INNER CIRCLE: Hidden In The Image Of The Light

INNER CIRCLE: Hidden In The Image Of The Light November 19, 2023

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Jesus said: “The images are revealed to man, and the light which is in them is hidden in the image of the light of the Father. He will reveal himself, and his image is hidden by his light.”


The difficulty with this saying comes more from the lack of punctuation in the Greek and some confusion about who is being referred to in the various uses of the word “he” or “his.” If we read it one way, it appears to suggest that God’s image in hidden in man’s light. But if we read it another way, it could be saying that man’s image is hidden in God’s light.

So, which is it? Well, scholars aren’t in agreement over that question. Some translations suggest one understanding, while others suggest something different.

There is a Berlin Working Group [BWG] translation of this saying which puts it this way:

               Jesus says, “The images are visible to humanity, but the light within them is hidden in the image. The light of the Father will reveal itself, but his image is hidden by his light.”

               This translation clears up a few things but then creates more confusion by failing to clarify whose image is hidden by whose light. Is God’s image hidden by man’s light? Or is man’s image hidden by God’s light? Or is God’s image hidden by God’s light? See what I mean?

In this case, I will defer to William G. Duffy’s translation which I believe clears up the confusion and squares up the saying with the other sayings of Jesus from this Gospel of Thomas. Here’s how Duffy translates this saying:

               Jesus said, “Images are manifest to man, and the light within them is hidden in the (man’s) image. The light of the Father will be manifested, and (man’s) image will be hidden by (God’s) light.”

To me, this is the best of all possible translations. Duffy clarifies for us that man perceives images – which are illusions and not reality. Man’s image – which is, once again, not reality – hides the light of truth. But the light of the Father – which is not an image but true reality – will be made known [manifested] to everyone and when that happens, the image of man will be overcome [absorbed] into the pure light of God.

What we have here is a contrast between illusion and reality; image and light; physical form and pure spiritual being. The image of man obscures the light of God within. But the light of God dissolves the illusion of man’s apparent separateness as defined by his physical form. In God, all of our seemingly separate individual bodies become one in the light of the true reality of God’s Oneness with all things.

The Apostle Paul phrases it like this: “We are filled with the fullness of Christ who wills everything in every way.” [Eph. 1:23]

So, while images symbolize the separation of forms, objects, people, etc., the light within all things is hidden from us. But once the light of the Father’s true nature is revealed, our true “image” will be revealed as being one with the light of God.

Or, to put it another way, the light in us is the light of God, and when the light of God is revealed, our light becomes manifest as God’s light, which it always was.


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Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” He hosts the Second Cup with Keith podcast, and co-hosts the Apostates Anonymous podcast, and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast.

His latest book, SOLA DEUS: What If God Is All Of Us? is available now on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle HERE>

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