My 14 year-old son recently asked me this question as he was reading through John’s Gospel and also John’s epistles in the New Testament. He already had a sense of what the answer was, but he just wanted some confirmation.
The Apostle John references “light and darkness” eight different times in his writings… John 1:5, 3:19, 8:12, 12:35, 12:46, 1 John 1:5, 2:8, and 2:9. Now, when the question was posed, what immediately came to mind was a well known quote by C.S. Lewis…
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – (This famous quote by C.S. Lewis comes from a paper given to The Oxford Socratic Club entitled, Is Theology Poetry?)
Lewis succinctly captures the essence of explaining how we know what is true by using the sun, our source of light, as an analogy for truth discernment. In other words, Christianity is the only source which properly exposes, reveals, or even correctly puts into perspective the reality which we all share. The Apostle John uses “light and darkness” in this same way.
With this in mind, here’s how I responded…
“In reference to your ‘light and darkness’ question, think of light as representing truth and darkness as representing non-truth. In the light, we can see what is around us. In the darkness, we cannot see what is around us. In the light, we see what’s true. In the darkness, we guess at what’s there. It’s what Jesus is getting at in this verse, John 3:19…
‘And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.’
Think of it this way. I will replace ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ with ‘truth’ and ‘non-truth.’
‘And this is the judgment: the TRUTH has come into the world, and people loved the NON-TRUTH rather than the TRUTH because their works were evil.’
“YEP!” he replied with a smile.
Psalms 78:1-4 (HCSB)
“My people, hear my instruction;
listen to what I say.
I will declare wise sayings;
I will speak mysteries from the past —
things we have heard and known
and that our fathers have passed down to us.
We must not hide them from their children, but must tell a future generation
the praises of the Lord,
His might, and the wonderful works
He has performed.”
I encourage you (Christians) to welcome your children into questioning and discussing the things of scripture.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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