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7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. KJV

In the phrase "I form the light and create darkness" there appears to be a difference in the origins of light and darkness. The verse states that darkness was clearly created by God but it appears that there is no stated beginning for light, hence the word "formed" as if light was already in existence but God then formed it. We know from 1 John 1:5, that God is light. "...that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

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In hebrew, there is a special verb, bara, that means to create out of nothing. It is reserved only for God. This verb is used in Genesis, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Everything came from that source. After that, you can fashion, mold, make -- there are many verbs that can be used to build/shape that don't involve ex-nihilo creation. So Isaiah 45.7 follows the same verbal pattern as the creation account in Genesis.

In both, the verb 'bara' refers to the creation of darkness and evil. That God created it out of nothing. However the verbs ytsr, and 'sh, meaning to shape and make are used for light and peace. This suggests that the light and peace are secondary or higher level creations built from the raw stuff of darkness and evil.

Note that 'evil' here, ( r') has a broader semantic range than in English. It could also mean disorder, calamity, etc.

This idea of darkness preceeding light and evil preceeding peace is echoed in other parts of the Bible. E.g. in the Genesis account, God created the Heavens and the Earth, but there was darkness. Then God said "Let there be light". The light shines out of the darkness just as peace breaks out of evil.

Also notice that the parallel of evil is peace, not good. God sees the light and says it is good, so good is an attribute of light as well as of the higher order creations, but the end, the purpose of evil is to bring forth peace, or reconciliation, just as the purpose of darkness is to be a backdrop in which light can be brought forth. Both of these higher order creations are "good".

This is similar to other processes of molding or fashioning. E.g. God takes some impure lump of rock and puts it into the fire and the result is pure gold, or a pure thing. That pure gold is "good". The impure thing is the basic stuff out of which the good thing comes. The basic stuff is created ex-nihilo, the good stuff is fashioned/made. This is the divine hierarchy.

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  • Very thoughtful answer. +1
    – alb
    Jun 24 at 15:14
  • +1 Great answer. My speculation is that God created darkness before the Big Bang visible light. Darkness corresponds to dark matter and dark energy that exist in the invisible universe today.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 24 at 15:33
  • So from your answer, it would appear that you agree with my premise that darkness/evil had a beginning. Would you also agree that since light sprang out of the darkness that the source of that light is God Himself thereby making light/peace/good eternal/infinite?
    – alb
    Jun 24 at 16:04
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    @alb, there are some interesting traditions relating physical light, e.g. photons, to God's glory and light can be a metaphor for things like revelation, truth, enlightenment, due to us needing light to show us the way in a dark place and other specific characteristics of light (spreading out from a point, being reflected and giving light to a large place). Lots of good stuff to mine there, you can write a book about it.
    – Robert
    Jun 24 at 19:25
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1 John 1:5b

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Here light is a metaphor.

Isaiah 45:7

I form the light and create darkness.

Here light means visible, physical light. It is not a metaphor.

the source of that light is God Himself thereby making light/peace/good eternal/infinite?

No, physical light (electromagnetic radiation) is not infinite. It is measurable and finite.

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  • Ok, interesting perspective. However, if we look at the next verse, we see metaphor. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.
    – alb
    Jun 24 at 17:21

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