Light vs Dark

August 31, 2011 at 09:46 (Science, Theology)

Okay I just wanted to put up my views in this area real quickly. Eastern religions and mythologies often talk about the necessity of balance between light and dark, but this is un-biblical… Christians often take a view of light being brightest in the darkness, but this is also un-biblical. To me, that Christian view suggests darkness accentuates the light, I believe it’s most commonly used in reference to the mission field where missionaries bring the light to the darkest parts of the world. But the danger with saying “Light shines brightest in the darkness” is that it suggests dualism, the idea it conjures to me is that light is better because of the darkness, when in actuality this is not even close to true whether theologically or scientifically.

Let’s start off scientifically, that way we end on a theological note. Okay I’m going to explain how our eyes see, if you’re not used to reading my blogs you can skip this color (at least I think it’s this color, I’ll just say ignore any color but black[which I’m about to prove is not a color, JK]), it’s just extra information for those who like a lot of information. We see by reflected light, profound I know, what happens is light comes from a source and passes through somethings, bounces off others, and is absorbed by others.

When light passes through something that thing cannot be seen by the eye, unless the light is refracted. Depending on the refraction we observe a distortion of the visible objects behind a refraction, also often times the light coming from the source refracted through the object are observed as bright spots. When you think of refraction think of a magnifying glass where the distortion is specifically designed to make an object appear larger, while the source light can be focused into an extremely bright spot.

When light bounces off of something two things can happen. The first and easiest to explain is a mirror, light reflected from highly reflective surfaces bounces off in a straight line at an angle of reflection, that’s what creates the mirror image almost no light is absorbed in this type of reflection. Everything else is visible through scattered bouncing, the light hits an object and then reflects only part of the light. Some of the light passes through, causing translucency, or some is absorbed, creating heat, the part that is reflected is the part we see, the light that is reflected is the light that determines the color of the object. Those are the basics, our eyes take in and translate the various reflections of light into images.

If you skipped all that it’s okay, all you need to know is we see from reflected light. So what is darkness? Darkness is the absence of light, if there is no source  of light there can’t be any reflection of light, with no source or reflection we can’t see anything. Black and dark are not the same thing, without light you can’t see something black so black is as much seen by a reflection of light as anything. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to find out that darkness is the absence of light, but think about it for a while…

What is darkness without light? Could we define it if light did not exist? What is darkness to a blind person? Does a blind person care whether there is a source of light or not? Of course not, a blind person could get around and function as easily in total darkness as he could in complete light. Think of it this way, we can’t observe radio waves (without special equipment), and yet there are areas of radio darkness. If we knew nothing about radio waves would we care that there are areas of radio darkness? Basically what I’m saying is that darkness does not exist if light didn’t exist before it. Next thing, that’s easy to address, the more sources of lights, regardless of their intensity, the brighter the light, the less darkness. This ones easy to test, turn on one light take note of the amount of shadows and darkness. Turn on another light and guess what? There are fewer shadows and less darkness. Lights shine brightest together. Look at LED flashlights with multiple intensities, the brightest function is not when only one light is shining, but when they all are. You may be thinking, but my light lights up more at night then in the day, but think it through again. Your light still adds to the light of a room, there’s just very little darkness because there’s already a huge light source. If you’re still having trouble understanding this go to home depot in the middle of the day, now go to their lighting section, and surprise!! It’s the brightest part of Home Depot still, night or day.

Okay so what is the theological application of all this? The Bible talks a lot about light, but as Christians are we light sources or just light reflectors? Well, I’ll let you consider the theological truths yourself. Look it up, the bible does talk over and over again about the light of salvation, the light of God, etc. We are to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness, the bible is a lamp to our feet. Light is truth and it expels falsehood, so it’s probably a good idea to have true view on truth.


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