Read the following verses (Genesis 1:3-5) over several times. As stated previously, it is also helpful to read them from different translations.
3. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5. and God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
As we saw in our study of verse 2, the earth was formless and void, a watery and possible gaseous dispersion, or perhaps something prior to this state. The Spirit of God imparted motion and form to the inert and shapeless elements. It does not mean that the previous state was in chaos, but simply formless and void of the final form.
Remember here also that everything was created from what had not existed. Energy and matter are both something, as well as the laws governing their operation. God is a God of order. He first had to create the special laws to "hold" His creation, or He used eternal spiritual laws for His creation. We are not told which.
In verse 3 we see the first recording of God speaking.
And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light, and note specifically that there is no mention of creating darkness. We also need to remember that scientifically, there really isn't such a thing as darkness. Darkness is the absence of light, so there wasn't any need to create it, as everything was already in darkness.
Note here also that the sun and the other heavenly luminaries had not as yet been created. The light spoken of here does not appear to be the kind of light we get from the sun. We are looking at a more spiritual light. See Revelation 21:23.
23. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
As the light of God shone upon the earth, to which the Holy Spirit had imparted motion, the side facing God reflected His Glory, while the back side did not.
See also the references to Jesus Christ as light in John 8:12.
12. Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Here Jesus is expressing a parallelism between Himself being the spiritual light for guiding their lives, and that of the sun. Are we perhaps limiting ourselves in our understanding of the light of creation, if we don't consider both its physical and spiritual aspects?
Note what we are told in 1 John 1:5.
5. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
Here, darkness, has two spiritual meanings: the first refers to our ignorance of the truth (to shed light on a subject, brings out the truth), and the other refers to the sin in our lives. Neither ignorance or sin can exist in the presence of God.
In Genesis 1, verse 4 we see that God said that the light was good and separated the light from the darkness.
This passage clearly indicated that the light source was apart from the earth. For if God's light were part of the earth the whole earth would be lit. This, I believe, also dispels those religious beliefs that state that God is in everything, for if He was, then there would have been no darkness. He created everything, but He Himself is not part of everything. God is spiritually ever present, but He is not and integral part of everything. Since Jesus is the light of the world, and God is light without darkness, then if God were an actual part of the world, the world would glow, and it doesn't. It only reflects light, as should each of us.
This passage also shows that God set into motion the earth around its axis. Here we should remember that it isn't important whether the earth began its rotation by the action of the Holy Spirit as He hovered over the earth, or that its actual rotation began as the means of separating the light from the darkness, so that every part of the earth would have light for part of the day, and thus be able to support life. And, by the expression of "evening and morning", we see further indication of this rotation, for the expression indicates the passing of time, and change with that time. This is also the first indication of the existence of time.
Remember also that the Hebrew day began at sundown and ended at sundown.
Since our God is a logical God, we also can assume that at this time gravity and magnetism were also created, or had previously been created, and that the rotation of the earth, or the substances that came together to form earth, brought them into effect.
We can also see here the joy of the Creator Himself, for He said what He had made was good. Do not we also become joyful with our successes?
In verse 5 we see further evidence of God's pleasure in His creation for He names the light and darkness. We also see in this verse the statement, "there was evening and there was morning". This indicates a "solar" day, even without the sun, for the rotation had been established. On the spiritual side, we should remember that the source of the light is the Lord, and that at least once a day, we have a reminder of His presence. We are not to worship the light, but the giver of it.
Additionally we have the term "one day". Where ever in the Pentateuch that the word "day" is used, it means a single solar day, and not an age. However, at this time, we don't know the actual length of a single day as compared to the length of our present day. But, at the same time we must remember what we are told in 2 Peter 3:8.
8. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God's world, the spiritual realm, does not seem to be bound with the dimension of time; it appears to be timeless. And since 2 Peter 3:8 contextually speaks of our not becoming impatient with God, for everything will come to pass in His time, we should allow time for God to reveal the truth to us.
In the naming of the light and darkness, God seemed to have been seeing the future concern over this creation process so He carefully selected His terms. The word used for day, "yom", literally seems to mean the light portion of the day. In other words, without light, there is no day, or God. Is this what the Lord is telling us in Matthew 22:13?
13. "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Note specifically that it says, "outer darkness", and not just darkness. In the "light" of our study of creation, we should not eliminate this understanding of where the light does not shine.
As a follow-up to our discussion on the 'Gap' and 'Age-Day' theories, the statement in verse 5 of "one day" could be the beginning of time as we know it, and prior to this moment, we have no indication of how much time actually passed.
But also we must remember that the light, at this time, was from God and not from the sun, thus even this first day could have been longer. In fact, even until the fourth day when the heavenly bodies were established, there could be some difference in time. And there is also a possibility that the rotation of the earth was slower until after the Flood, when the canopy of water collapsed, bring the mass of the earth closer together. We also should note that the Hebrew word for "day", yom, never means an indefinite period of time, but only refers to one literal day.
Remember, we don't have to bend Scripture to allow for scientific evidence. The Bible is not a science book, but a book of our relationship with God.
What we are seeing in the creation of visible light, before the creation of the sun and the stars, is the transformation of the spiritual light of God into the physical light form we can see with our eyes. We are seeing the creation process of what we are told in Hebrews 11:3.
3. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen, was not made out of things that are visible.
And nothing we have talked about so far has even hinted that there is sin in the world as of this time in the creation process.
1 Leupold, H. C., Exposition of Genesis, (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1942), 57-58.