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David preaching to congregation

Notes from Pastor David

"Light from Light"

August 13th, 2023

The ancient world, like many cultures today, was polytheistic. To pagan ears, there was nothing too surprising in the Christian confession that Jesus was divine. So were men like Julius Caesar and Augustus. The Nicene Creed articulates our faith in the divinity of Christ in a way that distinguishes it from the polytheistic notions of divinity and distils biblical language concerning God.

After we confess that “we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ” there is a string of phrases intended to articulate the full divinity of the Son of God and his unique relationship to God the Father: “the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten from the Father, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same substance of the Father.” In this note, we turn our attention to the phrase: “Light from Light.”

First, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is “Light from Light.” This phrase suggests an analogy for the relationship of the Father and the Son and affirms the unique transcendence of the Son. The Apostle John writes that at the heart of the Gospel message is the declaration that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The Apostle Paul writes that our Lord Jesus Christ “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16).

John and Paul are referring to the uncreated Light of God. In his divine being, God is unapproachable and incomprehensible. He is holy. This does not mean we cannot know him and have communion with him, but we will never fully know him, as he fully knows us.

The Son is Light from Light. He shares in the transcendence and holiness of God the Father. He dwells in unapproachable light.

Our confession that he is “Light from Light” also suggests an analogy. Just as light is visible, perceived, and received, because of its radiance, so the Son is “the radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3). By the light of the sun, we see the sun; by the light of the Son, we see God. As Jesus said to Philip, “whoever has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Thus, David praises Jesus when he sings, “in your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). He is Light from Light. He is the radiance of the glory of God. To see him is to see God and God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).