"Life" in the Bible has reference to what we love, to our affections, because what we care about actually makes us who we are. "Light" has to do with our thinking, our intellect – which is not life itself, but defines and guides our lives. This verse, then, in saying "in him was life," reveals that it is divine truth that inspires our feelings, that makes us want what is good. And when we want what is good, that will be "the light of men," inspiring us to seek and understand true ideas that can help us actually be good and do what is good.
So divine truth – the exquisite expression of the Lord’s love – is not only the driving force behind creation, it is also the agent that creates our own internal lives, inspiring our desires for good and through them our understanding of what is true.
Explanation(s) or references from Swedenborg's works:
Conjugial Love 129
Divine Love and Wisdom 38
Divine Providence 159
Sacred Scripture 2
Heaven and Hell 137
Commentary (pdf)Bible Study Notes Volume 6