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“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


The Dylan Thomas poem exhorting futile anger against inevitable old age does capture one interesting element, recognition of an approaching end symbolized by “dying light".

It can be helpful to consider what is “light” and what is “darkness”. There was an historical period called the “enlightenment” where even the pretense of Christianity was begun to be shed. This was contrasted to the “dark ages” in which man allegedly suffered the lack of culture which was supposedly stifled by Christian practice.

The so-called “light” of the enlightenment arose out of a period called the renaissance (from the old French for rebirth). Merchant prosperity coupled with intellectual narcissism set in motion a view of the world seen in the transfer of worship from God to the worship of man in general and self in particular. This accelerated with the industrial revolution providing unprecedented prosperity which seemed to confirm the direction of increasing progress and “light".

Christians should see this definition of light and dark in just the opposite way. The so-called dark ages may not have had the benefits of modern technology, but they were also lacking the deceitfulness of riches. Faith in God was essential to daily life whereas today it is often considered more of an optional extra. While secularists see a world increasingly bright with human liberty and freedom, Christians see a world becoming dark with selfishness, self-indulgence, and the foolishness that comes from being disconnected from the source of wisdom, God. Christians look forward to the return of the true light of the world;

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. - John 12:46

Secularists do not see Jesus as light.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. - John 3:19-20

As the light of Christianity fades, one can be tempted to rage against the apparent dying of the true light. However, there is a time coming when the light of Jesus will return and every knee will bend and head bow to acknowledge the true light of the world.

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. - Romans 14:11

Most people in the world see in Western civilization a beacon of what they think is light, promising free money and every kind of indulgence. This is what draws people to every effort of enter in to what they see as heaven on earth.

The names for the historical periods (enlightenment, renaissance, etc.) were selected by those who rejoice in man’s departure from Christianity. They see it as a liberating period that frees man to do as he wishes. Unfortunately, what man has done is pursue every destructive indulgence he can. There is that in every human heart that is dark and wicked. Only the true light of Jesus and his word can drive out the real darkness.



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