I was in Rotterdam recently for the opening of Paul Noble’s magisterial exhibition NOBSON at the Boijmans Museum (where my work Christian Disco (Terminator) is showing concurrently in the Video Room). Paul’s show is really great – the museum is the perfect setting for his work, both architecturally and in the context of the permanent collection, which includes Hieronymus Bosch as well as Breugel’s amazing Tower of Babel.

While I was there, I noticed an ‘error’ in one of his drawings – from the series W-E-L-C-O-M-E-T-O-N-O-B-S-O-N which is based on the text of Genesis 1.


The drawing for the letter C has the following caption:

Of course, according to Genesis, ‘the darkness he called Night’.

However, there is another text that might offer a different perspective on this artistic ‘error’ – according to Psalm 139,

‘If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

But what does this mean, ‘darkness is as light to you’? Does it mean that there is no difference between darkness and light?

No, because ‘In the beginning was the Word… in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’  (John 1)

Thus, to say there is no difference between light and darkness would be to say there is no difference between life and death. And that is certainly not what the Bible says:

‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live..’ (Deuteronomy 30.19)

So what does it mean to say that ‘darkness is as light’? Well, I don’t think we can begin to understand this until we recognise that it is God of whom it is said.

For a human being to say ‘darkness is as light to me’ would be uncritical, at least aesthetically. Blind, even. So the only way we could say it would be if everything was darkness.

But it seems that, for God, everything is light