Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Wonders Of Light

So, I admit the idea for the blog post came to me in a rather unusual way.  I was pondering the excellent post that T.J. had put up about Intelligence and Wisdom.  I was trying to think of something geeky I could talk about that would also have a spiritual significance about it.  After a few moments, I found myself reflecting on what science knows about the nature of light (pun not intended).  Then I realized that there are also some very good scriptures about light.  So, I decided to make this blog post.  I apologize if it gets a little to scientific.  I'm a bit of a science nut.

Science: On Light and Color

Visible light is a very interesting beast.  First off, white light is actually composed of three basic colors that blend together to create white light.  The three basic colors of light are Red, Green, and Blue.  When all three of these are mixed together in equal amounts, we get white light back.  The sun appears to be white because it gives off all different colors of light and our eyes perceive it as white.  Often times, the colors of light are called the 'additive colors'.

Now, on the other hand, we have what are called the 'subtractive colors'.  Remember in primary or kindergarten where we learned about the 'primary colors'?  Red, yellow, and blue.  The way that these colors work is that they selective reflect light.  In other words, they subtract from the white light and give off only a certain color.  For instance, a red object absorbs green and blue light, but reflects red light.  A white object absorbs hardly any light and reflects all the colors evenly.  A black object absorbs all the colors of light and reflects nothing.  In essence, black objects eat all the light and give off nothing.

Some other interesting things about light, specifically the suns light:
  • The sky appears blue because the sky scatters blue light more than the other colors.  That means we see more blue light from the sky
  • The sun actually gives off more green light than the other two colors.  That is why our eyes can see more shades of green than any other color.  That is also probably why plants don't absorb green light and reflect it instead
Visible light also belongs to a broader spectrum of electromagnetic radiation.  It belongs in a larger group of things that include:
  • Infrared light (carries heat)
  • X-Rays (for looking at bones)
  • Gamma rays (they turned Bruce Banner into the hulk, and the rest of us into cancer)
  • Radio waves (the ones that let you listen to the radio)
Electromagnetic radiation has a dual nature.  It acts as if it was a particle and also as if it was simply pure energy.  All electromagnetic radiation is composed of particles that transfer energy.  Light actually is a form of energy that our eyes can pick up and use.  We can feel the effects of infrared radiation as heat.  Antenna can respond to radio waves which our radios translate into sound.

Scriptures: On Light and Truth

Many different scriptures refer to light, especially the Light of Christ.  One of my favorite scriptures on light comes from the Doctrine and Covenants 84: 45: "For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ".  I find it fascinating that the scriptures would say that truth and light are basically the same thing.

Jesus Christ also refers to Himself as the light of the world (See D&C 93:2 and John 8:12).  He is the light that lights the life of every person that comes into the world.  Other scriptures even say that all of the universe is governed and given life by the Light of Christ (See D&C 88:6-13).


Here are some interesting parallels that I was pondering as I was thinking about what I knew of the science of light and the spirituality of light.  Most of these are a simple man's musings and are not doctrine (as far as I know).

First off, I realized that the sun is the source of all life on the planet.  Nothing could live without the heat and the light that the sun provides us.  The sun's light enables to plants to grow which gives animals food.  As humans, we eat of both the plants and the animals.  The sun's light helps our bodies to function correctly.  The heat from the sun heals keep the earth from turning into a cold planet.  The heat of the sun also allows for weather which gives us the precious water that we need to drink and for the plants to grow.  Essentially, the sun is the source of all life.  On the spiritual side of things, all life and truth comes from Heavenly Father. Not only did He create us, but He also gave us life-sustaining truths.  Those truths sustain us both physically and spiritually.  His truth teaches us how to take care of our bodies and spirits.  They also give us light so that we can see things clearly.  In essence, His light is the source of all life.  All electromagnetic radiation serves to carry energy from one place to another.  Spiritual truths also carry weight and energy with them.  They inspire us to move and give us the strength to follow Heavenly Father's will.

I noticed a few interesting things number wise as well.  Light essentially has two natures: it is a particle and a wave.  We are also beings with two natures.  Also, there are three primary colors of light.  There are also three members in the Godhead.  I don't really know if these parallels mean anything, but I found them interesting.

The additive nature of light is also very interesting to me.  It reminds me that all truth will work together and combine into one great whole.  Pure truth will work with truth.  If something isn't truth, it won't resonate with the other truth.  There was also the subtractive side of light.  If we start taking away from the light and truth, we eventually have darkness, where we can't see anything.

Well, that is enough musing from me for this post.  Feel free to comment and share away!

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