Light: the Creature of the Word

Genesis 1:3

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Luther’s Commentary
“Here therefore Moses sets before us the medium and instrument which God used in performing his works, namely the Word… And what is this Word and what does it do? Hear Moses. The light, says he, as yet was not; but the darkness out of its nothing-state is changed into that most excellent creature, light. By what? By the Word. Therefore, ‘in the beginning’ and before every creature is the Word; and it is so powerful that out of nothing it makes all things.”
 
“This Word was God, and was an omnipotent Word, spoken in the divine essence. No one heard this Word uttered but God himself; that is, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. While it was uttered the light was generated; not out of the material of the Word nor out of the material of the speaker, but out of darkness itself.”
 
“Here we are to be admonished that the words, ‘Let there be light,’ are the words of God and not of Moses; that is, that they are realities, facts, works! For God ‘calleth those things that be not as though they were;’ and God speaks not grammatical words but very and substantial things. So that what with US is sounding voice, is with God a substantial thing, a reality! Thus, the sun, the moon, the heaven, the earth, Peter, Paul, you, and I, are all and each, words of God! Yea, we are single syllables or single letters as it were of and in comparison to the whole creation. We also speak, but we can only speak grammatically, or in letters. That is we give names to created things, etc. But divine grammar is quite another thing! When God says, ‘Shine thou sun,’ the sun immediately exists and shines forth. Thus the words of God are things, not mere words!” 
 
Martin Luther on the Creation: A Critical and Devotional Commentary on Genesis [1-3] (Kindle Locations 1164-1168, 1207-1210, 1271-1278).
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8 comments

  1. Are God’s words things, or are they conveying things? Namely, His commands. Couldn’t God simply ‘think’ things into existence? Or would that necessitate unspoken words? How does this all compare with what we are to understand from John 1? Certainly Jesus is more than a written or spoken word. But he is called ‘Word’. I’ve heard that logos is the actual word. What is that conveying?

    1. I think he is just communicating the power of God’s word with a little flare. He says that God’s word are realities, facts, and works. Everything God says will be, whether immediately or eventually.

  2. Yeah your right, logos refers to Jesus in John 1. In terms of creation the New Testament seems to understand Jesus as the one through whom the Father creates. I think also we must distinguish between the spoken word and living word, though of course there will be obvious connection. What are your thoughts? What are you driving at?

  3. I’m not really driving at anything specific. I’m just wondering about the use of ‘Word’ or ‘logos’ for the person of Jesus. Are we to surmise that the Father created even Jesus by His word? In what sense is Jesus ‘the Word’? Interestingly, since you’ve been in Genesis for a while now, the book of John begins with ‘in the beginning’. There’s got to be some relevant connection here.

    1. I think the connection between John 1 and Genesis 1 points to Jesus as the one through whom God creates the world. I don’t see any reason why we would think that the Father created Jesus by the Word if Jesus is himself the Word. How do you understand Jesus as the Word? What is the significance of that identity in your opinion?

  4. The best I can come up with is: words are expressions of thoughts, they are symbols of some reality. A ‘desk’ is what we call an object that is actually a surface we work on that’s supported by 4 legs. We use the convenience of the word ‘desk’ so we all know what we’re talking about when discussing such an object. Heb. 1:3 says that the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. Maybe the use of Word, or logos, when referring to Jesus, points to his being the perfect expression of God himself. This may not be a full explanation, but it seems to be a partial explanation at the least. Can you expand on it?

    1. Additionally, thinking along these lines really helps me ‘humanize’ the Father. I tend to view Jesus as the good guy and the Father as the righteous judge with whom Jesus must advocate for me. Not untrue, but if Jesus is the perfect expression of the Father, the Father is a whole lot more loving, gracious and forgiving then I generally think of Him.

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