“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis 1: 3b-5~
Evening and morning–the first day. That was how God measured days. We flip it around. In our minds, our days begin with dawn and end with sunset.
In that change, we show our preference for daylight. And we show it in other ways as well. Our brightly lit streets are illuminated to a degree far beyond our need to have a well-lit pathway. Our cities glow and flicker as business interests compete for our attention. We are like moths, and like moths, we find artificial light more attractive than natural light. And the more light we have the more we want–as in addiction.
In The End of Night, Paul Bogard takes a secular look at our desire for more and brighter light.
“As our surroundings grow brighter, we grow used to that level of brightness, and so anything dimmer seems extraordinarily dim, even dark. This is exactly what happened as artificial lighting developed through the ages. The once glorious oil lamps became dim and disgusting with the advent of wonderful gas lighting, which then became smelly and awful and unbearably dim the moment we saw electric light. . . . [O]nce our eyes get used to seeing brighter lights, we must have brighter lights.”
We favor the daylight so much that we miss out on the night–on what God intended for us to get out of the night. Bogard asserts that our sleep problems–insomnia and other sleep disorders–are due to a lack of darkness. Artificial light on our streets and in our houses makes it impossible to achieve the level of darkness that promotes good rest.
But there’s more.
We consider a day as the time we move from light into darkness. God set up a daily system that moves us from darkness into light. There’s a metaphor for redemption in that view.
And as we see God’s glory through his complex and beautiful creation during the day, we see the same at night–if we can still see it in spite of the artificial light that conceals the lights of the sky.
Bogard writes: “[I]n the night skies under which the vast majority of us live, we can often count the stars we see on two hands (in the cities) or four (suburbs), rather than quickly losing count amid the more than twenty-five hundred stars otherwise visible on a clear night.”
Those who stand on the observatory deck of the Empire State Building see one percent of the stars those in Manhattan could see during the 1700s.
Our world is ever-brightening 24/7 with artificial light. It obscures the natural beauty God put in place to light our way and show his work.
And sometimes the light that captures us best is the small rectangle right in front of our faces.
I want to be careful to let even the light of my screens show me His way–His very self.
And I want to take care to look up and remember at least that there is much more there than what my eyes perceive.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1: 1-5~