God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
The impression I get from the Scriptures is that names are of particular importance to God. They often carried a particular meaning, a meaning which should not be ignored when studying the Bible. Perhaps most notable was that the Messiah was called “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us” — no more concise description of the Incarnation could be given than Emmanuel! Likewise, even the Messiah’s given name, Jesus, was the Greek counterpart to “Joshua,” meaning “salvation of the Lord.” No more apt name could have been given the Savior!
Whether renaming Abram to Abraham or Simon to Peter, the Lord makes a point of the names of things. And He here names the “light” and the “dark” (which were separated from one another in the previous verse).
To the light the Creator gave the name “Day.” The word is possibly derived from a root meaning “warm,” which makes sense enough; but the word itself? Well, no surprises, but it means “day.”
The darkness he called “Night,” and while that name also doesn’t carry any sort of special meaning, I found interesting what Strong’s Concordance said about the word, that the Hebrew word used here for “Night” comes from another word which means “to
Isn’t that interesting? The Night — the darkness which God separated from the light — can no longer mingle with the light. It’s nature is wholly different. To the ancients, the darkness twists and writhes away from the light; nowadays we know that “darkness” isn’t a thing in and of itself but is instead the absence of light.
I think that modern knowledge helps us to understand the nature of light and dark in the Scriptures. It’s obvious enough what happens at night — due to the earth’s rotation, the sun’s light is no longer able to fall upon the “night” portion of the planet.
But light and dark are much deeper than that. Read with me a portion of the Gospel of John:
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.
Can you see it there? Even within man darkness hates light — it twists away from it, seeks to suppress it, does whatever it can so that its evil will not be exposed. Do you ever wonder why unbelievers despise our Savior? Do you ever wonder why the world seeks to silence Christians and the Gospel to which they bear witness?
It is because where the light is, darkness cannot exist. In nature, that works fine — day and night
Before we move on to the next part of this verse, it is important that it be noted that by naming the light “Day” and the darkness “Night,” God provides us with very simple definitions which we must not forget as we progress through the chapter.
And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
The first day of Time has come to pass. What took place?
- The Father created the formless Earth & the heavens.
- The Spirit imparted energy to the watery deep.
- The Son (read: the Word) spoke light into existence.
- God separated light from darkness.
- God named the Day & Night.
And that first day wrapped up. During the night, God did not act creatively. In so doing, He was setting up a pattern for who would eventually be His people — work during the day, for the night comes when no man shall work. ((Times were very different before the harnessing of electricity!))
There are many who would make the claim that what is in view here is not a literal 24-hour day, but is instead an indeterminate period of time. This claim is generally made in order to validate the Scriptures in lieu of scientific theory. Fair enough, though it should be noted that is a very pour way to interpret the Scriptures!
Keep in mind that God has already defined for us what the “Day” is — it is when the light is shining! How often does the light of the sun shine on any one point on the planet? Well, it varies depending on where you are, but you’re certainly not going to fit geological ages into those periods of light.
No, these were your typical 24-hour days — complete with mornings and evenings.
It is morning now in this creation account, and we’re ready for the second day to begin and for the second account of the Lord speaking. Stay tuned for verse 6!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures quoted within this post come from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible.