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What does God have to do with the ordinary course of events? And what does God have to do with evil? Of course, to apply the rule we must know what is light and John has already told us how to discover that. Turn our eyes upon Jesus. When we look at him we see the anonymous carpenter of Nazareth and Capernaum, the wedding guest in Cana, the protector of fallen women, the benefactor of hungry thousands, the friend of fishermen, the disrupter of funerals, the risen crucified one, the one who is the word of life.

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Indeed the resurrection of the crucified one tells us that he is the logos from whom all things come. At his word light becomes light.

No Darkness At All | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at

And what of darkness? An influential answer, the most influential answer in Christian history is that darkness is nothing, the privation of being. But this will not do because darkness at its very worst is eros whose object is violence, violence that aims at nothing, that reduces the other to nothing, that extinguishes the light. The darkness literally tried to extinguish the light.

There is in addition a less insidious form that darkness takes and that is mindless degeneration — finitude in the form of death. The resurrection is the divine light that exposes the darkness for what it is, the antithesis of him in whom and from whom we live and have our being. It is impossible to comprehend natural history this way because God is light and in him is no darkness at all including no darkness in the means he makes his own to achieve his ends.

God Is Light: In Him Is No Darkness At All

God is at work in all things to achieve his ends, but not all things are his works. And not only must we distinguish the presence of the divine in history from the ordinary course of events; we must also differentiate the divine will from our wills. We cannot identify our agendas and actions with the divine will. Because God is light and in him is not darkness at all.

In Him Is No Darkness

Nevertheless our lives are only touched by darkness. They are not swallowed up in it. Just as surely as we cannot identify the ordinary course of events or our individual agendas with the divine will, so we cannot conclude that those events and those aims annul the divine will either.

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  • Since Jesus is alive, whatever else may be historical fact, we can be certain that our labor, as Paul says, is not in vain. We are able to discern the presence of God in history, in our own history because in Jesus the divine light shines.

    "The Place Where There Is No Darkness" from Nineteen Eighty-Four

    And because that light is the antithesis of darkness we must not rationalize evil. If we ask, as life and faith compels us to, what does God have to do with evil, with the erotic will to violence, with the mindless degeneration of death, then we can offer only one answer. God is the immutable opponent of evil. This is phrased in terms of light and darkness, common themes in the New Testament. As in verse 1, John alludes both to the creation account in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and the introduction to his own Gospel in John chapter 1.

    Passages for Further Study

    God's first recorded words are, "Let there be light" Genesis John —5 records, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. He is without any darkness or shadow. He is both perfect and without sin.