The mystery of God and Light

hi guys,
i have no idea how to word this question…so I’m just going to stumble (hopefully in a forwards direction) and “wing it”

We have been having a discussion on another thread about beliefs and i inadvertently stumbled onto a comparison that i hadn’t thought about before.

We talk about the mystery of God. God said of Himself in the bible, “tell them I am who I am”. Christ modeled to us a God who isn’t complicated actually, and the apostle John wrote in Revelation 14:12 the patience of the saints are those who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus

So i got to thinking, the bible talks a lot about Christ being the Light of the World and it suddenly occurred to me, I for the life of me cant really explain the mystery of Light.

Light is such a funny thing, you cant touch it, it doesnt appear to have mass, however, its clearly influenced by refraction in water and by gravity and we can use it for a purpose. Its got to be one of the strangest things in our reality that we know so well but in all honesty cant really explain.

I am now wondering, has anyone ever had to explain what light is to a blind person? because it seems to me that we really only explain it as something we can see! Given the bible says we are blind to God (because we are separated from Him by sin)…do you see the parallel dilemma in that?

It seems to me that whilst a great explanation of God is that God is light, the notion of light itself is rather difficult too…i mean we can use it to communicate and yet essentially, its “spirit” just like God!

I apologize for the meandering ramble above…i need to talk my way through these things in order to make sense of them…and this is me talking.

oh also, adding to the above…if human nature cannot really understand God because our carnal sinful nature is unable to “see him” (Satan and sin clouding our ability to see),

how does a person who has “the light”, witness to an unbeliever given the difficulty of explaining what light is to a blind person?

I mean we could argue we just live the Christian life…but the unbeliever isn’t even looking at the life we are modelling…they cant see it as being special…they are blind to it and it can be explained away using secular evolutionary reasoning…ie that morality evolved through trial and error.

Photons seem to be explained in detail here:

The same way you would describe radio waves to me. There is a lot of light that we can’t see. The visible spectrum makes up a tiny portion of all light.

Analogies can be useful for describing concepts. The key is not to push the analogy too far, and remember that they are just analogies.


For a physicist like me, light isn’t such a funny thing. It is well explained as a wave of alternating electric and magnetic fields, quantized in units of energy (called photons) inversely proportional to its wavelength.

You touch it all the time and it touches you, when you put your hand in its path and lights up your hand by the absorption and re-emission by the electrons in your hand changing its color according to the molecules which those electrons are a part of.

It doesn’t have mass but it does have energy and thus it interacts with other things accordingly.

It is not the strangest by far and it is far better explained than many other things.

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As you see below, explaining light is easy, more difficult to a blind person who can not see your graphics but its a simple physical thing.

The more difficult thing is to explain metaphysical gravity. Considering that we are well aware of physical gravity and how it works, and even have laws for it, we still can’t explain the “nature” of this force. We constantly feel it and know it to be a function of mass and how it relates to energy, but the energy and the forces of metaphysical gravity are more difficult to fathom and yet they drive it all.

the mystery of God and metaphysical gravity is the real challenge, how to explain selfless love to a selfie :slight_smile:

I am not sure what “metaphysical gravity” refers to, but Einstein’s explanation of gravity in General Relativity remains an excellent explanation with predictions which continue to be confirmed. Our inability to combine it with the other forces in a quantum theory doesn’t change this to make gravity something which is unexplained or magical.

Well…until you have to explain what “electricity” is and what “magnetism” is…without circular or reductive definitions (think Richard Feynman). We can use words to offer an “explanation,” but does it really give understanding? If not, it’s not actually an “explanation.”

Those are all defined experimentally and empirically, and they can be used to make predictions about what will be seen in an experiment (e.g. Photoelectric effect). I would call it an explanation.


Ah well yes, people seem to expect different things from explanations, but a lot of those are too airy and insubstantial to interest me – mostly just about making things fit into their limited worldview. For science, explanations have a much more concrete and substantial function to predict the results of a wide variety of measurements. In this way electric and magnetic fields are also well explained.

But these efforts of definition and rhetoric you refer to are founded upon the delusions of rationalism. In real life, circularity is how many things work – things themselves being the reason why they are as they are. For example I had a persistent cough for many years and the main cause of the cough was the cough itself irritating the lungs and thus causing the production of mucus which cause the body do react by coughing. That is the explanation for the cough no matter how circular it may be. Things like this abound in real life.

Someone once complained to me that scientists are not so interested in dwelling on the metaphysical meaning of the elemental things in their explanations. My reply was “of course not.” Their interest is science not philosophy and since they see little resolved in philosophy they don’t see why they should waste their time on such things.


So the issue is…“what do you mean by ‘explanation’”?

“Nobody understands quantum mechanics”…the math “explains it” and my microwave oven works.

That’s the phenomenon that made one of my bouts with chronic viral bronchitis go on and on and on. The cough from the bronchitis could be controlled, the other not so much.

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I let you ponder for a while, but think about attracting forces that are not describable by physics, yet stronger than any physical force we know of. It is like magic when you experience it knowingly and completely changes your view of reality.

I would say all of us have experienced it and I pity those who dismiss it.

The math predicts it, and it is confirmed in experiments.

Interestingly, you can get a rough estimate of the speed of light using your microwave oven and a chocolate bar.


have you ever been tormented by scratching an itch?

a famous cause for those of us with any bush experience being from having had a tick

You scratch and it gets worse not better and the sensation drives one crazy for days after.

Chiggers have been the bane of my existence this spring. Usually 2-3 days of misery tapering off over a week.

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I must say, i had to google what Chiggers are. Sounds like a pretty nasty experience :grimacing:

I did not either know what chiggers are. One page claimed that chiggers are found in all countries and you cannot avoid them. That is misleading as mites are common everywhere but chigger-type attacks on humans are not - we do not have a chigger problem in this part of the globe.

Instead, we have plenty of other groups that attack humans - ticks, mosquitos, gnats (= blackflies), punkies (= biting midges), horseflies. I spent some days in wilderness areas of Lappland and there was all the time a cloud of 50-500 gnats and mosquitos surrounding me, except in windy spots - this has been a relatively bad mosquito/gnat year. That was also somewhat irritating.

There was also light, sun shining around the clock (7/24), although often behind the clouds.

Over this last week - an apparent encounter with poison ivy has been the bane of mine. And I’m not even sure where/when it happened. Only that my fingers must have deftly spread it to various and asundry spots all over. Hot shower spray has been a God-send alternative to itching.

You can also use a hair dryer for itch. The heat does a good job of blocking the itch nerves. Cortisone cream is the best for treatment once broken out, and in severe cases systemic steroids. Speaking of “sundry spots” I remember a patient who elected to use the local greenery as toilet tissue in the woods, to adverse effect.

Alas, it does make you wonder about the fall and the groaning of creation (attempting to make it somewhat on topic)


Hair dryer sounds like a better option! Either one could dry out skin if overused I imagine.

[Yeah … And as to topic at hand, these afflictions can be placed where ‘the light don’t shine.’]

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