In the first chapter of Genesis after creating heaven and earth God creates light to overcome darkness. This was before the sun or any of the stars, so what is this light and what is its significance for us today?
Saint Paul gives us the answer in his Second Letter to the Corinthians 4:6-15
"Brethren, it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," (Gen 1:3) who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."Paul is referring to the uncreated light we first see in the Creation story. He shows us that this is a mystical light that also shines in our hearts to enlighten us about the truth of Christ. It is a light of knowledge, the greatest knowledge of all. It is the light that illumines those who have given us the Scripture and the writings of the Prophets and Church Fathers. It is the light that overcomes darkness or our ignorance of the Creator.
St Basil the Great says, "It made darkness vanish, dispelled gloom, illuminated the world, and gave to all beings at the same a time sweet and gracious aspect." Saint John the Evangelist says, "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God... He was the true Light, which enlightened everyone coming into the world." (Jn 1:1; 1:9)
St. John Chrysostom adds, "...this visible light, produced by the command of the Lord, removed the darkness from our vision, in like manner the light coming to our minds dissipated the darkness of error, and led those in error to the truth."
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you."Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believed, and so we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God."This light of Truth we receive in our Baptism and is nurtured through the sacrament of Holy Communion must be treasured as Paul says. We must remember to Glorify God for all we receive from Him. Through this inner light it is Christ who lives in us so we can live in Him. God has created all we know and inherent in this creation is His "light".
Through the Orthodox way of life we are purified, prepared, so that we can know this "Light" which gives us the full truth and a faith that is unshakable.
Saint Paul says, "Let us walk becomingly as the light of day suggests." (Rom 13:13)
Let us not engage in actions that are proper to the dark or ignorance.