Gen 1:3 ESV – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
In my simple grasp of what light is, we only recently see it as something far more than illumination. This isn’t using a Hebrew word for A light (like a lamp). It is referring to light itself. Considering there was no visible lights from the previous verses (at very least none of it penetrated the void of what the Earth was), then I have to take the position light itself was either not yet, or was so far away it didn’t even exhibit as a star, or all light was totally blocked out by Yah.
I do know that there are references of Yahweh working in darkness. Whatever the literal scenario, light itself wasn’t expressed. To the best of modern understanding, we are talking about visible light. And that is a surprisingly small part of the entire spectrum of possible light we can currently understanding. Light is a form of Electromagnetic Radiation. It is a strange thing in that it has properties of both waves and particles, meaning far more than just what it appears.
By saying “Let Light Be”, it is saying “Let matter and energy be”. Matter requires particles, particles are “excitations of quantum fields” that then interact. A “field” is a physical thing, a quantity that has value for each point in space and time.
For light to be, space, time, energy, quantity etc… all have to be present and defined to interact, at a quantum level. Our best understanding of this level is abstract and theoretical at best. My best grasp is not only is it talking about the workings underneath atomic particles like protons and neutrons, but even the relationships of the fields inside them and the interactions of them.
Light has momentum, and the radiant energy can be transferred to matter when it interacts with matter. Light is produced FROM other types of energy when magnetic and electric fields are created and influenced by changes in another field, and then propagates itself as a wave, carrying the energy away from the source. When the light is destroyed, the energy is released, and changes into something else.
So the light has a source, it is created by interaction with changes in magnetic and electric fields, and then becomes a wave moving FROM somewhere. Until it interacts with matter none of the energy is imparted, it just carries along. We don’t know if this is all Electro Magnetic Radiation, but at least visible light in this context. The ancient Hebrew mind probably wasn’t thinking of non-visible light.
Perhaps this is safe to say as an interpretation. Yahweh decided, and then initiated changes in the fields around a specific point in space and time which resulted in photons being excited and carried along on a wave with momentum to the Earth Yahweh was creating and forming. At that point, the work previously ongoing and currently being done in the darkness was revealed. The entire framework for EMR, photons, energy, waves, matter, time and space are now in place.