Light Shines in Darkness

“It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

So interesting is the wording here – God commands the light to shine out of darkness not into it.  It is as if God can see the light which exists in the darkness and summons it forth, so that it is  hidden no more.  It turns out that darkness has no substance, and is revealed to be nothing.   More interesting is that St Paul connects the darkness and the light to our own hearts – it is not something outside of ourselves. Yet, Christ who is light abides in us.  St. Peter says that God called us “out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  (1 Peter 2:9).  The darkness is not external to us, but it is alien to us!

“… the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.”  (1 Corinthians 4;5)

The darkness is not necessarily malevolent.  It hides things, and so in it is mystery.  Mystery both defines the nature of God as well as gives name to the sacramental realities.  So it is also true that as we are attracted to God who is light, we find in God hidden mysteries – there is darkness, and we can enter into that darkness to deepen our experience of God.   St. Gregory of Nyssa says:

“The manifestation of God was made first to Moses though light; then He spoke with him in the cloud; finally, having become more perfect, Moses contemplated God in darkness. The passage from darkness to light is the first separation (anachoresis) from false and erroneous ideas about God. The more attentive understanding of divine things, leading the soul by invisible things to the invisible reality, is as it were a cloud that obscures everything sensible and accustoms the soul to the contemplation of what is hidden.  Finally, the soul who has traveled by these ways towards the things that are on high, having left earthly things so far as this is possible to human nature, penetrates into the sanctuaries of the divine knowledge (theognosia) surrounded on all sides by the divine darkness.” (in The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers by Louis Bouyer, p 355)

” The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

One thought on “Light Shines in Darkness

  1. Pingback: How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? – Fr. Ted's Blog

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