Have you ever wandered through an unfamiliar room in the dark? How did that turn out for you? My guess is you likely injured yourself in one of several ways. As humorous as that scenario may be (especially when it happens to someone else), it is tragic to think there are countless millions of people who are stumbling through life in utter darkness. Groping and grasping for anything that will provide meaning to their existence, they constantly come up with all the wrong conclusions.
How would you define darkness? According to Merriam-Webster, darkness (dark) is defined as devoid or partially devoid of light: not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light. Darkness, then, results from light being absent. This means that darkness has no substance of its own. It has no power. It cannot be transmitted. It is merely the result of absence.
God is Light
Because truth can mostly be understood by contrast, we have to consider the opposite of darkness which is light. And because we are seeking to understand this in a spiritual sense, we have to consider what the apostle John wrote in 1st John 1:5.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ESV
What does it mean for God to be light? Putting it simply, it means He is the ultimate and absolute embodiment of all that is true, right, good, and holy. He is also the embodied source and revelation of life, love, and power. His entire Being absolutely radiates with these qualities and so much more (which also helps us understand His glory). This is likely what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote the following to Timothy.
15 For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 16 He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. 1st Timothy 6:15 – 16 NLT (emphasis added)
You will also note that John wrote that in Him is no darkness at all. The only way there could be any darkness in God is if there was some sort of contradiction. One of God’s attributes would have to contradict another. This would bring confusion resulting in darkness. Fortunately for us, God can be put under the most stringent scrutiny and there will be no contradiction found anywhere. Each one of His attributes complements and brings balance to the others. All His attributes are held in perfect tension. Thus there is no darkness in God whatever.
Now We Understand
Now we understand what spiritual darkness is all about. As surely as natural darkness is the result of the absence of natural light, spiritual darkness is the result of the absence of God. We cannot know truth unless we know the One who is the very embodiment of truth. We cannot know goodness except in reference to the One who alone is good. When God is left out of the picture, we are left with a dark world where we have to struggle and grasp and deliberate in order to figure out this thing called life. But with God out of the picture, our conclusions will always be wrong no matter how high and lofty our thinking may be. Therefore any conclusion made in the absence of God will actually cause us to end up working in opposition to God.
Are you in the dark? If so, let me share with you a very important fact that Jesus revealed when He was with us in the days of His flesh.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
The God who is Light took upon Himself flesh and lived among us to be the Light of the world. He said if we would follow Him, we would not walk in darkness. The remedy for walking in darkness, then, is living in the Reign.