The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In John 8:12 Jesus said of himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Placing Genesis 1:2 alongside Jesus’ words, the contrast is obvious. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep”. In Hebrew, the word used in Gen. 1:2 translating “darkness” (according to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) would be understood as “a dark place, as of Hades; an underground prison”. In Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, he addresses the verse writing, “and this was all a dark turbid chaos, as before expressed, without any light or motion, till an agitation was made by the Spirit”.
In Genesis 1:3, the agitation Gill refers to happened, God spoke and the light switch of time and space was turned on. God then created a perfect environment, a habitat for his crowning creation, you and me. Almost as quickly as light and life sprang forth, though, our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God plunging the world back into darkness, the darkness of sin. A floodgate was opened that spilled over onto the entire human race – all life was affected; no person, place or thing would escape the far-reaching consequence of that fateful moment in Eden. But God had a plan.
Looking years into the future, Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). For, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Some 700 years later, Jesus was born in Bethlehem’s manger, the offspring of a woman (see Genesis 3:15) who had not known a man intimately. Simeon, a man scripture tells us was righteous and devout, held the child in his arms recognizing this tiny infant to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy saying,
“. . .my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).
Today, over 2000 years have passed since Jesus came into the world and the darkness remains, there is still much evil. It’s near impossible to watch the evening news and not be confronted with the reality that our planet is still shrouded in darkness. The far-reaching effects of sin continue to wreak global havoc. Civil unrest, war, terrorism, world hunger, poverty, sickness and disease all serve to remind us that the darkness is present. However, with as unfortunate and tragic as it may be, it is only by virtue of darkness that we comprehend the value of light. The moon and the stars are seen at night, when darkness falls, not when the sun is high in the sky. So that in the midst of a dark world we see Jesus more clearly and rest in confidence knowing the light that guided shepherds and Kings through the night will guide us as it did them.
Yes, sin continues to exist and darkness abounds on so many fronts, but God’s plan is not thwarted nor can it be. At the birth of Jesus, a glorious light pierced the darkness. At the cross, Jesus died in our place, a ransom paid on our behalf. Three days later, the brilliant and blazing light of divine love shattered the corridors of hell destroying its dark domain and freeing all who will from the heavy chains of sin that held the world fast in its paralyzing grip.
Advent serves to remind us of God breaking into the course of human history to redeem mankind through the gift of his son, the one true light who gives light to everyone (John 1:9), a light that cannot be overcome, that the deepest, darkest, darkness will never extinguish (John 1:5). So light a candle, find comfort in its warmth, and live in its light.
“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).