Darkness, then Light

In “Image” nos. 54, 58, 72, 188, and 211, Edwards meditates on light following darkness—the sun breaks forth each day to dispel the night, often with a rich profusion of color refracting through the clouds and sky. Dangerous beasts of the nocturne hours retreat into their dens. Light following darkness is rich with spiritual significance:

As all the good and happiness of mankind comes by redemption and salvation, all his light arises out of darkness, all his happiness out of misery, all his wealth out of the most extreme poverty, and his life out of death Agreeable to these circumstances of mankind, and the great designs and methods of God’s grace towards him through the Savior, it is ordered that so many of our outward mercies and good things are given in a way of deliverance, protection or remedy from some calamity we have been the subjects of, or are exposed to. (“Image” no. 188)

God makes the light shine in the darkness, by both sun and candle. His provision and care for our physical needs point to his greatest act of love—the Light of the world who brings the world out of darkness:

As all the world is enlightened and brought out of darkness by the rising of the sun, so by Christ’s rising we are begotten again to a living hope; and all our happiness and life and light and glory and the restitution of all things is from Christ rising from the dead, and is by his resurrection. (“Image” no. 54)

Great works of God—such as salvation and revival—commonly occur after times of great confusion and darkness like the void and chaos that preceded the Divine command of Genesis 1:3. “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 Cor. 4:6 ESV).

Edwards’s text courtesy of edwards.yale.edu.