"And God said 'Let there be light' and there was light." (Bereshis 1:3)
Rav Levi Yitzchak Berditchiver asks why this verse's format is different from all other "Let there be..." verses in the story of Creation. Everywhere else it says "Let there be X and it was so." Here it says "Let there be light and there was light." Why the change?
He answers that, in fact, light was already in existence but when God uttered this command He gave the light a substance and reality it had previously been lacking. This is easy to understand from a physical context. Light in and of itself is invisible. What we perceive as light is actually its reflection off of and absorbtion into the physical world around us. Light could therefore have predated the initial creation but without anything to reflect off of, it couldn't really be called Light.
In Yisrael u'Tichiyaso, section 24, Rav Avraham Kook, zt"l, describes the Oral Law in very similar terms. He describes the Torah Sheba'al Peh as a force that floats through reality but only finds concrete existence when reflected by the Jewish nation. This means that while the Torah exists as an actual force in reality, it can only gain expression and proper existence through our observance of its commandments.
This is something I find quite fascinating. Most major Jewish philosophers understand God's desire to create the universe (keeping in mind that we have no clue what something like desire means to God or if He actually desires anything, just that we have to express it somehow) as a means of showing His goodness. Without any creation, who could He be kind to? As a result, here we are.
This combination of insights therefore may point to a new understanding of the third verse of the Torah. For many, the concept of disembodied Light is difficult. After all, the light we know and understand has to have a source. It is composed of photons. It is measurable. Yet from the Midrash, Chazal have hinted that this primeval Light was nothing like this. For one thing, it illumated all of creation at the same time. For another, we are told that God hid it away for the righteous. What kind of Light is that?
Therefore this new understanding, along the lines of "For the commandment (mitzvah) is a candle, and Torah is light" (Proverbs 6:23)" can give us a new appreciation of the early stages of Creation. Chazal tell us that the Torah was created before our universe was. Like physical light which lacks anything to shine on, it existed but without any actual purpose. It was only when our universe was created that it finally had found something to interact with. Thus God called for the Light and behold, it was actually just that: pure Light.