GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 564 • September 20, 2020
PUNCHING HOLES IN THE DARKNESS
I am a hole in the darkness. Are you?
As a child Robert Louis Stevenson was looking intently through his window at dusk, watching a lamplighter lighting gas lamps one after another on the street. He exclaimed to his nurse, “Come here and look at this. There is a man who is punching holes in the darkness.” Punching holes in the darkness! That’s a provocative statement isn’t it? Stevenson was a poet even in childhood.
We do not need lamplighters on our streets anymore, but we do need more people who can punch holes in the darkness of the world – in the darkness of our own lives as well. Stevenson referred to light and darkness as definable physical conditions or situations. But darkness and light can also be understood metaphorically, as figurative language. Darkness can be a metaphor of ignorance, misunderstanding, superstition, etc. Spiritually it can be evil, sin, guilt, hatred, etc. Light can be a metaphor of knowledge, understanding, insight, etc. Spiritually it can be faith, righteousness, forgiveness, love, etc.
Light is not equally distributed in the world. Physically, about half the world is in darkness at any and all times. Mentally, morally, and spiritually darkness pervades most of the world at all times. Ignorance and sin are pandemic. The world can be a scary place. Violence, oppression, exploitation, abuse – the darkness imposed by men on others. The evil of ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, Antifa, BLM, and dozens more terrorist groups cause insecurity and fear in every part of the world. Genocide is attempted in various places. The LGBTQ agenda wants to reject and punish anybody who tries to be “straight,” anyone who denounces those who choose to be “gay” or “trans.” What a dismal, unhappy, and frightening world for mankind. Who can and will punch holes in the darkness of our world?
Who or what is the root cause of the darkness? Can the condition be changed? Who is able to change it? Who is willing to take an active and positive part in changing it? It is natural and normal to desire a place of safety, a way in which it is safe to walk, a way of life that is safe to live, a place where we can be safe from all harm, all evil, all dangers and threats. Where can we find light and safety? How can we assure it for ourselves and others?
AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING OVER-SIMPLISTIC: SATAN IS THE SOURCE OF MORAL AND SPIRITUAL DARKNESS.
In theology darkness can be a metaphor of Satan. He is called “prince of the power (of ) darkness, ruler of the darkness” (Ephesians 2:2, 6:12). He is the one who energizes the disobedient to sin against God, against others and against themselves – sins that leave one spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-4). Satan is the enemy of truth and the enemy of truth-seekers. Not physical truth – although he is probably the author of much scientific error (such as the big bang and evolutionary hypotheses) because the implementation of such theories obscures the truth about God the Creator and the exceptional value human life and the sanctity of the human soul and spirit. He is the enemy of the truth about God and from God – starting in Genesis chapter 3.
Lies, deceit, oppression, and hatred are among Satan’s most effective devices and he uses them to destroy trust in others but above all trust in God. He urges us to trust him as the truth-giver, the one who reveals the fallacies and fantasies people have about God. He urges us to trust ourselves, indulge ourselves, rule ourselves, submit to no others.
LIGHT IS A BIBLICAL METAPHOR OF GOD.
God is LIGHT and in Him there is no darkness at all – not even shadows (1 John 1:5, James 1:17). He is the source of all moral and spiritual illumination. There are many secondary or subsidiary sources of such light, but the initial source is God himself. God (the Word of God personified in the Son of God and incarnate in Jesus the Christ) is the light which enlightens everyone who comes into the world (John 1:1-2, 4, 5, 9).
Jesus is light – the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:35-36 and 46). As the incarnation of God he was also the embodiment of God’s relative attributes. He said, “When you see me you see the Father” (John 14:9). He was the revelation of the way and will of God, not only the way of God but the way to God (John 14:6).
The word of the Lord is and brings light. Thy word is a light for my feet, a lamp for my path (Psalm 119:105). The entrance of thy words brings light (Psalm 119:130). Meditation and prayer may bring some degree of insight and understanding, but it is not verifiable and dependable without clarification and confirmation from God’s word – the written-down words inspired by God’s Spirit, delivered and preserved by the Lord. It is the final answer to every question about spiritual life and salvation.
The prophets of God, including Jesus Christ, and the apostles and prophets of Christ, are the light of the world. It is because the word of the Lord came to them and through them to us. God …spoke by and through the prophets. Has spoken and speaks now by and through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). Truth was spoken by Jesus and those who heard it from him, confirmed by the Spirit of God and therefore believable for all who hear or read (Hebrews 2:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:15-17 and 2:15).
Jesus told his apostles, You are the light of the world. Do not hide the light but let it shine so that all may see and understand it and glorify God for it (Matthew 5:14-16). By implication we too, all Christian disciples of Christ are lights in the world (Philippians 2:13-16). We, with the apostles and prophets, are to preach and teach what Jesus spoke, without adding or deleting and without corrupting the meaning (Matthew 28:18-20, Revelation 22:18-19, Galatians 1:6-9).
THE CHURCH AND ALL ITS MEMBER CHRISTIANS ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Unconverted and unfaithful people are part of the world’s darkness, as reflections of Satan. Dishonest, deceitful, hateful, malicious, violent and otherwise sinful people are of the devil and not of God. They are children of disobedience – better stated, children of the disobedient one, the devil (Ephesians 2:2, John 8:44). They are captives of the devil, doing his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26), perhaps unwittingly giving themselves to the devil and serving him (Romans 6:15-16). There is no way that servants of Satan and those who belong willingly to Satan can do anything truly and ultimately good.
Paul addresses the unconverted, the non-Christians and by inference any unfaithful Christians as being in and of the darkness. To Christians he says: before you became Christians you were darkness (Ephesians 5:8a), you were part the darkness and part of the cause of the darkness in the world. To participate in wickedness still makes one part of the darkness, afraid and ashamed to come to the Light or come into the light of the Lord (Ephesians 5:11-13, John 3:19-21). But to those who have become Christians Paul says, Now you are light in the Lord. Walk in the Lord … proving what is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesians 5:8b, Philippians 2:15-16a, 1 John 1:6-7).
Satan and his people cannot “push darkness into the light.” Flash-lights are common, but flash-darks do not exist. But, though they cannot “punch dark holes in the light” they can turn off a part of the light and thereby spread and increase the darkness. They can erect barriers to prevent light from being seen and comprehended (Matthew 5:14).
How can Christians be light and drive away the darkness? We can punch holes in the darkness of ignorance, misunderstanding, and error by imparting knowledge, by teaching the truth; we can consistently support and confirm the light of truth by living it. We punch holes in the darkness of evil and sin by doing good and advocating good and righteousness in others. We poke holes in the darkness of hatred and ill-will with love and good will. Poke holes in the darkness of superstition and religious error by sharing the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, based on the word of God. Poke holes in the darkness of guilt with repentance and forgiveness. Poke holes in the darkness of strife and hostility by living in peace and making peace (Romans 12:18, Matthew 5:9). In doing these things you will help to make the world a place of light, blessings, peace and safety
It may seem a bit presumptuous and pretentious to say I am one of the holes in the darkness – a bit of light in a dark world. But if I cannot or will say it, I am either denying the word and power of God or denying my relationship to Jesus Christ. Why curse the darkness when you can turn on the light, light a candle – be a light? Why stumble around in the darkness when LIGHT of God and His Christ, His Spirit, His word, His people and His church is available – when all the light of God is available to you? <><>