Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Darkness

I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

- Isaiah 45.7 (NIV)

As far as I have been able to discover, this is the only verse in which it is claimed that God created darkness. It speaks in hyperbolic terms about God's sovereign rule in a passage announcing that God will use the pagan emperor Cyrus to bring darkness and disaster upon Israel.

In Genesis, however, God doesn't create the darkness; it is there before the light. God made "light shine out of darkness" (2 Corinthians 4.6). The darkness is not part of the creation, like fish or trees or the internet. It is not simply the equal and opposite of light. It is, as Augustine argued, the absense of light. That is, darkness is not anything in itself; it is a lack, a privation, a nothing.
Twelve points for the country in which this picture was taken; fifteen if you can name the museum.

16 comments:

Drew said...

a guess? Germany.

Interest verse; great photo.

AndrewE said...

Germany. Berlin Holocaust Museum.

byron said...

Wow - I thought that one would last a while.

Twelve points to Drew and fifteen to AndrewE.

Anthony said...

Strictly speaking, it's the 'Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe' in Berlin.

Anthony said...

And for those interested in technical details, it is possible for a new comment to appear in between clicking 'post comment' and finishing typing it...

byron said...

Anthony - AndrewE is correct. The Memorial is a different museum/sculpture.

byron said...

Though they are both in Berlin.

Drew said...

woohoo! I wondered if it was the Holocaust Museum - never seen it, but i remember Windschuttle rambling on about its zig-zag, 'lightning' design.

now you have to guess mine :)

cyberpastor said...

Does God use darkness to reveal the true character of light?

Martin Kemp said...

Byron:
Do agree with Augustine's view of evil, that it's the absense of Good?

byron said...

Does God use darkness to reveal the true character of light?
I suspect it is more the other way round: "And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3.19-21)

To argue that darkness reveals the true character of light is to make darkness necessary. Of course, we're playing round with literal and metaphorical uses of darkness here (as is Jesus/John).

andrew said...

To be very precise the picture was taken inside the Holocaust Tower of the Berlin Holocaust Museum. And to be very, very precise, there is a sign outside the door to it that asks visitors to refrain from taking photographs inside the tower!

But somehow, when I visited, my camera happened to capture an image very much like yours Byron!

byron said...

Andrew, I was going to give you five points for your extra precision, but then decided to dock them for dobbing me in, but finally decided to reinstate them due to your confession... :-)

Dave Barrie said...

Byron, do you think Isaiah 45:7 provides the warrant for saying that God is responsible, at some level, for every disaster which befalls humanity?

a. steward said...

Yes, it always seemed to me that when Job prays for darkness, he is praying for nothingness.

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