We propose a network rebonding model for light-induced metastability in amorphous silicon, involving bonding rearrangements of silicon and hydrogen atoms. Nonradiative recombination breaks weak silicon bonds and generates dangling bond-floating bond pairs, with very low activation energies. The transient floating bonds annihilate, generating local hydrogen motion. Charged defects are also found. Support for these processes is found with tight-binding molecular dynamics simulations. The model accounts for major experimental features of the Staebler-Wronski effect including electron-spin resonance data, the t1/3 kinetics of defect formation, two types of metastable dangling bonds, and hysteretic annealing.