truth in full spectrum light

Eric Allaby shared the following beautiful analogy with photographs he took 35 years ago.

You probably do not remember meeting me at your two-day seminar in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in September, 2009. Three of us Baptists, a pastor, his daughter (children’s pastor) and myself, from a small, rural island church, eagerly savored every moment of discussion.

In thinking about how you helped us to expand our notion of “truth”, I pass along what I believe to be a helpful illustration.


I worked as a diver for many years and thought this analogy might help us see truth in all its colors. Under the sea, most of the spectrum of light is soon scattered or absorbed, green light penetrates the deepest into the ocean. The first picture shows sea anemones on the sternpost of a shipwreck 85 feet below the surface, where only green light penetrates. Everything looks green. The second picture, of the same sea anemones, is taken with flash, which has the full spectrum of light. The same sea anemones now have bright pastel colors. Which is truth?


Both are true. When you look at truth with only the spectrum of objectivity, as moderns have been taught to do, we see truth in just that color. If we add the colors of creativity, imagination, beauty, awe, relationships, love, and perhaps other colors that you can think of, then truth can become much brighter, richer and more colorful.
Can we learn to look at truth with more colors than objectivity alone? Will truth be more beautiful and powerful if we do?

Thanks, Eric. Beautiful!