And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
All Commentaries on Genesis 1:5 Go To Genesis 1
Ephrem The Syrian
Heaven, earth, fire, wind and water were created from nothing as Scripture bears witness. But light, which came to be on the first day along with the rest of the things that came to be afterwards, came to be from something. For when these other things came to be from nothing, Moses said, "God created heaven and earth." Although it is not written concerning fire, water and wind that they were created, neither is it written that they were made. Therefore, they came to be from nothing just as heaven and earth came to be from nothing.
After God began to make [things] from something, Moses wrote, "God said, 'Let there be'" light, and so on. Even though Moses did say, "God created the great serpents," still "let the waters swarm with swarming things" had been [ said ] prior to that. Therefore those five created things were created from nothing and everything else was made from those [ five ] things that came to be from nothing.
Fire was also created on the first day, although it is not written down that it was created, because it was in another element. It did not have its own existence, for it was created together with that thing in which it was. It is not possible that a thing which does not exist of itself can precede that thing which is the cause of its existence. That [ fire ] is in the earth, nature bears witness, but that it was not created together with the earth, scripture affirms, when it says, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." Fire then, since it does not exist of itself, remains with the earth, even if the wind and the clouds have been commanded at every moment to bring forth fire from their wombs along with the wind and the clouds.
Darkness, too, is neither a self-subsistent being nor a created thing, but is a shadow, as scripture makes clear. It was created neither before heaven nor after the clouds, for it was with the clouds and was brought forth from the clouds. [ Darkness ] too exists in another [ thing ], for it has no substance of its own. When that in which it exists vanishes, the darkness likewise vanishes with it. For whatever comes to an end along with another thing when it vanishes is without its own existence, because that other thing is the cause of its existence.
So, how could darkness, whose existence is due to the clouds and to the firmament and not to the first light or to the sun, exist of itself? It is [ a thing ] which one thing, by its cover, brings forth and another, by its brightness, destroys. If one thing creates it and causes it to become something while another thing turns it back into nothing, how can it be a self-subsistent being? The clouds and the firmament, which were created at the beginning, bring it forth and the light that was created on the first day brings it to an end. If a created thing creates it and another created thing destroys it, and henceforth, one thing, at one moment, brings it into visibility and another, at that very moment itself turns back into nothing, turns it back into nothing, it is by compulsion that [ one thing ] causes it to begin and [ another thing ] causes it to go away. If created things cause it to come into existence and also cause it to vanish then it is a creation of creatures. [ The darkness then ] is but a shadow of the firmament and it is capable of vanishing in the presence of another thing, for it can be destroyed before the sun. Some teachings posit that this [ darkness ], which is at all times subject to created things, is an adversary of creatures, and they make that thing which has no substance of its own a self-existent being.