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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 1:3

Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And God said, Let there be light - אור ויהי אור הי Yehi or, vaihi or . Nothing can be conceived more dignified than this form of expression. It argues at once uncontrollable authority, and omnific power; and in human language it is scarcely possible to conceive that God can speak more like himself. This passage, in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, fell in the way of Dionysius Longinus, one of the most judicious Greek critics that ever lived, and who is highly celebrated over the civilized world for a treatise he wrote, entitled Περι Ὑψους, Concerning the Sublime, both in prose and poetry; of this passage, though a heathen, he speaks in the following terms: - Ταυτῃ και ὁ των Ιουδαιων θεσμοθετης (ουχ ὁ τυχων ανηρ, )επειδη την του θειου δυναμιν κατα την αξιαν εχωρησε, καξεφηνεν· ευθυς εν τῃ εισβολη γραψας των νομων, ΕΙΠΕΝ Ὁ ΘΕΟΣ, φησι, τι; ΓΕΝΕΣΘΩ ΦΩΣ· και εγενετο. ΓΕΝΕΣΘΩ ΓΗ· και εγενετο. "So likewise the Jewish lawgiver (who was no ordinary man) having conceived a just idea of the Divine power, he expressed it in a dignified manner; for at the beginning of his laws he thus speaks: God Said - What? Let There Be Light! and there was light. Let There Be Earth! and there was earth." - Longinus, sect. ix. edit. Pearce.

Many have asked, "How could light be produced on the first day, and the sun, the fountain of it, not created till the fourth day?" With the various and often unphilosophical answers which have been given to this question I will not meddle, but shall observe that the original word אור signifies not only light but fire, see Isaiah 31:9; Ezekiel 5:2. It is used for the Sun, Job 31:26. And for the electric fluid or Lightning, Job 37:3. And it is worthy of remark that It is used in Isaiah 44:16, for the heat, derived from אש esh, the fire. He burneth part thereof in the fire (אש במו bemo esh ): yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha! I have seen the fire, אור ראיתי raithi ur, which a modern philosopher who understood the language would not scruple to translate, I have received caloric, or an additional portion of the matter of heat. I therefore conclude, that as God has diffused the matter of caloric or latent heat through every part of nature, without which there could be neither vegetation nor animal life, that it is caloric or latent heat which is principally intended by the original word.

That there is latent light, which is probably the same with latent heat, may be easily demonstrated: take two pieces of smooth rock crystal, agate, cornelian or flint, and rub them together briskly in the dark, and the latent light or matter of caloric will be immediately produced and become visible. The light or caloric thus disengaged does not operate in the same powerful manner as the heat or fire which is produced by striking with flint and steel, or that produced by electric friction. The existence of this caloric-latent or primitive light, may be ascertained in various other bodies; it can be produced by the flint and steel, by rubbing two hard sticks together, by hammering cold iron, which in a short time becomes red hot, and by the strong and sudden compression of atmospheric air in a tube. Friction in general produces both fire and light. God therefore created this universal agent on the first day, because without It no operation of nature could be carried on or perfected.

Light is one of the most astonishing productions of the creative skill and power of God. It is the grand medium by which all his other works are discovered, examined, and understood, so far as they can be known. Its immense diffusion and extreme velocity are alone sufficient to demonstrate the being and wisdom of God. Light has been proved by many experiments to travel at the astonishing rate of 194,188 miles in one second of time! and comes from the sun to the earth in eight minutes 11 43/50 seconds, a distance of 95,513,794 English miles.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/genesis-1.html. 1832.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

"And God said ..." The language here indicates that the stupendous acts of Creation were performed by fiat. God spoke the word, and it was done. Could any process of creating light gradually even be imagined? Any chain of events leading to the development of light is inconceivable, the very thought of such a thing being rejected by the intelligence. Primeval darkness demands just the fiat revealed in this verse as the only possible solution for it.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/genesis-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And God said,.... This phrase is used, nine times in this account of the creation; it is admired by Longinus the Heathen in his treatise "of the Sublime", as a noble instance of it; and it is most beautifully paraphrased and explained in Psalm 33:6 as expressive of the will, power, authority, and efficacy of the divine Being; whose word is clothed with power, and who can do, and does whatever he will, and as soon as he pleases; his orders are always obeyed. Perhaps the divine Person speaking here is the Logos or Word of God, which was in the beginning with God, and was God, and who himself is the light that lightens every creature. The words spoke were,

let there be light, and there was light: it at once appeared; "God commanded light to shine out of darkness"; as the apostle says, 2 Corinthians 4:6 this was the first thing made out of the dark chaos; as in the new creation, or work of grace in the heart, light is the first thing produced there: what this light was is not easy to say. Some of the Jewish Rabbins, and also some Christian writers, think the angels are designed by it, which is not at all probable, as the ends and use of this light show: others of them are of opinion, that it is the same with the sun, of which a repetition is made on the fourth day, because of its use and efficacy to the earth, and its plants; but others more rightly take it to be different from the sun, and a more glimmering light, which afterwards was gathered into and perfected in the body of the sunF6Vid. Menasseh ben Israel conciliator in Gen. qu. 2. . It is the opinion of ZanchiusF7De Operibus Dei, par. 3. l. 1. c. 2. col. 239. and l. 2. c. 1. , and which is approved of by our countryman, Mr. FullerF8Miscell. Sacr. l. 1. c. 12. , that it was a lucid body, or a small lucid cloud, which by its circular motion from east to west made day and nightF9Milton seems to be of the same mind:----- -----and forthwith light. Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep, and from her native east To journey thro' the airy gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourned the while.----- Paradise Lost, B. 7. l. 243, &c. ; perhaps somewhat like the cloudy pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the wilderness, and had no doubt heat as well as light; and which two indeed, more or less, go together; and of such fiery particles this body may well be thought to consist. The word "Ur" signifies both fire and light.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/genesis-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And God said, Let there be light: and there was e light.

(e) The light was made before either Sun or Moon was created: therefore we must not attribute that to the creatures that are God's instruments, which only belong to God.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/genesis-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Genesis 1:3-5. The First Day.

God said — This phrase, which occurs so repeatedly in the account means: willed, decreed, appointed; and the determining will of God was followed in every instance by an immediate result. Whether the sun was created at the same time with, or long before, the earth, the dense accumulation of fogs and vapors which enveloped the chaos had covered the globe with a settled gloom. But by the command of God, light was rendered visible; the thick murky clouds were dispersed, broken, or rarefied, and light diffused over the expanse of waters. The effect is described in the name “day,” which in Hebrew signifies “warmth,” “heat”; while the name “night” signifies a “rolling up,” as night wraps all things in a shady mantle.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/genesis-1.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

2 Corinthians 4:6. Is it not a sweet thought, that the same Spirit which gave light to the old creation gives light to the new.


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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/genesis-1.html. 1828.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.And God said Moses now, for the first time, introduces God in the act of speaking, as if he had created the mass of heaven and earth without the Word. (48) Yet John testifies that

‘without him nothing was made of the things which were made,’ (John 1:3.)

And it is certain that the world had been begun by the same efficacy of the Word by which it was completed. God, however, did not put forth his Word until he proceeded to originate light; (49) because in the act of distinguishing (50) his wisdom begins to be conspicuous. Which thing alone is sufficient to confute the blasphemy of Servetus. This impure caviler asserts, (51) that the first beginning of the Word was when God commanded the light to be; as if the cause, truly, were not prior to its effect. Since however by the Word of God things which were not came suddenly into being, we ought rather to infer the eternity of His essence. Wherefore the Apostles rightly prove the Deity of Christ from hence, that since he is the Word of God, all things have been created by him. Servetus imagines a new quality in God when he begins to speak. But far otherwise must we think concerning the Word of God, namely, that he is the Wisdom dwelling in God, (52) and without which God could never be; the effect of which, however, became apparent when the light was created. (53)

Let there be light It we proper that the light, by means of which the world was to be adorned with such excellent beauty, should be first created; and this also was the commencement of the distinction, (among the creatures. (54)) It did not, however, happen from inconsideration or by accident, that the light preceded the sun and the moon. To nothing are we more prone than to tie down the power of God to those instruments the agency of which he employs. The sun an moon supply us with light: And, according to our notions we so include this power to give light in them, that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and moon. Further, it is certain from the context, that the light was so created as to be interchanged with darkness. But it may be asked, whether light and darkness succeeded each other in turn through the whole circuit of the world; or whether the darkness occupied one half of the circle, while light shone in the other. There is, however, no doubt that the order of their succession was alternate, but whether it was everywhere day at the same time, and everywhere night also, I would rather leave undecided; nor is it very necessary to be known. (55)

Having given, to the best of my judgment, an explanation of Calvin’s reasoning, truth obliges me to add, that it seems to be an involved and unsatisfactory argument to prove —

1st, That the Second Person of the Trinity is distinctly referred to in the second verse of this chapter; and,

2nd, That He is truly though not obviously the Creator of heaven and earth mentioned in the first verse.

It furnishes occasion rather for regret than for surprise, that the most powerful minds are sometimes found attempting to sustain a good cause by inconclusive reasoning. — Ed.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/genesis-1.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Let there be light

Neither here nor in Genesis 1:14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is, made to appear; made visible. The sun and moon were created "in the beginning." The "light" of course came from the sun, but the vapour diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Genesis 1:3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/genesis-1.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘ALL THE BLESSINGS OF THE LIGHT’

“And God said, Let there be light.’

Genesis 1:3

I. We have reason every day that we live to thank God for life and health, for countless blessings. And not least among these may be reckoned the free gift of, and the many ‘blessings of the light.’

For in many ways that we can tell off, at once, upon our fingers, and in very many more ways that we neither dream of nor think of, does light minister to our health, wealth, and comfort.

The very birds sing at daybreak their glad welcome to the dawn, and the rising sun. And we all know and feel how cheering is the power of light. In the sunlight rivers flash, and nature rejoices, and our hearts are light, and we take a bright view of things.

So, too, light comes to revive and restore us. Darkness is oppressive. In it we are apt to lose heart. We grow anxious, and full of fears. With the first glimmer of light in the distance, hope awakens, and we feel a load lifted off our minds.

Again, we have often felt the reassuring power of light. In the darkness, objects that are perfectly harmless take threatening shapes; the imagination distorts them, and our fancy creates dangers. Light shows us that we have been alarmed at shadows; quiets, and reassures us.

Once again, the light comes to us, often, as nothing less than a deliverer. It reveals dangers hidden and unsuspected; the deadly reptile; the yawning precipice; the lurking foe.

And when, over and above all this, we remember that light is absolutely essential, not to health only, but to life in every form, animal and vegetable alike, we shall heartily echo the words of the wise king in Ecclesiastes—‘Truly the light is sweet; and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.’

II. All things are double one against another. The types in the natural world all have their antitypes in the moral and spiritual world. So we find it here. The natural light of which we have been speaking; the sun, which is the centre of our system—is a type of another light, of which we are now going to speak.

When God sends this light, of which we speak, into a soul that has long been dwelling in, and rejoicing in the darkness which the evil liver loves, a man’s first impulse generally is to shrink from it—to shut it out.

As you know very well, one of the chief characteristics of light is that it shows things, not as they might be, not as they are said to be, not as they ought to be, not as they are supposed to be, not as we would like them to be, but as they are!

In some way or another God sends a flood of pure light into your home; sometimes it is through sickness; sometimes through sorrow; now by means of an accident; now it is the innocent prattle of a little child. Your life is revealed to you just as it is! There hang the thick cobwebs—long indulged, confirmed evil habits; here lies the thick dust of a dulled conscience—there the dark stains of grievous sins. And the air is full of countless motes—these are what you call ‘little sins’—motes of ill-temper; motes of malice and unkindness; motes of forgetfulness of God, and many others.

It is from God, this light; stand in it; gaze at it; look through it, till you see His face who sends it—God, who in the beginning said, as He saw the earth ‘without form, and void,’ who says, as He looks at you, ‘Let there be light.’

—Rev. J. B. C. Murphy.


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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/genesis-1.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Ver. 3. And God saith, Let there, &c.] He commanded the "light to shine out of darkness." [2 Corinthians 4:6] "He spake the word, and it was done." [Psalms 33:9; Psalms 148:5] (a) Creation is no motion, but a simple and bare emanation; which is, when without any repugnancy of the patient, or labour of the agent, the work or effect doth voluntarily and freely arise from the action of the working cause, as the shadow from the body. So God’s irresistible power made this admirable work of the world, by his bare word, as the shadow and obscure representation of his unsearchable wisdom and omnipotency.

And there was light.] This first light was not the angels, as Augustine would have it; nor the element of fire, as Damascene; nor the sun, which was not yet created, nor a lightsome cloud, nor any such thing; but the "first day," which God could make without means, as Calvin well observeth. This light was the first ornament of the visible world, and so is still of the "hidden man of the heart," the new creature. [Acts 26:18] The first thing in St Paul’s commission there, was to "open men’s eyes, to turn them from darkness to light," &c. To dart such a saving light into the soul, as might illighten both organ and object. In which great work also, Christ’s words are operative, together with his commands, in the mouths of his ministers. "Know the Lord; understand, O ye brutish among the people," &c. [Psalms 94:8] There goes forth a power to heal, as it did in Luke 5:17; or as when he bade Lazarus arise, he made him to arise, so here the word and the Spirit go together; and then what wonder that the spirit of darkness falls from the heaven of men’s hearts, "as lightning". [Luke 10:18] So as that they that erst "were darkness, are now light in the Lord," [Ephesians 5:8] and do "preach forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light". {εξαγγεληζε, 1 Peter 2:9}


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Genesis 1:3. And God said To speak and to will, with the Almighty, is to command. His word is with power. Struck with the grandeur of this passage, the celebrated Grecian critic Longinus produces it as an instance of the true sublime. "So likewise," says he, "the Jewish legislator, no ordinary person, ( ουχ ο τυχων ανηρ, ) having conceived a just idea of the power of God, has nobly expressed it in the beginning of his law. And God said—What? Let there be light: and there was light." We may here truly say with Boileau, "Whatever noble and majestic expression, elevation of thought, and importance of sentiment, can contribute to sublimity, may be found in this passage."

Said By אמר amar, the Hebrews often express internal volition, as well as outward speaking, as both Mr. Locke and M. Le Clerc observe. So Exodus 2:14 it is translated, intendest thou to kill me? 2 Samuel 21:16. He thought, designed ( διενοειτο LXX) to have slain David. The Greeks also often use the word φημι, to speak, in this sense. This observation will be of frequent and general use. Moses means here, that God having purposed to create the light, no sooner willed it to shine forth, than it shone.

Let there be light: and there was light Many have been the questions, and great the triumph of unbelievers, upon this declaration in the Mosaic account, "that there was light three days before there was any sun." But the objection is founded on a gross misconception, that light is nothing more than an emanation from the sun, or other luminaries: according to which there can be no light, where there is no sun, &c. But is it not easy to conceive, that God, the light of the world, might either sustain this light, in the first act of creation, by his own immediate power; or that, in consequence of that original motion, impressed on the chaotic mass, those particles of matter which we call fire, (whose known properties are light and heat,) being the lightest, strongest, and most active of the elements, disuniting themselves from the grosser parts, ascended, and constituted that light, which, in the fourth day, was compressed and consolidated, if we may so speak, into the body of the sun? It seems probable, that after the first vivifying motion impressed by the Spirit of God, the material atoms or elements were left, in some measure, to their natural and regular operation, under the direction of the Supreme Creator. For you observe the light first appears, as consisting of the subtlest matter; next the air or firmament; next the waters; and so the earth, the most gross of all. But after all, I may say with Le Clerc, "that it is unnecessary to philosophize too subtilly concerning the cause and nature of this light; since the solutions of the most learned are attended with difficulties; and we cannot but expect to be ignorant of various things respecting the origin of the world."

REFLECTIONS.—1. Light is the great beauty and blessing of the universe: like the first-born, it doth, of all visible beings, most resemble its great Parent in purity and power, brightness and beneficence. By beholding it therefore let us be led to, and assisted in, the believing contemplation of him who is light, infinite and eternal light, and the Father of Lights, and who dwells in inaccessible light. 2. What a striking emblem is this natural light of Christ, in whom was light, and who is the true Light, the Light of the world? Darkness had been perpetually upon the face of fallen man, if the Son of God had not come, and given us an understanding, that we might know him that is true.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/genesis-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He commanded, not by such a word or speech as we use, which agreeth not with the spiritual nature of God; but either by an act of his powerful will, called the word of his power, Hebrews 1:3 or, by his substantial Word, his Son, by whom he made the worlds, Hebrews 1:2 Psalms 33:6, who is called: The Word, partly, if not principally, for this reason,

John 1:1-3,, John 1:10.

There was light; which was some bright and lucid body, peradventure like the fiery cloud in the wilderness, giving a small and imperfect light, successively moving over the several parts of the earth; and afterwards condensed, increased, perfected, and gathered together in the sun.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-1.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The world came into being by God"s word (cf. Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3). Each of the six creative days began with God speaking. God"s ten pronouncements in this chapter anticipate His ten commandments at Mt. Sinai ( Exodus 20:2-17). All but one of Jesus Christ"s miracles occurred immediately after He spoke. The exception occurs in Luke 8:25 when He laid His hands on a blind man. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, was the Creator ( John 1:3). The theme of God"s word (spoken, written, or incarnate) continues through the Bible. His word is consistently powerful, as here. Fiat (the Latin word for "Let there be") creation means creation that came into being by God"s word.

"The idea of creation by the word preserves first of all the most radical essential distinction between Creator and creature. Creation cannot be even remotely considered an emanation from God ... but is rather a product of his personal will." [Note: Gerhard von Rad, Genesis , pp51-52.]

The "light" might not have been sunlight (cf. Genesis 1:14). Perhaps it came from a source fixed at a distance from the earth such as the shekinah, the light that manifests God"s glory (cf. Revelation 22:5). [Note: Hamilton, p121.] Perhaps God created the sun on the first day, but it became visible on the fourth day. [Note: Sailhamer, " Genesis ," p26.] A third view is that God created the sun, moon, and stars on the first day and assigned them their specific functions on the fourth day (cf. Genesis 1:14-18). [Note: Ibid, pp33-34.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/genesis-1.html. 2012.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. And God said — Or, Then says God. Having stated the condition of things at the time and place of the fiat of the “omnific word,” the writer now denotes a sequence by introducing the future or imperfect tense-form of the verb. The perfect tense of the preceding verbs, ברא (Genesis 1:1) and היתה, (Genesis 1:2,) puts the reader back to an ideal standpoint — the beginning; the future tense of ויאמר denotes a point of time future from that standpoint, though really in the past. Every creation of this chapter is preceded by these words, God said, from which doubtless arose the sublime New Testament conception that the worlds (ages) were made by the WORD of God. Hebrews 11:3. Hence, too, the doctrine of the Logos in John 1:1-3.

Let there be light: and there was light — Well might Longinus and others call attention to the sublimity of this passage. The natural meaning is, that at the fiat of the Almighty light supernaturally broke in upon the confused deep, and revealed its desolate and empty condition. Whence the light proceeded, by what means it was produced, and how large an area it illumined, are questions as idle to essay to answer as, Of what did God create the great sea monsters, (of Genesis 1:21,) and how many of them did he make? We are told in the verses next following that “God divided the light from the darkness, and called the light Day and the darkness Night.The old question, Why this production of light on the first day, when the luminaries first appear on the fourth day? may be anticipated here. The making of an expanse to divide the waters above and the waters below, (Genesis 1:6-7,) and the chaotic condition of the land and waters as previously described, warrant the conclusion that the atmosphere far into the upper heavens was filled with impenetrable mist, utterly shutting out the light of the sun and moon and stars. These luminaries were, of course, in existence, but at the time of this “beginning,” and from that portion of the earth’s surface here described, they were concealed. We know what it is now to have an impenetrable fog settle upon a region and abide for days. Comp. Acts 27:20. The plague of darkness which covered Egypt for three days was such as could be felt, and prevented any one from moving from place to place. Exodus 10:21-23. Is it, then, difficult to conceive a darkness covering all that region where God planted the garden of Eden, so dense as utterly to shut the celestial luminaries from view? We may, indeed, suppose that the light produced by this word of God was the light of the sun, forced through the intervening clouds and mist without dispelling them for three days. The sun would, in such a case, have been invisible. But as the earth continued its axial revolution, day and night were alternately produced, and thus God divided between the light and the darkness. Nothing hinders our supposing such a mode of producing the light, and dividing the light from the darkness.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-1.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 1:3. God said — Not by an articulate voice; for to whom should he speak? but in his own eternal mind. He willed that the effect here mentioned should be produced, and it was produced. This act of his almighty will is termed, Hebrews 1:3, the word of his power. Perhaps, however, his substantial Word, his Son, by whom he made the worlds, Hebrews 1:2, and Psalms 33:6; Psalms 33:9, is here intended, and whom the ancient fathers of the Christian Church thought to be termed the Word, John 1:1, chiefly for this reason. Let there be light, &c. — The noted critic, Longinus, in his celebrated Treatise on the Sublime, expresses his admiration of this sentence, as giving a most just and striking idea of the power of God. In bringing order out of confusion, and forming the sundry parts of the universe, God first gave birth to those that are the most simple, pure, active, and powerful; which he, probably, afterward used as agents or instruments in forming some other parts. Light is the great beauty and blessing of the universe; and as it was the first of all visible things, so, as the firstborn, it most resembles its great parent in purity and power, in brightness and beneficence. Probably the light was at first impressed on some part of the heavens, or collected in some lucid body, the revolution of which distinguished the three first days. On the fourth it was condensed, increased, perfected, and placed in the body of the sun and other luminaries.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/genesis-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

. Light. The sun was made on the fourth day, and placed in the firmament to distinguish the seasons, &c.; but the particles of fire were created on the first day, and by their, or the earth's motion, served to discriminate day from the preceding night, or darkness, which was upon the face of the deep. (Haydock) --- Perhaps this body of light might resemble the bright cloud which accompanied the Israelites, Exodus xiv. 19, or the three first days might have a kind of imperfect sun, or be like one of our cloudy days. Nothing can be defined with certainty respecting the nature of this primeval light. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/genesis-1.html. 1859.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.’

This is God’s first ‘action’. Here was a ‘big bang’ indeed. The writer is brief and to the point. God speaks and light is. That which was without form and empty now experiences that which makes it spring into positive existence. That which was permanently lacking light, now receives light. And as light (electro-magnetic waves) is the basic essential of the universe we recognise that it is also necessary in the bringing into usefulness of earth. It is separate from Him and yet provided and sustained by His word. Let Him say, ‘Let light not be’ and the universe would collapse into itself. So by His word God produces positive out of negative.

From our perspective we know that when God spoke He acted through His Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3), Who created all things and upholds the universe through His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). It is through His sustaining that the universe continues as an inhabitable cosmos.

It is significant that what is positive in the world is seen as not initially there in what was created, but produced from it by His word, a reminder that the whole universe and the whole of life on earth depends upon His continual sustenance (Colossians 1:17). It will be noted that pantheism, which believes that everything is part of God, is excluded by all this. His work of creation was separate from Himself, although He remained intimately connected with it. He acted on it from ‘outside’ and it was by His word of command that the means of it being held together came into being.

“And God said.” This phrase introduces each phase in God’s creative activity. It is the creative word indicating God’s transcendence and demonstrating that all is done in accordance with His will and command and through His power. Not for this writer a god who interplays with others in a complicated scenario. God but speaks and His will is accomplished. It is God’s world and only He has a say in it. This stresses that all that takes place results from God’s word. We may investigate a hundred scientific hypotheses, but behind the outworking of them all we hear the words, ‘God said’.

Eight actions will now be detailed in a ‘six day’ framework. The making of light and darkness; of water below and above the atmosphere and therefore of the atmosphere itself; of land and sea; and then of plant life. Then sun, moon and stars to control light and darkness; fish and birds to inhabit water and atmosphere; animals to inhabit land and sea and to partake of the plant life; and then finally man. The point being made is that in each case God made provision for what was to come, and that that provision is from Him. We may complicate the process by our theories, we cannot evade the fact. Note the parallels between first and fourth, second and fifth, and third and sixth, while at the same time there is continual progression. Note also that the eight resultants are fitted into a six period (yom) framework. It was necessary for all to be depicted as within the divine ‘seven’ in order to bring out its perfection. To ancient man anything else was unthinkable. Even the seven spoke of God.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/genesis-1.html. 2013.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

God said (occurs 10 times in Introduction). This begins each day: 3rd day twice; 6th day four times. The second act is also of God (1 Peter 1:23-25). App-5.

be light = become light (as in Genesis 1:2), not the verb "to be". Light not located till 4th day.

was = became, as in Genesis 1:2. It is even so in the New Creation: His Word enters and gives light (Psalms 119:130. 2 Corinthians 4:6).


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/genesis-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Let there be light , [ Y


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/genesis-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

THE CREATIVE DAYS.

(3) And God said.—Voice and sound there could be none, nor was there any person to whom God addressed this word of power. The phrase, then, is metaphorical, and means that God enacted for the universe a law; and ten times we find the command similarly given. The beauty and sublimity of the language here used has often been noticed: God makes no preparation, He employs no means, needs no secondary agency. He speaks, and it is done. His word alone contains all things necessary for the fulfilment of His will. So in the cognate languages the word Emir, ruler, is literally, speaker. The Supreme One speaks: with the rest, of hear is to obey. God, then, by speaking, gives to nature a universal and enduring law. His commands are not temporary, but eternal; and whatever secondary causes were called into existence when the Elohim, by a word, created light, those same causes produce it now, and will produce it until God recalls His word. We have, then, here nature’s first universal law. What is it?

Let there be light: and there was light.—The sublimity of the original is lost in our language by the cumbrous multiplication of particles. The Hebrew is Yhi ôr wayhi ôr. Light is not itself a substance, but is a condition or state of matter; and this primæval light was probably electric, arising from the condensation and friction of the elements as they began to arrange themselves in order. And this, again, was due to what is commonly called the law of gravitation, or of the attraction of matter. If on the first day electricity and magnetism were generated, and the laws given which create and control them, we have in them the two most powerful and active energies of the present and of all time—or possibly two forms of one and the same busy and restless force. And the law thus given was that of gravitation, of which light was the immediate result.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/genesis-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
God
Psalms 33:6,9; 148:5; Matthew 8:3; John 11:43
Let
Job 36:30; 38:19; Psalms 97:11; 104:2; 118:27; Isaiah 45:7; 60:19; John 1:5,9; John 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:8,14; 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 1:5; 2:8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 1:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-1.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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