The Light of Christ

by H. Clay Gorton

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—

The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88:11-13)

Prior to this passage, the Lord is speaking of light as a spiritual phenomenon.

v 6— The Savior is the light of truth.

v 7— Truth shines, which shining truth is the light of Christ. Christ is the light of the sun.

v 8— He is also the light of the moon.

v 9— He is also the light of the stars.

To clarify that the spiritual light which is the light of Christ is actually what we would call the physical light that emanates from the sun and the stars and which is reflected from the moon, he gives the explanatory passage, And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, identifying that light as the light that we see by with our natural eyes. He then explains that this natural light is through [or by] him who enlighteneth your eyes In other words, the Savior has generated, produced or caused to exist the light that comes from the sun and other stars, and that it is he who gives us comprehension and understanding—from the phrase enlighteneth your eyes.

The word enlighten is defined as to give spiritual or intellectual insight to, or to give information to, to inform or instruct. Thus, the phrase enlighteneth your eyes would certainly fall under the first definition of giving spiritual or intellectual insight. Thus it is the Savior, who is the author of the light by which we see, who gives us spiritual and intellectual insight—comprehension and understanding.

We are to understand by verse 11 that not only is what we call physical light provided be the Savior, but that this physical light is the same light that quickeneth your understandings. The word quicken is defined as to make alive, vitalize, or to excite and stimulate, to stir. Thus, the physical light is the phenomenon that gives us understanding, or consciousness and intelligence.

Next, it is explained that the physical light that illuminates our planet and which gives us intelligence emanates from the presence of God and fills the universe—Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space. The universe as we know it is filled with light. Opaque bodies, such as planets, moons and other non-radiating pieces of matter, cast no complete shadows, but are constantly bathed in the light that shines on them from the surrounding stars. Although the sun would not be visible from the dark side of the moon, the dark side of the moon is yet illuminated by a myriad other suns, as is the earth at night.

This light which fills the universe is the light which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne. Thus, this profound spiritual phenomenon which warms our planet is the very essence of the power of God. As light fills the universe, His power fills the universe.

Although there are a dozen dictionary definitions of the word power, the term in the context of the attributes of God undoubtedly relates to force or the ability to accomplish work. Perhaps the closest dictionary definition to the scriptural meaning of the word would be the definition given in physics, as the rate at which work is accomplished. Work is done by the application of a force that results in some action. It was through the creative power of God that the worlds were brought into existence.

But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men; and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth even so shall they be fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit.

For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal. (D&C 29:30-31)

Jacob and other scriptures speak of the power of his word.

For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure? (Jacob 4:9)

The power of God is such that he need only speak the command and all existence obeys. (See Abraham 4) This power of God is somehow embodied in the concept of light, as we are told that light is that power.

Further, the phenomenon of light comprises the law by which all things are governed. The import of this statement is beyond the knowledge of man, nor could it ever be discovered in the laboratories or the halls of science. Since we are dealing here with a spiritual phenomenon, it can only be understood by spiritual means, e.g., by revelation from God. The scriptures do not elaborate on how light is the law by which all things are governed. It is undoubtedly sufficient in the eyes of God at this point for us to know the fact but not the mechanism.

In addition, this light is that which gives life to all things. The terms, light and life, as attributes of the Savior who is the giver of life, are used throughout the scriptures.

For with thee [is] the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psalms 36 9)

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death. (Mosiah 16:9)

Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness— yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God. (Alma 19:6)

And thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life. (Alma 28:14)

Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. (Alma 38:9)

I am the light and the life of the world. (3 Nephi 9:18)

And behold, I am the light and the life of the world. (3 Nephi 11:11)

Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. (3 Nephi 15:9)

For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world. (Ether 4:12)

And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. (D&C 10:70)

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world. (D&C 11:28)

Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words. (D&C 12:9)

The light and the life of the world, a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. (D&C 34:2; 39:2)

Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son. (D&C 50:27)

The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. (D&C 93:9)

The reference D&C 50:27 is particularly instructive, as it provides an additional definition of life and light in the form of a synonymous parallelism, where life is equated to Spirit, and light is equated to power.

Life and light appear to be intrinsically related. We understand that animals and plants are alive. They come into being, grow, develop, change, age and die. But associated with life is light. In addition to the attributes of light referred to above, light appears to be a component of intelligence.

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth, (D&C 93:36) and it is suggested that intelligence is the quality that differentiates living from non-living entities. Do plants possess intelligence? In other words, are they capable of some sort of thought process, and therefore, do they possess some sort of accountability? We understand that plants may have joy in the measure of their creation. The capacity to experience joy implies some measure of intelligence. Incidentally, we understand from the scriptures that the earth itself is a living, sentient being, subject to and obedient to the celestial laws of God.

Again, in D&C 88:11 we read that the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings. Thus, the light that shines, i.e., physical light, is the same light that quickeneth your understandings, i.e. gives us our intelligence.

One might make an analogy between the intelligence inherent in the light that emanates from God and the intelligence carried by the radio waves that provide radio and television transmissions.

In the first place, light, in man’s narrow definition, is a very narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between the ranges of 4000 Angstroms (blue light) and 7000 Angstroms (red light)—an Angstrom being one ten millionth part of a centimeter. Yet electromagnetic radiation extends from wave lengths much shorter than visible light, through ultraviolet to X-rays and Gamma rays that are more than 100 times shorter than visible light, to longer wavelengths that include infrared, then short and long radio waves that extend to more than a thousand billion times longer than the wave length of visible light. Since the radiation that fills the universe includes the complete electromagnetic spectrum, it is reasonable to assume that the light spoken of in the scriptures as emanating from God would include the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, not just the narrow visible part of the spectrum to which our natural eyes are sensitive.

Let us consider a given arbitrary point in space, say a cubic centimeter in any point in our vicinity, and ask the question, does that location in space contain any intelligence? If one were to place a radio antenna at the point, and turn on the radio, one could pick up a myriad of informative conversations and the sound of music from stations all over the earth. That point in space is filled with intelligence, carried on the radio waves picked up by the antenna at that point.

Next, let’s put a TV antenna at that location and turn on the TV set. Now we may not only hear words and music from a variety of transmitting stations, but we may actually see on the screen scenes of action that at that moment are taking place wherever a television camera is recording and transmitting any place on the earth, or in any of numerous satellites orbiting in space. Indeed, that given cubic centimeter in space contains an astounding amount of intelligence.

Now, since light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space, and since light is a component of the intelligence of God, we could consider that the given cubic centimeter to which our attention is directed also contains the intelligence of God—all knowledge! Thus it is not difficult to understand how prayers may be answered without any time delay, and how revelation from God is constantly available to all who qualify by having their spiritual radios in operating condition and tuned to the right source.