a waffly riddle about Life

Darkness is the absence of light, but it is nothing more than that. Light however is much more than the absence of darkness. It is present, it is real. In the same way I think death is the absence of life. Life however, is something so much more than the absence of death. If this is true then death is really a life without life rather than something in itself. If that is true then in order to really understand death we need to understand true life.

Maybe it’s just my twisted brain but to me there is a subtle yet significant difference between trying to escape darkness and responding to the invitation of life. Too many times I have heard horror stories of what hell will be like with the hope that I will be so terrified of going there that I’ll run away from it by giving my life to God. But if I do this am I really responding to God’s invite to life or am I simply viewing God as someone who provides an escape ticket from something bad? Hell is hell because it is absent of God. Surely God wants more for us than to escape something bad, he wants us to know (with all of our experience and being) something good. He wants us to know HIM. THAT is his agenda for us. “I have come that you would have life to the full”. These words are so familiar and yet they are flippin astounding.

To talk about hell and death without talking about the kingdom and life misunderstands death entirely. It can’t be fully understood without the other, in the same way that we can never understand darkness apart from light. We cant understand what it means to be outside the kingdom if we don’t understand the kingdom. Perhaps this is just a wordy riddle that says something that is already obvious, or maybe it’s a load of crap but either way I have had a lot of fun thinking about light and darkness when I should probably have been doing something a little more productive!

Ps I have a question – it is not possible to understand darkness without knowing about light, but it is possible to understand light without knowing about darkness? (interchangable with life and death) I would like to know the answer to this.

if you didn’t understand a word of this here is a Basic summary – ‘always talk more about the kingdom and life and God.’

the end.

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10 Comments on “a waffly riddle about Life”

  1. soapbox Says:

    one of the best things I’ve heard one of the pastors in my church say was “becoming a Christian through fear of hell is one of the worst reasons, instead we should see the unsurpassing goodness and greatness of God and his ways above everything else – that is why we should sign on”.
    Great stuff – we need to hold things in tension yet so often we get skewed as we react against extremes.
    A huge moment for me was when I began to understand judgement in a new way – of seeing it as God holding people to account for what they had done – thinking that way fills me with hope that God’s justice will prevail over evil.
    I grew up hearing all about what Jesus had saved us from but very little about what we are ‘saved to or for’.

  2. anon Says:

    The avoiding death and hell approach does nothing but make me feel guilty and scared and encourages a ‘I must try harder’ attitude. On the other hand learning more about God’s kingdom and what we are saved to/for excites me and motivates me to live for what I was created for.
    On the ‘is it possible to understand light without knowing about darkness?’ bit… I guess to some extent you can understand light/life without knowing about darkness/death but would it really mean much? What significance has light/life if you don’t understand the alternative? I guess we need something to compare it to. You said ‘in order to really understand death we need to understand true life.’ I agree but I would also suggest that in order to really understand true life we need to understand death. The two are tied together – we can sort of understand them separately but we don’t get the full picture unless we see both.

    I may have just totally confused myself!

    Ps: put up M’s cartoon!

  3. “is it possible to understand light without knowing about darkness?”

    OF COURSE! That’s what I think anyway.

    If darkness is nothing but absence (of light) then it can never really be known, in the sense of it not being anything. It lacks content. It lacks reality.

  4. Mark Says:

    I’m with you on this one transfarmer… and have actually been thinking of doing a dissertation on it. I think one of the reasons why the witness of the church is so ineffective (in the north) is that we only talk about salvation from hell… we need to demonstrate salvation to life. As people see and come into a covenant community, the teaching will make sense, the life is attractive, they belong and believe.

    Yet at the same time I have also been struck recently with Jonah and the message God gave to him – a message of judgement, which brought about a revival. But it was God’s message, for a particular city, at a particular time… do we not also need to discern God’s message for cities and individuals?

  5. MG Says:

    I’m with Zoomlite on this one… If true life is knowing God and God is a person then you can definitely know and appreciate life/light without knowing the darkness. I’m not sure if it’s really an issue though as all of us do know the non-reality of darkness.

  6. Mark Says:

    Darkness and light are only known by contrast.

    Even if we don’t tell people about the ‘outer darkness’ of hell, when faced with Jesus (the light) they will realise the darkness which they live in. The darkness of this world and their sin.

    Even if they think their life is good, compared to the person down the street, or in jail, or in poverty when the true light shines, they realise how dull their life is!

  7. zoomy Says:

    Not sure about that Mark. Too much. Darkness can only be known by contrast in the sense that darkness can’t be known at all since it is absence. You can’t know the hole, but you can see where the substance ends.

    Light however is presence so really, it is know without reference to anything else, without the need for contrast.

    I’d love to hear more about how the true light shines cos seriously, the world I live in is pretty dark with sin…

  8. Mark Says:

    I know what you are saying zoomtard, but I think that when we speak theologically of darkness we are not simply refering to the absence of light. Rather we are refering to the presence of the Devil, sin and all the results of it. This I think gives not simply a theological reality to darkness, but a tangeabile reality which we all know in our lives.

  9. But that’s where you need to downgrade your view of the Satan. He doesn’t make anything. He just breaks it. 🙂

  10. Ruins Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Ruins

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