The inner light and Jesus as the light discussion
Understanding Jesus's statements on light
I was reading my bible and I came upon two verses that seemed at first to contradict each other. They were both on light. In one Jesus claims that we are the light of the world. In the other he states that He is the light of the world. How can this be? I mean we are sinful creatures and Jesus was without sin. The two seem to be quite at odds with each other. How can the two be light and yet be so different. I thought, and what does it mean. I then started to do a little bit of research on the subject. This is what I found.
The verses I will be explaining are:
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by man. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives you light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven:"
"No one, after lighting a lamp puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body is full of light; but when it is bad your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. if therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illuminated, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays."
As He passed by, He was a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked Him, "Rabbi,who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world I am the Light of the world." when He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated,Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.
Defining light according to the greek word used:
light= phos; phao which means to shine or to manifest, especially by rays; luminosity (natural or artificial-fire light.
The biblical differences:
The only conclusion that I could come to was that we are a luminescent copy of what we believe spiritually. It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If that be the case, and the eyes are the lamp as well it can be concluded that what is in your soul is illuminated out of you. But why the eyes?
The eye has been known as a symbol for many various religions as a passageway to deeper under standing (on a figurative level)
During the time of Jesus, it is believed that the following religions were already in practice: (source: http://www.wisegeek.com/which-are-the-oldest-religions-in-the-world.htm). BCE refers to here as before Christ's birth (called before common era)
- Hinduism 15000 BCE
- Judaism 1800 BCE
- Wicca and Earth worship 30,000 years ago
- Celtic religion 1000 BCE
- Buddhism 624 BCE
- Janism (karma based) around 624 BCE
Of course this is based on the belief that the world is that old (which I do not believe, but that is another discussion). Either way, it is apparent that the world's major religions were present in the area in which Jesus Christ was preaching at that time. This is important because:
Many ancient esoteric as well as earth-based philosophies consider the eye as a channel or a passageway into a new dimension. Here the eye is not a physical symbol but rather an ethereal one in which consciousness may enter into a gateway of infinite expanse . This journey is traversed through the pitch-black channel of being-ness (represented by the black of the pupil). Once the threshold is crossed, one is said to obtain higher knowledge - a glimpse of heightened epiphany - comparable to enlightenment.
So, you might conclude that the reference to the eye is so that the other cultures could have something to relate to as far as in a spiritual way. The reason that I mention this is because a second eastern concept is introduced here as well. The light which radiates from the body. There were at that time several secular religions that believed that everyone possessed an inner light. One of the major influences on religion in this way was Taoism.
"Taoism (also spelled Daoism ; see below) refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions that have influenced Eastern Asia for more than two millennial. They also notably influenced the Western world, particularly since the 19th century. The word 道, Tao (or Dao , depending on the romanization scheme), roughly translates as "path" or "way". It carries more abstract, spiritual meanings in folk religion and Chinese philosophy.
Taoist propriety and ethics emphasize the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility, while Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos (天人相应); health and longevity; and wu wei (action through inaction). Harmony with the Universe, or the source thereof (Tao), is the intended result of many Taoist rules and practices.
It is clear from that people started to worship the earth and things from it in Jesus's time. That is why there are many references to idols and to mysticism. You see Taoists (as well as many religions based off of Taoism) and Buddhists believe that you search for an inner light, a deeper understanding, and ultimate enlightenment. In contrast to these beliefs, Jesus preached that you have one of two things already. You either have light which radiates from you, or you have darkness that keeps you spiritually blind. It is the same concept that was taught during that time in other religions but with a twist. Jesus claimed to be that light and enlightenment and that if you walked and believed in him you would (and still will) have that understanding.
Where the other religions listed here have a main focus on self, the bible and Christianity are based on the outer social realm. There is an impact on helping your fellow man and becoming a servant. There is also a very strong implication that you alone can achieve nothing and that all things must come from God. It is true that God gives us free will, but we must also realize that God knows the outcome before we due (a whole debate can be formed on free will verse pre-destination which may be another blog later.).