3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
God said, “Let there be light.” (v.1) — the first record of God speaking in the Bible…. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus Christ, the living Word of God (John 1:1, 14) is the “light of the world” (John 8:12), and “in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
The light that God created and here “separates” from the darkness is not the light of the sun, as claimed by some interpreters, but simply light, created by God and employed by Him to enforce the distinction between night and day until that “task” is relegated to the sun (i.e., “the greater light”) that He clearly creates on the fourth day. it should also be noted that, not only is the existence of light (i.e., photons) as distinct from the solar source that produces it (such as the sun) a well-recognized fact, but in fact the existence of light in the absence of the sun is here theologically consistent with the description of Creation restored to its ideal at the end of the Bible, in Revelation 22:5, where John tells us that perfected humanity “shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them.” — Wechsler, page 62.
The important word “and” occurs 102 times, and is designed to fasten attention upon the 102 separate actions of God. — Williams, page 9.
The statement “and God saw that it was good” is extremely significant in underscoring the human focus of all that God does in this chapter. The verbal root “to see” that is here used may also convey the meaning “to provide” (similar to the English idiom “to see to it”), as vividly illustrated by the use of this same verb in Genesis 16:13-14, where Hagar describes God as the One “who sees” because He provided for her need, and in Genesis 22:8, 14, where it is this verb that is typically translated by the key phrase “will provide.” Likewise, the reference to God’s “seeing” throughout this first chapter should be understood, not as an assessment of the creative act for its own sake—as if to say here, “And God saw that the light He made was very beautiful”—but rather as a specific assessment of the good—that is to say, the benefit—of that creative act for man. Indeed, this bears out the more general, albeit equally important point that throughout the Bible, whenever God is described as “seeing,” it is always with a keen interest in the affairs of men (never a disinterested observation of a “passive” God) and always in connection with undertaking that which is necessary for man’s best—even if this should mean punishment for sin. — Wechsler, page 63.
Having separated the day and night, God had completed His first day’s work. “the evening and the morning were the first day.” this same formula is used at the conclusion of each of the six days: so it is obvious that the duration of each of the days, including the first, was the same. Furthermore, the “day” was the “light” time, when God did His work; the darkness was the “night” time when God did no work—nothing new took place between the “evening” and “morning” of each day. The formula may be rendered literally, “and there was evening, then morning—day one,” and so on. It is clear that, beginning with the first day and continuing thereafter, there was established a cyclical succession of days and nights—periods of light and periods of darkness. — Morris, page 55.
All I’m going to say about the “day-age” theory is that, if God didn’t mean His words to convey the idea of 24-hour days, then His intent was to deceive, and I refuse to believe that was His intent.
I’ve mentioned in my first couple posts that I lean toward a particular “gap theory” between verses 1 and 2 because I have to fit angelic creation in somewhere. Morris attempts to explain it. I think his explanation is far from satisfactory and actually points out the problems with those who think there was no creation of anything prior to the six days.
Although not mentioned in Genesis 1, it is probably that another act of creation took place on this first day. Sometime prior to the third day of creation, a multitude of angels had been created, since they were present when the “foundations of the earth” were laid—probably a reference to the establishment of solid land surfaces on the earth (Job 38:4-7). It is impossible that they could have existed before the creation of the physical universe itself, since their sphere of operation is in this universe and their very purpose is to minister to the “heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are called the “host of heaven,” and so they could not have been created before the existence of heaven. — Morris, page 57.
But if Genesis 1:1 refers to the original creation of the universe, an angelic creation that was mostly destroyed because of the fall of Satan and the angels that followed him, then, again, you don’t have to cram their creation and fall into the first week or so.
Referring to the preadamite world, Pember writes:
Of its main features there is a graphic portrayal in a grand passage of Job, in which the folly of contending with God is enforced by an obvious reference to Satan’s rebellion and its consequences. “God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? He removes the mountains, and they do not know when He overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars” (Job 9:4-7). — Pember, page 82.
God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night (v.5) — Here we have the two great symbols so largely employed throughout the Word. The presence of light makes the day; the absence thereof makes the night. Thus it is in the history of souls. There are “the sons of light” and “the sons of darkness.” This is a most marked and solemn distinction. All upon whom the light of Life has shone—all who have been effectually visited by “the dayspring from on high”—all who have received the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ—all such, whoever and wherever they may be, belong to the first class, are “the sons of light, and the sons of the day.”
On the other hand, all who are still in nature’s darkness, nature’s blindness, nature’s unbelief—all who have not yet received into their hearts, by faith, the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness,—all such are still wrapped in the shades of spiritual night, are “the sons of darkness,” “the sons of the night.” — Mackintosh, page 6.
God’s naming the light day and the darkness night underscores His dominion over these fundamental “parts” of Creation. This idea of “dominion” conveyed by the act of naming is consistent with all the following acts of naming, both in this chapter as well as throughout the Bible. — Wechsler, page 63.
With respect to the day: it is because of the order presented here in verse 5, in which evening is reckoned first—no doubt because the darkness was created before the light—that days throughout the Bible and in Jewish tradition generally are reckoned from evening to evening (specifically, from sunset to sunset). — Wechsler, page 64.
first day (v.5) — I often wondered why God didn’t just create the universe instantly. As omnipotent God, He would have had no difficulty. The answer is found in the Ten Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8-10).
God set the pattern of creation in a week, for our benefit. The week is the only one of our time scales that has no astronomical basis. The day is due to the rotation of the earth. The year is the period of the earth’s orbit. The month approximates to the orbit of the moon. But the week has no astronomical basis. It is God’s time period, and it is man’s time period, created for us, because it is ideally suited to our needs.
Having decided that the week is a non-astronomical unit, we can say that the day most definitely is an astronomical unit. The day is caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis. It thus requires periods of light and darkness, and a rotation of the planet. It follows that in Genesis 1:3-5, we are witnessing God setting the earth spinning. In order to define day and night, we require light. So we read that God made light. Night occurs currently on the hemisphere of the earth pointing away from the sun. It follows that on day 1, there must have been a point source of light. Yet the sun itself was not made until day 4.
There is nothing strange in all this. It is only because we have been evolutionized that we feel we cannot talk about light and day and night without reference to the sun. — Taylor, page 33-34.
He goes on at some length to propose that the Holy Spirit was the source of light until the creation of the sun. Maybe. I like Wechsler’s point about Revelation 22:5, where it says that God provides the light though eternity.