“The stars were bright only because the sky was dark. They needed the night to be seen.” 

This sentence, from the lovely novel about Rene Descartes and Helena, his long-term lover, really stirred me. (“The Words in my Hand” by Guinevere Glasfurd is well-worth reading.)

This profound observation adds to my reflections in past years about darkness, which we so often see as being something negative – nothingness, the absence of light, even evil. But darkness is not evil. It is necessary, essential and vital for many reasons and can be positive and a blessing. Much growth and change and development only goes on in darkness. We NEED the dark!

Darkness actually comes first in Creation, before light and, much later, life. Even in the early Biblical story about Creation, God did not destroy or banish darkness, he just separated it from light and gave us day and night. This fits with the scientific understanding of how the universe (which is continually expanding and evolving and being created) may have started, out of nothingness, with the “Big Bang”, perhaps 13 billion years ago. “I was a hidden treasure and longed to be known, and so I created the world” (quotation from the Haddith Qudsi) – even out  of darkness and nothingness.

Richard Rohr has written: “Nature clearly renews itself from within. God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out. A fully incarnate God creates through evolution……. A free and loving God desires our participation in co-creation.

How amazing it all is! Thank God for darkness!

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