Light that floods my soul

I am thankful for light.

I looked up the definition of “light”.  One website had 15 different definitions for the noun alone.  Another site had 23.  Wow…’light’ encompasses a lot of things.  Here’s just some of the definitions for “light”:

– something that makes vision possible

a : spiritual illumination b : inner light c : enlightenment d : truth

– the illumination from the sun

– the state of being visible, exposed to view, or revealed to public notice or knowledge; limelight <Stardom has placed her in the light>

I love the sun. I’m thankful that we have LOTS of windows in our house.  I love the sensation of taking a nap with the sunlight cascading over me; it’s a warm, comforting feeling.

I love the products of the sun’s light – green growing things – leaves, flowers, grass, etc.

I love the heat produced by the sun (I hate being cold so summer is a welcome thing!).

Without light we would not be able to see the multitude of colours in God’s creation.

In addition to all these things, I am thankful for the concept of Light.  The Bible (and John in particular) uses the imagery of ‘light’ to help us understand the nature and character of God better.  I did a quick search of “light” in the New Testament (NRSV) and 76 verses popped up.

Joh 1:9  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Joh 3:19  And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Joh 3:20  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. Joh 3:21  But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

1Co 4:5  Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.

There’s a pastor (Rob Bell) that’s stirring up a lot of controversy as he questions the traditional concept of hell in his new book Love Wins (A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—the afterlife—arguing, would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever…? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial, and his message is decidedly hopeful—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.)

I find it very interesting that the Eastern Orthodox Church holds a very different view of hell than our traditional Protestant view.  From the Wiki Gnomes:

The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that Heaven and Hell are being in God’s presence which is being with God and seeing God, and that there no such place as where God is not, nor is Hell taught in the East as separation from God. One expression of the Eastern teaching is that hell and heaven are being in God’s presence, as this presence is punishment and paradise depending on the person’s spiritial state in that presences. For one who hates God, to be in the presence of God eternally would be the gravest suffering.

When I read verses about “light” and especially John 3:19-21 (listed above) the Eastern Orthodox idea of hell makes a lot more sense to me.  And if I had not studied that particular passage a view years ago I might have thought of Rob Bell as a heretic as some other people are thinking.

If I think about God’s judgement as a natural consequence of choosing the darkness instead of the Light it seems to fall more in line with God’s character.  We consider people who torture others in this world as being evil, as committing unspeakable acts.  If God is Light and there is no darkness in him, how much “darker” can you get than deliberately torturing someone forever in fiery Hell?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Thinking about this life, the afterlife, the character of people, and the character of God makes more sense to me when framing it from the concept of ‘light’ and ‘dark’.  I am thankful the Bible has so much listed along those lines.

And lastly, I am thankful for God’s light of illumination, where He reveals more of Himself to me and I can grow in my relationship with Him.

2 Replies to “Light that floods my soul

  1. The questions your bring up about the afterlife are thought provoking. I am glad you question. We need to question to grow deeper in our faith.

    I cherish light as well. There is a distinct difference in my mood when the sun is shining through our windows as opposed to the sky being dull and overcast.

  2. Wow!!! Well said. I’m waiting for Rob’s book to come because I am very interested in what he has to say. I’ve been scouring the web tonight and sure enough, many are mentioning the whole C.S. Lewis / Eastern Orthodox connection as they review “Love Wins”. Your piece here however connected it with light which goes even further into the Eastern Connection.

    This is especially interesting to me of course because God willing I will be joining the Eastern Orthodox Church in the next year. This has been a strange, difficult and wonderful journey from my early Baptist roots ans passing through Calvinism on my way East. I am finding that I am not alone though. Many, many protestants are flooding to the Eastern Church in the last few decades.

    There is some comfort for me in having Rob write these things and having these Eastern leanings. Somehow it is affirming to have a local pastor I respect say such things.

    Anyway, blessings on your journey and thanks for your post. Good musings 🙂

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