If you have ever asked or wondered what the difference was between the light on day one and the lights on day four of the six day creation, in Genesis 1, you're in the right place. If not feel free to keep reading anyway.
In Genesis 1:3-5 we read
"Then God said, 'Let light be,' and there was light. 4. And God saw the light, that it was good, and God separated between the light and the darkness. 5. And God called the light, Day. And He called the darkness, Night, and there was evening, and there was morning day one."
In Genesis 1:14-19 we read
"And God said, 'Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens, to divide between the day and the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years. 15. And let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens, to give light on the earth.' And it was so. 16. And God made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day, And the small luminary and the stars to rule the night. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light on the earth, 18. and to rule over the day and over the night; and to divide between the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19. And there was evening, and there was morning the fourth day."
Questions are always good when we're looking for answers, and a good one here is when did God make the rest of the planets? This question brings up another comparison that will help us answer our major question regarding the light on days 1 and 4. What's the difference between the earth that was created on day one and the earth that emergerd from the waters on the third day?
Genesis 1:1-2 reads
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; 2. and the earth being without form and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moving gently on the surface of the waters,"
Genesis 1:9-10 reads
"And God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be collected to one place, and let the dry land appear', and it was so. 10. And God called the dry land, Earth. And He called the collection of the waters,Seas. And God saw that it was Good."
Did God make the earth twice? No, that is not what is happening here. What we are being told is that the heavens and the earth from Genesis 1:1 contain the waters and earth from Genesis 1:9-10. Of course that doesn't make sense until we understand that the heavens of Genesis 1:1 is referring to all space, not just our visible solar system and galaxy. The earth in Genesis 1:1 refers to all matter, and not simply to our home planet.
After sitting on that idea for a little while, we can return to the issue of the light. The light of Genesis 1:3 ("Let light be") definitely contains the light of the sun, moon, and stars of Genesis 1:14-19; day four. But that does not answer the question of what the light is or what the difference between the two is.
We can go to the New Testament for a commentary on Genesis 1:1-5
In John 1:1-5 we read
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was in the beginning with God. 3. All things (heavens and earth) came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being. 4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, 5. and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
We (you and me) can understand From these verses that Yeshua (Jesus) is responsible for the creation in Genesis 1. We can also see that the light in Genesis 1:3 is His life within the creation. To say it another way, His life/He personally is the animating principle of the creation. This light, of Genesis 1:3, is the energy or life-force of the creation.
Genesis 1:3 "let light be", can be understood in the same context as Genesis 2:7. This may also give you some insight into the patterns that saturate the bible, but that is not the focus here.
Genesis 2:7 reads
"And the LORD God formed the man out of dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
In the same way that the LORD God first formed the man and then blew the breath of life into him. God created the heavens and the earth and brought them to life by calling for the light, i.e. life, to be in them.
Yeshua announces His identity and His role as light of the world and the light to each individual following Him, in John 8:12
"Then Yeshua (Jesus) again spoke to them, saying, 'I am the Light of the world; he following Me will in no way walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"
In conclusion, the light in Genesis 1:3, day one, is the animating life-force of God Himself that got the space and the matter moving. The luminaries of Genesis 1:14-19 on day four are the sun, moon, and the stars. Faithful members of the body of Yeshua are to be as the lights of Genesis 1, day four. Matthew 5:14-16 adds to this conclusion.
"You are the light of the world, a city situated on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a grain measure, but on the lampstand; and it shines for all who are in the house. 16. So let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father in Heaven."
Yeshua is the animating and sustaining "life" of the universe and we are to be lamps (similar to the sun and moon) shining as a result of His light/life in us.
This forum comes from an excerpt out of my second book, that I am still in the process of writing.