Original Research - Special Collection: Mag in die Nuwe Testament

Die ‘Duisternis’ as Mag in die Nuwe Testament

Gert J. Steyn
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1075 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1075 | © 2012 Gert J. Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 May 2011 | Published: 11 May 2012

About the author(s)

Gert J. Steyn, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The purpose of this contribution is to present a general survey of darkness as power in the New Testament. It is generally accepted that darkness functions on a symbolic-metaphorical level on the one hand and on a literal level on the other hand. The former receives attention in this study where darkness is almost exclusively connected with the domain of power of the evil. The issue of darkness is investigated from four dimensions (1) as an opposing power to light in a dualistic worldview, (2) as a ruling power with a grip on death and the grave, (3) as a power of the evil and the struggle for liberation and (4) as a symbol and instrument of judgement of God in an apocalyptic worldview, with darkness eventually becoming the condemned. It is concluded that there seems to be at least two New Testament perceptions regarding the position of darkness as power: The domain of evil’s darkness is located in the ‘underworld’, but gradually this view changed to also include a space in the layers of heaven above the earth. Earthlings found themselves in the midst of the struggle between Belial and Christ – the latter who finally conquers the power of darkness and now rules above the dark forces of evil.


Darkness; Power; Dualistic worldview; Apocalyptic worldview; Death; Evil


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