23 May 2016

Genesis 1:1-5

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light.” (v. 3)

Psalm: Psalm 103


The opening words of Genesis are majestic, beautiful and extremely familiar to Christians. Indeed the very familiarity of the text may lead us into thinking that we may know and understand all that it has to say to us. The first thing to say about these opening verses of Genesis is obvious but needs to be said. They were not written as an answer to a question about how God created the world. They were written as a statement of faith for the people of Israel in the midst of testing times when the cities of Israel had been attacked by Babylon and its leaders taken into exile.

These words were written to affirm that God is the creator of all things and that God created 'light'.

Light is a dominant concept in the whole Bible. Light is the source of life and growth. Life is not possible without light. Light is a dominant factor in the lives of human beings, especially in the days before artificial light. People long for the dawn to end a dark night. People are drawn to displays of light, natural ones like comets or the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) or human-inspired ones like fireworks.

Not for nothing does the New Testament refer to Jesus as the Light of the world (John 8:12). Light is at the core of God's revelation in creation and in the incarnation.

To Ponder

  • Think of occasions when the coming of the light of dawn has meant a great deal to you and try to analyse your feelings.
  • On a metaphorical level have you ever had an epiphany moment, a light bulb moment when you suddenly saw things in a new light? What happened?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Methodist minister at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London. Prior to being appointed to serve there she worked in the Connexional Team from 1996-2002 as the secretary for international affairs.