Darkness

Darkness is the absence of light. Light is a thing. Darkness is not. Well, in a grammar lesson, we say that “darkness” is a noun – not a person, not a place, but a thing. But in terms of a physical discussion, and even spiritual discussions, much like the concept of “zero,” or “nothing,” darkness fills the same role. Darkness is emptiness. The ancient Hebrews recognized darkness as all that existed before the creation as we know it. In Genesis 1:1-2, in the beginning, God created an empty, formless, dark universe that I think of as something like outer space but without any stars or planets. And then there was light.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

What is light? What did God create that can penetrate, overcome, and displace the darkness? The light that we see with our eyes is a small part of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. I believe that God’s command to “Let there be light,” created that entire spectrum.  What scientists have determined so far, is that the spectrum goes from gamma rays, which are super tiny, high energy waves to radio waves that can be enormous and have relatively low energy. Somewhere in the middle is the visible light that we see with our eyes, that small portion of the spectrum we call Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Right next to the visible light on the red end is “infrared” radiation. This is “light” that we cannot see but feel as heat. On the other end, there is “ultraviolet” light that humans cannot see or feel, but it is what causes a sunburn on our skin. Did you know that pigeons can see ultraviolet light and it is believed that some snakes and maybe mosquitos can see infrared?

We see objects because the light reflects off their surfaces and enters our eyes. The object will reflect some parts of the spectrum and absorb other parts. The parts that it absorbs we never get to see. A pure blue object will only reflect the blue light and it will absorb all of the other colors. Black objects absorb all of the colors and reflect very little, but white objects are actually reflecting the whole spectrum. When you mix a bit of paint from every jar in your paint set, you get black because the mixture has what it needs to absorb all of the colors of light.

All light has a source. It does not exist on its own; it is produced by an emitter. The absence of light is darkness. We are instructed in a parable to be wise and carry sufficient fuel for our lamp so that we are not caught in the absence of light.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. (Matthew 25:1-4)

The wise virgins had fuel to provide light until the True Light arrived. The True Light is a Light that shines eternally that we don’t need to supply with fuel. That Light is Messiah.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

The Light that is Messiah will overcome all darkness, but if you take away the light, the darkness reappears. Thankfully, God is eternal and outshines even the sun.

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Revelation 21:23)

Light is also dynamic – meaning it travels from its source and collides with whatever is in its path.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
(John 1:9)

 The word “dark” has its origin as a word in the Germanic language. Its synonym “obscure,” is rooted in Latin. These two words have significant overlap in their meanings and usage. To remove obscurity (as well as darkness) one needs illumination. The light comes from something and disrupts the darkness. What is the source of light? Both spiritually and physically speaking, light comes into the world, from God, at 186,000 miles per second and bombards every person and thing. When everything is illuminated, obscurity goes away and we are able to see clearly. You might be inclined to think that when this Light comes upon us, we should take it in and absorb it. But the opposite is true! We are called to reflect God’s Light. When we are reflective, this Light hits us and it illuminates everything around us allowing us and those around us to truly see. Our path will be lit and then we can follow God.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

The following passage has some true irony in it. Paul is literally blinded by the Light, but this temporary blindness allows him to clearly see the Truth and sets him on his journey of a world-transforming ministry. In a sense, Paul became reflective of God’s light and many people have been blessed to have found a path to follow through his writings.

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. (Acts 9:1-9)

Be sure to carry extra fuel for your light, and polish your mirror to reflect the True Light when it comes.

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
(Colossians 3:2)           

Peace to you and glory to God!

-Nate

www.paraklesis.net

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