I should warn you, that I am going to try to explain some principles of physics in this post. The warning is mostly for those of you who understand physics, because this is going to be a little more like “Physics For Dummies.”
Maybe an apology would be more appropriate for what’s to follow.
Here goes nothin’.
Light and Darkness. Those are the words that have been repeated again and again in my study of the book of 1st John.
John seems a bit obsessed about these concepts.
In all of his writings, he regularly points out how the reader who claims to love God should walk/live in the light, because God=Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
John also claims that if we walk in the light, as he (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and are purified from all sin (1 John 1:7).
In the Gospel of John he describes Jesus as the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (John 1:4).
And in one last example of his obsession about light and darkness, he says that if anyone claims he is in the light but hates his brother he is still in darkness (1 John 2:9).
There are many more verses, but I think you get the general idea: Light=An authentic, God-loving life and Darkness=A Dangerous, duplicitous life.
So here’s where the physics part comes in. I decided that rather than trying to explain it on my own, I would google the question I had regarding how light and darkness work in relation to each other. My question was: Does light absorb darkness?
Here was Google’s answer:
If there is too much light, darkness cannot absorb it. It needs the right amount of light to continue being what it is. In physics, we know that darkness cannot exist on its own without absorbing light, yet light itself does not necessarily require darkness for it to exist.
Whoa. That actually gives me goosebumps. If you don’t have them, read it a few more times, inserting “God” for the word “light” and “evil/sin” for “darkness.”
It’s not an exact metaphor, but hopefully you get the general idea. Maybe this is why John was insistent on repeating the word “light” 24 times in his gospel alone.
I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds about the nuances of light and darknesss, but when I set the above quote next to what John has to say about light and darkness, it, well, sheds light on how I comprehend his repetitiousness of those concepts.
If God is light, and I am in the light, darkness (evil) cannot absorb or overtake me. But I’ll tell you what, it is always trying.
Since darkness cannot exist without light, there is a constant pull from the dark-side to draw me away from the light.
I have noticed in my personal walk with the Light, that darkness doesn’t even have to pull very hard to dull my shininess.
But here is what I love best about that quote: In order for darkness to exist, it must poach from the light. Light, on the other hand, “does not necessarily require darkness to exist.”
Light stands on it’s own. It does so because God created it to be so.
In John 1:3,4 he says, “Through him (God) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
OK. Science lesson over.
Lately, I have been wrestling with the darkness in me. I have been “walking in the Light” for quite some time now, and am astonished, perplexed and honestly, disgusted about how easily the darkness steals from me. How it overwhelms the very light I say I desire to live in.
The physics of light and darkness reminds me of a quote from James Truslow Adams that brings me back to a place of rest: “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us.”
In other words, I need to cut myself some slack. I must live in the grace Jesus, the Light, came to offer me. And you.
We are all doing the best we can at any given moment. That is the truth of it. But I find hope and strength and courage when I remember that the Light in me is more powerful than the darkness.
The darkness cannot overtake me unless I abandon the Light in me.
And that is gospel. It is indeed “good news.”