The Mystery of the Rainbow

12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:12-13)

Hmmmm. . . God uses the rainbow as a sign to remind mankind of His loving presence. I wonder why a rainbow? Is this just an effort on the part of primitive man to explain the origin of natural phenomena, or could it hold deeper mysteries? Remember in Romans 1:20 it says,

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

So, let’s consider the rainbow. It is the result of pure light rays being separated (refracted) into separate bands of color.

While God is equated with light throughout the scriptures in 1 John 1: 5, it is stated boldly,

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

I believe that we see in the rainbow a whisper of the idea that within God’s singleness – His Oneness – there is a multiplicity of facets just as pure light is made up of a multiplicity of separate color bands.

Since painters mix pigment, they use the Prang Theory of color mixing. In the Prang Theory all colors can be made by mixing the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Additionally, no pigment can be mixed to make red, yellow, and blue. You have to start with them, but with those three (and white) the entire color spectrum can be made. Could the rainbow be hinting at the Trinity that Christians embrace? Jews, too, have recognized the multiplicity of God’s attributes and have different names for God that emphasize which attribute is being revealed in a specific incident. Whether it is God’s mercy, justice, provision, or holiness, God is one as light is one, and yet the breathtaking beauty encompassed in that One is a marvelous thing.

One of my adult students was so impressed with these insights that she, in turn, shared them with a friend of hers who had studied art extensively but had never thought about this spiritual connection. She had one of those grand “ah-ha!” moments and said, “Not only that but consider the primary color ‘yellow’ representing the glory of God, ‘red’ representing the blood of Christ, and ‘blue’ representing the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Wow!! I love how God works revealing Himself, piece by piece, first to one of us and then another.

(All Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (R), copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission)

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