On Sunday, May 18, 1980, Carla and I arrived at our Lewiston, Idaho home just after noon. Early that afternoon, ash that had exploded into the atmosphere from Mount St. Helens’ volcanic eruption began to drift and fall around us. On that beautiful spring afternoon, the birds quit chirping as an ominous darkness covered the city. For an hour or two, all that could be seen out our windows was the faint, haloed streetlights, as if far in the distance. The brightness of daytime became the darkness of midnight.
Darkness is the absence of light.
God first said, “Let there be” in the third verse of the Bible’s opening chapter. Prior to that Divine declaration, “the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths” (Genesis 1:2). “The earth was without form and void” (NKJV). In the original language, light was absent from the “tohu” (formlessness) and “bohu” (emptiness).
But “the Spirit of God was hovering over” creation like a mother hen hovers over her nest as “God said, ‘Let there be light.’ ” God spoke, and it happened. God declared, “and there was light” (Genesis 1:2-3). Into the utter darkness, God brought wonderous light.
But what was the light? On the fourth day of creation “God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night... God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth” (Genesis 1:16–18). The sun was created on day four. What was the light on day one?
I think that the source of light was the glory of His presence. Heaven, the eternally restored creation, “does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23). Into the “tohu” and “bohu”, into the utter darkness, God’s presence brought light.
Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isaiah 9:2). Our Sweet Savior declared, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The glory of God came into the “tohu” and “bohu” of our spiritually dark existence. He “rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13). We “were once darkness, but now ... walk as children of light!”(Ephesians 5:8). In the sweet-by-and-by, “night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light”(Revelation 22:5).
Soon, all will be light. Darkness will be absent.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.