“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV).
Scientists tell us that it takes eight minutes for the light from the sun to reach earth. Having reached the earth, sunlight is refracted through the atmosphere creating a glorious effect. These sun beams are what we see. We see the sun’s rays of light.
But do we really see the sun?
I remember seeing a total eclipse of the sun when I was in elementary school. As the moon passed between the earth and sun, blocking the light that fell on the Eastern U.S., it left Mrs. McConnell’s third grade class awestruck. We couldn’t see the sun, but we could still see its rays. It was like the orb of the sun was black, but the rays still shot out all around.
I suppose the real question is concerning the light from the sun. Is the radiance of light that comes from the sun, the sun itself? In a word, yes.
- The sun and its radiance are one.
- The radiance is different than the sun itself, yet one emanates from the other.
- This radiance is what we see. It is the glory of the sun. The sun does not create it. To see it is to see the sun.
Perhaps the author of Hebrews was gazing at a sunrise as he contemplated the Christ. We cannot see God, but Jesus has revealed Him to us. Christ is the radiance of God’s glory. He is the beauty of God.