Darkness is the absence of light. Spiritual darkness is the absence of seeing what is, blindness to the presence of Jesus in all things. The ‘world’ represents the variety of systems (religious included) that have emerged in our blindness by which we seek to give ourselves life and significance. We defend these systems with a vengeance because we think that they are all there is. Jesus bids us to see with his eyes, to take sides with Him against the way we see or perceive—His Father first, then ourselves and others, and our enemies. He promises to us that as we take sides with him against our own interpretations he will lead us to an experience of life that is beyond anything we can conceive in the darkness (John 8:12).
In the Genesis narrative the serpent declares, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (3:4-5). Here, at the beginning of the Biblical story we have the strategy of evil laid before us. First, he casts doubt upon the character and trustworthiness of God. The serpent accuses God of lying and withholding blessing, which implies that Adam and Eve are ‘not yet’ what they could be. This is the origin of shame. Adam and Eve are not there yet, not good enough, not okay as they are. Second, he says that Eve does not yet see, implying that she is blind and in need of something other than divine counsel. Third, in suggesting that by eating from the tree she will then be like God, he is leading her to doubt her simple and true identity. The truth is that Adam and Eve were already created in the image and likeness of God. The evil one simply led them to doubt reality, the goodness of God and their union with Him.
The assumption of separation from God is the great deception. Once we believe that we are separated from God, that we are not already fashioned in the image and likeness of God, and already share in His life and wisdom, we then believe that we are not good enough as we are, that we do not yet measure up, or that we are simply unacceptable. Then we must take action to cross the divide to God, (which is the birth of religion), to make ourselves that which we believe we are not or to create for ourselves that which we believe we do not have. When Eve saw that “the tree was desirable to make wise” (3:6) she took and ate. When she bought into the lie that she was not united with God and therefore not wise in herself, she inevitably took action to become what she believed she was not. This is the fallen mind, and our blessed Lord Jesus has found his way inside it. “I have made Your name known to them, and I will make it known; that the love with which You love Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20).
“I AM the light of the cosmos; the one who follows Me (takes sides with me against their own seeing and perceiving) shall never, ever walk in the darkness, but shall experience the light of life” (John 8:12).