I was listening to a late night radio program while doing some mundane paper work and the guest on the radio program referred to modern times as “a return to the Dark Ages.” In the context of the comment he began to talk about the ills of society, the drug epidemic, societal attitudes to established religion, opioid addiction and the struggles with chronic depression. I had never heard of modern society referred to as the Dark Ages—I had always associated the Dark Ages with an ancient period when knowledge and progress was static.
I think we can agree that today is not a static period when it comes to explosive knowledge and change. This is an information age where communications and technical advancements are simply faster than any of us can keep up with. I can barely keep up with the changing technology of my cell phone let alone with the entire arena of digital technologies, social media, automation and dare I mention the future of artificial intelligence. The cry in many university settings is that knowledge is increasing so rapidly that no one can fully assimilate it, even in the most narrow of specialties. The age of the “expert” seems to be over. The word “expert” is now defined in relative terms. I’ve been told if you are having a technical problem with your computer just consult the average 12 year old before you going calling in the “experts” to trouble shoot for you.
If knowledge is light and if the light of knowledge is exploding all around in magnitude, how can a radio personality say we are living in the “New Dark Ages.” In my view it would be because darkness is a matter of the heart. With people moving more and more away from the influences of a religious framework, with marriages and families increasingly dissolving, and with the increasing realities of ever advancing secularism in general apart from a Judeo Christian worldview, the domino effect of a godless and often unhinged worldview is felt.
Many years ago I read a book written by the Jewish philosopher and theologian Martin Buber—his book had the ominous title—The Eclipse of God. Perhaps this is the eclipse of our age. A shadow has passed over the glory of God—and we are often a people who don’t have God in the core of our thinking. I read about a young teenager. She had perfect grades in high school. She had a perfect score for the SAT. She had a perfect score for the University of California acceptance exam. She was a brilliant young woman. But in an interview, a reporter asked her, “What is the meaning of life?” Her answer? “I have no idea. I would like to know myself.”
What is the meaning of life? This is the ultimate question. And I believe apart from God, the giver of life, people are separated from divine truth and walk in a measure of darkness, stumbling around looking for life’s meaning. Even worse, they are blinded by their sin and where that sin is leading them. It was into this world that Jesus stepped over 2000 years ago as a little baby. It says in John Chapter 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. When Jesus came, he shed light in a darkened world. How did he give light? He showed us who God is. He explained who God is to us. God is invisible, but when Jesus appeared, God became visible. All that God is, we see in Jesus. We no longer have to guess what God is like. We can look at Jesus and know. He showed the meaning of life…the will of God our creator.
What is the meaning of life? Ultimately, it is to have a relationship with God.
The great Baptist Minister and Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr. , said many profound things during his lifetime, and this one is no different. He said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” Have you ever been in a situation where the darkness was so powerful that light could not overcome it? I remember having a guided tour of a cave—at the end of the tour all the lights were turned off. No one could see a thing—not even one’s own face! And then the guide simply lit a match—one match—and we could see all over the cave, because darkness cannot overcome light.
Jesus says He is the Light of the world, the embodiment of how to know God and how to live life. We sometimes feel engulfed in darkness—sometimes the darkness of our own choosing. We are sometimes bewildered and looking for answers. I encourage you to invite God in Christ into those spaces of your life—ask that the light of understanding and wisdom be turned on. No matter how much darkness you have experienced I exhort you to embrace and walk in the truth of John 8:12 Jesus said, I am the light of the world, Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.