Grapho : Concordia Seminary Student Journal

Document Type



physicalist, platonic, truth, luther, timaeus, epistemology

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


As John the Baptist bore witness to the Light of the World, so too must the Church today. But there are many ways to talk about light. How should we speak about light when bearing witness to Christ? On which understanding of light should we draw? Light can refer to daylight or the light in a room—the physical phenomenon we perceive through sight. But light can also refer to objects that produce light, such as a floor lamp; we “turn on the lights.” We are familiar with scientific descriptions of light, such as its speed or its wavelength. Light can also refer to mental activities, as when we use the words enlighten or elucidate. As a father to a young reader, it seems I read Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Thinks You Can Think! almost daily: “Think of Light! Think of Bright! Think of Stars in the Night!”1 Christians have much to draw on when speaking of the Light of the World. But what exactly is light? I will sketch two competing answers to these questions, the Platonic and the physicalist. I will argue from this sketch that the Christian account of light is closer to the Platonic perspective than the physicalist. As such, Christians should return to a more ancient perspective of light because it offers a more compelling account of light and its role in God’s creation.


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Matthew 28:19b; Exodus 2:2-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Psalm 67:2; Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 17:15; Psalm 143:1; Psalm 136:1;

Submission Cost


Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars