Inner Light

At the very centre of the Quaker faith lies the concept of the Inner Light.  This principle states that in every human soul there is implanted a certain element of God’s own Spirit and divine energy.  This element, known to early Friends as “that of God in everyone”, “the seed of Christ”, or “the seed of Light”, means to Friends, in the words of John 1:9, “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

Friends generally believe that first-hand knowledge of God is only possible through that which is experienced, or inwardly revealed to the individual human being through the working of God’s quickening Spirit. This explains the attitude of Friends towards many things, including the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, the scriptures, the establishment and authority of the church, its use of ceremonies, symbols and sacraments, and especially the obligations felt by each individual.

Broadly speaking, the concept of the Inner Light is twofold. Firstly, the Inner Light discerns between good and evil. It reveals the presence of both in human beings, and through its guidance, offers the alternative of choice. Secondly, the Inner Light opens the unity of all human beings to our consciousness. Friends believe that the potential for good, as well as evil, are latent in everyone.

George Fox acknowledged that there is an “ocean of darkness and death” over the world. But he also saw that “an ocean of light and love” flows over this ocean of darkness, revealing the infinite love of God. Friends believe that the power of God to overcome evil is available in the nature of anyone who truly wants to do the will of God. To a great extent, we are the arbiter of our own destiny, having the power of choice. Salvation, in the Quaker sense, lies in our power to become children of God.

Although the Inner Light or the Divine Spirit has always been available, Friends generally accept that the fulless of God’s divine revelation is made manifest in the life of Jesus Christ – “made flesh and dwells among as, full of grace and truth.”

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