In the account of creation in Genesis 1, it seems that God describes many of the things He creates as being "good". Verse 2 indicates that prior to there being light, there was "darkness over the face of the deep". God's first created act, aside perhaps from the heavens and the earth themselves, is light. He specifically calls the light "good", but not the darkness.

So, was the darkness "not good", or did God simply not explicitly declare it as such?

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5, ESV)


2 Answers 2


If you look over the account, God pronounced all of the things that he created "good," after he was finished creating them. But look at what it says about the darkness: the earth was without form and void, and darkness covered everything... and then God said "Let there be light" and Creation began.

This implies that darkness wasn't something that God created, but rather the default state, the absence of the light that God created. (Which is in line with modern scientific knowledge about the nature of light and optics.)

  • It seems that verse 1 indicates that God created the heavens and the earth and the default state then was darkness, but not before the heavens and the earth were created. So, would you not say that God created the time-space-matter continuum that included darkness as the default state?
    – Narnian
    Jun 10, 2013 at 19:43
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    This doesn't take into account some of the complexities of interpreting the creation account. This simplistic view would have some sort of space construct existing outside of God's having created it. Not to mention waters. If darkness was what existed before God created anything what exactly were those waters God's spirit hovering over?
    – Caleb
    Jun 10, 2013 at 19:49
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    Technically, it was "all that he had made, and it was very good" (1:31 [NIV], emphasis added)--the whole was very good.
    – user3331
    Jun 10, 2013 at 20:25
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    No big complaint, but it's neither necessary or helpful to reconcile Genesis to scientific theories which may be as wrong tomorrow as they are right today. It's a good way for us to understand it; evil as the absence of good and dark as the absence of light (as opposed to yin/yang Manichaeism) but they don't imply each other they're just different ways of saying the same thing.
    – Peter Turner
    Jun 11, 2013 at 1:44

While the idea of darkness being the default state is simple it is not biblically correct nor is it what science believes. What exactly the universe looked like before it was standardized by the big bang is a question for astrophysicist. All we know is it was tiny and hyper-dense. So like a rock and its insides are not dark the pre-universe also wasn't dark. As best we know there was nothing physical outside of the pre universe you couldn't build a machine to take you outside of it just like you cannot build a machine to take you outside the current universe. There was no where physically else to go.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Isa 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Depending exactly on where you put your big bang in Gen 1 the result is the same creation of light and calling it good. Looking at Isa 45:7 we see that God did not actively create darkness but allowed it to be created. (As the verb create is in what is called the Hebrew Qal type. Similar to our tenses Hebrew has causative and permissive or little association verbs.) Again the same Hebrew word is used for "vain" in Isa 45:18 and "without form" in Gen 1:2. Our God doesn't actively create situations which are without form and void and dark. Since it was not created by God it is not good.


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