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1 John 1:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him.
This is the message we have heard from him. This is the substance of the announcement (ἐπαγγελία) which we have received of him, or which he made to us. The message here refers to what he communicated as the sum of the revelation that he made to man. The phrase ‘of him’ (ἀπʼ αὐτου) does not mean respecting him, or about him, but from him; that is, this is what we received from his preaching; from all that he said. The peculiarity, the substance of all that he said, may be summed up in the declaration that God is light, and in the consequences which follow from this doctrine. He came as the messenger of Him who is light; he came to inculcate and defend the truths which flow from that central doctrine, in regard to sin, to the danger and duty of man, to the way of recovery, and to the rules by which men ought to live.
That God is light. Light, in the Scriptures, is the emblem of purity, truth, knowledge, prosperity, and happiness—as darkness is of the opposite. John, here says that ‘God is light’—φῶς—not the light, or a light, but light itself; that is, he is himself all light, and is the source and fountain of light in all worlds. He is perfectly pure, without any admixture of sin. He has all knowledge, with no admixture of ignorance on any subject. He is infinitely happy, with nothing to make him miserable. He is infinitely true, never stating or countenancing error; he is blessed in all his ways, never knowing the darkness of disappointment and adversity. Comp. Notes on James 1:17; John 1:4, 5; 1 Tim. 6:16.
And there is no darkness at all in him. This language is much in the manner of John, not only affirming that a thing is so, but guarding it so that no mistake could possibly be made as to what he meant. Comp. John 1:1–3. The expression here is designed to affirm that God is absolutely perfect; that there is nothing in him which is in any way imperfect, or which would dim or mar the pure splendor of his character, not even as much as the smallest spot would on the sun. The language is probably designed to guard the mind from an error to which it is prone, that of charging God with being the Author of the sin and misery which exist on the earth; and the apostle seems to design to teach that whatever was the source of sin and misery, it was not in any sense to be charged on God. This doctrine that God is a pure light, John lays down as the substance of all that he had to teach; of all that he had learned from him who was made flesh. It is, in fact, the fountain of all just views of truth on the subject of religion, and all proper views of religion take their origin from this.
By Albert Barnes