The Light of Men – Part 2 of 2

The Light of Men – Part 2 of 2

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Text: John 1:4-5  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

To better comprehend Jesus as the Light of men, we need to understand Him as God. First Timothy 6:15 refers to Him as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

As God, Jesus is the Creator of all things and the Master of all things. As God, He is the Designer of all things and the Sustainer of all things. Nothing exists without Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is all-encompassing of all things. 

The Light

Being God, Jesus created light. He is the origin and source of light. Genesis 1:3-4 says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

The only thing that preceded light was God, heaven, and earth.

Speaking of the earth, Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Verse two says, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

The earth had no form because it was a ball of water. This is indicated by the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. Land does not appear until day three. It was void because there was no life. The first life on earth did not appear until day three. It was dark because there were no stars or sun. They were not created until day four.

When God said let there be light on the first day of creation, there was light, but it was not sunlight. The stars and the sun were created on the fourth day. What was the source of light on day one if there were no stars and no sun? The only source of light was God.

The stars and the sun are not necessary for light to exist. As an interesting side note, light is a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is called electromagnetic because it has properties of electricity and magnetism. These two forms of energy are linked in that a changing magnetic field will induce a changing electric field and vice versa.

A scientist named James Maxwell developed the math, known as the Maxwell equations, to describe this linked relationship between electricity and magnetism. His theory and equations made possible the discovery and use of radio waves and much more. This is when it was demonstrated that radio waves were a form of light. Or to be more accurate, light was one component of the electromagnetic spectrum.

We think of electricity as traveling through wires. But Maxwell’s theory showed that electricity and magnetism could transfer through the air and space without wires. And this idea brings us back to the creation of light. Light is the product of electron activity around the nuclei of atoms.

The light from light bulbs is the result of flowing electrons exciting electrons in the light bulbs. Some atoms, like metal, do not hold onto their electrons as tightly as other atoms. Those excited electrons jump up into the next energy orbital around the atom and then immediately fall back. When they fall back to the lower energy level they give up energy in the form of a photon. This is how light is produced in light bulbs. Trillions of electrons are bouncing up and down and releasing trillions of photons of light.

When God created the earth, which is described as a ball of water, which was made of water molecules, which were made of oxygen and hydrogen atoms, which were made of protons, neutrons, and electrons, light was a natural by-product. The activity of electrons releases photons which are the elements of light.

Your body is made of atoms too. This is why it is no surprise that your body gives off electromagnetic radiation. Some have made a big deal about it, as though it is a miracle or evidence that you have a soul. But if you did not have electromagnetic radiation emanating from your body, something would be wrong. In fact, you would have to be non-existent. Where there are active and flowing electrons, there is electromagnetic radiation. Wherever there are active electrons, there are photons of light. Light comes from active electrons.

What is the origin of the electrons? God is the origin. He is the origin of electrons. He is the origin of all things. To create light on the first day of creation, He activated the electrons. And thus, God is the reason there is light. God created light by creating and activating electrons. 

God is the origin and source of light. Without Him light could not exist. This literally makes Him the light of the world.

But light is of no benefit to us without a way to detect it. God created us with eyes to detect photons of light. As photons reflect and are absorbed by surfaces, they are changed in direction and quantity. This means that photons carry information from a reflective surface to our eye. This is the reason physicists call photons of light information packets. Our eyes detect these packets, and our brain processes the information. We call this process sight. We see our environment when sufficient photons are available. I say we see light when sufficient photons are present to make the point that photons exist even when there are not enough to detect with our eyes. We experience the effect of increasing and decreasing photons in our environment every day as the sun rises and sets. The darkening of the sky is due to fewer photons, not the absence of photons.

The physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg proposed the theory of uncertainty to explain how it is not possible to calculate the behavior of the physical world with certainty. This theory describes the behavior of electrons as they interact with photons. 

Here is how to understand Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. We can calculate the speed and direction of a baseball by watching it. Photons of light reflect off the surface of the ball, and we can collect the information from those photons to measure speed and direction. The photons bounce off the baseball without altering the behavior of the baseball. However, measuring the speed and direction of electrons has a 100% uncertainty.  Why would that be? The same principles of observation and math were being used to observe the baseball and the electrons. So why were the results different?

The Newtonian math equations used to calculate the speed and direction of the baseball were not accurately describing the behavior being observed at the level of the atom. To explain this inaccuracy, Heisenberg proposed the principle of uncertainty which states, we cannot know both the position and the speed of a photon or electron with perfect accuracy. Why is this so? To detect the movement and direction of an electron you need to bounce a photon off its surface. Unlike bouncing photons off a baseball, bouncing photons off an electron adds a significant amount of energy to the electron that changes its speed and direction. So you can know where the electron was, but you cannot know where it is. This is called Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And from this came quantum mechanics and math. This has all been known since the 1920’s. Heisenberg won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. I was privileged to first learn about this in 1974 from another Nobel Prize winner, Max Delbruck, who was teaching at UC Irvine. At the time, even the class was an uncertainty for me.

I know this is more science than most of you are interested in. However, whether you understand it or not, what you can appreciate is the wonder of how God created all things. Just being exposed to such explanations about the discoveries made in God’s creation is inspiring. It is mind boggling. And what I have described is void of real depth of insight. What is known about light is infinitely shallow compared to what could be said about God’s creation.

This at least gives you some insight into how light was created on the first day of creation without the stars and sun. Light comes from the activity of electrons in atoms, whether they be in the sun and stars or not.

This is physical light. Physical light gives us information about our physical world. We call this sight. From this information we gain understanding, and with understanding we make decisions.

In other words, light gives us information. Light makes sight and understanding possible. Light enables us to make good decisions.

The Light of Understanding

It is the correlation between light and decision making that Jesus refers to when He says He is the Light of men. He is the ultimate source of information. He gives understanding. He enables us to make good decisions with information that is true.

In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Instead of the phrase light of men, now Jesus uses the phrase light of life. The light of life refers to the information about how to experience life.

In John 9:5, Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Why is Jesus the Light of the world?

Jesus is the Word of God. He is the message from God. This message from God is from the source of truth. God is the origin of truth. He is the reason for truth. He is truth. His message of truth enlightens us with a true perspective of how to think about our world. Most importantly, His message enables us to make good decisions. One of my favorite sayings is that good decisions are only as good as your information.

Isa 42:6 refers to light of knowledge and understanding, saying, “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”

He explains the meaning of this statement in verse 7, saying, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” This imagery is all about the message of God giving understanding. This is how God is the light of men and the light of the world. His message is about how to live, and this makes Him the light of life. He is the message of how to live.

Isa 60:3 says, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” When people understand the message of God, they respond to it. They repent. They change what they believe and believe what God says.

In John 12:46, Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Light and darkness are metaphors for belief and unbelief, for truth and falsehood. Jesus came into the world to show the world what truth was. He did more than talk about truth, as His witnesses must do. He was the truth. He was truth wrapped in a body of human flesh. 

Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

And 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

Jesus was the light of men because He was the message of truth. He was the messenger who spoke of Himself. He brought His own message. He was the source of truth, revealing truth to the world up close and personal.

And because truth originated with God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, truth never changes. Truth is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” 

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody can come to the Father, receive eternal life, and enter the gates of heaven without Him. That is the truth. This is the message, the light of men and of the world, that gives us understanding of how to receive life, abundantly and forever.

Text: John 1:4-5  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

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