions under and in the first canopy leading up to vapors condensing into rain and to the canopy itself dropping upon the earth, were His saying, "Light be." There was doubtless by God a charge given to the Logos to bring these conditions about; but this charge seems not to be meant by the words, light be.
It was the logical thing that of the six periods devoted to ordering matters creatively respecting the earth the first should have been devoted to that of furnishing it with light. In the nature of the conditions prevailing about the earth the coming of light had to precede the second day's work, the making of an expanse (rakia, mistranslated firmament; which idea was appropriated by Jerome's Vulgate, followed by the AV. translators, from Greek mythology—that of a solid covering over the atmosphere about the earth); for such an expanse could not exist while the first canopy was upon and over the earth, nor while the thick clouds existed under the second canopy from the earth upward. And before the waters could recede from parts of the earth and form dry land and sea, the third day's work, it was necessary that enough of water fall on the earth to depress it in the places where its crust was softer and thinner than in other places, which would result in other places being elevated above the water's surface. Thus these depressed parts received larger quantities of water, and the elevated parts thus became continents, whereas before the whole earth was a shoreless ocean. To furnish such a sufficiency of water as would effect these results, the water in the first three canopies had to drop to the earth. This consideration combined with the former one proves that producing light was the work of the period preceding the making of an atmosphere about the earth and the separation of land and water. And it goes without saying that light had to shine on the earth before the vegetation, etc., of the third and later creative periods could come. The same remark applies to light as the necessary antecedent to the work of the fifth and sixth days, that of producing fish, fowl, insect, beast and man. All scientists agree that the chronological order of arranging the earth in the six creative days as Moses gives them is the only
logical and scientific one for it, and that light had to be the first thing brought to the earth in its ordering.
This raises the question, How did Moses know this order nearly 3,500 years ago, whereas man's laborious efforts unaided by inspiration have only recently found out on scientific lines this order as the proper one? Certainly neither Moses nor any other human witnessed the development of these matters of order; for before the close of the sixth period no human being lived. While not agreeing with the Bible on how long man has been on earth, scientists are agreed that man is the latest product of creation. If this be true, in an age when science was as yet only in its embryo condition, and when no one could by unaided human powers have reasoned out this order, how could Moses have come to know it? The only possible answer to this question is, he got it either by direct or indirect revelation from a spirit or spirits, superhuman beings, who lived at the time to behold these creative acts. If by direct revelation, he got it from a spirit or spirits apart from other instrumentalities. If by indirect revelation, he got it from humans who, in ultimate analysis, got it from a spirit or spirits. This spirit or these spirits evidently were not evil, and that for two reasons: (1) Evil beings, fallen angels gave the heathen foolish and demoralizing views of creation, as their various mythologies prove; and (2) the Mosaic record of creation is connected with religious views that are physically, mentally, morally and religiously inimical to degradation and are conducive to the elevation of man physically, mentally, morally and religiously. Accordingly, this revelation came from a good spirit or from good spirits. Hence it must have been at God's direction. Hence the Genesis account of creation is an inspired record and a Divine revelation. If, therefore, we had nothing else as a proof of the Bible as a Divine revelation, the Genesis record of creation would be a sufficient proof thereof. But the Bible has many other
proofs of its being a Divine revelation, the two greatest of which are the character, teachings and works of God and the character, teachings and works of Christ therein revealed. Next to these, we place the Genesis record of creation as probably the third greatest proof of the Bible's being a Divine revelation.
"Let there be light," said God; and forthwith light
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the deep; and from her native east
To journey through the aery gloom began,
Spher'd in a radiant cloud, for yet the Sun
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
Sojourn'd the while. God saw the light was good;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere
Divided: light the Day, and darkness Night,
He nam'd. Thus was the first day even and morn:
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung
By celestial quires, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld;
Birthday of Heaven and Earth, with joy and shout
The hollow universal orb they fill'd,
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'd
God and his works; Creator Him they sung,
Both when first evening was, and when first morn.
THE DAYSPRING FROM ON HIGH.
Come, thou bright and morning Star,
Light of Light without beginning,
Shine upon us from afar,
That we may be kept from sinning:
Drive away, by Thy clear light,
Our dark night.
As the soft refreshing dew
Falls on drooping herb and flower;
Let Thy Spirit shed anew
Life on every wearied power:
Bless Thy flock from Thy rich store,
Let Thy love's pure fire destroy
All our earthly taint and leaven,
Kindling love and holy joy
With the dawning eastern heaven
Let us truly rise ere yet
Life has set.
Ah! Thou Dayspring from the height,
Grant that now at Thy appearing,
We, who with the flesh do fight,
May arise, Thy summons hearing,
And rejoice in our new life,
And its strife.
Light us to those heavenly spheres,
Sun of grace, in glory shrouded;
Lead us through this vale of tears,
To the land where days unclouded,
Purest joy and perfect peace,