May/June: The Bible as Light

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Then 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.

Prior to God saying, “Let there be light,” His Spirit was moving over the face of the waters.  Obviously the earth was already in existence.  This is important to note because it resolves a long-simmering debate between Creationists and science—the age of the earth.  God said, “Let there be light” about 6000 years ago.  Yet science can prove the earth is billions of years old.

The answer is simple—billions of years elapsed between verses 1 and 2.  The question remains, why was God’s Spirit hovering over the waters?  An examination of the Hebrew meanings of key words in verse 2 clears up the mystery.

The four key terms to understand are “without form,” “void,” “darkness,” and “hovering.”

  • Without form:  tohuw (#8414, Strong’s, 1995) – to lie waste, a desolation of the surface, a desert, a worthless thing.
  • Void:  bohuw (#922, Strong’s, 1995) – a vacuum or indistinguishable ruin.
  • Darkness:  chosek (#2822, Strong’s, 1995) – misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, and wickedness.
  • Hovering:  rachaph (#7363, Strong’s, 1995) – to brood.

God was moving over an earth destroyed by evil.  God’s Spirit was brooding over what to do about a planet that had become a desolation, an indistinguishable ruin, a place full of misery, ignorance, sorrow, and wickedness.  This changes the theme of Genesis from that of an absolute beginning from nothing into one of refurbishing, re-creation, and renewal.  We are going to focus on the part that light played and continues to play in God’s plan to refurbish and renew the earth and humanity.

When God said the light was “good,” He was saying it was towb (#2896, Strong’s, 1995) in the Hebrew.  Towb means good, good thing, good man, good woman, to make good, better, or cheerful.  Towb is translated elsewhere in the Bible as beautiful, best, bountiful, cheerful, gracious, and joyful.  Essentially God said, let’s shed light on the world in order to reverse the death, destruction, misery, sorrow, and wickedness, and replace it with good people who live beautiful, bountiful lives full of joy, cheer, and grace.  Thus God re-created man in the form of Adam.  God made man from the elements in common dirt.

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a human being” (Genesis 2:7).  With Adam God did something unique according to Genesis 1:26-27:  “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Of all living things only man was created in the image and likeness of God.  Man has the ability to think, reason, and be creative like God.  Most remarkably, the mind of man was designed to be able to communicate with God on the spiritual level.  The most amazing and important point for us to know is that God communicates with a spiritual form of Light!