on 2-corinthians 4 :6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness - The apostle refers here to Genesis 1:3. For when God created the heavens and the earth Darkness was on the face of the deep; and God said, Let There Be Light; and there was light. Thus he caused the light to shine out of darkness.
Hath shined in our hearts - He has given our hearts the glorious light of the Gospel, as he has given the world the glorious light of the sun. As sure, therefore, as God is the author of the light and the creator of the universe, so sure is he the author of the Gospel; it is no human invention; and is as far beyond the power of man's wisdom and might, as the creation of the world is beyond all created power, energy, and skill.
The light of the knowledge - To give us that light, that we might enlighten others; this appears to me to be the design of the apostle's προς φωτισμον της γνωσεως της δοξης του Θεου, or, as Dr. Whitby paraphrases it, to give us, and enable us to give to others, the light of the knowledge of God through Christ.
In the face of Jesus Christ - It is in and through Jesus that we can receive the Divine light, and it is in and by him that we can be made partakers of the Divine glory. The light mercy, holiness, and glory of God, are reflected upon and communicated to us through Jesus the Christ; and it is εν προσωπῳ, in the appearance and person of Jesus Christ that these blessings are communicated to us.
on 2-corinthians 4 :6
For God, who commanded ... - The design of this verse seems to be, to give a reason why Paul and his fellow-apostles did not preach themselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord, 2 Corinthians 4:5. That reason was, that their minds had been so illuminated by that God who had commanded the light to shine out of darkness, that they had discerned the glory of the divine perfections shining in and through the Redeemer, and they therefore gave themselves. to the work of making him known among people. The doctrines which they preached they had not derived from people in any form. They had not been elaborated by human reasoning or science, nor had they been imparted by tradition. They had been communicated directly by the source of all light - the true God - who had shined into the hearts that were once benighted by sin. Having been thus illuminated, they had felt themselves bound to go and make known to others the truths which God had imparted to them.
Who commanded the light ... - Genesis 1:3. God caused it to shine by his simple command. He said, "let there be light, and there was light." The fact that it was produced by "his saying so" is referred to here by Paul by his use of the phrase (ὁ εἰπὼν ho eipōn) "Who saying," or speaking the light to shine from darkness. The passage in Genesis is adduced by Longinus as a striking instance of the sublime.
Hath shined in our hearts - Margin, "It is he who hath." This is more in accordance with the Greek, and the sense is, "The God who at the creation bade the light to shine out of darkness, is he who has shined into our hearts; or it is the same God who has illuminated us, who commanded the light to shine at the creation." "Light" is every where in the Bible the emblem of knowledge, purity, and truth; as darkness is the emblem of ignorance, error, sin, and wretchedness. See note, John 1:4-5. And the sense here is, that God had removed this ignorance, and poured a flood of light and truth on their minds. This passage teaches, therefore, the following important truths in regard to Christians - since it is as applicable to all Christians, as it was to the apostles:
(1) That the mind is by nature ignorant and benighted - to an extent which may be properly compared with the darkness which prevailed before God commanded the light to shine. Indeed, the darkness which prevailed before the light was formed, was a most striking emblem of the darkness which exists in the mind of man before it is enlightened by revelation, and by the Holy Spirit. For:
(a) In all minds by nature there is deep ignorance of God, of His Law, and His requirements; and,
(b) This is often greatly deepened by the course of life which people lead; by their education; or by their indulgence in sin, and by their plans of life; and especially by the indulgence of evil passions.
The tendency of man if left to himself is to plunge into deeper darkness, and to involve his mind more entirely in the obscurity of moral midnight. "Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil," John 3:19.
(2) this verse teaches the fact, that the minds of Christians are illuminated. They are enabled to see things as they are. This fact is often taught in the Scriptures; see 1 John 2:20; 1 Corinthians 2:12-15. They have different views of things from their fellow-men, and different from what they once had. They perceive a beauty in religion which others do not see, and a glory in truth, and in the Saviour, and in the promises of the gospel, which they did not see before they were converted. This does not mean:
(a) That they are superior in their powers of understanding to other people - for the reverse is often the fact; nor,
(b) That the effect of religion is at once to enlarge their own intellectual powers, and make them different from what they were before in this respect.
But it means that they have clear and consistent views; they look at things as they are; they perceive a beauty in religion and in the service of God which they did not before. They see a beauty in the Bible, and in the doctrines of the Bible, which they did not before, and which sinners do not see. The temperate man will see a beauty in temperance, and in an argument for temperance, which the drunkard will not; the benevolent man will see a beauty in benevolence which the churl will not: and so of honesty, truth, and chastity. And especially will a man who is reformed from intemperance, impurity, dishonesty, and avarice, see a beauty in a virtuous life which he did not before see. There is indeed no immediate and direct enlargement of the intellect; but there is an effect on the heart which produces an appropriate and indirect effect on the understanding.
It is at the same time true, that the practice of virtue, that a pure heart, and that the cultivation of piety all tend to regulate, strengthen, and expand the intellect, as the ways of vice and the indulgence of evil passions and propensities tend to enfeeble, paralyze, darken, and ruin the understanding; so that, other things being equal, the man of most decided virtue, and most calm and elevated piety, will be the man of the clearest and best regulated mind. His powers will be the most assiduously, carefully, and conscientiously cultivated and he will feel himself bound to make the most of them. The influence of piety in giving light to the mind is often strikingly manifested among unlettered and ignorant Christians. It often happens, as a matter of fact, that they have by far clearer, and more just and elevated views of truth than people of the most mighty intellects, and most highly cultivated by science and adorned with learning. but who have no piety; and a practical acquaintance with their own hearts, and a practical experience of the power of religion in the days of temptation and trial is a better enlightener of the mind on the subject of religion than all the learning of the schools.
(3) this verse teaches, that it is the "same God" who enlightens the mind of the Christian that commanded the light at first to shine. He is the source of all light. He formed the light in the natural world; he gives all light and truth on all subjects to the understanding; and he imparts all correct views of truth to the heart. Light is not originated by man; and man on the subject of religion no more creates the light which beams upon his benighted mind than he created the light of the sun when it first shed its beams over the darkened earth. "All truth is from the sempiternal source of light divine;" and it is no more the work of man to enlighten the mind. and dissipate the darkness from the soul of a benighted sinner, than it was of man to scatter the darkness that brooded over the creation, or than he can now turn the shades of midnight to noonday. All this work lies beyond the proper province of man; and is all to be traced to the agency of God - the great fountain of light.
(4) it is taught here that it is the "same power" that gives light to the mind of the Christian which at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness. It requires the exertion of the same Omnipotence; and the change is often as remarkable, and surprising. Nothing can be conceived to be more grand than the first creation of light - when by one word the whole solar system was in a blaze. And nothing in the moral world is more grand than when by a word God commands the light to beam on the soul of a benighted sinner. Night is at once changed to day; and all things are seen in a blaze of glory. The works of God appear different; the Word of God appears different; and a new aspect of beauty is diffused over all things. If it be asked in what way God thus imparts light to the mind, we may reply:
on 2-corinthians 4 :6
4:6 For God hath shined in our hearts - The hearts of all those whom the god of this world no longer blinds. God who is himself our light; not only the author of light, but also the fountain of it. To enlighten us with the knowledge of the glory of God - Of his glorious love, and of his glorious image. In the face of Jesus Christ - Which reflects his glory in another manner than the face of Moses did.