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Understanding Light

Word, God, Life, and Light. From the beginning, and yet misunderstood.

Art by Jenn Bowers

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome [or understood] it. [John 1:1-5, NIV]

Of course, the key here is beginnings. None can seem to agree when it all began, whether you are a traditional biblicist, big bang theorist, or some conglomeration of the two. But if we can simply agree that there was a beginning, sometime, then it might be easier to agree that “something” was there at the beginning. At the least: light, a manifestation of energy (but I am no physicist, so please, excuse my simplicity). I just like these ideas swimming around in my head.

Light, the spark of life then.

Now, the difference between an old believer like me and someone else is that I have made that leap of faith to believe in an intelligence at the beginning as well, an order, a motivation, or an intent from which sprang Word (or identity). For it is Word that establishes boundaries or describes a thing and thereby, gives it a name.

Most translations of this verse imply that darkness (what is that? Is it like anti-matter or the absence of light?) cannot extinguish or overcome it, as though it’s a battle of some kind. But if darkness is not light, how can it begin to understand? But I wonder, is darkness dynamic at all? I don’t think so. I believe I may have given the idea of darkness too much power and ability.

And yet another implication or long-standing interpretation of this verse is that the Word is Jesus, the son of God, the physical reflection of God, the ideal human, the template for the rest of us, present in the beginning in a form unknowable or understandable from without because, quite honestly, of the darkness. But Light is strong and the Word is astute and Life came forth all the same and whether we understand it or not, every human has the Light, for we were created from it. What we have lacked over the centuries perhaps, is the Word, the identification of Light – Jesus.

This is the time of year when the sunlight grows shorter and shorter for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but soon, as the Earth continues is lopsided rotation, the days will grow longer again. This is the time of year that we see the change in light. It’s a symbolic representation for the coming of light.

Let’s celebrate the coming of Light, God, the Word, and Life.

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