“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7; all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible).
The previous post introduced some of the thoughts of William Law (1686-1761), a British theologian who shared some interesting insights into the idea that “God is Light.” While many modern Christians emphasize the idea that “God is love,” Scripture identifies several other divine attributes: God is light, God is holy, our God is a consuming fire, etc.
Light plays a significant role in the Word of God. According to Genesis, God created light before anything else:
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
Law has an interesting perspective on this verse:
“When God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light,’ no change happened to eternal light itself, nor did any light then begin to be. But the darkness of this world then only began to receive a power or operation of the eternal light upon it, which it had not before; or eternity then began to open some resemblance of its own glory in the dark elements and shadows of time. And thus it is that I assert the priority and glory of light, and put all darkness under its feet as impossible to be anything else but its footstool” (William Law, The Spirit of Love).
From the moment that God said “Let there be light,” creation manifested His glory.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalms 19:1).
Many of the divine attributes are associated with light. John’s Gospel begins by drawing a connection between light and life. The interconnectedness of light, life, and love permeates John’s writings.
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5).
Throughout his Gospel and letters, John frequently associates light with love, life, and goodness. Likewise, he ties darkness to evil, sin, suffering, and death. When he told his readers that they should “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light,” he was calling them and us to live in a way that radiates God’s glory, as the sun declares the glory of God by beaming its life-giving rays upon our planet.
The next post in this series will offer some thoughts about how we can walk in the light.
I would like to hear from you. What do you think the Bible means when it says that “God is light”? Share your thoughts or suggestions by clicking the “Leave a comment” link below.
Copyright © 2021 Michael E. Lynch. All rights reserved.