The opening passage in the Bible speaks to us of the formlessness and void that existed before God’s creative energy was released when He spoke the word. He said, “Let there be light.” It seems the earth was either shrouded in darkness as originally created, or some event took place that made it that way. There are long discussions on which it might be. But whichever, the text tells us that “darkness was over the face of the deep.”  Darkness is the absence of light. Into that murky beginning, the Word came, ‘Let there be light! And there was light. Light secured victory over darkness. It wasn’t the light from the sun because that won’t be created until the fourth day. It was a different source of light. It’s God’s light, the light of Christ. It’s the light that dispels darkness. It dispels the emptiness in the world as well as the meaninglessness of life. The victory was a complete one. John 1:4-5 puts it this way, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John is also going to tell us that the light was the “word.” The word was at the beginning with God, and then the word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul comments on this idea in 2 Corinthians 4:6. He writes, “For 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.” There is meaninglessness and emptiness in our lives without God. Jesus came to bring real life to us and to dispel the darkness.

It is God’s word that brings forth all life in the world, and it’s God’s word that brings real life to mankind. His word is Jesus Christ. It’s God’s greatest expression of His love for us. John will later affirm that when he says, “For God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Paul is on the same page as John again, and he captures that idea in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Back in the 60s, there was a popular song with a call to “Put a little love in your heart.” Paul says, “God hath shined in our hearts.” Smith explains, “This God-shine in the heart brings with it a double revelation. It shows by way of contrast how dark the heart by nature was and how hopeless it was for it in itself to create such a soul-satisfying light. It is also a revelation of the character and presence of God in the heart. This is not so much a light created by God as it is the light of the presence of God in the heart. Into every dark crevice of the soul, this shining has come. It is the nature of light to cast its influence over everything that is anywhere within its reach. In shining into the heart, this light enters into every act and deed of life, into every thought and feeling and motive of the soul’s activities. God hath shined His light, and wisdom has come to take the place of our darkness and ignorance.”[1]

The light of Christ that shines in our hearts not only brings us knowledge of God’s existence but also an understanding of God’s immense love for us as demonstrated in Christ. It reveals God’s glory as Christ Himself did throughout His life and on the mount of transfiguration. The darkness, sin, is always at war with the light of the truth of Jesus Christ. But we know who will win that battle. John will tell us later in his Gospel that some love the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil and don’t want to give them up. Paul again agrees with John. He tells us that the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God. The Word who shone in creation also shines in the new creation to give light and life.”[2]

[1] Smith, James, and Robert Lee. 1971. Handfuls on Purpose for Christian Workers and Bible Students, Series I–XIII. Five-volume edition. Vol. 7. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[2] Letham, Robert. 2013. The Message of the Person of Christ: The Word Made Flesh. Edited by Derek Tidball. The Bible Speaks Today: Bible Themes Series. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.