Let there be Light

Jun 6, 2015 by

Let there be Light

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.   (Genesis 1:1-3)

The beginning of Genesis contains some deep truths. It starts with those memorable words

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, – God brought into being the universe – not just the physical universe that we touch and feel and see, but the energies that are behind it, the laws of nature by which it operates, and the whole of space and time. Before the Big Bang, there was nothing,  “ the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep.”

A formless void? Something with no shape or form and no content, a void, a vaccuum. There was nothing there. Maybe it was just a thought in the mind of God at that stage – but I don’t want to get into trying to understand it too literally.

while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” (NIV: and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.)

Why the two different ways of expressing it? Because the Hebrew word used is ruach, which means wind, breath, or spirit. We could equally say ‘the breath of God was over the waters’.

How can there have been waters in a formless void? Looking at the actual word, it literally means water, but can figuratively mean juice, essence. Maybe the thought-essence of God? So into this formless thought-essence, God acted and said “Let there be light”

So we have a poetic expression of creation, that God was behind it, that it emanated from God, and his first action was to create light.

What is light? It is energy – electromagnetic energy to be precise. Electromagnetic energy is what we know as radio waves, microwaves, infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays. These are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They differ from each other in their frequency and wavelength. They could all be considered as different forms of light – our eyes only perceive the central part of the spectrum, visible light. God said “Let there be light” – the whole electromagnetic spectrum of energies, the sea of light in which we exist.

We live in a world in which there is a dawning understanding that the nature of reality is actually very different from the way that we have always understood it. Slowly, there is a downward trickle from the scientific world that we inhabit an existence composed of energetic information fields, not solid matter. One neurophysiologist, Mary Schmitt, has expressed this well in an essay entitled “If All is Consciousness, What Then is my Body?” In a playful way, she describes first the way the body looks under an electron microscope, in the range of a millionth of a centimetre:

“In that domain, the body appears more like a vast sea, inhabited by many types of creatures. Ocean caves (pores of the skin) seem to be inhabited by various sea creatures (bacteria): nerve cells of the inner ear look like sea anemones; and the taste buds as beautiful flower arrangements… Sea snakes piggybacking giant sea lions are actually muscle tissue with nerve fibres running along the surface – and on and on.

The body at this level is still seen as solid matter, real, though strange. But going to a much greater magnification still, one hundred millionth of that size (i.e. 10-14cm for the mathematically minded), we come to a domain where all solidity is gone. At this level, if we could magnify this much, we would see each atom of which the body is made. The simple model of an atom is a central nucleus, surrounded by electrons whizzing in orbit around it. If we could enlarge the nucleus of the atom to the size of a speck of dust, the electrons are in orbit hundreds of yards away (considering them as particles and not waves for the moment). In between is nothingness, emptiness. She makes the delightful and sobering point that if we could get rid of all the emptiness within our atoms, we could fit on the head of a pin with room to spare! An amazing thought – all the seemingly solid stuff of which we are made is actually nearly all emptiness, and could fit on the head of a pin.

Going further still, she enlarges the magnification to the sub-atomic level within the atomic particles. At that level it becomes difficult to refer to our bodies as made of “matter” at all:

The hundreds of subatomic portions of the protons and neutrons of the nucleus, such as leptons, mesons, quarks, though spoken of as particles, are not so much “entities”, as intelligent, vibratory patterns of interacting, communicating energies. Some of these so-called “particles” can go backward in time, go in and out of existence.

This is what we are made of; this is the nature of the reality of our bodies: we are essentially vibratory patterns, interacting, communicating energies, at a more subtle level than was ever imagined only 50 years ago –  and even time and space are not fixed. At this level, we begin to see connections between matter and mind, or consciousness. You and I are not separate, we are all interconnected. Our energy fields reach out way beyond our bodies. We interact with each other at subconscious levels all the time. You know yourself that you can pick up the ‘vibes’of another person, without them saying anything. Sometimes you only have to walk into a room to know there is something heavy going on. Our energy fields interact with each other.

So the writer of Genesis wasn’t far off the mark when he expressed creation as God said ‘Let the be Light’, or ‘let there be energy’, because that is what we consist of, that is what the whole of the universe consists of – interacting, interlaced, communicating energies. A 12th century Christian mystic, Hildegarde of Bingen, saw this in her mystical visions and said  “Everything that is in the heavens, in the earth, and under the earth is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.”

What a wonder! How absolutely utterly amazing is this creation that we live in, that we are part of. And when I take that understanding of reality into the way I understand who Jesus was and is, then I begin to see that his vibratory energy is a pattern that can change mine, and yours. At his baptism, as we heard earlier, John described the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Again, the word can mean Spirit or Breath or Wind – or even maybe Energy? Because that is what is contained in both breath and wind.

So we can express Christian spirituality in non-Christian language – in language which has a resonance with the world that we live in today, and our understanding of how it works. When Jesus was baptised, the divine energy of God came upon him. He was specially anointed, or Christed, for his years of ministry. This special Christ energy was described by John as the Spirit descending like a dove.

When we understand the nature of reality as being all energy, then it opens up many new ways of looking at our Christian heritage. The mere idea that science and religion are incompatible becomes ridiculous. We begin see new insights into the miracles of Christ. The gospel writers have described things in their own language, their own understandings of the time – but we can describe them again in our own language.

Christianity has to move on to incorporate different language and understandings, so that it can speak afresh to new generations now and in the future. Christianity has always adapted itself to the culture and context of the time and place. Our 21st century western culture has largely sidestepped the Church, because it has not kept pace with society today. The church needs to be able to speak relevantly into our society, to explain its beliefs in ways that connect, in a language that is understandable to non-churched people. Jesus explained himself in terms of the rural society in which he lived – sheep and goats, vineyards and winepresses, weddings and feasts, kings and servants, spirits and demons.

How would he have expressed himself today? Would he blog on facebook? Would he tweet on twitter? Would he talk of energetic balance in the energy centres of the body? Would he be an alternative therapist? Would he want you to download the energy of God? Would you be uploading your prayer requests? Would the parables be about market economy, consumer attitudes, employment problems? And maybe about train delays, car delays, oil dependency, global warming, and living more simply? Probably all of these and more.

Our faith is about the inner transformation that happens when we open our hearts and minds to the presence of God, and the language of the society we live in now can be used to express that, just as well as the language of 2000 years ago.

So when you come across a problem in reading the bible, and your mind says “I can’t believe that” or “is that really the way it was”, then think about why it was expressed that way then, and how it might be expressed today. We are all an interconnected in this energetic reality that we are a part of. God said “Let there be light”, the bible starts with the light of creation, and the New Testament continues with the light of Christ, who said “You are the light of the world.” We are all light.

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