God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness.
We shall skip for now the very important “good” God saw in the light until we finish with all our reflections on the light created on the first day.
God separating the light from the darkness after its creation pre-figures Jesus’ teaching in Luke’s gospel:
No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it (under a bushel basket), but on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Luke 11:33
Upon the creation of light in Genesis on the first day, God separates it from darkness the very same day. Jesus, speaking spiritually about faith, expects one who lights a lamp to promptly follow with placing it where all may see the light and not conceal it. Both statements are about exposing spiritual light, thereby sharing it. There no waiting period between the manifestation of the light in Genesis and in Jesus’ parable, and making the light available on a wider scale. Both imply an immediate sharing of the light of faith.
We sense Jesus’ urgency upon his sending out the Twelve to proclaim the kingdom. Despite the strict Jewish dietary laws, Jesus tells them to bring no food. Proclaiming the kingdom is so important that it appears in three Gospels. 1
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Matthew 10:7-8
Matthew was only just called by Jesus in chapter 9! There are 18 more chapters of learning for the disciples in Matthew’s gospel following Jesus sending them out to proclaim the kingdom, yet Jesus sends them out, imperfect as they are.
So very early in Holy Scripture, in the Book of Genesis, we find ourselves reflecting on sharing the light of faith, an indication of how tremendously important it is to God. God separating the light from the darkness in Genesis spiritually foreshadows the evangelizing aspect of the Faith, as does Jesus’ statement about not hiding the light of the lamp. There are three purposes of faith: to gather, to guide, and to guard. Sharing the Faith with others helps God in gathering together the People of God, which we will explore more fully as well as the guiding and guarding aspects of faith.
The faithful participate in the spiritual meaning of this Genesis verse every year on Holy Saturday by passing on the Easter Vigil light that was lit in darkness. In Genesis 1:4, God makes the very first pass.
God’s second act of creation – the separation of light from darkness – also foretells of Jesus’s last act in the world after his second coming: the separation of the sheep and the goats. The sheep he will place on his right; these are the righteous who responded to the light and chose to share their spiritual and temporal goods. The goats he will place on his left; these are the accursed who chose to dwell in darkness with their selfishness.
You can read today’s complete Gospel account of Jesus’ separation of the sheep and the goats at his second coming in the USCCB Daily Readings for February 19th:
The USCCB has not reviewed or approved my comments on the Biblical text.