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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Let there be light" is an English translation of the Hebrew יְהִי אוֹר (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 is often used for its metaphorical meaning of dispelling ignorance.

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.


Origin and etymology

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 there was light"), from the Greek "και είπε 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 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 and Tusculum College.

Use by educational institutions

Fiat lux is the motto of and also appears on the seals of the following educational institutions:

It is also the motto of:

It appears on the outside of Kerns Religious Life Center at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Fiat Lux is also on the seals of the University of Liverpool and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The second half of the same verse, Et facta est lux appears on the seal of Morehouse College.

In literature

For works which use the phrase as their title, see Let there be light (disambiguation)#In literature and Fiat lux (disambiguation)
  • "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.
  • "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 English 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.
  • 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!"
  • One of the three main divisions of the Walter M. Miller, Jr. book A Canticle for Liebowitz is titled "Fiat Lux".

Miscellaneous use

  • 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.
  • Common brand of matches in Brazil.

External links


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