Bethlehem Blogs

October 14, 2018

Seeing Light, Seeing God

Pam Larson

Minister for Women, North Campus

Guest author Alyssa Miller and her husband, Matt, are members who worship at the Downtown Campus with their four children. Alyssa also serves on the Women’s Ministry team and was one of our testimony speakers at our 2018 Women’s Spring Conference.

It’s Fall.

In Minnesota, Fall brings the onset of shorter days and less light. For many people, this is a big deal. Because light is a big deal. I have found it deeply moving to lay the scientific truths of light over the biblical truths of God and to see how perfectly they point me to Jesus.

Seeing Light

Did you know that sight is used by the brain more than any other sense to process information? In fact, more than two-thirds of the information we receive is processed through our sense of sight. When our eyes take in information, they are actually taking in  … light.

Yep. Our pupils take in light, the layers of our eyes focus the light into shapes, and our brains translate the “light shapes” into known images. Light isn’t just an aid to seeing well. It IS seeing. Cue Matthew 6:22, “The eye is the lamp of the body …” What a verse before its scientific time!

First John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” When John uses the word “light” to define God, he uses the Greek root phos. This means “radiance” or “bright.” It forms other Greek words like lamp and sunray. God illuminates. This is his nature. He is not an aid to spiritual seeing. He IS seeing.

If light is sight, and God is light, then God = sight. In other words, true spiritual seeing is, in fact, to see God. If I am blind, and I want to see, then I need to look at God.

Blinding Light

If looking at the sun can literally burn your eyes to blindness, what is it to look on the Creator of that sun? First Timothy 6:16 says, “[God] dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” Isaiah says that to look at God is to become undone (Isaiah 6:5). And John reminds us, “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18).

Great. The one source of my spiritual seeing is un-seeable. I cannot look at the sun and see. In the same way, I cannot look on God and see. They are too great for me.

But a reflection of the sun’s light—now that I can handle. A ray, I can bask in. A distant glimpse, I can enjoy. So says physics. And so says the Bible. The laws of incidence and refraction tell me that light can bounce and project off of other objects. This is what God did through Jesus. He made his light palpable. He made seeing himself, possible.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.—2 Corinthians 4:6

He knew that my spiritual eyes could not handle him. So instead he gave me an image to translate, a light I could bear to see—Jesus.

Filled With Light

Turn on a flashlight. Shine it directly in front of you at the bathroom mirror, so that the light is now (indirectly) shining onto you. You have acted out what God did through Jesus.

God (flashlight) shone his perfect light onto Jesus (mirror), and when we look directly at Jesus, he reflects that light onto us.

The light that has shone onto me, and into me, exposes the sin in my dark places. Now I can see my dirt and confess it. I can name it and thank Jesus for dying for it. I look on Jesus, and my heart is filled with God, with light. It gives me enough clarity to walk daily. Others can see it in deed and word. His light spews out of my cracked vessel. I am rays-bathed, warm, and safe.

Is It Dim in Here to You?

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.—1 Corinthians 13:12

One of the three basic rules of light is that “the farther you are from a light source, the dimmer the light” (Annenberg Teacher). I seek to gaze as deeply as I most possibly can on God—on Jesus. But on this side of eternity, it simply will be dim. It is not an issue with the Light Source. I must not question the beauty, or warmth, or strength of God. It is simply a matter of my proximity to him that determines my perception of his radiance.

“[I] look to the Lord and his strength, [seeking] his face” (Psalm 105:4, NIV). I strain to see as much of God as I can, through his Son, Jesus. One day, I will be transformed to see him up close and personal. What will it be like to withstand looking at God directly? To dine with him? To walk with him? To be in perfect Light?

Heaven, come quickly.

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