Sunday, February 7, 2010

Light from Genesis to Revelation

14And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. 16And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Genesis 1:14-19

In order to explore and give an exegesis of this passage Karl Barth puts it in a Christological and eschatological context, drawing particularly on passages in Isaiah and Revelation that discuss light from the sun and moon. Barth concludes:
It is when there is no light of the heavenly bodies that there is no day, time, or history. This then is the actual content of the threat of judgement but also of the corresponding promise of Is. 60 and Rev. 20-21. The wisdom and patience of God which has founded human history has a definite goal, and the finite time granted to man in relation to this history has actually an end. As the death of Jesus is the goal of that history, it is also the end of time. As all prophecies point to Him, they necessarily speak of the last time this side of His resurrection and return, of the end of time this side of the dawn of the new creation. And they do so by uttering their terrifying warnings but also their friendly promises, not about the end and dissolution of the constellations,... Thus the meaning of the work of the fourth day, the meaning of the fact that God found it good (v. 18b) emerges clearly.... as in that of the first day.... the material point at issue -- the creation of day, time, and history.
Church Dogmatics III.1 The Doctrine of Creation, p. 168

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