The Bible contains many references to colors, but what is the very first color mentioned in Scripture? This is an interesting question that requires a close examination of the biblical text. In this post, we will explore the context of the first color reference and its theological significance. We will also provide a list of key takeaways about the importance of this inaugural color in the biblical narrative.
The Bible begins with the majestic account of creation in the book of Genesis. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. The earth originally existed as a dark, watery chaos, until God began the work of forming it into an orderly, habitable world.
On the first day of creation, God said “Let there be light” and separated the light from the darkness. This was the initial act of establishing day and night. However, it is not until the fourth day that God created the sun, moon, and stars to serve as lights in the sky.
The very first explicit mention of color comes on this fourth day of creation, as God fills the sky with celestial bodies:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19, emphasis added)
Here, on Day 4, God creates the “greater light,” the sun, to rule over the day, and the “lesser light,” the moon, to rule over the night. The words “greater” and “lesser” are the first color descriptors used in Scripture, distinguishing between the bright, hot sunlight and the paler, cooler moonlight.
Therefore, the very first color mentioned in the Bible is:
The whiteness of the sun and moon indicate the advent of light into the world. As the fourth day’s creations, they break up the formlessness and darkness that previously defined the earth. Against the primordial blackness, God introduces luminous celestial bodies to serve as timekeepers and provide illumination to the planet.
The Significance of White in the Bible
Recognizing that white is the inaugural color in Scripture prompts us to consider why this color holds such primacy. What is the significance of white being mentioned first? Here are three key reasons:
1. White represents light and purity
In the ancient world, white was associated with brightness, brilliance, and illumination. The sun’s white light banishes darkness and makes the world visible. White also symbolizes purity and cleanness, as the absence of dirt and stain. The creation of light on the first day and the white sun on the fourth day represent God invading the formless void with His glorious presence.
2. White suggests wholeness and completion
The Hebrew word used in this passage for “greater” is gadol, which can also mean “great” or “big.” There is a sense of the sun’s enormous, all-encompassing light filling the entire sky. The white sun rules over the whole day, signaling a completeness of order and boundaries after the shapelessness of Genesis 1:2.
3. White foreshadows Christ as light of the world
The image of the blazing white sun ruling the day points forward to Jesus Christ, who is the divine light come into the world (John 8:12). As the sun governs the entire day, so Christ’s light is greater than all, eclipsing all other lights and rulers. The initial reference to white begins building a biblical theme of Christ as the true Light who illuminates everyone (John 1:9).
In summary, the preeminence of white in the Genesis creation account establishes light and purity as fundamental biblical themes. It introduces the concept of whole, comprehensive rule. And it plants creative seeds that blossom into later revelation about Christ’s radiance.
Key Takeaways About the First Color in the Bible
Here are some key biblical and theological takeaways that emerge from studying the first color mentioned in Scripture:
- The first color mentioned is white, describing the “greater light” of the sun created on Day 4.
- White represents light piercing the darkness, purity, glory, and the advent of order and boundaries.
- The sun’s comprehensive light subtly foreshadows Christ’s complete cosmic rule.
- Recognizing white as the initial color provides insight into major biblical themes.
- The preeminence of white initiates Scripture’s rich and varied use of color symbolism.
- God’s creation of light and illumination indicates His desire to make Himself known.
- The biblical theme of light develops throughout Scripture, culminating in Christ as “light of the world.”
This exploration of the first color used in the Bible enriches our understanding of the opening chapter of Genesis. God begins His revelation by painting His creation with the brilliant white light of the sun. As His self-revelation unfolds through Scripture, the divine light continues to expand in radiance and glory until it reaches its fullness in Jesus Christ.
In the beginning, God introduced color into the world with the white brilliance of the sun and moon. This inaugural color reference establishes light’s primacy in the biblical narrative. White represents God invading the darkness to create an illuminated, ordered, and inhabited realm.
The Genesis account of origins uses rich imagery that provides a foundation for the extensive color symbolism throughout Scripture. Recognizing white as the first color profoundly deepens our insight into the opening chapter of the Bible. It sets the stage for the sweeping story of redemption told through the remainder of God’s Word.
The next time you read Genesis 1, pause and reflect on the description of the blazing white sun ruling the day. It symbolizes the arrival of the Creator’s light and foreshadows the coming of the divine Son to illuminate every darkness. That simple reference to white on the fourth day resonates across the entire Bible, pointing to humanity’s need for the light of the world, Jesus Christ.