Science vs. Theology? - GOD Is He Composed of Light?
Tomorrow's World Magazine
January 1971
Volume: Vol III, No. 01
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Science vs. Theology? - GOD Is He Composed of Light?
Stig R Erlander  

GOD Is He Composed of Light?

   MAN EXISTS in a physical world. He can see, feel, measure, weigh and analyze those objects and forces which surround him. For example, man today, with the help of complex scientific instruments and techniques, has discovered some of the intricate mechanisms of living organisms. With each advancement in his knowledge, man watches the organized complexities of life grow progressively more awesome. What better evidence for the existence of a Creator!
   But why can't God's presence be directly determined? Why can't man see God as He really is? Why can't we demonstrate with physical instruments that God exists?
   What is the composition and structure of God?
   God's appearance is revealed as being like that of man's. Or, more correctly, God made man in His image, as stated in Genesis 1:26, 27. And according to Webster's dictionary, an image is ". . . an imitation or likeness of any person or thing . . . a copy or counterpart."
   God is further described in Revelation 1:13-16. His head and hair are a brilliant white, and His two eyes are like a flame of fire. His two feet are like burnished bronze or fine brass. He has two hands. His voice can thunder like the roar of Niagara Falls. And His face shines like the son shining in full strength.
   But of what is God composed?
   In the vision given to Peter, James, and John, Christ was transfigured into a being whose face shone like the sun (Matt. 17:2). God's light was so great that Moses had to be placed in the cleft of a rock before God allowed Moses to see His back (Ex. 33:22).
   Moreover we read that the New Jerusalem of God's Kingdom will need no sun or moon because God's glory — His brightness — will supply the needed light (Rev. 21:23).
   Is God then composed of light?

What Is Light?

   It will now be shown that light — as science has defined the term — is actually matter. Thus light is a physical — not a spiritual — entity.
   As indicated below, the "light" which science has proved is a physical entity is not at all the same as the spiritual light which radiates from God and Christ (Rev. 1:13-16; 4:5; 21:23) or the symbolic light which Jesus of Nazareth brought into the world (John 1:4-9).
   In order to grasp more clearly that light is truly a physical substance, let us briefly examine the properties of light.
   Light is composed of tiny particles called photons. These photons, or light particles, travel in waves — like a ball being carried and beaten about by the waves of an ocean. (More accurately a photon is both a particle and a wave at the same time. A specific-sized particle contains a certain quantity of material and thus is called a "quantum." Also each specific quantum or photon travels with its own wave length. As a result the number of different quanta is equal to the number of all the different possible wave lengths of light, which is almost infinite. The actual pathway of the quantum [photon] is a spiral or helix, but on a flat plane this spiral becomes a wave) But there is nothing strange or peculiar about these properties because all atomic particles — such as electrons, protons, neutrons, etc. — travel in waves. This is the principle behind the electron microscope which can be used to take pictures of atoms.
   In going from the shortest to the longest wavelengths of photons we have gamma rays, then X rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light and finally radio waves. We can't see ultraviolet, X rays, or radio waves but we can see the "visible" wavelengths of light — from purple to red. A fly or bee can see from ultraviolet to perhaps green, but it cannot see red light. Again the ability to see light — and thus see various objects — is a physical phenomenon. Sight involves physical — not spiritual — substances.
   One can visualize the photon as a "snowball." The larger the "snowball," the shorter will be its wavelength. Thus the X ray, being composed of larger particles, would have more "snowflakes" in its structure than the smaller radio wave. Yet all photons — all light — would travel with the same speed in a vacuum. But can the larger "snowball" or photon be broken up into smaller ones? Or can the smaller ones form larger ones?
   In 1923 an American physicist, Dr. Arthur Compton, discovered that when an X ray struck some object (matter), it was scattered. The scattered wave was longer than the original X ray. One can visualize this phenomenon by continuing the analogy of the snowball for the photon. As the snowball — the photon — hits the object (such as an electron), part of it is captured by the electron and the remainder is bounced off into space. As a result the original "snowball" is thus reduced to a smaller "snowball" — because a fraction of it became a part of the electron. Consequently its wavelength is lengthened: for example, the original X ray has now been transformed into visible light. The electron which was hit by the photon has become energized and thus it is hurled off into space in the same manner that a satellite would leave its orbit if its rocket engine were ignited. And in its race through space, the fraction of the original X-ray photon — or "snowball" — which was absorbed by the
   electron is released periodically. Thus the original "snowball" is broken up into many smaller ones. Consequently, photons appear to be composed of many component parts which can be broken up or combined together.

Light: A Different Form of Matter

   If you burn a piece of wood, you can see flames of fire being released from the wood. As the carbon atoms in the wood combine with the oxygen atoms in the air, the outer electrons of these atoms fall into a "lower orbit" (lower energy levels). In doing so, they release photons. These photons radiate in all directions — and when some hit our eyes, we then "see" the fire. The different colors in a fire come from the presence of other elements which can make different-sized photons — or "snowballs" — from those photons released by the burning carbon. Thus energy (that is, photons) is released and the
   total weight of the materials involved is reduced ever so slightly. Thus photons are a part of matter and can be released from matter.
   But what is matter?
   Consider Einstein's revolutionary equation, E=mC2. This equation relates the square of the speed of light to energy and mass. Thus the total energy E can be transformed into (or produced from) the total mass m.
   Now apply this absolute law to the extremely high temperature situation — as in the interior of the sun — where the energy of a photon can be equal to or greater than the total mass of two electrons. When such a photon passes by another particle, such as a proton or electron, then something extraordinary happens. The photon is converted into an electron (which is matter) and into another particle called a positron (which is antimatter). (The presence of a third particle is necessary in order that the extra momentum can be taken up. See, for example, Elements of Nuclear Physics by Walter E. Meyerhof, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967, p. 102, and Worlds-Antiworlds, Antimatter in Cosmology by Hannes Alfven, W. H. Freeman and Co., 1966 , p. 28 and 54)
   If now an electron and a positron are shot towards each other, for a split second they will rotate around each other like a small atom and then finally collide. The collision annihilates both particles and produces pure energy (two photons or gamma rays). Thus photons can be converted into matter and antimatter and, conversely, matter and antimatter can be converted into photons.
   Similarly, the snowball can be converted into a puddle of water. The building block is the same, but the appearance and physical makeup of the water is different. The same is true for the conversion of a photon into matter. Consequently, matter is made of altered photons. Or conversely, photons are altered particles of matter. Thus photons can be said to be the basis of all matter — of the entire physical universe — since photons can be both transformed into, and generated from, matter. As we have seen, Einstein's classic equation, E=mC2, theoretically demonstrated the equivalence of matter and energy. The atomic explosion at Alamogordo in 1945 experimentally proved it.

What Is God?

   So where are we? What have we accomplished?
   We wanted to determine whether God is composed of physical light — since this is how He has appeared throughout the Bible.
   We can safely answer in the negative. Because light (photons) is just as much a physical entity as flesh and blood are physical quantities. And God is not physical. He is Spirit (John 4:24).
   Perhaps you have been taught — or have just intuitively held the opinion — that Moses actually saw God (the One who became Christ) in all His glory and in His real form, but those who saw Jesus in the flesh did not. The logic for this conclusion is that God supposedly manifested Himself to Moses as pure light, whereas in the body of Jesus He manifested Himself only as flesh and blood. This reasoning is obviously wrong. The Form that Moses saw was just as physical as the man Jesus — the only difference was that Moses saw a closer representation — a more direct physical manifestation — of the full spiritual glory of God.
   God states in Isaiah 45:7 that He forms (creates) light.
   Light is part of God's physical creation.
   Scientific studies have shown that even though light can travel about 670 million miles per hour (186,000 miles per second), it would take a beam of light billions of years to travel across the universe. Therefore God can not be composed of light — otherwise how would He have been able to create the universe in any reasonable span of time? If God had to travel at — and be limited by — the speed of light, it would have taken Him billions of years to create the universe. And when He had finished creating the final portion, other earlier parts would have already burned themselves out!
   Furthermore, God could not be in full control of His creation — He could not be the Sustainer — if He were limited by the speed of physical light. The reason? It would necessitate multiple billions of years for each two-way communication — "between communiqués," if you please — from one side of the universe to the other. Consequently, God would always be billions of years behind on His job. Which is, of course, ridiculous!
   God and Christ must travel faster than the speed of light — essentially instantaneously — and therefore they cannot possibly be composed of physical light. Light is limited by the restrictions and boundaries of physical law. And God and Christ are not! They are not composed of physical material, but rather of spiritual material.
   But now how do we explain the description of God in the Bible as being like light! To do so, we must first reiterate the nature and Mechanism of light.
   Light (photons) is physical material just as matter (for example, flesh and blood) is physical material. And we see flesh and any other material object only because light (photons) is emitted from or absorbed by these objects. Thus Moses saw God only in a physical form — the release of photons. In other words, God made Himself visible to Moses by allowing physical light (photons) to come into the eyes of Moses and impinge on his retina, thereby triggering electrical impulses to his brain. Moses' brain then was able to interpret these signals as the form and appearance of a Great Being.
   Consequently, in order to impress upon Moses His strength, God manifested His form in physical light. God can thus make His appearance to man either as a human being or as a being which emits light. But remember, both are physical forms.
   Christ said, "He that has seen me has seen the Father" because God's structure and personality were revealed through Christ in His physical form. Consequently Moses did not see God (the One who became Christ) in His true spiritual form any more than did Christ's disciples. It is impossible to see, as we normally define the operation of seeing, God or any spirit being unless they choose to manifest themselves into photons or other forms of matter — or unless our eyes are changed in some supernatural fashion as in the case of Elisha and his servant (II Kings 6:17).
   In His "real reality" — not just in His "manifested reality" — God is spirit, and is therefore not composed of photons or other physical substances. Consequently, the presence or existence of God or of any other spirit beings cannot be ascertained by physical instruments or techniques. That is, science by its physical nature, by its inherent limitations, cannot detect the presence of, or changes in, spirit.
   But by examining God's creation — science — we can conclusively infer that God does exist (Romans 1:20).
   And this Great Creator God is not composed of physical light. But He does radiate a fantastic spiritual light!
   And in God's soon-coming Kingdom we will be able to see God's spiritual light — His "REAL reality" — because we will be like Him (I John 3:2).

K C Herrmenn

   Was it "an eclipse of the sun" which caused the darkness at the time of the crucifixion of Christ?
   PEOPLE by nature seek natural explanations for supernatural events. A case in point is Luke 23:44-45. In translating from the original New Testament Greek, the Moffatt version gives us: "By this time it was about twelve o'clock, and darkness covered the whole land till three o'clock, owing to an eclipse of the sun. . . ." In contrast, the King James Version states "there was a darkness over all the earth . . . the sun was darkened . . ." — but without specifically assigning any particular cause.
   Now we are quite sure that there was a 3-hour period of darkness in the middle of the day that Christ was crucified. But the question is: How was that darkness caused? Are we dealing with a natural cause — a solar eclipse? Or must we properly assign a supernatural cause?
   The answer can be easily determined by anyone familiar with both astronomy and the Sacred Calendar followed by the Jewish people at that time (and incidentally the same calendar they still follow today).
   The Gospel accounts all state that the events accompanying the crucifixion took place at the season of the Passover. And Passover (the 14th of the month) is very near the time of the full moon (despite a Hollywood movie showing a crescent moon at that season). Any possible eclipse of the sun would thus be at least two weeks away, that is, at the time of the new moon.
   Today, all true commemorations of the crucifixion are held with reference to the lunar month and all are near the time of a full moon in spring. A solar eclipse (with the moon in front of and blacking out the sun) at this time of the lunar month is impossible. The reason? The moon is in the opposite part of the sky, 180 degrees away! Nor could it have been a lunar eclipse visible at noon, for lunar eclipses are seen only after sunset, and they do not darken the sun!
   Passover is properly the fourteenth day of a lunar month, a month that begins with the new moon (usually accompanied by the sighting of a faint crescent of the new moon in the western sky by an observer in the vicinity of Jerusalem). Lunar eclipses occur at mid-month; solar eclipses occur on or after the final day of the calendar month.
   The crucifixion of Christ was on the 14th day of Nisan, on Passover day. The 15th of Nisan, the "feast of the Passover," or "high day," would begin at sunset. The approach of this "high" Sabbath made it imperative that His body be taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb before sunset. And His betrayal and death were also timed by the religious leaders so as not to be on this approaching "annual Sabbath," lest there be an uproar among the people.
   Consider the historical record. An eclipse season (a 37-day period occurring twice a year during which eclipses of the sun and/or moon occur at new and full moon) did coincide with the Passover season in the years 31, 32 and 33 A.D. Lunar eclipses were produced on or after Nisan 14 in all three years, but only in 31 A.D. was a lunar eclipse clearly visible at Jerusalem.
   A total lunar eclipse also occurred on Passover day in 32 A.D. but was seen on the opposite side of the earth. In 33 A.D. the final half hour of a partial lunar eclipse was visible at Jerusalem but would have gone practically unnoticed. The sun would have just set and the slightly eclipsed moon would be rising in the east.
   Now examine the year 31 A.D. carefully. It is the correct year for the crucifixion, and the date of Nisan 14 that year was Wednesday, April 25 on the Julian Calendar. Nisan 14 had begun at sunset the evening before: Thus it was Tuesday evening (after sunset) that Christ ate the Last Supper. But it was the following evening (after sunset) on Nisan 15 that the "feast of the Passover" was to be observed. It was only this latter day which the Jewish religious leaders were keeping.
   Note the sequence of events on Nisan 14. Darkness from noon till three — SUPERNATURAL DARKNESS — covered these final hours of Christ's suffering. Death followed shortly after from a spear wound at the hands of a Roman soldier. Joseph of Arimathaea requested that he might take down Christ's body for burial prior to the rapidly approaching annual Sabbath (Nisan 15).
   Continue the events of that Wednesday in 31 A.D. The nearly full moon rose about 6:30 p.m. just as the sun was setting. For many Jews (and Israelites) the celebration on Nisan 15 of the night of the Exodus of their ancestors from Egypt would last well into the night. As ten o'clock approached a darkening of one edge of the moon became apparent. This partial eclipse of the moon reached its maximum by 10:45 p.m. with the earth's shadow covering about a third of the moon. An hour later the moon was once more free of the earth's shadow.
   This partial lunar eclipse was visible throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as from the vicinity of Jerusalem. It marked the very midpoint of the lunar month and coincided with the 15th day of this particular Nisan.
   Can the time of this lunar eclipse be determined? Oppolzer's Canon of Eclipses makes that an easy calculation. April 25, 31 A.D. was "Julian Day" number 1732 495, a day count starting with the arbitrary date of Monday, January 1, 4713 B.C. at noon as zero. Merely divide the "Julian Day number" for April 25, 31 A.D. by 7 and the remainder is 2, a number (by the rule specified for this system) for Wednesday!
   The time given by Oppolzer for the middle of this eclipse is 20:24 Universal Time, which would be 8:24 p.m. for an observer in England and about 2 hours and 21 minutes later in the night for Jerusalem, which is 35 degrees farther east. Thus 10:45 p.m. was the midpoint of this lunar eclipse.
   Is there also an eclipse of the sun for this 31 A.D. Passover season in Oppolzer's Canon? Yes, about two weeks later on May 10, which would be Nisan 30 on the Sacred Calendar. But the path of this solar eclipse crossed northeastward across Ceylon, Burma and China. No portion of this eclipse of the sun could have been seen from the Holy Land.
   Further search shows that no springtime solar eclipse would be visible from Jerusalem between the years 27 A.D. and 33 A.D. (popularly assigned years for the crucifixion) and that not until 38 A.D. does an eclipse path cross as near as southern Ethiopia.
   The scriptures insist (Matthew, Mark and Luke in full agreement) that darkness covered the earth from noon till three p.m., the time of Christ's death — far longer than any proper solar eclipse, which is caused by the moon coming briefly in front of the sun. Seven minutes is close to the maximum for such a solar eclipse, with perhaps a half hour before and after that might be termed semi-darkness. The entire time for a solar eclipse from beginning to end can be four hours. But the darkening of the sun is gradual, requiring up to two hours. And the return of light is also gradual. This is hardly what the Scriptural account depicts.
   Even a total eclipse of the sun does not darken the whole earth, only a small area about fifty miles wide, which moves rapidly eastward across the globe. Yet historians wrote of a great, inexplicable darkness throughout all Europe causing panic among the people at this time. The darkening of the sun was properly considered a miracle by millions who experienced the event. It has a Scriptural counterpart in the "darkness in all the land of Egypt three days" during the time of Moses and the plagues on Egypt preceding the Exodus.
   As is the case with all miracles, one can only describe, not explain, the darkening of the sun at the time of Christ's crucifixion. At the death of the One whose fingers had framed the universe and given light to the sun to light the earth, a miraculous cessation of that light occurred. Theologian, historian and astronomer alike bear witness to it as a miracle.

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Tomorrow's World MagazineJanuary 1971Vol III, No. 01