God Is Light

“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
—I John 1:5

IN OCTOBER 2001 THERE was published a feature article in the National Geographic Magazine advertised as “Light: Dazzling Enigma” on its front cover. The article actually was entitled, “The Power of Light,” and 29 pages were devoted to the subject. All people should be impressed with the marvelous nature of this amazing phenomenon of energy. A few excerpts from the article appear below. The author began by saying:

“Light is more than a little bit inscrutable. Modern physics has sliced the stuff of nature into ever smaller and more exotic constituents, but light won’t reduce. Light is light—pure, but not simple. No one is exactly sure how to describe it. A wave? A particle? Yes, the scientists say. Both.

“It is a measure of light’s importance in our daily lives that we hardly pay any attention to it. Light is almost like air. It’s a given. A human would no more linger over the concept of light than a fish would ponder the notion of water.

“There are exceptions, certain moments of sudden appreciation when a particular manifestation of light, a transitory glory, appears—a rainbow, a sunset, a pulse of heat lightning in a dark sky, the shimmering surface of the sea at twilight, the dappled light in a forest, the little red dot from a professor’s laser pointer. Stained glass in a church, backlit by a bright sky.

“Usually, though, we don’t see light, we merely see with it. You can’t appreciate the beauty of a rose if you ponder that the color red is just the brain’s interpretation of a specific wavelength of light with crests that are roughly 700 nanometers apart.”


The author then reflected on the worries he had in writing about such a subject both from the technical knowledge he lacked to having it be a news-breaking story. On the latter concern he expressed how wrong he was, saying:

“Try an Internet search under the keyword ‘photonics.’ A photon is what you call light when it’s behaving like a subatomic particle. Photons, it turns out, are a hot commodity. They are replacing electrons—we know them from grade school as the negatively charged particles that orbit the nuclei of atoms—as the favorite tool of modern industry for transmitting information.

“Light is now used for everything from laser eye surgery to telephone technology. The potential military applications of light are straight out of science fiction, and within a decade light may be the preferred weapon for zapping hostile missiles out of the sky. Light could even become the preeminent power source for long-distance space travel. The spaceship would have an ultrathin sail to catch the ‘wind’ of light beamed from an Earth-based laser. In theory such a craft could accelerate to a sizable fraction of the speed of light—without carrying fuel.

“The more you look at the topic, the more you realize that our lives are built around light, that our daily existence is continuously shaped—and made vivid—by that ambiguous stuff that dates from the beginning of time. From our technology to our spirituality, we are creatures of light.”


The article then went on to explain work done by scientists to define light in trying to answer the question “What is light exactly?” No one really knows, but as described by the author, he said:

“Here we come to one facet of the miracle of light. It has no volume. And photons have no charge, so in the process of being concentrated into a very small space, they don’t repulse each other as negatively charged electrons do.”

The author then wrote about our forefathers and how they tried to understand the phenomenon of light. It wasn’t until Sir Isaac Newton made certain proposals that there was any accepted theories. Concerning Newton’s proposals the article said:

“Newton believed that light was particulate—‘multitudes of unimaginable small and swift corpuscles of various sizes, springing from shining bodies at great distances one after another.’ Newton was such a giant on the scientific landscape that his rivals had little luck pushing the theory that light is a wave. The wave theory did not begin to rebound until the titans of 19th-century science joined the battle to understand light and overwhelmingly came down on the side of waves. It was James Clerk Maxwell, a Scot, who in the 1860’s made one of the most essential breakthroughs. He had been studying electricity and magnetism and realized that they propagated through space at—coincidence?—the speed of light. Light, he concluded, is an ‘electromagnetic’ wave.

“The particle versus wave debate wound up with a kind of truce, governed by quantum mechanics: Light is produced by changes in the energy level of electrons. Light moves through space as a wave, but when it encounters matter it behaves like a particle. It simply doesn’t fit into one of our neat little categories. ‘Light, indeed, is different from anything else we know,’ writes Sidney Perkowitz, a physicist at Emory University and the author of ‘Empire of Light.’”


The author then reviewed briefly work done by the great scientists of our time such as Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, and Edward Morley to help define light. Most of their findings led to “permanent uncertainty” and “head scratching implications” and what light is and does continues to be awesome and mysterious. Albert Michelson and Edward Morley did conduct experiments to establish the speed of light which they found to be an imponderable 186,000 miles per second and constant under all of their test conditions. It was Sir Isaac Newton that found white light to be composed of different colors. Scientists know now that white light is composed of all the different wavelengths of ultra violet rays to infra red rays. Another scientist, Charles Towne, who, together with Arthur Schawlow, developed the technique that led to ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’ which we know as the acronym, laser. Light normally spreads out rapidly in all directions. A laser coheres the light in a narrow beam. This makes light strong and straight and what it will lead to remains yet to be seen.


From this article, we learn that light still is an unknown. It is a tremendous form of energy. It contains all the spectrum of color. It can penetrate everywhere and in all directions at tremendous speed. It is a fitting symbol, therefore, of the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of the great supreme Creator of the universe, the God which we worship and call our Father in heaven.

In the Bible, God, the Father, is associated with light. As the Apostle John has described him in our key text, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) As remarkable as is the phenomenon of light as we know it, mainly emanating from the sun, so much more remarkable is the light which emanates from the Father. The Apostle Paul aptly described this specific light when he said of God, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6:16) It is a light no man can approach unto. It is so dazzling that no man can see it. It was told to Moses that this light no man could see and live.—Exod. 33:20


None of us can comprehend the vast amount of energy possessed by God, our Father. Truly he is the “Father of lights” as described by the Apostle James who said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) When the Apostle James describes God as the ‘Father of lights,’ we are reminded of the creative epochs when God was preparing the earth for man’s habitation and for that of other living creatures. The Bible tells us that as God began this work “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” (Gen. 1:2) As the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, God said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” (vs. 3) There has been much speculation as to what light appeared. Some think that it was from the sun. Yet, to a person standing on the surface of the earth the sunlight did not penetrate to the surface of the earth until the fourth creative epoch. (vss. 14-19) It has been suggested that the light which appeared in that first creative epoch was the electromagnetic energy released by the materials assembled by God to form the earth’s surface—the release of photons from the electrons of matter. The period started in darkness and ended in light. We note that God “called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.—vss. 4,5

All the successive epochs of Creation followed the same pattern, starting as a night (darkness) and ending as a day (light). Each epoch began in darkness but ended with light. How appropriately James calls Jehovah, the Father of lights. Each epoch ends with a marvelous release of electromagnetic energy that accomplished the Creator’s purposes.


Before God started to prepare the earth for habitation, his first direct creation was that of the Logos (God’s spokesman). The Apostle John tells us of this relationship in his Gospel when he writes, “In a beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with the God, and a god was the Word [Logos].” (John 1:1, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Interlinear). Then, speaking further of the Logos, John says, “Through it every thing was done; and without it not even one thing was done, which has been done.” (vs. 3, WED) John continues and says, “In it was Life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shone in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not.—vss. 4,5, WED


One would expect that God’s first creation would be likened to light, even as God is light. This was so. When the Logos worked with the Father in the works of Creation, and in preparing the earth for habitation, the darkness always ended as light in each epoch. A perfect environment was created for man and he was not only given life, but he also was in the light. Man’s disobedience changed all of that. The earth became a place of darkness all over again. As described by the prophet Isaiah, “Darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples.” (Isa. 60:2, New International Version) Hence, when the Logos was made flesh (John 1:14) and came to earth as a man, he shone in this darkness as a light. (vs. 5) When Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was moved by God’s Holy Spirit to prophesy concerning the work that his son would do, he said, among other things, that John would prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah “by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death”—Luke 1:78,79 NIV

This prophecy was fulfilled. Jesus came as the light of the world. The Bible uses light to not only symbolize God in all his attributes and characteristics, but also to represent the goodness of God and his righteous commandments. Whereas, darkness is used to represent sin, evil, and all unrighteousness that leads to permanent darkness or death. Jesus testified of himself, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) He had come to earth to show them the Father, who is light. Being the express image of the Father he, too, was a great light that had come into the darkness of this world. As Jesus said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Furthermore, Jesus had come to provide a ransom for all mankind that they all might be released from the darkness of death.


Those that become footstep followers of Jesus become known as the children of the light, as the Apostle Paul said, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (I Thess. 5:5) When Jesus spoke to the people of how the Son of man had to be lifted up (speaking of his forthcoming crucifixion), the people were puzzled and asked “How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?” (John 12:34) Our Lord’s reply was, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”—vss. 35,36

Jesus further said “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”—vss. 44-50


This, then, was the great objective Jesus had in coming to the darkness of this earth. It was to reveal to man the Father of lights. He did so by being the same light as the Father. His character was like that of the Father. Therefore, he like the Father, was the light of the world. He did so by speaking of God’s commandments and explaining them to us. In this manner also he shone as a bright light, even as the Father’s commandments are a bright light. He also was sent on a mission to find those who are described by the Apostle James as “a people for his [God’s] name” (Acts 15:14), or, the church class. These would be associated with him in God’s kingdom as God’s special representatives and would live and reign with Christ a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4) But first they would need to prove their faithfulness by walking in the light, following Jesus. And finally, Jesus came to earth to become man’s Redeemer, and to liberate all mankind from the darkness of death into the light of life.

What a great privilege has been that of the Lord’s people to become children of light. By accepting the invitation of Jesus to follow him and thus, walking in the light, they become children of the light. They learn of him and conform their lives to be like him. They are willing to suffer with him and are promised that if they do so faithfully to the end, that they will reign with him. As the Apostle Peter has suggested, let us “Shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”—I Peter 2:9

Dawn Bible Students Association
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