Let there be light

Let there be light

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"Let there be light" is an English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 translation of the Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 יְהִי אוֹר (yehiy 'or). Other translations of the same phrase include the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 phrase fiat lux, and the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 phrase γενηθήτω φῶς (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, it reads:
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, and it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Origin and etymology

The Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 phrase fiat lux, from the Latin Vulgate Bible, is typically translated as "let there be light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

" 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 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 literally translated as "let light be made" (fiat is from fieri, the passive
Passive voice
Passive voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. Passive is used in a clause whose subject expresses the theme or patient of the main verb. That is, the subject undergoes an action or has its state changed. A sentence whose theme is marked as grammatical subject is...

 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.

Use by educational institutions

Fiat lux is the motto
A motto is a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of a social group or organization. A motto may be in any language, but Latin is the most used. The local language is usual in the mottoes of governments...

 of and also appears on the seals of the following educational institutions:
  • University of Akron
    University of Akron
    The University of Akron is a coeducational public research university located in Akron, Ohio, United States. The university is part of the University System of Ohio. It was founded in 1870 as a small college affiliated with the Universalist Church. In 1913 ownership was transferred to the City of...

  • Albion College
    Albion College
    Albion College is a private liberal arts college located in Albion, Michigan. Related to the United Methodist Church, it was founded in 1835 and was the first private college in Michigan to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. It has a student population of about 1500.The school's sports teams are...

     (Rendered as "Lux fiat")
  • Alfred University
    Alfred University
    Alfred University is a small, comprehensive university in the Village of Alfred in Western New York, USA, an hour and a half south of Rochester and two hours southeast of Buffalo. Alfred has an undergraduate population of around 2,000, and approximately 300 graduate students...

  • Angelo State University
    Angelo State University
    Angelo State University is a public, coeducational, doctoral level degree-granting university located in San Angelo, Texas, United States. It was founded in 1928 as San Angelo College. It gained University status and awarded its first baccalaureate degrees in 1967 and graduate degrees in 1969, the...

  • Atlantic Union College
    Atlantic Union College
    Atlantic Union College was a Seventh-day Adventist college in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. Its final year operating as an independent institution was the 2010-2011 school year following loss of accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges...

  • University of California
    University of California
    The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

  • Central Memorial High School
    Central Memorial High School
    Central Memorial High School is a public senior high school located in the southwest community of North Glenmore in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The school falls under the jurisdiction of the Calgary Board of Education...

  • Clark University
    Clark University
    Clark University is a private research university and liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts.Founded in 1887, it is the oldest educational institution founded as an all-graduate university. Clark now also educates undergraduates...

  • Emmanuel College, University of Queensland
    Emmanuel College, University of Queensland
    Emmanuel College, University of Queensland is a residential college of the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Queensland, Australia. It was the first residential college established at the University of Queensland and the ninth college nationally...

  • Ethical Culture Fieldston School
    Ethical Culture Fieldston School
    The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, known as "Fieldston", is a private "independent" school in New York City and a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League. It has about 1600 students and a staff of 400 people , led by Dr. Damian J...

    , New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

  • Fiat Lux Academe in Cavite
    Cavite is a province of the Philippines located on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the CALABARZON region in Luzon, just 30 kilometers south of Manila. Cavite is surrounded by Laguna to the east, Metro Manila to the northeast, and Batangas to the south...

    , Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

  • Green Mountain College
    Green Mountain College
    Green Mountain College is a coeducational private environmental liberal arts college located in Poultney, Vermont, in the USA.Green Mountain is located in the Vermont countryside, at the foot of the Taconic Mountains between the Green Mountains and Adirondacks.The College has a core set of courses...

  • Hartley College
    Hartley College
    Hartley College is a boys private school in Point Pedro, Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1838 by British Methodist missionaries. The school is named after Wesleyan priest and missionary Rev. Hartley.-History:...

    , Point Pedro
    Point Pedro
    Point Pedro is the northernmost town of the island of Sri Lanka. The agriculturally active area around Point Pedro with fertile calcic red latosols is known for its cotton production. The eastern coast of Point Pedro is a 3-mile-broad beach with huge sand dunes up to 100 feet height, extending...

    , Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

  • Hiram College
    Hiram College
    Hiram College is a private liberal arts college located in Hiram, Ohio. Founded by Amos Sutton Hayden of the Disciples of Christ Church in 1850, the institution has, since its first days, been nonsectarian and coeducational, and throughout its existence Hiram College has sustained this egalitarian...

  • Johnson C. Smith University
    Johnson C. Smith University
    Johnson C. Smith University is a private, co-ed, four-year liberal arts institution of higher learning located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. JCSU is also a historically black college...

    , Charlotte
    - CHARLOTTE :CHARLOTTE is an American blues-based hard rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1986. Currently, they are signed to indie label, Eonian Records, under which they released their debut cd, Medusa Groove, in 2010. Notable Charlotte songs include 'Siren', 'Little Devils',...

    , North Carolina
    North Carolina
    North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

     (rendered as "Sit Lux")
  • Kitsilano Secondary School
    Kitsilano Secondary School
    Kitsilano Secondary School is a secondary school in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, Canada. The school has several district programs including French immersion, on-site pre-employment...

    , Vancouver
    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

    , British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

  • University of Lethbridge
    University of Lethbridge
    The University of Lethbridge is a publicly-funded comprehensive academic and research university, founded in the liberal education tradition, located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with two other urban campuses in Calgary and Edmonton. The main building sits among the coulees on the west side of...

  • Limerick
    Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

     Institute of Technology
  • University of Liverpool
    University of Liverpool
    The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

  • Mayo College
    Mayo College
    Mayo College is a public school founded by the 6th Earl of Mayo, who was Viceroy of India from 1869 to 1872.The school is located in Ajmer, in the state of Rajasthan, India....

    , Ajmer
    Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

    , India
  • Moeding College in Otse
    Otse is a village in South-East District of Botswana. It is located 60 km south of Gaborone, along the Gabarone–Lobatse road and close to the border with South Africa. This village is home to the Balete people who are related to those in Ramotswa, Gabane and Mogobane. The population was...

    , Botswana
    Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

  • Nelson McIntyre Collegiate
    Nelson McIntyre Collegiate
    Nelson McIntyre Collegiate is a Grade 9-12 high school in the Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg with an enrollment of 350 – 400 students offering the complete core of academic credits and a wide range of complementary elective credits including Art, French, Human Ecology, Industrial...

  • Queen's College (Barbados)
    Queen's College (Barbados)
    Queen's College was established as a result of the recommendation of an Education Commission whose report suggested that Barbados required a first grade school for girls...

  • Rollins College
    Rollins College
    Rollins College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Winter Park, Florida , along the shores of Lake Virginia....

  • St. Andrew's School, Bloemfontein
    St. Andrew's School, Bloemfontein
    St. Andrew's School, established in 1863 is a public school for boys located in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa.The years of study are from pre-primary to grade 12...

  • Tusculum College
    Tusculum College
    Tusculum College is a coeducational private college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church , with its main campus in Tusculum, Tennessee, United States, a suburb of Greeneville...

     (Rendered as "Lux sit")
  • Union County College
    Union County College
    Union County College is an accredited, co-educational, two-year, public, community college located in Union County, New Jersey. As the first and oldest of New Jersey's 19 community colleges, Union County College has been serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The...

  • University of Victoria
    University of Victoria
    The University of Victoria, often referred to as UVic, is the second oldest public research university in British Columbia, Canada. It is a research intensive university located in Saanich and Oak Bay, about northeast of downtown Victoria. The University's annual enrollment is about 20,000 students...

     (Written in Hebrew)
  • University of Washington
    University of Washington
    University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

     (Rendered as "Lux sit")
  • Waynesburg University
    Waynesburg University
    Waynesburg University is a private, university located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, USA. The university offers graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations, and enrolls over 2,500 students, including approximately 1,500 undergraduates.Waynesburg University was...

It appears on the outside of Kerns Religious Life Center at Capital University
Capital University
Capital University is a private liberal arts university of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in Bexley, Ohio, founded in 1830. In addition to its rigorous liberal arts program, the university also offers a reputable adult degree program in Columbus, Ohio. It is one of the oldest...

 in Columbus, Ohio. Fiat Lux is also on the seals of the University of Liverpool
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 , it is also one of the six original "red brick" civic...

 and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is Australia's oldest medical research institute.In 2011, the institute is home to more than 650 researchers who are working to understand, prevent and treat diseases including blood, breast and ovarian cancers; inflammatory diseases such as...

. The second half of the same verse, Et facta est lux appears on the seal of Morehouse College
Morehouse College
Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically black college located in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with Hampden-Sydney College and Wabash College, Morehouse is one of three remaining traditional men's colleges in the United States....


In literature

For works which use the phrase as their title, see Let there be light (disambiguation)#In literature and Fiat lux (disambiguation)
Fiat Lux (disambiguation)
is a Latin phrase from the Bible. It translates in English to "Let there be light".Fiat Lux may also refer to:*Fiat Lux , a 1980s English synthpop band*"Fiat Lux", a poem by Lynda Hull...

  • "Let There Be Light" is used in the 1999 Star Trek
    Star Trek
    Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

     book, 'I, Q
    I, Q
    I, Q may also refer to the popular children's book series by Roland Smith.I, Q is a 2000 Star Trek novel by John de Lancie and Peter David, set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fictional universe...

    ' when Jean-Luc Picard
    Jean-Luc Picard
    Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a Star Trek character portrayed by Patrick Stewart. He appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek Nemesis...

     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
    Albert Vigoleis Thelen
    Albert Vigoleis Thelen was a German author und translator .-Life:...

  • The English phrase concludes Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov
    Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

    's science fiction short story "The Last Question
    The Last Question
    "The Last Question" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly and was reprinted in the collections Nine Tomorrows , The Best of Isaac Asimov , Robot Dreams , the retrospective Opus 100 , and in Isaac Asimov: The...

    ", symbolizing the godlike growth in power of an extremely advanced computer
    A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

     as it creates a new universe from the ashes of a dead one, drawing comparisons and suggesting an explanation for the biblical Book of Genesis.
  • Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

    '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
    Les Misérables
    Les Misérables , translated variously from the French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, or The Victims), is an 1862 French novel by author Victor Hugo and is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century...

    , Victor Hugo
    Victor Hugo
    Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

     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.
    Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    Walter Michael Miller, Jr. was an American science fiction author. Today he is primarily known for A Canticle for Leibowitz, the only novel he published in his lifetime. Prior to its publication he was a prolific writer of short stories.- Biography :Miller was born in New Smyrna Beach, Florida...

     book A Canticle for Leibowitz
    A Canticle for Leibowitz
    A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in 1960. Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as...

     is titled "Fiat Lux".
  • "Fiat Lux!" is the activating phrase in the setting of a Ward Major in the Chronicles of the Deryni
    The Deryni are a fictional race of humans who possess a variety of psychic and magical abilities in the Deryni series of historical fantasy novels by Katherine Kurtz...

    by Katherine Kurtz
    Katherine Kurtz
    Katherine Kurtz is the author of numerous fantasy novels, most notably the Deryni novels. Although born in America, for the past several years, up until just recently, she has lived in a castle in Ireland...

  • Astral Projection created a song named "Let there be light" which uses the same verses of that found in the bible.
  • The Fiat Lux Agency is the name of Nestor Burma
    Nestor Burma
    Nestor Burma is a fictional character created by French crime novelist Léo Malet. In the series of crime novels featuring him one can isolate a subset of novels each set in a different quarter of Paris which Malet dubbed the "New Mysteries of Paris", homaging the most famous feuilleton of the 19th...

    's private detective agency, in the novells written by Léo Malet
    Léo Malet
    -Biography:Leo Malet was born in Montpellier. He had little formal education and began work as a cabaret singer at "La Vache Enragee" in Montmartre, Paris in 1925....

  • The book "Dreamrider" ends with the phrase "Let there be light! And there was light." Expressing death.
  • In Andromeda
    Andromeda (TV series)
    Andromeda is a Canadian-American science fiction television series, based on unused material by the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, developed by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and produced by Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett Roddenberry. It starred Kevin Sorbo as High Guard Captain Dylan Hunt...

    , season 1, when the crew is transported to the past to the Witchhead Nebula, Seamus Harper uses his accelator to destroy 1,000 Nietzchean ships. When the explosion occurs, Rev Bem exclaims, "Fiat Lux!"

In music

"Song Fiat lux in Haus der Lüge
Haus der Lüge
Haus der Lüge is the fifth full length studio release from the German band Einstürzende Neubauten, released in 1989.-Track listing:# Prolog - 1:50 # Feurio! - 6:02 # Ein Stuhl In Der Hölle - 2:09# Haus Der Lüge - 4:00...

 in the fifth full length studio release from the German band Einstürzende Neubauten, released in 1989.

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
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

  • In the LOLCat Bible Translation Project
    LOLCat Bible Translation Project
    The LOLCat Bible Translation Project is a wiki-based website set up in July 2007 by Martin Grondin, where editors aim to parody the entire Bible in "LOLspeak", the slang popularized by the LOLcat Internet phenomenon. The project relies on contributors to adapt passages...


  • The Grand Masters of such Orders as the Knights Templar were known to use the phrase. Similar use can be traced to various leaders from as far back as ancient Greece and Egypt.

In the 1974 film Dark Star, Bomb #20's last words were, "Let there be light."

External links