“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
God commanded light to shine out of darkness at two times in the biblical narrative: Creation and the Incarnation. The Apostle John connects these two themes as well in the opening verses of his gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men….The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:1-4, 9-10)
Similarly, when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple, Simeon, who had longed to see the Messiah, recognized God’s work of sending light:
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for 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 2:29-32)
A powerful parallel between Creation and the Incarnation can be found in Jesus’ baptism as recorded in Luke’s Gospel:
…and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”(Luke 3:21b-22)
Contrast this passage with Genesis 1:1-4:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The 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. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.
In both accounts we find darkness: In Luke it is a spiritual darkness as Israel had went for hundreds of years without a prophet or a word from God; In Genesis it is a physical darkness. In both accounts the Spirit of God is hovering above the face of the waters. In both accounts there is a pronouncement that the light is good. The Apostle Paul tethers these events in 2 Corinthians 4:6:
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Herein we find the key to unlocking the mystery of life: That God has once again sent light, through His Son, in order that man might make sense of his world, and more importantly, make peace with his Creator. As John’s gospel records, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
In Genesis God said “Let there be light.” This command has reverberated throughout the corridors of human history, manifesting itself explicitly in the person and work of Christ, and now resonates in the hearts of believers. As John wrote, this true light “enlightens everyone” (John 1:9). And it is through belief in Jesus that man experiences this light, or new birth, what theologians call “regeneration.”
Thus, the Christian Theory of Everything is summed up in three words: Creation, Incarnation, and Regeneration. I offer this series in no way as a substitute for the physicist’s hard work in understanding the universe. Like faithful Christians throughout the centuries, belief is not a substitute for science, but is instead the basis for it. While the words “Creation, Incarnation, and Regeneration” may not tell you how to build a telescope, it will tell you how to interpret what you discover through it.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
– C. S. Lewis
Every day this week I will post a brief article on the topic of “A Christian Theory of Everything.” These posts are taken from a sermon I preached this weekend on 2 Corinthians 4 entitled, “Creation, Incarnation, & Regeneration: An Explanation of Reality.” I will post the audio and my sermon notes next week. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)