The love that God offers is relational, intimate and personal.
John the Apostle, a Hebrew from a remote province in the Roman Empire, lived a long life. The other apostles died premature deaths, but John, a typical Hebrew, lived long enough to be elevated out of his provincial Jewish world by the God who created it. His writing, as much as any of the New Testament authors, has a strong philosophical theme, but that philosophical theme is no abstract intellectual construct.
John the one-time fisherman became familiar with the greater Greco-Roman world by which the Palestinian province of his birth was governed and influenced. That familiarity is reflected in the Gospel that bears his name.
His gospel begins philosophically: “In the beginning was the Word”, the Logos. (John 1:1) The word, logos, carried poignant philosophical meaning in the Greco-Roman world. John’s use of that word to open his account of the life and message of Jesus shows that John, the provincial Hebrew, familiarized himself with that world and its thought.
This is in keeping with the instruction from Jesus to his followers to go into all the world explaining the message Jesus gave them. To go into the world, we have to become familiar with it and conversant with the thought that predominates in the world to which we go.
Though John’s Gospel begins philosophically, focusing on the loaded word, logos, he didn’t have the abstract notions of philosophy in mind. John’s use of that word pointed outside the Greco-Roman world and transcended it.
Continue reading “God’s Love is Not Platonic”
God is a communicator, and He made us for communication with Himself.
The parallels between Genesis 1 and John 1 are obvious. Genesis 1 reads:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
John 1 reads:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
These parallels convey the idea that God is “verbal” by His very nature, and He communicated the universe into existence. Indeed, the creation story as it unfolds in Genesis bears this out:
- And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (gen. 1:3)
- And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” (Gen. 1:6)
- And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” (Gen. 1:9)
- Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation…. (Gen 1:11)
- And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night….” (Gen. 1:14-15)
- And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” (Gen. 1:20)
- And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…” (Gen. 1:24)
- Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness….” (Gen. 1:26)
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that a plural pronoun is used for God in Genesis 1:26. To be verbal by nature, communicative by His very essence, God must have relationship within Himself. In John 1, we read that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, and then John goes further to say this:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)
Of course, he is talking about Jesus – God who became like us, the creatures He created in His own image. Of God and Jesus, John said,
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God….” (John 1:11-12)
Continue reading “And God Said”