No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light. [Luke 11:33-36 ESV]
God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, perfect, with the ability to grow and learn and create. They were created in His image, with the light of His being shining from them, not just through them. His light not just a reflection. They, themselves, were the source of illumination. Yet, the light was God’s light as much as it was their own. Their light was more than a mirror or a fire or a lamp. Imagine a mirror which does more than reflect, God’s a glass from which light comes as naturally as from the sun. When you saw them you saw God but you still knew them as individuals.
Sin attacked and tried to extinguish the light by destroying them. Sin broke their mirror, the glass of which they are made, shattering them, splintering them and scattering them across the ground. Still, each shard continued to glow with the light of its essence for each shard contained the image of God, which cannot be destroyed. But the scattered pieces were useless and now dangerous. Each piece, sharp and deadly, could cause injury. A careless footfall and there was a cut or puncture, or they become a weapon, using the sharp, ragged edges of the incomplete glass to cause serious injury or even death.
Children know intuitively how to sin and hurt each other. They have to be taught more sophisticated ways to sin. Small children also instinctively know God and have to be taught to believe lies about Him. God’s light shines brilliantly through the pieces of a child. Slowly, over time, each of the pieces will begin to lose their luminescence until finally they are darkened and even more lethal.
Such is the state of fallen man. Created to have a relationship with God and others, the broken person instead tries to destroy God by injuring and maiming others. There is in each enough of God’s light and image recognizable to be used against Him. God created the whole person, not pieces. It is the whole person who accurately shows God in their person. Pieces show broken and incomplete bits of God from the world’s perspective and the world, looking at God through the eyes of sin, cannot see God correctly, misinterpreting Him, making Him into something in their minds and hearts He is not.
God does not reassemble a broken mirror or glass. He recreates it. So God does not take the person shattered and deadly, marching onward to death, and patch them, or reassemble them. He sweeps them away and recreates them whole so their light, His light, will begin to shine, and grow in strength and intensity throughout life. He adds to the image the likeness of His Son, whose Body was wounded and murdered by the shards of all.
Once God recreates us He leaves us, His new lights in the world, to draw those in the world toward Him. But Jesus gives us a curious saying, suggesting light in one who says they are God’s and are not, can be darkness. It is the same point He made with salt losing its saltiness. God’s light is there but if there is no relationship then even His light in the person is slowly extinguished until there is only darkness. God recreates the person whole and grows the whole person, reigniting His light, their light, in them.
His intent is obvious from the words of Jesus. It is their light but their light points to God. He does not leave those who are His in the world so they may attract people to themselves but to Him. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” [Matthew 5:16 ESV]. Where the light attracts to self it soon becomes darkness, a shard of dead glass capable of destroying.
Are those around us attracted to God because of who we are? Are we allowing God to form us into the image of His Son, or are we angry with Him because of our circumstances and refuse to submit? For those who are His He will not stop until He has finished His work. Perhaps we cannot see our own light and need to listen to those around to discover what God is doing in us. How tenuous and sure is our place before God in this world.