Why did God say, “Let there be light” when he was creating the world?
God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) on the first day of creation, and light appeared as a separate thing from darkness. Some people who speak modern English might not understand the phrase “let there be light” because they are used to using the word “let” to ask for permission, like in “Let me out of this box” or “Give me the last cookie.” Some people may wonder who God is talking to. Was there someone or something in the universe who had the light locked up?
Let there be light is the Latin translation of the Hebrew phrase “yehi or,” which means “let there be light.” A literal translation would be a command, like “Light, exist.” God is speaking into the darkness and telling light to appear. According to the Bible, God made the heavens, the earth, and everything else by just speaking them into existence (Genesis 1). His strength, creativity, and beauty came through in creation, just like an artist’s personality and traits come through in their art or music. “Let there be light” or “Let light exist” gave shape to the idea of light that was first in God’s mind.
God’s voice really does have the power to make things happen. This has important spiritual implications that go far beyond the story of creation. The Bible often uses light as a metaphor, and the word illumination, which means “divine enlightenment of the human heart with truth,” means bringing something into the light. Spiritual illumination is a “creation” that happens in the heart of a person. “God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to show us God’s glory in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). “The light of the world” is Jesus (John 8:12).
At the beginning of the world, when God said, “Let there be light,” and light appeared, it showed how powerful and in charge God is. God made light on the first day of creation. This is a great picture of what He does in the hearts of people who put their trust in Christ, the True Light. We don’t have to walk in the darkness of sin and death. In Christ, we “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).