The last implication I intend to draw out (for now) in the series of posts linked above and reflective of notes I wrote for a recent men's Bible study on Genesis 1:1-5 is an answer to the question of what we now are to do with the knowledge that we are baptized new creations and the house of God. And to that point, let us return back to Genesis 1:
Genesis 1:2-5 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Think about what any of us do when we enter our houses. The first thing we do is to turn on the lights. We don’t stumble around blindly in darkness. Instead, we turn on the lights so we can see, evaluate, or judge the state of our house to make sure that everything inside set right. That’s exactly what God did at the beginning of time. God, after baptizing His creation anew, says “Let there be light” and then evaluates His work as good, by which He then proceeds to continue to make covenantal divisions within His house, each of which He then covenantally fills, especially in multiplying His image.
Now, for all we know, God could have created everything in light since the beginning, but He instead chose to create a formless and void creation in darkness. The Spirit then hovers over the face of the waters, baptizing it into the light of the word of God. Light is the means by which work is evaluated, which is why the first good work of God in newly creating His house is to turn on the light. This is also the beginning of a good work God will bring to completion at the day of the Lord, the Sabbath day. God Himself is the true light who came into a dark world to give it light, the true morning that follows the evening.
What we may not realize – or, at least, for I long time I didn’t realize – is that as we live the Christian life as we are supposed to do, we’re imitating a pattern God set since the beginning of time. Compare the above paragraph to the following: due to sin, we are born formless and void, creations in darkness (Ephesians 5:8). To make us new creations, the Spirit hovers over our faces, baptizing us into the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), who is the Word of God (John 1:1). Light is the means by which work is evaluated (John 3:19-21), which is why the first good work of God in newly creating us as His house (Hebrews 3:6) is also to turn on the light in it, and in His light we see and are light (Psalm 36:9). This is the beginning of a good work in us that God will also bring to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6), the one who gives us rest (Matthew 11:28). Christ is the true light who came into a dark world to give light (John 1:9), the true morning that follows the evening. He is the light by whom blind men are able to see (2 Corinthians 4:4), and in His light we will rest forever as we walk in it (Revelation 21:23-25). I won’t go through all of the Scriptures that support this comparison, but to name a few:
John 1:1-5, 9 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 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… The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 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.
I think John ties all of the themes I have brought up in this series of posts in Revelation 21 as he describes the new heaven and new earth with its the holy city, the new Jerusalem. In this chapter, God declares He is making all things new, and that His dwelling place is with man. There will be no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
All this is to say that what I’ve discovered is that the story in Genesis is the story of the rest of the Bible. It isn’t put there just because it is a record of the beginning of time, although it is that. As God brought forth light from darkness in Genesis, John 1 describes the Son of God as the life that is the light of all mankind, the true light gives light to everyone, the light that the darkness has not and will not overcome. This light exposes darkness, either converting it to light or judging it for trying to hide from it. To believers, God has given the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of the light. And having been enlightened, so to speak, we are to be lights in and to the world, means of witness by which the Father gives that light to others just as it was given to us:
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Ephesians 5:8 at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
Being enlightened new creations by God’s handiwork, and we can know with assurance that God looks at and judges His work in us as good, just as He did with His work in Genesis. That is our confidence that, as Paul says:
Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Following the heavenly pattern of God’s revealed actions and life is our impetus as new creations to live out godly lives on earth. Baptize our house, be God’s house, and shine as lights of His house so that we can, by God’s grace, reach those who are, like we were, in darkness. That is how we are a part of the answer to our prayer that the Father’s “will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I hope these posts have shown a glimpse of the richness that actually meditating on stories in the Old Testament can bring. In Christ can we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), for all of the word of God (John 5:37-47, Luke 24) bears witness about the Word of God (John 1:1-18). And with that, I will close with the following blessing to the reader from the apostle Paul from his letter to the Galatian church:
Galatians 6:15-16, 18 …neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.