And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3, King James Version)
The Hebrew verb has two states; the perfect state, which indicates completed action, and the imperfect state which indicates action in progress, incompleteness. In Genesis 1:1 created in the Hebrew was the perfect state indicating completeness. The act of creating the heavens and the earth were complete. In 1:3, though the KJV doesn’t indicate the imperfect state of action in progress, when God says let there be light he actually proceeded to say let there be light, and light gradually came to be. A much more accurate translation, by J.W. Watts reads: “Afterward God proceeded to say, ‘Let there be light’; and gradually light came into existence,” Benjamin Willis Newton’s translation does likewise; brackets his: “And God proceeded to say [future], Let Light become to be, and Light proceeded to become to be [future].” The imperfect state is crucial to a fuller understanding of the first chapter of Genesis because it occurs 40 times.
Later verses indicate that though the light was gradually increasing after the first “day” but the source of that light wasn’t discernable until the fourth. We will see that later. This has caused a great deal of confusion with science minded skeptics. The sun had been created in verse 1, the light had penetrated the dust and debris by the first creative “day” but the source was not yet visible.
The Hebrew word for light used in verse 2 is ohr, which means the light given from the source rather than the source itself. That will become evident in later verses. Ohr is light diffused.