In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light 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.
At the very beginning we find darkness. We find chaos. We find void – or emptiness. We find shapelessness. These are all descriptions of emotions and feelings that every human being on the planet has felt at one time or another. We’ve all felt as though there is no form to life. We’ve all felt as though we’re empty and purposeless. We know what it is to feel in a state of chaos. In fact, I would submit that the most chaotic that we feel is not when we’re busiest, but when darkness is upon the face of the deep. In the moments when life slows down and seems surreal because of heartbreak or suffering – in that we find the most chaos.
We spend the rest of the chapter seeing how God created order and light. When the universe was empty, God filled it. When the world was formless, He shaped it. God brought order into the creation, and day after day He brings more order out of the chaos. But we don’t see God eliminating the darkness. Why is that?
Before I get into that point, I want to search a little deeper in what God does do. We find in Revelation 21-22 that there is no darkness. God was not unknowing when He made this world. If it is in God’s plan and intention now (or at least in Revelation 21) to have no darkness, then I must believe that it was God’s original plan. What we find that God does do in response to the darkness is that He separated the Light from the Darkness and set up rulers over the darkness. For God to separate the Light and Darkness should be doted over. Separation is more than a change in position. This kind of separation is distinction. There is something being communicated in that God is not willing to allow the darkness to continue without opposition. What is happening that the darkness is not allowed to remain alone, and even on day four God creates the sun and moon to “rule over” the darkness?
I wonder if the darkness has something intrinsic in it that would cause for despair. It causes chaos. It hides, and therefore there can be no revelation in the darkness alone. There must be light. There has to be a distinction between darkness and light, lest we think that God is light and in that light is darkness. I’m not even entirely sure how to fully express what I intuit. There is something in the darkness itself, as darkness, that is not simply the absence of light. Because of this, when expressing darkness we’re not simply expressing something physical. There is something beyond the physical. This is also true with the light. Though there is nothing intrinsic in the Hebrew words that would suggest that the light or darkness are beyond what we physically know and experience, there is an argument that can be made from the Hebrew statement, “Let there be light.”
It is almost as though God is saying, “Let me, who is the Light, be a manifest part of this creation.” It isn’t just that God made light, but that God birthed Himself as the Light into this cosmos. The ancient question of how God could have created light before he created the sun is answered with this. Light in and of itself is not what is being expressed here. There is or, and then there is me’or. Me’or is the light source. The light that is emitted from the sun is not the same light that we’re talking about with Genesis 1:3-5. In the psalms, there are multiple times where the “light” from “God’s face” is mentioned. I believe that this is the light being described in Genesis 1:3-5.
If the Light is not simply the thing that we know as shining from a light bulb, but is instead a spiritual reality as much as a physical reality, why then can’t we see the darkness in the same manner? Yet, we can’t allow the darkness to have too much credit, as though the darkness is Satan. God was able to look at the whole of the creation and say, “It is very good”. How can everything be very good if darkness is wickedness? Instead, I think that darkness is somehow a power. It is a reality that pulls upon us toward chaos, despair, and emptiness. It is not evil in and of itself, but rather is something closer to what we would call entropy. Entropy, however, doesn’t fully express it. This is why God said, “Let there be light”, and why the Light was separated from Darkness.
On day four, it is written that God “made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” Why this wording of rule? Do the sun and moon rule over the darkness? Genesis 1 seems to indicate yes. They were made for the intention of giving light to the world, and to hold back the darkness. This does not tell us why God allowed the darkness to stay, but it does show us that God had intention of withholding it.
I don’t know, and this is merely speculation, but it also seems to indicate in the Psalms that the angels of God were created to rule over God’s creation. Psalm 82 is a great example of this – the whole Psalm is dedicated to speaking to these “rulers” that are greater than men, but will be judged as men. Is it possible that God created the angels to guard over the darkness? While the sun and moon keep the darkness at bay in the physical realm, do the angels then keep the darkness from puncturing the Light in the spiritual realm? Did God possibly make some of the angels to co-rule with Him over the earth and to bring forth righteousness and justice in the land?
This of course brings us to the pivotal point of the plot. Where did Satan come from? Did God create Satan – and thus create evil? When we examine the Kingdom of God, we are describing something that is quite different than anything we see around us. We are surrounded by darkness, violence, and terror. How do you perceive something that is quite contrary to that which you see all around you?