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Another main theme in John’s gospel, which he introduces in John 1:4, 5 is that the living word was light:
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Light dispels darkness. Truth dispels lies. To John, walking in darkness was to live without the truth, because light is truth. More specifically, John was referring to the truth of creation and the re-creation. In both cases, the light of God overcomes the darkness, and this “truth” is a Person, not merely an impersonal, accurate statement.
In John 9:5 Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am… the truth.” Hence, John’s early assertion that in the logos (“him”) was light sets us up for a later revelation from Jesus Himself, that this “light” and “truth” was a living Being—Himself.
The Greek word phos (“light”) appears 22 times in the Gospel of John. In my book, The biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty, I show that the number 22 is the biblical number for “sons of light.” Hence, there were 22 almonds lighting the lampstand in the temple. The Hebrew word shaqed, “almond,” in turn is from the root word shaqad, which means “to wake, watch.” The almonds were used to show that the light from the lampstand allowed men to see the truth.
The Hebrew idiom “son of …” exemplifies a man’s similarity in character or nature. Hence, the people spoke not only of the children of light but also of the children of wisdom as well as the children of Abraham (i.e., those who exhibit the faith of Abraham).
Christ’s purpose was to manifest the glory of God in the earth. The glory is seen first in the light that was spoken in Gen. 1:3. Without light, there is no glory for the earth to reflect. Yet “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Therefore, Christ came into the world as a Reflector to bear witness of the light of His Father.
In Genesis 1:1, 2 we read,
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was [became] formless and void [tohu va bohu], and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Isaiah 45:18 tells us that God “did not create it a waste place [tohu] but formed it to be inhabited.” Hence, we ought to understand from Gen. 1:2 that it BECAME a “waste place” at some point AFTER God created it. In the original creation, God “formed it to be inhabited,” which seems to imply that men lived on earth in a previous civilization. From the archeological and historical clues that yet remain, that civilization was quite advanced.
Yet some unknown disaster struck the earth, plunging that original civilization into chaos and back to the proverbial “stone age.” It appears that there were survivors in various parts of the earth, for when Cain was exiled, he was afraid “that whoever finds me will kill me” (Gen. 4:14). God’s response was to protect him, for we read in Gen. 4:15,
15 So the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should slay him.
Was Cain afraid of his own family? When he traveled “east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16), did he expect to meet family members who had preceded him? That seems very unlikely. It is more likely that he found people from a prior civilization and that his name Cain, or Kina, or China, was named for him, as Mrs. Sidney Bristowe asserts in her book, Sargon the Magnificent.
Cain married and fathered children (Gen. 4:17). Where did his wife come from? Was she his sister? In fact, who did his younger brother Seth marry in order to carry on the family line? Scripture is largely silent, but all of this points to the idea that Adam was not the first man on earth. There were others before him, but Adam was a special creation, given the calling to rule the earth and to bring order out of chaos, to reflect the image of God, and to shine the light in darkness. His sin, however, made him part of the problem, which required another “Adam” (i.e., Christ) to restore all things from its chaos, so that the glory of God might fill the earth according to the divine purpose.
No time frame for the earlier civilization is given in Scripture, of course, because it was not particularly needful for us to know. Our focus should be on the present era since Adam, who was given the calling and authority to restore all things. History and Time, as we know it, properly began with the first Adam. With the appearance of the Last Adam, the re-creation of the heavens and the earth properly began—specifically at the moment of Christ’s resurrection.
In Gen. 1:3 we read about the first word (Logos) by which the earlier chaos was brought back into divine order:
3 Then God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
As we have already stated, Christ was “the Firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15), begotten by the Father. As the mirror Image of His Father, Christ was the double witness through whom (dia) all things were created. In other words, the Father created all things through Christ, who was the Memra, the personal embodiment of the living Word.
In the Word was life, which essentially defines personality or identity by heavenly standards. One might say that the Word had a life of its own. The Word was not just composed of vibration or frequency in a clinical or scientific way of speaking. All spoken words are conveyed through frequency, as is light itself. But the frequency of the first Word (Memra/Logos) produced living light that had personality or identity as a living Being.
As we said, John equates light with truth, anticipating John 14:6,
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through [dia] Me.
Even as all things were created through (dia) the Son, so also must all men approach the Father through (dia) the Son. Jesus is “the truth,” that is, the light. Anything that is not of the truth is darkness, i.e., a lie. John 1:4, 5 introduces us to the idea that the Memra was life and that this life was also light.
This set the stage for the sixth miracle-sign, where Jesus healed the man born blind (John 9:1). The key lesson in that story is found a few verses later, where Jesus says in John 9:5,
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
In healing the man born blind, He manifested the glory of God in terms of light, because the blind man could finally see the light. His physical healing signified something much greater—healing spiritual blindness and releasing us from the power of darkness and lies through the glorious light of truth.
Likewise, in John’s first epistle, which in many ways was a continuation of his gospel, he defines light in terms of knowing truth and walking in fellowship with the Father through Christ, whose blood has cleansed us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Darkness, on the other hand, is the chaotic condition of an unregenerate man who refuses to acknowledge the truth of his sinful condition and who rejects the remedy that Christ has made for him (1 John 1:7).
Therefore, when God spoke “light,” the Son essentially said “amen,” and the perfect double witness established light (truth) in the world by the laws of the Spirit. This light was not merely words that were true. The light was a living Word/Person coming into the world. Physical light thus provided earthly evidence of an invasion (or incarnation) of spiritual Light in the Person of Christ.
This light opens the eyes of the blind, who walk in darkness, those who cannot discern the lies that have kept him in chains of darkness. While healing from physical blindness is important and certainly has the power to change one’s entire life, healing spiritual blindness is even more important, for it establishes fellowship with God. Seeing one’s family and friends is good but seeing God (through Christ) is better.