Light was divided from darkness on the first day of creation. Genesis 1 verses 3-5 read as follows:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided (בָּדַל badal) light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. - Genesis 1:4-5
…BUT!! Genesis 1:16-19 tells us that on the fourth day,
...God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide (בָּדַל badal) the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
It’s quite understandable why one might be tempted to consider this a contradiction. One passage says that God divided light from darkness on the first day, but the other says that God created great lights to separate light from darkness in the fourth day. To make sense of this seeming contradiction, we must read both passages carefully and compare them.
When God said “Let there be light” in Genesis 1:3 it was clearly different from when God made two great lights in Genesis 1:16. Also, when God divided the light from darkness in Genesis 1:4, it was different from when the sun and moon would continually divide light and darkness from the fourth day onward.
On day 1, God Himself called forth the existence of light. In physics, light is currently considered to be both a particle and a wave. Therefore, on that first day, God called forth the existence of lightwave particles. On day four, however, He created independent lightwave generators.
Now, let’s not limit God, nor exalt our own intelligence and ways above His. This being from whom all things derive made the rules, set all boundaries, and did impossible things. He established the speed of light which we have calculated to be approximately 186,000 miles per second! We can call that hella fast!
We know light has to be emitted by something; and since God is the everlasting entity, who preceded the light sources He created, the first light must have shown directly from Him. On day 1, He shown this light upon the world calling the lit area “day” and the area shrouded in darkness, “night”…and all that was for us. 🙂
God did not need light to see His project. He did not depend on it to design this world. When He made the sun, He made it to shine so that we could diistinguish day from night and have a concept of time. God had already established the concept of time before day four when He made the sun. That’s why Genesis explains that each day still had a morning and evening before earth had a sun. God had already established the hours of the day before He made the celestial bodies we now associate with the passage of time.
So when did God divide light from darkness? He did so on day one. He then established the required dimensions of the sun in order that it might shine upon the exact region of the earth that His light had outlined. Then He delegated the division of light from darkness (on earth) to the one sun He created for us. To this day, when sunlight touches an area, that region experiences day while everywhere else is veiled in the darkness of night.