v 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
Paul here draws a parallel with God’s activity in Creation. The very first words of God’s creative instruction are seen as ‘God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ‘ (Genesis 1:3) Whatever you make of the Bible story of creation, the initial explosion of light into a dark and formless universe is significant. Every bit as significant as that is the evidence of God’s powerful light shining into the human heart. Three aspects of this are worthy of note.
First, the shining of God’s light enables humanity to grasp something of God. The shared experience of people in different ages, places and cultures is simply that ‘GOD IS ….’ That notion has been expressed in a huge variety of visual images from massive statues to tiny paintings. But the notion that ‘God is…’ is a common assertion in almost every culture and race. That should not surprise us – it is God himself who makes that light shine.
And then second, God intends that people should see him as somehow ‘Glorious’. God is understood as bigger than human; there is something majestic, wonderful, ‘other-than-us about him. But finally, God’s light shows us that all this glory and wonder is seen in Jesus. That truth cannot be grasped by human intellect alone; it comes as revelation – light from God.
Faith in following Jesus never springs from our own unaided efforts and seeking after God, it comes as a result of God’s light shining into our hearts to show us the power and character of Jesus.