Let there be light

Psalms 146, 147 (Morning)

Psalms 111, 112, 113 (Evening)

Genesis 1:1-2:3

Ephesians 1:3-14

John 1:29-34

Evolutionist that I am, I can still never say enough about the story of the Creation in Genesis, and never fail to hear it as a story of absolute beauty. It is still one of the most marvelous set of strings of words in all of written thought, both for its simplicity and complexity.

So my next sentence is going to sound incongruous: I believe in the story of Creation with all my heart.

Oh, not in the sense of days and order and “Poof! There’s a horse!” but in the sense of believing in a God who is intimately in the creation business. Every time I read this passage, there’s something new to see–not just what is said, but what is not said.

Ever notice the one big “no comment” in this story? It’s here:

Then 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.

We see that the light is good–but the darkness is “no comment.” Now, we are not told the darkness is bad, either. The darkness just is. Two paragraphs in, God separates the two. The illustration is that they are two entities–one good, one neutral. But then a few more paragraphs down the road we see:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

The darkness does not remain entirely separate in this story for long–it is punctuated by light. Oh, there’s still an ultimate separation of light and darkness of some sort, but where the Earth is concerned, there is never total darkness, but only periods of greater and lesser light–which, as far as Earth is concerned, insures that light will always prevail. It reminds me of the words of the Taizé song La Ténèbre, “Our darkness is never darkness in his sight, the deepest night is clear as the daylight.”

Each of us have a different notion of what we fear about “total darkness,” but for me it’s this: In total darkness, one cannot even tell if one is alone or not. I could be six inches from someone else, but enmeshed in the delusion that I am alone, deluded in a lie that I am separate from all creation, and from God.

In this story, we are reminded of one of the most simple, yet profound truths about the relationship between God, creation, and us–The Light of God is always with us, even if it’s a mere trickle from our vantage point. Believing in the story of creation has far more to do with believing in the constancy of light and the presence of each other in it, than it does worrying about literal days and disappearing dinosaurs.

What changes for us, in our relationship with God, and our relationships with each other, when we accept the truth that there is no darkness, only greater and lesser views of light?

Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, writes about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid

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