“God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”
These words, found in Genesis 1:3-4, make an important claim about the nature of our world.
The world is not a place of pure light to which God introduces shadow and texture; rather, the world is a dark place to which God introduces light.
This is about so much more than physical light. It’s about goodness, order, life and hope.
Here at the beginning of the Bible, we meet a God who inserts himself into dark places and forges light.
A God who speaks into chaos and creates structure, separating light from dark. A God who makes distinctions between what is good and what is not good.
So the world begins in darkness. It is empty, unruly, and devoid of life.
But God transforms it into a space that is habitable, a space that can sustain life, a space full of good and beautiful things, and a space where everything has its proper place.
This is the kind of work God does.
He is in the business of transforming darkness into light and bringing order where there is none.
He brings hope and joy and peace out of evil and grief and struggle.
On one level, God is this way toward all of creation. In the Scriptures we read about human civilizations that are barbaric and oppressive.
We read of infertility, war, famine, depravity and every pain under the sun. But part of the gospel is that God has entered into the darkness by being born a human, and he has begun a new work of creation right in the midst of the old one.
This is why we find Jesus giving sight to the blind and raising the dead.
It’s why we see him calling people to turn away from sin. And it’s why we see him entering the grave but then leaving it behind.
God was once again entering dark places and saying, “Let there be light.” The whole world was being renewed; the power of sin and death was being broken on a cosmic scale.
There is hope for a drowning world, but that hope is not ultimately to be found in technology, education, or government.
Hope is found only in the God who enters dark places himself and forges light for his world.
God is also in the business of transforming darkness into light on a personal scale.
He is in the business of taking lives beaten and tattered by sin and by circumstance and introducing order, hope, joy, and peace. He forgives, heals, reconciles and renews.
The apostle Paul said that “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
God is doing again in the individual human heart what he did for the whole universe—creating something new.
This new creation happens as we look into the face of Jesus Christ. For in him we find mercy, strength, purpose, joy, peace, and of course—love.
Parker Bullard is the senior pastor at Poncha Springs Church of Christ.