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. (1 John 1:5)
The first time I heard Gungor’s song “Let There Be” was the first time I made a serious attempt to imagine—to actually visualize in my mind—what it might have been like to witness the first light of Genesis 1 exploding into the empty blackness of the nascent universe. I remember standing in the middle of our family room, eyes closed, arms outstretched, (wife and kids running errands), absolutely marveling at what the music was helping me to imagine. It was one of the most worshipful experiences I can remember.
The darkness must have been so black and so deep. Not even stars or a moon existed yet to make the darkness a little less dark. It wasn’t like the darkest midnight you’ve ever seen. It was darker than that. It wasn’t like the darkest room you’ve ever been it. It was darker than that. There wasn’t even a little light from a sliver moon or from a crack under the door. There was no such thing as light yet! It was a darkness so deep and complete that even if human beings had been created first, it would have been impossible for them to see anything at all.
And then God spoke.
Let there be light.
Four words. And light erupted into the deep darkness and streamed through the entire universe at unfathomable speed. Can you think of anything that would have been more spectacular to behold than the creation of light?
The apostle John can, actually.
That was nothing. The creation of light at the dawn of the universe was merely God’s opening act for the greater and better light that he had in store. Don’t get me wrong. Opening acts can be amazing. Prince opened for the Rolling Stones before anyone knew who he was and when everyone in the crowd was still saying, “Wait… Is that a chick or a dude?… Well… he/she rocks.”
Where was I going with that?…
In the beginning of John’s gospel he reimagines that opening scene of creation, and tells us that the Word—the very Son of God—was present, speaking light into existence with his Father. But then he tells us something even more amazing. He tells us that the Son of God didn’t just create light. He was light. A new kind of light that would be “the light of all mankind” (1:4). This light “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5).
Jesus exploded into the world with a power and beauty and majesty far beyond the first light of creation. But it was a quiet explosion. It was an explosion of truth and peace and love and grace and life. His life is the light that has allowed us to see for the first time—to see our sin, to see our need, to see the love of God, and to see that Jesus, the light of the world, is the one who has lived and died to save us. There is nothing—not even the first explosion of light into the universe—more spectacular to behold than the light and life and love of God.
If we had been able to witness the moment when God said, “Let there be light,” we would never forget it and never take it for granted. And that was just the opening act. Followers of Jesus are all witnesses of the light of Christ. May we never forget it. May we never take it for granted. And may we never stop telling people about what we’ve seen.