4 Ezra 6:40

2 Esdras

38 ‘O Lord, at the beginning of creation you spoke the word. On the first day you said, “Let heaven and earth be made!”, and your word carried out its work. 39 At that time the hovering spirit was there, and darkness circled round; there was silence, no sound as yet of human voice. 40 Then you commanded a ray of light to be brought out of your store-chambers, to make your works visible from that time onwards. 41 On the second day you created the angel of the firmament, and commanded him to make a dividing barrier between the waters, one part withdrawing upwards and the other remaining below.

Chagigah 12a

Babylonian Talmud

The Gemara poses a question: And was light created on the first day? But isn’t it written: “And God set them in the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:17), and it is also written: “And there was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day” (Genesis 1:19), indicating that light was created on the fourth day. The Gemara answers: This should be understood in accordance with Rabbi Elazar, as Rabbi Elazar said: The light that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created on the first day was not that of the sun but a different kind of light, through which man could observe from one end of the world to the other. But when the Holy One, Blessed be He, looked upon the generation of the Flood and the generation of the Dispersion and saw that their ways were corrupt and that they might misuse this light for evil, He arose and concealed it from them, as it is stated: “And from the wicked their light is withheld” (Job 38:15).

 Notes and References

"... God says on the first day, 'Let there be light' (Genesis 1:3). But the light created on the first day could not have been sunlight or the light of the moon or stars, since these heavenly bodies were not created until the fourth day. Many ancient writers therefore said that it was a special light that enabled God to see as He created the world ... If so, then perhaps it was a light unlike any other, one that illuminated all of creation at once ... Another possibility was that the light that was later to come from heavenly bodies was created, or conceived, on the first day, even though the heavenly bodies themselves were not created until the fourth ..."

Kugel, James L. The Bible as it Was (p. 57) Harvard University Press, 1998

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