Let there be light

Let there be light

Let there be light is an English translation of the Hebrew יְהִי אוֹר (or yehiy 'or). Other translations of the same phrase include the Latin phrase fiat lux, and the Greek phrase γενηθήτω φώς (or genēthētō phōs).

The phrase comes from the third verse of the book of Genesis in the King James Bible:

1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
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.
1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
1:4 - And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Fiat lux

The Latin phrase fiat lux, from the Latin Vulgate Bible, is typically translated as "let there be light" when relating to Genesis 1:3 (Hebrew: "יְהִי אוֹר"). The full phrase is "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" ("And said God let there be light, and the light is made"), from the Greek "και είπεν ο Θεός γενηθήτω φως και εγένετο φως" (or kai eipen ho Theos genēthētō phōs kai egeneto phōs), from the Hebrew "וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר" (or vayo'mer 'Elohiym yehiy 'or vayehiy 'or).

Since fiat lux would be more literally translated as "let light be made" (fiat is from fieri, the passive form of the verb facere, "to make" or "to do"), an alternative Latinization of the original Greek and Hebrew, lux sit ("light - let it exist" or "let light exist") has been used occasionally, such as in the motto of the University of Washington.


Fiat lux is the motto of, and appears on the seals of nine educational institutions: Alfred University, Green Mountain College, Hiram College, University of California, Angelo State University, University of Akron, Union County College in Cranford, NJ, Rollins College, University of Washington and branches in Washington, and Albion College. It is also the motto of the University of Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Canada; Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts; [Waynesburg University] in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and Alfred University, Alfred, New York and Mayo College, Ajmer (in India).It has been referred to in multiple movies, books, and games—often for its metaphorical meaning of dispelling ignorance. It appears on the outside of Kerns Religious Life Center at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Fiat Lux is also on the seal of the University of Liverpool in England, as well as Jacksonville University. It is also the phrase on the seal of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, located in Melbourne, Australia. The second half of the same verse, Et facta est lux appears on the seal of Morehouse College.

  • Fiat Lux is the name of a controversial cult of some 500 members, based in Switzerland and Germany, led by the prophetess "Uriella". It is relatively unknown outside of German-speaking countries.
  • Fiat Lux is a Brazilian matchstick trademark.
  • Fiat Lux is a film recording the pilgrimage of the World Peace Flame in the footsteps of St. Francis from Assisi to Rome. Carried by Mansukh Patel, Lalita Doerstel, Andrew Wells and Savitri MacCuish, the pilgrimage concludes when the World Peace Flame is presented to HH Pope John Paul II.
  • Fiat Lux is the name of a collection of photographs of the University of California campuses taken by American photographer Ansel Adams.
  • The Knightly Order of the Fiat Lux is a fraternal non-profit organization dedicated to serving special needs children through interactive education, living history demonstration, fundraising and volunteering.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow Rosenberg uses fiat lux as a spell to create light, designed to help Buffy defeat vampires.
  • Fiat Lux was a New Wave band formed in Yorkshire in 1982.
  • "Let there be light" is the name of a song on Mike Oldfield's album The Songs of Distant Earth.
  • "Let There Be Light" is a song on Hip Hop Is Dead, the 2006 album by the rapper NaS.
  • "Let There Be Light" is a song on , the 2007 album by French electro duo Justice.
  • "Let There Be Rock" is an album and a song from the rock band AC/DC.
  • In the Tales of Symphonia: The Animation "Fiat Lux" is the name of the song Colette uses to weaken the Desians.
  • "Fiat Lux" is a song on Haus der Lüge, the 1989 album by the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten.

In literature

Let There Be Light is a comic diary by the English humourist Tony Gillan, published in 2001. The title refers to the Stadium of Light, the home of Sunderland A.F.C., a football club. Despite the fact that the diaries are based on the time the author spent as an employee of the club, the book is not really concerned with football, but provides a vehicle for comic descriptions of modern life. The book has given cult status to the Ivy House pub in Sunderland, now a minor tourist attraction.

"Let There Be Light" is a short story Robert A. Heinlein wrote and published in Super Science Stories magazine in May 1940 under the pseudonym Lyle Monroe.

"Let There Be Light" is used in the 1999 Star Trek book, 'I, Q' when Jean-Luc Picard opens a bottle containing a message with this phrase scrawled on it.

Let There Be Light: Modern Cosmology and Kabbalah, a New Conversation Between Science and Religion is a book written by Howard Smith, an astrophysicist. The book, published in 2006, was written for the layperson. It discusses using simple language basic concepts in modern cosmology and Kabbalah (a form of Jewish mysticism), the creation of the universe from nothing via the big bang, general relativity, dark matter, cosmic acceleration, quantum mechanics, and free will, among other current topics. The book clearly explains these subjects, and uses them to illustrate how religion and science together can enrich one's spiritual and intellectual life.

Fiat Lux is a science fiction novella by Walter M. Miller, Jr., published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1956. It appears as the middle part of the book A Canticle for Leibowitz, published in 1959.

"Fiat Lux" is also a term that is used in the novel Die Insel des Zweiten Gesichts (1982) by German writer Albert Vigoleis Thelen.

The phrase concludes Isaac Asimov's science fiction short story "The Last Question", symbolizing the godlike growth in power of an extremely advanced computer as it creates a new universe from the ashes of a dead one, drawing comparisons and suggesting an explanation for the biblical Genesis

"Fiat Lux" is the name of a poem by the American poet Lynda Hull.

Alexander Pope's couplet "Nature and nature's laws lay hid in Night./God said, "Let Newton be!" and all was light" is a reference to "Let There Be Light ".

In Les Misérables, Victor Hugo speaks about the importance of daring and writes "That cry, 'Audace,' is a Fiat Lux!"

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