Not One Hint of Darkness

God is spirit (Jn 4:24). God is one (Deut 6:4). God is love (1 Jn 4:8 ). God is faithful (1 Cor 10:13). God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). God is merciful (Deut 4:31). God is gracious (2 Chr 30:9). God is compassionate (2 Chr 30:9). God is judge (Ps 50:6).

God is….these character affirmations are prevalent throughout Scripture. They are invitations to explore and understand the nature of our God. John provides us with an important “God is” statement in his first letter.

“God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

John could have simply stated there is no darkness in God. His addition of “at all” (οὐδεμία) makes his claim more emphatic. The double negative communicates impossibility. There is no way, not one chance, no possibility of darkness residing in the character of God…none.

If we have ever concluded from the pain, suffering, and horrors around us that there is darkness in God we have drawn the wrong conclusion. There are horrendous things happening every day on this globe, undeniable evil, unspeakable pain and sorrow. These realities cannot be denied and must be looked squarely in the face.

We have to wrestle with these things from a biblical and theological perspective, absolutely we must. Nevertheless, 1 John 1:5 remains true, God is pure light. This must inform all of our thinking about the darkness we see in the world.

In the context of John’s letter the divine luminosity has another practical purpose. John see’s the light of God as the pattern for Christian living. We are called to walk in the light as he is in the light.

The presence of sin/darkness makes the call to walk in the light synonymous with a life of repentance. We will most definitely find ourselves wandering around in the darkness as Christians, falling into sinful thoughts and behaviors. If we deny this, we are deceived.

The mark of the Christian is not the absence of darkness/sin, but the persistent push toward the light/repentance. The Christian is miserable in the darkness and refuses to stay there. No darkness at all, this is the Christian’s aim—full confession, transparency and exposure before the Creator.

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2 comments

  1. One day! No darkness at all.
    Quick thoughts: What exactly is meant by ‘light’? Goodness? Clarity?
    What about ‘dark’? Evil? Blindness?
    God allows evil. Some have said He ‘ordains’ it for His purposes. We see throughout the bible where God hardens hearts, wills for disobedience, allows Satan certain liberties. What is the purpose? To magnify His light? Sometimes I begin to get the notion that God is some of what I know Him to be, but mostly far beyond my simple formulation. It can be both unsettling and comforting.

  2. Rob, great to hear from you! I have always appreciated Augustine’s description of evil as a parasite. It’s existence is dependent on good. It can only take that which is good and distort it. The absence of darkness is not light, it goes the other way. Without light there is darkness. God utilizes both light and darkness to teach us things about himself—neither are outside the purview of his self-revealing purposes.

    https://korycapps.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/god-in-the-dark/

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