The human eyes are an incredible work of art. When it’s bright, we can see things in color, but when it’s dark, we actually see objects in black and white. On top of that, because each color lives on a different wavelength (see chart, below), certain colors appear brighter in dim light than others. For example, a red hat may appear to be as bright as a blue hat in the bright sunlight. But in very dim light, you would barely be able to make out the red hat; the blue hat would appear bright, but the red one would appear almost black.
The reason for this is that two types of photoreceptors on the back of our retinas — they are called cones and rods. Cones allow us to view brightly lit objects in vivid color. Rods allow us to see dimly lit objects, but in black, white, and shades of gray. The image from the rods will also appear fuzzier. Together, they total about 130,000,000: 7,000,000 cones and 123,000,000 rods.
Each type of photoreceptor responds differently to different color wavelengths. Going back to the red hat / blue hat analogy, rods are virtually unresponsive to the color red. For an illustration, see the gray line (representing rods) in the following chart. Again, the cones on our retina allow us to see in the light; the rods allow us to see when it’s virtually dark (e.g. nighttime). Study this graph carefully, because it has massive implications to what I’m about to talk about next.
On a typical day, the changeover from day to night takes place gradually, as daytime fades to evening, and evening fades to night. During this period, both cones (color) and rods (black and white) are operating at the same time, neither of them at peak performance. For example, baseball players find it increasingly difficult to determine the trajectory of a ball when it comes off the bat during the twilight hours. Similarly, motorists have trouble adjusting to the light, which makes dusk and dawn the most difficult times to drive.
Similarly, those who have adjusted their eyes one of the extremes—either light or darkness—will find it challenging to see in the opposite realm:
In scientific terms, this involves a process called bleaching and regeneration of the photoreceptor’s supply of visual pigment.
From a spiritual perspective, these three states of a person have incredible parallels:
1. The person who finds themselves caught between light and darkness will never be able to see properly. It would be better for them if they just stayed in the darkness or came into the Light.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has Light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:33-37)
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire." (2 Peter 2:17-22)
2. A person who comes out of the darkness and stays in the Light will be able to see clearly. God will show that person amazing things—some of those things will be incredibly wonderful and will cause them to revel in awe, while others will be very difficult (from a human [black and white] standpoint) to understand. Whatever God shows them, they can be sure that He is sovereign over it all.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (Matthew 6:22)
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 11:36)
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)
But if we walk in the Light, as he is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
For you are all children of Light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13)
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light. (Ephesians 5:8)
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
3. Finally, the person who stays in the darkness should never expect to see in full color. The unfortunate reality of this scenario is that the person who dwells in darkness will never know what it’s like to see in full color, but they will be convinced by other people in the darkness that they are seeing everything that there is to see. They will believe that they are seeing the full picture, even though they are not.
In addition to not being able to see in color, here are some further observations regarding the (previously noted) graph as it relates to people who stay in the darkness. I’ll also contrast and compare some of these observations with the colors that we discussed previously in A Further Examination of Gold, Red, and Blue.
But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the Light is not in him. (John 11:10)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
In closing (this section)...
Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the Light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the Light while you have the Light, so that you may become children of Light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (John 12:35-36)
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