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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

20.  Different Kinds of Light; And of Darkness.

“And 4727 the light shineth in darkness and the darkness hath not overtaken it.”  We are still enquiring about the light of men, since it is what was spoken of in the preceding verse, and also, I consider, about darkness, which is named as its adversary, the darkness also being, if the definition of it is correct, that of men.  The light of men is a generic notion covering two special things; and with the darkness of men it is the same.  He who has gained the light of men and shares its beams will do the work of light and know in the higher sense, being illuminated by the light of the higher knowledge.  And we must recognize the analogous case of those on the other side, and of their evil actions, and of that which is thought to be but is not really knowledge, since those who exercise it have the reason (Logos) not of light but of darkness.  And because the sacred word knows the things which produce light, Isaiah says: 4728   “Because Thy commandments are a light upon the earth,” and David says in the Psalm, 4729 “The precept of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes.”  But since in addition to the commandments and the precepts there is a light of higher knowledge, we read in one of the twelve (prophets), 4730 “Sow to yourselves for righteousness, reap to yourselves for the fruit of life, make light for yourselves the light of knowledge.”  There is a further light of knowledge in addition to the commandments, and so we read, “Make light for yourselves,” not simply light, but what light?—the light of knowledge.  For if any light that a man kindles for himself were a p. 338 light of knowledge, then the added words, “Make light for yourselves, the light of knowledge,” would have no meaning.  And again that darkness is brought upon men by their evil deeds, we learn from John himself, when he says in his epistle, 4731 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth,” and again, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now,” and again, “He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because darkness hath blinded his eyes.”  Walking in darkness signifies evil conduct, and to hate one’s brother, is not that to fall away from that which is properly called knowledge?  But he also who is ignorant of divine things walks in darkness, just because of that ignorance; as David says, 4732 “They knew not, they understood not, they walk in darkness.”  Consider, however, this passage, 4733 “God is light and in Him is no 4734 darkness,” and see if the reason for this saying is not that darkness is not one, being either two, because there are two kinds of it, or many, because it is taken distributively, individually with reference to the many evil actions and the many false doctrines; so that there are many darknesses, not one of which is in God.  The saying of the Saviour could not be spoken of the Holy One, “Ye are the light of the world;” for the Holy One is light of the world (absolute, not particular), and there is not in Him any darkness.



John 1.5.


Isaiah 26.9.


Psalm 19.9.


Hosea x. 12.


1 John 1:6, 1 John 2:9, 11.


Ps. lxxxii. 5.


1 John i. 5.


οὐδεμία, not one.

Next: Chapter XXI

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