Let There Be Light
The creation narratives, both in Genesis and elsewhere in the Old Testament, show God as the ultimate creator of all that is. The opening verses of Genesis 1 speak of a dark empty nothingness, and into this condition, God speaks, ‘Let there be light’.
Light is the foundation of life: the essential building-block, created on the First Day. It is so foundational that we can live in it and yet miss its beauty and wonder. We are completely dependent on light. We need it to grow our food and give us Vitamin D. We need light to send images of things around us to our brains so our eyes can see, and without light, there is no colour. While we will not see God face-to-face until Jesus comes again, light enables us to perceive the world he has created that shows us something of his beauty.
Access to light and electricity is hugely important; we have seen giant leaps forward over recent decades, with the latest figures putting the global electrification rate at 89 percent. However, there are still about 840 million people without electricity.
While access to light, electricity, and energy, is crucial, it is important to consider the source of that energy. Electricity is one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions, and if we are to provide light to the world we will have to do that in ways that use renewable sources and neither pollute the environment nor pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
If we are to move away from fossil fuels in the way we need to and enable people to keep the lights on, all of us are required to act. Together there is much that we can – and indeed must – do. We can start by reducing the amount of energy we consume by favouring energy-efficient lights and appliances and making sure we turn things off when we are not using them.
As leading atmospheric scientist Canadian Katharine Hayhoe says, ‘I don’t have to change the world all by myself, I just need to partner in the work God wants us to do’.
1. What place does God as the creator have in your faith and in that of your church? How might it make a difference if that understanding was more strongly emphasized?
2. Where does light feature in your own life? Have any experiences given you a new appreciation of light?
3. All of us need to make changes if the climate crisis is to be averted. What changes will you make? When will you make them?