Black Verses Darkness
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Many people in the western world think that darkness and black is the same thing. Darkness is not black, just as brightness or light is not white. Black and white is deemed colors. Black is the presence of all color while white, ironically is the absence of all color. While on the other hand light and its spectrum is the presence of color and darkness is the absence of light and thus devoid of all color. Odd, isn’t it? So black cannot rightly represent or symbolize darkness and white cannot rightly symbolize light.
A rainbow has been the symbol of the covenant between God and man that He would never subject the earth or mankind to a world wide flood and white cannot represent such a good covenant because of the absence of color which the rainbow is. Light and the color black would best represent or symbolize such a covenant between God and man because both black and light contain the full spectrum of color which is a rainbow. I know this seems backwards and hard to grasp for us westerners who have been raised and taught that black is bad and good is white. We have seen this since the advent of silent film where the good cowboy wore white and the bad guys wore black.
With the erroneous assumption that darkness and the color black is synonymous and interchangeable as well as light and white; people have assigned spiritually false meanings to the colors black and white. While it is true darkness represent evil and even damnation (Matt. 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28) and light represents good and knowledge (Matt. 5:14, Luke 16:8, John 1:9, 13:19, 8:12, 11:5, 11:9, 12:46, II Cor. 4:4). Black does not represent sin, evil or even damnation and white does not represent goodness or purity. In fact it is quite the opposite. In ancient Biblical times white was seen not as purity but as contamination, uncleanness, corruption, disease and judgment. Black, brown, tan, red, yellow and “white” which isn’t even a true white but like a peach, apricot, sandy color, was considered good and a thing of beauty; they are the various skin tones of mankind which was made in the image of YHWH. Tzara’atz or leprosy was what color? White (Lev.13) and it shown highly contrasted upon the skin tone of everyone. This white coloration upon the flesh was considered and seen as blight and a curse. White even symbolized death, for the skin of a deceased person turned a chalky white upon death. This is due to the blood ceasing to flow and pooling at the bottom of the corpse. Ironically, what color does blood turn when it dries? Black. And the Torah tells us that blood is life (Lev. 17:11,14). Life is represented by light and the rainbow because of the color and the covenant of life which the rainbow represents. What do we say when we see one sick or scared, both of which is a negative thing? We say they are pail or “white as a sheet.”
This bigoted notion some may have unfortunately been exposed to as a child growing up in religious circles that Cain and Noah’s grandson of Canaan, the son of Hamm was cursed with blackness of skin is ignorant, uneducated and racist tommyrot. Adam and Eve and everyone till Noah were black. Because in order to have such diversity of skin tones which we have today, mankind fist had to have an abundance of melanin before there could be a lack of it. It is thought by some that Noah’s sons were born with various shades of skin. Hamm was black like his parents and his ancestors. Shem was dark tan and Japheth was the fairest out of his two brothers. This, coupled with the change in world climate and the population and migration to every corner of the globe, people developed diverse shades of skin dependant upon their ancestry and in order to adapt to the environment in which they settled. Notice how people living in hot and sunny climates have a darker skin tone whereas people who live in cooler and under mostly overcast skies are usually very fair completed.
Some people wonder how Hell can be a place of utter darkness when hell is supposed to be burning flames. Doesn’t a flame give off light!? There is a fire that burns invisibly and gives no light! In 1981 Indianapolis 500, Rick Mears and his chief mechanic caught fire by an invisible flame! It apparently is an alcohol based fire: http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/blog/from_the_marbles/post/Invisible-fire-is-no-laughing-matter-so-stop-la?urn=nascar-282298
So remember, black is the presence of all color while darkness is the absence of it. While white is the absence of all color and light is the presence of it. Light and darkness are sort of like God in nature, in the fact that they cannot be truly represented or depicted by any physical thing. You cannot draw a picture of God just as you cannot truly and accurately depict light or darkness and have a proper representation of it.