The Darkness Terminated Part 2 of 2 (Gen. series)
by John Lowe
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Whatever the light was, “God saw the light, that it was good.” God willed it, and when it was produced, he approved of it. It was exactly the way he designed it, and it was suitable and prepared to serve the purpose for which he designed it. It was helpful and useful; the world, which now is a palace, would have been a dungeon without it. It was pleasant for God to look upon. “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun” (Eccl 11:7; KJV); “The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat” (Prov 15:30; KJV). Whatever gives light brings joy to the heart, by relieving the anxiety caused by the inability to see obstacles and hazards ahead. What God commands he will approve and graciously accept; he will be delighted with the work of his own hands. Nothing can be better than that which God says is good, because He does not look at things the same way man does. The question is, “If the light is good, how good the One that is the fountain of light is, the One from whom we receive the light, and to whom we owe all praise for giving it to us and for all the benefits we gain from it.
God “saw the light, that it was good,” and then He “divided the light from the darkness,” and He made sure they could never be joined together; because “what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Co. 6:14). He divided one from the other and established the alternation or succession of the one to the other. This does not imply that light and darkness are two distinct substances, since darkness is only the absence of light. Man has known for around five-hundred years that the rotation of the earth around its own axis once in twenty-three hours, fifty-six minutes, and four seconds is the cause of the distinction between day and night, by bringing the different parts of the surface of the earth successively into the sun’s rays; and it was probably at this moment that God gave this rotation to the earth, to produce this gracious provision of day and night. For the manner in which light is supposed to be produced, see Genesis 1:16.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God called the light Day,
The word “day” (Heb. yom) is somewhat vague. It may refer to the 24-hour period of darkness and light—“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even” (Ex 12:18; KJV)—or simply to a specific period of time: for example, the “day of the Lord of hosts” is a time of judgment: “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12; KJV). “Day” is also defined as “evening and morning”—“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalms 55:17; NKJV). The word "day" is used in Scripture in three ways:
1. That part of the solar day of twenty-four hours which is light (See Gen 1:5, 14; John 9:4; John 11:9).
2. A specific day, set apart for some unique purpose, such as the "day of atonement" (See Le 23:27), and the "day of judgment" (See Mat 10:15).
3. A period of time, long or short, during which certain revealed purposes of God are to be accomplished, such as the "day of the Lord."
The word day is used in three different ways in Genesis:
1. A twelve-hour period of light (See vs. 1:5, 14, 16, 18).
2. A twenty-four-hour period.
3. The entire creative week (v. 2:4)
God created, He named, and then He divided time between them, the day for light and the night for darkness; and He set the earth in motion to produce a constant and regular succession of one to the other; each one takes its turn. God also divided them from each other by giving them distinctive names: He called the light day, and the darkness he called night. He gave them names, since He was the Lord of both—“The day is yours, the night also is Yours; you have prepared the light and the sun” (Psalms 74:16; NKJV).
And the evening and the morning were the first day.
“And the evening and the morning were the first day,” indicates beyond any doubt that the word, as it is used here, is a twenty-four-hour period of time. The “first day” was a natural twenty–four hour day (I don’t see how you could get anything else out of it.), as the mention of its two parts clearly indicates; and Moses, according to Oriental usage, views it from sunset to sunset, not saying day and night as we do, but evening and morning.
Since God has divided time between light and darkness, we have a daily reminder that this is a world of amalgamation and changes. In heaven there is perfect and perpetual light and no darkness at all; in hell, there is out-and-out darkness, and not a single gleam of light. Between heaven and hell there is a great gulf fixed; but, in this world, we may feel as if we pass daily from one to another, and we may learn to anticipate fluctuations in the providence of God; peace and trouble, joy and sorrow. But when we trust God in the dark as well as the light we are able to say—“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death” (1 Phil 1.20)—welcoming both, and making the best of both.
He is the Lord of time, and will remain so, until day and night cease to exist, and time itself is swallowed up in the ocean of eternity. Let us see God in the constant succession of day and night, and devote ourselves to bringing honor to Him by working for Him every day and resting in him every night, and meditating in his law day and night.
This was the first day’s work, and a good day’s work, because He said it was. The evening and the morning were the first day. The darkness of the evening came before the light of the morning. This was not only the first day of the world, but the first day of the week. I observe it as a day of rest to honor that day, because the world began on the first day of the week, likewise the resurrection of Christ, as the light of the world, was early in the morning on the first day of the week. In him the day-spring from on high has visited the world; and happy are we, forever happy, if that day-star arise in our hearts.