Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Let There Be Light!"

By Tony Harriman  •   

Have you ever tried to imagine a world without light, the kind of light that is visible to the eyes?  I’m not talking about outdoor stumbling around on a moonless night, or the kind of low light we enjoy on one of those romantic midnight strolls we take on the beach.  I’m talking about the kind of absence of light that you might find in the deep recesses of a cave, or way, way underground.  I read somewhere that constant exposure to that kind of darkness will cause blindness within fifteen days — permanent blindness.


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There are many creatures on our planet which navigate without the use of eyes; they have access to an array of senses which in some aspects provides information which is more accurate than that provided by sight.  Most human beings enjoy and are limited to five measurable senses, and beyond that, modern science can say very little about much else, ie: the GPS capabilities of the backyard sparrow or honey bee, or the ultrasound equipment installed in the nervous system of any of the members of the porpoise family, or, for that matter, the electrical-sensing array of the average shark.  We see these wonders being played out, but we really have no conclusive explanation for what’s happening.

Beyond the information being provided by this seemingly limitless supply of “tastebuds” is the incredibly complex software running inside each creature’s mind which not only directs the information to all the right places, but also performs the function of interpreting the bits and bytes into usable packages.

But let’s stick with light for a moment or two more.

The best available device for tracking light can be found in the not-so-humble police vehicle.  Many speed-measuring devices use technology which observes well-established rules laid out in what’s known as the Doppler Effect.  Simply put, different colors of light travelling, reflecting and returning off of moving solid objects travel at certain speeds and can be measured.  That’s why the officer can inform you that “You were doing 55 in a 35 — sign here.  Have a nice day.”

Let’s step off of the known and into the realm of thinking-it-through.

There appear to be versions of light that presently we have no gauge for; no pressure sensor; no barometer; no meter, or whatever else we use to measure the things we know.

The Bible often uses the concept of light when referring to things that are just a little out of our reach; things that belong more in the realm of thought than in soil.  “God is light,” says John.  An “angel of light,” mentions Paul.  An angel “with a flaming sword” of light, observes the writer of Genesis.

The first mention of light that we have to think through shows up on the very first day of creation: “Let there be light,” commands the Lord, “and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3).  This light appears to be of a different nature than that which we are used to, because the sun and the moon (generally thought to be the origin and reflecter of free usable light on the planet) don’t appear until three days later in the creation week (verses 14 thru 19).

But light is not dependent on just a sun for its being.  Light can be caused by many things, known, and obviously, unknown.  For instance, friction or pressure can cause light.  Fireflies produce light by internally mixing chemical compounds.  I remember the first time in school I saw light produced in a test tube; the teacher gave each member of my class a little of two different chemicals.  I could’ve stayed in the lab for the rest of the week just watching this phenomenon repeated as we one by one mixed the chemicals and created light.  I wish I could remember what the chemicals were; I'll look it up later.

The expression, “God is light,” appears to me to be much broader than the Apostle John understood.  Are we to believe that God is restricted to the properties and boundaries of light?  Heaven forbid, surely.  Light has limits; God has none.  If God were living in the center of our galaxy and had to rely on the fastest known form of travel, namely, the speed of light, to get around, it would take Him 30,000 years to take a journey from His house to ours.  Based on our current understanding of the properties of light, if an angel were sent from the throne of God (at the center of our galaxy) to deliver a message to someone in the center of a neighboring galaxy, it would take somewhere close to half a million years before the message arrived.  Well, you can see how interesting THAT would make things.

I don’t personally believe that the speed of a traveling angel is restricted to that of light, which is currently estimated at an average of 186,000 miles per second.  And if an angel, traveling at speeds beyond our current comprehension, had to rely on eyes like ours with which to navigate, eyes which are equipped to be light receptors, it seems that there would be constant collisions since no angel would be able to “see” anyone else coming.  The thought seems silly, and far out of the realm of order that I believe God lives in.

It’s not necessary to have eyes to respond or react to light; plants do it every day, as do worms when unearthed in the daytime, as well as does your favorite red sweater, which you accidentally left lying in the sun and now has a very visible faded area, the color carried off by the bright light in some mysterious fashion.

There is a curious observation which might be noticed from how the properties of an event are transmitted.  What I mean is this: when you’re on the sideline of any sporting event, the action and the sound made by that action are more or less simultaneous to the eye and ear, but the further you get away from the action the more you notice that the sound and the sight are not traveling at the same speed.  Way off down the field the player kicks the ball, but the sound of that kick doesn’t arrive in your ears until a second or so later.  TV stations showing a live event have to take this phenomenon into account, and the picture signal has to be slowed down so that it corresponds with the sound arriving in your TV.  Broadcasting equipment has a built-in feature that permits manual manipulation of the sound and vision.  At the time of this writing I’m sitting outside enjoying a thunderstorm, and this effect of sound and light is being demonstrated very nicely; the lightning flashes, then a few seconds later the thunder rolls.  We take this phenomenon so much for granted that I’m sure we’re missing a very grand lesson which God has laid before us.  He could have made sound waves and light waves to match each other perfectly.  But, for reasons I’m sure we will one day thoroughly enjoy, He didn’t.  Even the colors across the incredibly broad spectrum travel at different speeds.  Fascinating.

Light is the highest form of energy that a human being has the ability to knowingly sense and measure.  Modern science dictates that nothing travels faster than light, and scientists have no time for anything beyond that which they can see, calculate and predict; by predict, I mean as in an experiment which may be repeated with predictable results.  Beyond this realm of what you and I call “normal” is where I believe God lives and moves and has His being.  This is the realm of the Spirit, for which there is currently no scientific measuring device.  We don’t even know how to explain it, but just like the wind, we clearly see its effects; most notably, perhaps, in the changing of lives which were once embroiled in hopelessness.

One last look at light: if there were nothing for light to shine upon and reflect off of, we wouldn’t even know the light was there; it would just be constantly passing through unannounced and undetected on its way through the cosmos.

And as a closing thought, if you or I should one day come up with an idea which satisfies our curiosity about what God is like and how He operates, the chances are that the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, or ANY TRUTH we might concoct for ourselves.  If God IS light, it is a light with which we are presently unfamiliar, which could be part of the reason we are unable to see Him with our eyes.  And for sure, a Being Who can create light surely is not restricted by the works of His own hands — right?  Such an order of things would make some actions impossible for God — and THAT would make no sense at all.

Just my take on it ….


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