Light and Goodness (Genesis 1:1-5)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

It’s the most inspiring line in literature. It’s the most inspiring line in the history of humankind. It’s not “Suppose God created everything.” There’s no, “What’s your opinion on the whole creation quandary?” It’s authoritative. It sets the first foundation stone of belief in a Creator.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

I’m trying to picture this shapeless, empty world, and I don’t think I’ve ever used the phrase “face of the deep.” (“Hey, Edgar, did you see the face of the deep today? It was looking exceptionally deep.”) ‘Face‘ is translated “surface” in some Bible versions. ‘Deep‘ refers to the sea. Later in Genesis 1, God uses ‘face’ to describe how the plants would grow “upon the face of the earth.” The same word is used when Moses sees the burning bush, hears God speak to him, and hides his face because he’s afraid to look on God in Exodus 3:6. God uses comparisons, like my face and the face of something inanimate, to convey characteristics. He uses imagery to teach me how to visualize concepts that will later help me grasp spiritual ideas. In Isaiah 66:1, He says, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…” Is this a literal account? Does God sit on heaven like a throne? He’s using metaphors, ideas I can grasp on my level, to give me a sense of His greatness.

I picture the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep and it becomes clearer why He chooses this imagery to introduce me to Him. It’s a picture of a Being—with no physical qualities—actively interacting with what He has made. He’s 100% involved. You know that song, “From a Distance?” That’s completely the opposite of the God I see here. His Presence is so close He’s face to face with the water.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

As a mom, I’m quite amazed at the instant response here. When I say, “Turn on the light,” my kids don’t seem to know how to perform this task. Exactly whom was I calling on to turn on the light? Did I mean right now or after they’ve finished this one last game? This isn’t a problem for God. He says it, and light is.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

God is looking at the light He made and noting it’s good. Why? He’s telling me something about His character. He wants me to know He doesn’t just create things, He creates good things. No half-baked creations here. The Master Builder makes only the best.

“But wait,” I think. “How can there be evil when God only made good creations?” If God grants me choice, it does not mean the creation itself is bad but that I’ve been given the ability to use His good creation in a good way or a bad way. He wants me to choose His way, but to do that I have to be able to have the other option. I have to be capable of rejecting His use for His creation.

If God is the Creator of all good, then rejecting God means one is left with the opposite of good. There’s no meh, sorta, or kinda good. There’s no gray area. Like that fabulous ghee the paleo dieters are crazy about, God is clarified, purified good. He separates the light from the darkness. He doesn’t care at all for the half dark, half-light behavior. Even the little-bit-of-dark-but-mostly-light ideas don’t cut it with Him. There are two options, ‘good’ or ‘evil.’

In the beginning God was.
He created everything from nothing.
His Spirit was active and present.
He spoke, and light came into the world.
The light was good, and God separated it from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

He did all of that in a day! Isn’t that incredible? Actually, it’s quite credible. A Being Who can create the heavens and the earth from nothing must exist outside of the laws of matter, space, and time. He’d have to have complete control.

This is why I find the first five verses of Genesis fascinating. They not only shed light on the world, but on my understanding of Who my Creator is. He is God, He brings light, and He creates only good things.


Feature Image Courtesy of Keriography.


Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

10 thoughts on “Light and Goodness (Genesis 1:1-5)”

  1. So true, so true. When I was at Ohio Valley College, I was briefly in the chorus and we sang a song called “Creation”. The song was repeating the words from the first few verses of Genesis and stopped at the words “and there was light”. I remember being fascinated at how the composer and we singers could get so much depth and beauty and such a long complex song from just those first few words. It was the best song I learned in my experience there and it only had those few words from “In the beginning” up to “there was light”. But that’s all you need to see the immensity of God’s creative act and the beauty of it. You are absolutely right to describe so much detail and insight into God from these few simple complex verses. Thanks, Rilla!

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