Waters, Light, Darkness – Reflections on Genesis 1:1-7

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The darkness was over the face, or surface of the deep. The deep, or the Abyss, is a simple reference to the ocean, or the seas. This is plain. But the Deep is symbolized later in Scripture as the place of Death, or the grave, or Sheol (Jonah 2). The picture we are given here is a place of “watery” death, and Darkness is what this “watery” death consists of, as well as chaos, confusion, and emptiness (“without form and void”). But above the deep darkness of “watery” death, we have the Spirit of God moving, hovering, providing hope.

3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

God separates the light from the darkness, and it seems that since the darkness is related to the watery death, the light is related and separated unto to the Spirit of God. The Day then, symbolizes the Spirit of God, and the Night, symbolizes death and Sheol. Paul says in Romans 13:11-14,

11Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-9 also speaks of Christians as being “children of the light” and “children of the day.”  Here in the very first few verses of Genesis we see that God associates the Spirit of God with the Day and with Light. Daytime and Light are symbols then that God has embedded in His creation to reflect and represent God, particularly God the Holy Spirit.

6And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

Notice that God in verse 2, in referring to the waters of the deep refers to it as “the deep”, which darkness is over.   But when discussing the Spirit of God hovering over the water, the water is referred to as “the waters.” There seems to be a difference and a distinction being made here between “the deep” that darkness is over, and “the waters” that the Spirit of God is moving and hovering over. Only when we get to verse 6 do we understand that “the waters”, which is related to the Spirit of God, are both simultaneously on Earth and in Heaven at the same time, and in the same place, i.e., on Earth. Not until the expanse, or firmament is established to separate “the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse”, do we see that “the waters”  were in Heaven and in Earth at the same time. In order for this to be so, Heaven and Earth must have been one before the firmament was created. The firmament therefore symbolizes for us the Transcendence of God, and though mankind has not been created and has not sinned yet in the story, the existence of the firmament also symbolizes the need for the Earth to be made one with Heaven once again. The simple fact that the second day is the only day that was not seen by God as “good” lends credence to such a view

We also are now presented with a picture of the world, one that says that Earth is to be like Heaven. The Spirit of God that moves over “the waters”  is both in Heaven and in Earth, which is now  separated as a result of the firmament being established. I think it would be a grave mistake to think that just because the firmament separated “the waters below” from “the waters above” that the Spirit of God departed only to sphere of “the waters above”, i.e. Heaven.

In Revelation 4:5-6 John is brought to the Throne-room of Heaven, and what does he see?

5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

John sees the Spirit of God symbolized by fire, which gives forth light, and He is directly connected to the “sea”. Similarly, Ezekiel, though not taken all the way up into the throne room, sees something very similar. He sees a vision of the Throne-Room of Heaven in chapter 1 of his book,  except from underneath “the waters above”. He properly calls it the expanse, or firmament. He too sees the Light that is connected with the Spirit which is connected with the “waters above”, which is characterized by the expanse

26And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Finally John closes the Revelation by seeing the restoration of what was true on the very first day of Creation, the reunion of Heaven and Earth.

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Here we see that with the abolition of the sea, death and the those things that correspond thereunto, are also abolished. The sea, in this respect refers to ” the darkness of the deep.” And since there is no more darkness of the deep, the light will continue to shine forever. But in the New Jerusalem, there is no need for light, which is the symbol of God, for God Himself will be the light, and the symbol will give way to the reality.

22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.