Sunday, January 06, 2008

Icons of God in Creation: Light

God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
In the opening verses of Genesis, reality is created almost as an echo of the Word of God. God names a thing and calls it to be, and it is. (Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the very first word spoken by God to create the world is a form of the verb "be" -- a conjugation of His own name?) Many of the most basic elements of creation -- light, water, rocks, wind -- are referenced time and again in Scriptures as icons of God, windows through which we catch glimpses of the reality of God. For today, I'll consider light.

When God reveals himself, this self-revelation is often accompanied by light. Moses saw light in the burning bush when God revealed his name, light at Mt. Sinai when God revealed his Word, light that transferred to the face of Moses so that his face had to be veiled. The Hebrews saw light in the pillar of cloud and fire that led them from Egypt, light in the tabernacle where God's presence dwelled. Time and again light showed when the word of God was revealed or when God's presence was made known.

Figuratively, the Word of God was said to be a light to the people. "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

The Messiah was said to be a light to the people. "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light." And "a light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel."

Paul also ponders light and God's self-revelation:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts through the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6)
Paul shows what all the "light" references have in common: "The knowledge of the glory of God"; ultimately, this is in the face of Christ.

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