I am convinced that the “Oh first created beam!” chorus in Handel’s Samson not only equals, but surpasses the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The binding of wisdom in the expression of light is an antiphonal theme in the Creation and Incarnation.
In Creation, light is the expression of God’s treasury of knowledge and wisdom, namely Christ. To whom does He first express it? Augustine tells us it was to the angels, who existed prior to creation of the man and woman on the sixth day. Solomon tells us the expression took the form of Lady Wisdom, God’s fellow worker, His helper in creation, the one who “delighted in mankind,” and very likely is one and the same with the Holy Spirit.
In the Incarnation, the expression of wisdom and knowledge becomes “the light of men” such that “those living in darkness have seen a great light.” Whereas in creation God addressed angels with His light, in the Incarnation He addresses men and women. The same Spirit is present, conceiving the humanity of Christ in a sinless yet mortal state. Amazingly, the intensity of light as an expression of wisdom and knowledge gains full expression in the merging of God and flesh, bringing a restoration of sight more substantial than if Samson’s eyes had been restored to their sockets. The Incarnation antiphonally repeats the sounding joy of “Let there be light!” to all who are born, not of the will of man, but of the same Holy Spirit who conceived the One who is “truly God and truly man.”
I’ve spent the better part of two years intensively searching for answers on why the Scriptures have become veiled to the visible church in our age; why many men and women once again are under the solemn woe of Isaiah: “woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” I have wondered at God’s renewal of His work of desolation in our time, for “plague goes before Him.” This has been part of a longer journey of at least 12 years during which I have come to see the great disconnect between the visible church on one hand, and the Scriptures and sound doctrine on the other.
I’ve come to realize that Skepticism (the Academics identified by Augustine, Luther, and Calvin) was reawakened simultaneously with the rediscovery of sound doctrine in the Reformation. This Skepticism took its full expression in Descartes’ revival of Greek Sophistry and its materialistic paradigm, and began its slow and insidious encroach on culture and the visible church.
Angelina Grimke’s study of the American Church’s clear defiance of the Mosaic Law and Christ reveals a visible church which not only refused to acknowledge the substance of Scripture, but committed blasphemy by teaching against Scripture. Widespread support for modern slavery in the late 18th/early 19th century proved that darkness enclosed the majority of the visible church in America by that time. Angelina points specifically to the modern sophistry of Dispensationalism and its horrific ideology of manifest destiny, an ideology which was voiced in William Harper’s pro slavery argument. It also pervaded Federal and State slavery laws.
The same is true for the visible “Protestant” church in Europe, which largley succumbed to Pietism by the end of the 19th century. Though modern slavery and genocide were stopped at (justly) great cost, the visible church has not effectively repented of the heretical thought behind them: the confusion of Christ’s forcefully advancing Kingdom with the blasphemous, inexhorable “march of progress,” the royal cloak which mantles modernity’s great idol, Mammon.
So here we are, in the 21st century. We, like Samson, have had our eyes plucked out: the light of sound doctrine has been extinguished such that sun and stars give no light. We, like him, are bound in the chains of modern Sophistry, in the temple of false religion, even a “form of godliness which denies its power.” All lights seem to have gone out in the world, and even the “Halleljuah” Chorus rings hollow to a world which no longer knows the beatific vision of glory in the Christ of the Exodus, Exile, and the Cross, the one who said “purge the evil from among you,” “do justly and embrace steadfast love,” “hunger and thirst for justice,” and “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” The Light of the world is the One whose goal is to lead “justice to victory” so that “the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD,” and men will willingly fulfill the justice of the Law and Prophets, all the commandments of Scripture, and the righteousness of God that extends beyond these.
The same God of Creation and Incarnation still sits on His throne, surrounded by unapproachable light, illumining the angels of Creation and the men and women the Father has brought to the Incarnate Christ. The God who spoke light into darkness in the beginning, in the Exodus, in the Exile, in the Incarnation, and in the Resurrection still sovereignly speaks, “Let there be light!”