by Michael D. O’Brien
the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
and the darkness could not overpower it.
(John 1: 1-5)
In the entire history of mankind, the world has never been so floodedin light as it is now. It is an artificial light, however, and could beextinguished instantly by an earthquake, a bomb, or a raccoon creepingby mistake into a power station and electrocuting itself (as oncehappened in our area).
Physical light is an energy which radiates into the darkness of theuniverse. Physical darkness is not a counterforce, but merely theabsence of light.
When we use the imperfect metaphors of light and darkness to visualizethe great spiritual war in the heavens, it is sometimes forgotten thatevil is not a mere absence of the Light.
Neither is it a substance like poisonous gas. It is primarily a perversion of something that was originally created good.
Lucifer began as an angel of light, and by his own choice became Satan.Adam and Eve were created good and free, and perfect in their abilityto love and to see truth. Yet they were deceived into choosing aperverted version of the powers of the mind and the will. They thoughtthey were choosing a greater light than the one God had given them.
And so, down through the long centuries the great Lie continues to workits illusions. But its power over us has been broken on the Cross ofChrist. For this reason we should never be disheartened by the evidence of sin and death at work in us. We should recognize them for what they are: traces of a fallen time when the image of God within us was horribly defaced.
Since the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, there is now victoryover that damage. Our task is to permit the power of the Cross torestore the image and likeness which once was ours, and was lost for awhile.
Dare we believe that God’s love is that great?Can we believe in his power while sin and death still appear to rageall about us? As long as we look for help and consolation in artificial lights, theanswer will continue to be no. We will continue to reject the way ofthe Cross which Jesus shows us is the only true way back to the Father.
Yes, death continues to be horrible. And yes, sin is another kind ofhorror, the full extent of its horror mostly hidden from our eyes. And yes, in the great cosmic rebellion of the fallen angels, Satancontinues to employ yet another successful tactic: the violation ofinnocence. It is the fast, fast method of discouraging Christians andfending off conversions. For if he can convince us that there really isno Savior, that death and degradation are the true victors, then he hasdelivered a terrible blow to the Kingdom of God.
In his debate with the Father he wishes to prove that God’s ways arenot the efficient method of rule. He wishes to prove himself equal orgreater than God. Such colossal pride is humbled every time a soul enters a confessional and admits that he needs a Savior.
Similarly, every new child born into the world is an incredible sign ofhope. Every work of art that is true and beautiful and good, and everysincere prayer is a burst of light penetrating into the darkness,pushing back the tyranny of the night which still partly lies over theworld.
Yes, it is still night. But as we await the Lord’s return, we are likepeople who watch for the dawn. The Scriptures tell us that it is notfar off.
Do not be afraid, say the Word, I have already conquered the darkness.
The war is won and these are just the final battles. We remain in thatbrief waiting time when sin and death appear to speak their last darkmessages with little to contradict them in our various societies andcultures. But the final word is not theirs. It is the Lord’s, the Lamb who was slain, the eternal indestructible Word.
“I have come into the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark.” (John 12:46)