The absence of light
John 8:12 I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
What is darkness? Does darkness really exist?
A story has circulated on the Internet. As to its veracity who can know for sure. But it’s helpful when we consider the issue of darkness. A university professor loved to challenge his students with questions that were often non-sequiturs, that is logical fallacies that could not be deduced from the information available. This time one of his students turned the tables on him.
The student asked the professor, “Does darkness exist?”
The professor responded, “Of course it does.”
The student replied, “You are wrong sir, darkness does not exist. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact, we can use Newton’s prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness.”
“Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present.”
According to the Internet, that student was Albert Einstein. If we can read it on the Internet, it must be correct, right?
The point of the story is that darkness does not in itself exist. Darkness is a made up word that describes the absence of light. Complete darkness is the total absence of light.
Most of us who dwell near cities have never seen complete darkness. For those in rural areas, a journey away from lighted areas and a cloudy, moonless night might provide total darkness. For many of us, an excursion into a cave might be necessary.
While physical darkness is the absence of light, spiritual darkness is the inability to see the light of truth. Spirit darkness results from ignorance and the lack of knowledge of the truth.
When we become accommodated to living in spiritual darkness, we think it is normal. We adapt to it. We have no idea that we live in darkness. Essentially, we are blind to our own blindness. We have no idea how dark the darkness is.
Matthew 6:23 If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“The idea here is simple but beautiful. The eye is pictured as the window through which light comes into the body. If a window is clean and the glass is clear, the light that comes in will properly light every part of the room. If the window is dirty, or if the glass is uneven or tinted, or discolored, the light will be hindered, and the room will not receive the full benefit of the light. The amount and quality of the light that comes into a room depends on the condition of the window through which it comes.”
“So it is with the eye. The condition of the eye determines the quality of the light that enters the body . . .. If you have cataracts, you may sit next to someone and perceive only a shadow. If your eye is blind, ‘how great is that darkness.’ There are no colors, no forms, no motion.”
“Of course, Jesus is not giving us a lesson on optics. He is saying that the light that comes into a man’s soul depends on the spiritual condition of the eye through which it has to pass because the eye is the window of the body” (Hughes).
“The language reflects a popular perspective and is not intended to provide physiological precision” (Chouinard).
“Seeing incorrectly is worse than blindness. If we open our eyes in the dark of man’s viewpoint, darkness about God permeates our being” (Richison).
REFLECT & PRAY
I had no idea that I was living in darkness until I saw the light. I had no idea I was believing a lie until I heard the truth. I had no idea I was lost until I was found.
Father, thank You for taking me from my spiritual blindness and darkness and allowing me to see the light. Encourage me to always come to the light and not shrink back into darkness.
Why do people live in darkness? The simple answer is that is where they are most comfortable. The thought of being exposed to the light is unnerving and threatening.
19 Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
This passage contains two different Greek words for evil. The first is poneros which means evil in the classic sense: bad, wicked, vicious, worthless, corrupt, even hideous. The second word is phaulos from which our English word paltry is derived. It means mediocre, cheap, low-grade, insignificant, or pitiful.
It may be somewhat despicable to be wicked or evil, but sadly not too uncommon in our world. But it is humiliating to be exposed as mediocre and second-rate.
Hence, the penetrating exposure to light is to be avoided at all costs. People who choose to walk in darkness do just that.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.” (Carl Jung).
Isaiah 9:2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated . . ..” (Thomas Jefferson).