Absence of lights is used in both physical and figurative senses in both the OT and NT. The darkness that covered the deep before God’s creation of light symbolizes chaos in opposition to God’s orderly creations (Gen 1:2-3). Elsewhere darkness, as well as light, is recognized as the creation of God (Isa 45:7). Darkness is a place where “workers of iniquity may hide” (Job 34:22 NASB); however, darkness does not hide one from God (Psa 139:11-12; Dan 2:22).

Darkness was thought of as a curse. Thus the OT speaks of death as a land of darkness (Job 10:21-22; 17:13; Psa 88:6). Darkness is frequently associated with supernatural events involving the judgement of God, such as the plagues of Egypt (Exod 10:21), the coming of the Lord (Isa 13:9-10; Joel 2:31; Matt 24:29), and Christ’s crucifixion (Matt 27:45). The day of God’s judgment is often described as a day of darkness (Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18-20). Elsewhere darkness forms part of God’s punishment on the disobedient (Deut 28:29; 1 Sam 2:9; Job 5:14; 15:30; 20:26; Psa 107:10; Isa 47:5; Jer 13:16; Ezek 32:8).

In the NT the place of punishment for humans and sinful angels is designated “the outer darkness” (Matt 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; cp 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6,13). Darkness often has an ethical sense. Scripture speaks of ways of darkness (Prov 2:13; 4:19), walking in darkness (John 8:12; 1 John 1:6; cp 2 Cor 6:14; Eph 5:8), and works of darkness (Rom 13:12; Eph 5:11). In this ethical sense God has no darkness in Himself (1 John 1:5). Powers hostile to God can be termed darkness. People thus face a choice of whether to yield allegiance to God or to darkness (Luke 22:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Col 1 :13; 1 Thess 5:5). Darkness also symbolizes ignorance, especially of God and of God’s ways (Isa 8:22; 9:2; John 12:46; Acts 26:18;1 Thess 5:4; 1 John 2:9). God’s deliverance (either from ignorance or hostile powers) is described as lighting the darkness (Isa 9:2; 29:18; 42:7-16; Mic 7:8; 1 Pet 2:9).

Leave a Reply