Analysis of the Light of Christ

Ok, I’m starting this off with the quote about the light of Christ. Then we’ll talk about it. It is by Joseph Fielding Smith. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I would recommend the book, “Following the light of Christ into His Presence” by John Pontius.

“The Light of Christ is not a personage. It has no body. I do not know what it is as far as substance is concerned; but it fills the immensity of space and emanates from God. It is the light by which the worlds are controlled, by which they are made. It is the light of the sun and all other bodies. It is the light which gives life to vegetation. It quickens the understanding of man, and has these various functions as set forth in these verses.

It is: the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth on his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the  midst of all things (D&C88:13)

This is our explanation in regard to the spirit of Christ or light of truth, which every man receives and is guided by. Unless a man had the blessings that come from this spirit, his mind would not be quickened; there would be no vegetation grown; the worlds would not stay in their orbits; because it is through this spirit of truth, this light of truth, according to this revelation, that all these things are done.

The Lord has given to every man that cometh into the world, the guidance of the light of truth, or the spirit of Jesus Christ, and if a man will hearken to this spirit he will be led to the truth and will recognize it and will accept it when he hears it. We have seen this demonstrated thousands of times, where men were led to investigate and have had the desire to investigate in spite of the prejudices and traditions there are taught in the world.

If they refuse to come unto Him, then he calls them wicked and they are under the bondage of sin, it seems to me that when a person declares that he is satisfied with his religion and therefore does not care to investigate, it is evidence he has not hearkened to the light of truth which was given him; else he would not have been satisfied with the false religion which he has and would be seeking the truth.”

Pretty intense quote right? There are a lot of things contained in the quote but since we are talking about celestial bodies and space, we will stay on subject. I’m just going to take bits and pieces from the quote and expound on them. The light of Christ fills the immensity of space and emanates from God. I was right about the source. It fills EVERYTHING. How is that possible? It’s like dark matter right? That was a very juvenile thing to say. But consider it for a moment. When scientists look at how much stuff is in the universe (and I would welcome correction on this because I’m no scientist) and the total weight (how do you calculate the weight of the universe?) it doesn’t add up. The speculation is there has to be matter that is not seen, or dark matter, that makes up for the matter accounted for. Maybe that could be the light of Christ? But that would mean we have dark matter in us? Because every man/woman has the light of Christ. Is it possible it could be dark matter? If you have any insight, please comment.

Orbits of the Planets

The other thing I wanted to write regarding space and the light of Christ was concerning the orbits of planets. How does the light of Christ keep things in orbit? One might say the light of Christ is gravity, since to our finite minds, that is the only thing keeping us here. I think it’s something finer though. Something more fundamental than gravity. God is a God of order and the light of Christ emanates from Him. My thought is order is keeping the planets where they are. I guess that really doesn’t explain much. Ok, I’ll admit, just like the quote regarding substance, I don’t know. Even the things I think it could be, in relation to space, I cannot justify. Guess we’ll just have to seek more revelation on the matter.

 Growing Plants

I want to talk about plants and the growing process real quick. The light of Christ makes plants grow. Does that mean directly or indirectly? Both? Because these verses talk about how the light of Christ makes possible the light of the sun. Plants need to grow. By doing that, the light of Christ would be indirectly affecting the growth of plants by directly affecting the sun and making it shine.

Note: I was actually talking to my mom about this topic a few months ago. The quote says without the light of Christ, plants wouldn’t be able to grow. I think we ought to take the prophet at his word. While water and sunshine do help plants grow I think when it really comes down to it, plants live or die based on the light of Christ. Now, I’m not going to pretend I know the nitty-gritty details of how that works, I don’t. But I think when it comes to gardening at least, you can have a powerful affect on your plants by how you are living you life. I think light increases or decreases depending on if you are righteous or not.

Here is my transition sentence to change topics. While I was writing about the plants growing I had a question in my head. If the light of Christ can allow plants to grow, however that may be, could it also help humans “grow.” Not physically perhaps but mentally or spiritually? I would say yes, to a certain degree because remember, the Holy Ghost’s function is to enlighten and teach. Every person has the light of Christ in them. Most people call it a conscience. That thing in your head that helps you decide right from wrong. This is a remarkable gift really. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and through his son, Jesus Christ, we were able to get an intuitive sense of basic knowledge between right and wrong. Wait, is the light of Christ just named after Christ or did it come because of the Atonement? Did people have the light of Christ before he did the atonement? I feel like that wouldn’t be fair to the people who came before. For now, we’ll say the origin of the name and purpose behind it are unknown. Back to focusing. Everyone has a conscience. Like the quote says, if you haven’t squandered this conscience, eventually you will be led to the truth. If you forget about your conscience and “blow out” the light of Christ, I would imagine you are left alone. How would that feel? I don’t think wickedness would remove the light of Christ entirely, that’s impossible I would say but you can ignore it so often Satan has more sway than the light does.

The Holy Ghost and The Light of Christ

I’ve been thinking about the Holy Ghost during this whole thing and the relationship it could have with the light of Christ. I’m thinking once you have the Holy Ghost, your light of Christ, or conscience, is magnified. Not only that but you have a member of the Godhead to help you out with things. Before you are baptized, you only have the light of Christ, perhaps occasional promptings from the Holy Ghost. It doesn’t seem like a lot. But even that is more than Satan has. It would make sense Satan would work hard on those people who are yet to be baptized. Because he knows once they receive the Holy Ghost, it is a lot harder to persuade these people to do wickedly. Once  you have the Holy Ghost, your potential for understanding is unlimited. That’s why I believe what a missionary told me once, “We don’t understand the significance of a person being baptized [and receiving the Holy Ghost]. If we could take a step back and see the eternal significance of it all and how it’s going to affect generations, we would understand why Satan tries to ruin every baptism.”

The light of Christ quickens the mind. See verse 11. It also uses the words enlighteneth your eyes. Hold on a minute. This sounds a lot like what the Holy Ghost does. I think that’s true, but probably to a lesser extent than after you have the Holy Ghost. God owns all the information in the world. There isn’t anything man knows on Earth, God doesn’t already know (For discussion on this, see notebook on D&C 76). If the light of Christ is like a precursor to obtaining the Holy Ghost, and the light of Christ quickens the mind, could that mean all learning come s as a result of the light of Christ? That is an interesting thought. In David A. Bednar’s book, “Increase in Learning,” he stresses the importance of having the Holy Ghost or spirit with us while we learn. Doing so will increase our capacity for learning more than we think. If the Holy Ghost magnifies our capacity to learn, we must have had a capacity to start with.  The light of Christ? I keep getting the feeling I’m going about this and my knowledge is in a very linear way. That isn’t my fault, it’s just how human brains think. God sees everything, no linear-ness. Because I can’t do that, I feel like there is a LOT I’m missing out on. There is a lot more to the light of Christ and it’s relationship with the Holy Ghost then I could possibly fathom. I’m infantile in my understanding. I feel as if I haven’t even touched the surface. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I want to know what it all means. I want to know the technicalities of it all. But I’ll leave it up to Heavenly Father to decide when I’m ready for that info. He knows how it will affect me more than I do so it’s His choice. Until that time though, I’ll continue to do my studies and increase my knowledge of the scriptures and gospel to the best of my ability.

I want to share something I learned while talking about this with my companion. If the light of Christ is the result of all learning you do, that is, before you have the Holy Ghost, then it makes sense when you squander the light of Christ and do wickedly, you are unable to learn. You become savage and animal-like. It’s even worse if you have the Holy Ghost and you turn wicked. That’s because you had the Holy Ghost magnify your ability to comprehend things and when that is taken away, you backtrack a lot. Here is a drawing to illustrate my point:

Graph depicting how the Light of Christ is affected by sin

I know I cannot assign value to ability to learn. I don’t know exactly. My point is you have a far better ability to learn with the Holy Ghost. When you are not a member and minimize the light of Christ within you, you only go down from this lower level. Or maybe you just don’t increase. But if you reject the Holy Ghost, after already having received it and experienced the increased ability, because of that gap, your drop is way more and then it continues below the ability of learning with just the light of Christ. Your fall is equal in proportion to the knowledge you had of good. Why do you think the only people who become sons of perdition are those with a perfect knowledge? Why do you think the scriptures say it would have been better for the who had rejected Christ to never have known these things (meaning the gospel)? Oh! Maybe it’s like this:

Modified graph of how the Light of Christ is affected by sin.

Before baptism, you are on neutral ground, you haven’t heard the gospel. You have the neutral level ability to learn and understand gospel topics and obey. What that ability is, is different for every person. When you receive the Holy Ghost, that ability is immediately increased and you move from neutral ground into good. You’ll vary in the good side as you learn how the Holy Ghost works. But as long as you try to obey and heed the warnings, you stay on the good side.

Should you apostatize, or rebel, you drop way down to the bad side. Skipping the neutral zone (haha) and descending lower than your neutral area abilities. This is because you have had good and evil presented before you, having chosen good and then blatantly refused it, came down to the dark side. Satan has power over you.

Now, the grid I drew is widely varied depending on the gifts God has bestowed upon you and your natural aptitudes.

The Spirit Quickeneth

Before I move on with the chapter, there is one thing I wanted to talk about. That is the word “quicken.” Not in the sense of the light of Christ per se but when used as in quickened by the spirit. Maybe talking about this can help get insight on what is meant by the light of Christ quickening our understanding.

Using the word “quicken.” Let’s see if there is anything in the Bible dictionary since there are no cross references. “Quicken” wasn’t in the Bible Dictionary  but “quick” was. It said living or alive. So to “quicken” something would be to make living or alive. Or if already, more alive. This is an interesting definition considering some of the things I want to write about later. I also looked at the topical guide under “quicken” and most of the scriptures either had to do with dead coming back to life (i.e. resurrection)  or having your body quickened (ex. in preparation for seeing Christ).

I want to start off this discussion with some things I wrote a long time ago. It was my very first notebook written about August of 2013 (At the time of this notebook writing it was June 2014). I was studying the book of Moses and I came upon a verse in the first chapter, verse 10. That says after Moses had a vision, he was left without strength for many hours. I recalled after Joseph Smith had the first vision he too, was left without strength. I concluded something had to happen to your body physically in order to stand in the presence of God. But when withdrawn, because your body had been working overtime with the support of Providence, it was now more tired than any earthly circumstances could achieve. I think they were transfigured in the sense their bodies could now withstand the presence of God, but not in the sense they became immortal beings (translated). Because if you look at the experiences and visions recorded, they only write they were tired once or twice (in the case of Joseph Smith seeing angel Moroni at the hill Cumorah). I would think the first time is the hardest because your body is not used to it. And you are left massively exhausted. But I think something changes in your body that helps it adapt to these experiences so each successive time is easier. I also connected this with doing ordinances. For example, doing priesthood blessings. Maybe it’s all in my head but I start to sweat and get tired after Priesthood blessings. Maybe in a small sense, we are experiencing the same thing. I would included temple work and baptism and confirmation in that category too. Every time we act on behalf of Christ or others to do ordinances, those spiritual experiences adapt our body a little more to be able to handle the presence of God. To be quickened by the spirit I think is to make your body operate at an increased capacity. In other words, make you more living or alive. Pretty cool connection right? Like I was saying earlier, probably these “minor” spiritual experiences such as blessings and such quicken you, if for a moment.

Physical Changes in the Body

I thought I read something about blood in the D&C manual but after searching the entire book, cannot find it. It was talking about how we aren’t resurrected with blood. Always in the scriptures it talks about God having a body of flesh and bones. A phone call made to a knowledgeable elder yesterday resulted in this: Basically when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their bodies underwent a change. Blood came to be. So when we are resurrected, we’ll be back to whatever original substance our first parents had before the Fall. My thought with this, and this is why I wanted to find the quote, was do these spiritual experiences affect your blood? If something has to happen physically to withstand the presence of God, is blood composition changed or sustained by God’s power? I don’t know.

This is a long post but thanks for bearing with me. Next post will continue on as normal.

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One thought on “Analysis of the Light of Christ

  1. Pingback: Knowledge, Light and the Mysteries of God | Towards a Greater Light

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