Bent light

The problem with the devil is that he is twisted. “Let there be light!” And there was. But light was not content. It wanted more. It wanted to be the source.

There is a long history of twisted light. The mirror is not a new tool. Light reflecting off a pool is as old as still water, and there is nothing inherently malicious in welding sand so as to make a looking glass. That said, a mirror is by definition “twisted light,” and the narcissism of you looking at you isn’t exactly a recipe for enhancing the love of others.

After the mirror came the scope. Twisting light anew, we learned to look up, and then down, at things we’d never seen before. The heavens were opened to us and they are beautiful. The deeps revealed to us the particles of life and their principles defy imagination. Yet at the same time, this new view did not enhance man’s awe at the mighty hand of God, but ushered in an era of declaring He does not exist, that space and time exist without Him, and that we are the ones who hold the future in our hands.

After the scope came the camera, the image maker, by which we remember our loved ones, catalog history, and see parts of the world we would never otherwise experience. But its power is the power to lie, to distort reality, to convince me reality is something other than what it is right now. A photograph is not real. Despite what I imagine, thanks to photographs, I have never seen a cheetah. I do not know what Bangladesh looks like. I do not know Donald Trump.

The industrial light and the magic of twisting that the screen at last gifted us has taken all these powers and amplified them. There is simply no distortion of the senses like the suspension of the present; nothing like the talking picture and its ubiquitous internet yammering.  We now live most of our days staring into the face of twisted light.

The tools of film and fiber optic cable are no more naturally evil than still water. The problem is that man is. Man has an innate ability (let’s call it “concupiscence”) to use the best things of God in the worst possible way.

I don’t think I believe that tools which twist light are substantially of the devil. But I do think our use of them unavoidably symbolizes him, and that the times that we live in are uniquely diabolical as a result. If all that you want out of life is distraction, then all that you want is actually out of this life.

If you plan to keep on living in this here Babylon as a Christian, if you don’t want anyone to steal your crown, if you’re tired of being lied to and are fed up with being manipulated, remember that the eye is the lamp of your body. Fill it with good light. Remember what the sun and the moon and the stars are for. Believe that you may not be able to condense reality, but that your God has solved all problems already at the cross. Decide that distraction isn’t nearly so worth your time as being present, seeing truth and acting on what is real.

What would life be like if I wasn’t always being formed by twisted light? That’s what I, at least, am heaven-bent on finding out.

Till angel cry and trumpet sound,
The Mad Christian

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