Humans were designed to function best in the day, not the night. God didn’t equip us with night vision, instead He gave us eyes that have a difficult time detecting movement in shadows. We feel more vulnerable in the dark because we are.
In the Bible we find a figurative association being made between darkness and evil.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19)
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
Now is God really light? Of course not. God is not a mass of photons. John is being figurative when he refers to God as light. Since we know that God is good, it’s obvious John is comparing evil to darkness when he says “in Him there is no darkness at all.” So why do we humans associate darkness with evil? It’s partly because in our world, we intentionally do more evil in the dark. We know that humans are more vulnerable in the dark, and we use that fact to our advantage. A mugger hides in dark shadows where his approaching victim can’t see him. A thief leaves the light off as he creeps through a house looking for valuables. When we are young, our parents teach us not to walk alone through dark city streets because it’s dangerous. In this world, it is very reasonable to associate darkness with evil. Demons are evil, so it’s easy to associate them with darkness as well. And once we think of God as light and demons as darkness, it’s easy to leap to the idea that the day is “God’s realm” while the night belongs to Satan. But this is merely superstitious nonsense. In reality, demons are not given any boost in power by the way the earth rotates on its axis. They aren’t any stronger on the dark side of the planet. When we feel a demonic presence in our bedroom at night, it only feels amplified to us because we already feel more vulnerable in the dark. With clear vision being such a key factor in our sense of control, darkness makes us feel handicapped and defenseless. We hear a strange noise and cold chills run up our spine. If we’d heard the same noise in the day, we would have either shrugged it off or gone to investigate. In the night, we are far more likely to cower under our covers and reach back to that early childhood mentality of “if we can’t see it, it no longer exists.”
Demons are smart enough to realize that our natural discomfort with darkness could be used to their advantage. Naturally they’d love to fill every night with creepy creaks and scary ghost noises. But happily for us, God keeps demons on a tight leash. He doesn’t allow them to do anything to us beyond what He feels is spiritually productive. As Christians, we need some exposure to demons if we’re going to learn to stop being intimidated by all of their parlor tricks. We need to recognize when they are trying to leverage the frailty of our flesh against us and trick us into believing that they can spiritually defeat us. The fact that they can get our pulses racing by manufacturing noises and flooding our minds with frightening images does not in any way minimize how safe we are under the Holy Spirit’s guard. A raging storm might rattle the windows of a house and pelt its exterior with large drops of rain, yet the man standing inside remains dry and warm. For their tricks to work, demons need us to first accept the theory that they could overwhelm the Holy Spirit and break through His protective barrier at any moment if they really wanted to. This of course is total rubbish. Demons cannot touch us without God’s permission, and He never gives them free reign over us. When we are aligned with God in our hearts, then all demonic harassment we receive should be viewed as an educational experience. God wants us to have some familiarity with their methods of attack so that we can learn to see how powerless they really are to come against us, thanks to the Holy Spirit.
While it sounds fitting to associate evil with darkness and light with good, in reality it is God Himself who came up with both concepts.
“The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” (Isa. 45:7)
We must be careful not to get too literal with John’s claim that “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God is the Creator of both darkness and light. He is also the One sustaining the existence of demons. Just as God invented the concepts of joy, comfort, and peace, He also came up with pain, suffering, and sorrow. We must be careful not to see God as some all-good innocent floating about in a pure white robe and gasping in shock every time tragedy strikes us. As God Himself says, He is the One who creates darkness and brings calamity down on our heads. We can’t go about blaming Satan for our problems and acting like God never gets His hands dirty with evil, because He does. We wouldn’t even know what evil was if God hadn’t defined it for us. We wouldn’t be born into sin if God hadn’t cursed us. Lucifer would never have become Satan if God hadn’t created him with the capacity to choose evil, and the only reason Satan is still around today is because God wants him to be. As the Creator and Sustainer of ALL things, God is the One ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING that exists. We will never see the day that any of God’s creations become superior to Him. In both the day and the night, in both the light and the dark, whether we are surrounded by friends or foes, there is one unchangeable truth on which we can rely: God is in control.