Photos are wonderful things. My parents are coming to stay over Christmas, (we may not be here when they arrive,) and they wanted to know how big our fridge was. So I took a photo, downloaded it to my computer and sent it in an email. They live about 500 miles away and in a blink of an eye I can show them my fridge!

Darkness and light are like photographs we use to explain spiritual truths. They are tangible concepts we understand. We know what it is like when there are power cuts at night. We know the effect of one small candle in a room full of darkness. Light is so powerful that during the black outs in England in World War II it was even forbidden to smoke outdoors at night. Since a pilot flying overhead could see the light from a lone cigarette. When we want to explain spiritual truth we turn to the concepts of darkness and light, like we would show a photo to portray what something looks like.

As I was thinking about darkness and light I remembered this conversation between a professor and a student (apparently, Albert Einstein). It did the rounds on the internet a while ago:

“Does cold exist?”
“Of course”, answered the professor. “Did you never feel cold?”
“Actually, sir, cold does not exist. According to studies in Physics, cold is the total and complete absence of heat. An object can only be studied if it has and transmits energy and it is the heat of an object that transmits its energy. Without heat, the objects are inert, incapable to react. But cold does not exist. We created the term cold to explain the lack of heat.”
“And darkness?” continues the student.
“It exists”, replied the professor.
“Again, you’re wrong sir, darkness is the total absence of light. You can study light and brightness, but not darkness. The prism of Nichols shows the variety of different colours in which the light can be decomposed according to the longitude of the waves. Darkness is the term we created to explain the total absence of light.”
And finally, the student asked, “And evil, sir, does evil exist? God did not create evil. Evil is the absence of God in people’s hearts, it is the absence of love, humanity and faith. Love and faith are like heat and light. They exist. Their absence leads to evil.”

Paul writes, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16). God’s desire is for us to be like stars shining against the darkness, obvious to all those around us that we are Christians. Jesus said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). But he also told his disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We now have the responsibility of being light to the world—bringing love and faith where there is none.

This post is part of a synchroblog on the topic: Darkness and light as spiritual motifs. You can read posts from other synchrobloggers by click on the links:

Susan Barnes at …and here’s a photo of one I made earlier
Phil Wyman finds Darkness: a Thin Place for the Soul
Adam Gonnerman on being “In Darkness”
Lainie Petersen at Headspace
Jeff Goins is “Walking in the Light with Jesus”
Ellen Haroutunian finds Holy Darkness
Bethany Stedman thinks Light is Coming
Julie Clawson walks through Darkness and Light
Kathy Escobar will Take a Sliver Anyday
Joe Miller thinks you can Discover Light in Darkness
Beth Patterson talks about Advent: Awaiting the Ancient and the Ever New
Liz Dyer says What the Heck
Sally Coleman muses about Light into Darkness
Steve Hayes with the Lord of the Dark
Josh Jinno with Spiritual Motifs of Darkness and Light
KW Leslie contrasts Darkness versus blackness
Erin Word writes Fire and Sacrifice