John’s Word

​I think a first century reader of John would have understood “The Word” to be divine mind, will, intent, purpose et. al..

In that case, the entirety of John can be read without the idea that Jesus is ontologically God. Indeed, the church fathers (Justin Martyr copiously) believed Jesus was divine but imply through distinction, he was not God (Yahweh) in any hypostatic sense or otherwise.

Reading more of John’s gospel, Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life unmistakably speak of Jesus in exemplar fashion rather than as a gatekeeper. As hodos, as alethea, and zoe, plus Jesus as logos, Jesus is the revelation of the fullness of humanity, the way all humanity was meant to be, and through Jesus, we see what mode that way of being is.

By analogy, were I a jet fighter designer, I may say that the F15 is everything I had in mind for fighter planes to be. From this is a universality to things in which beliefs about an F15 actually having anything to do with me, its designer, its “father”, clearly don’t matter and miss the point. What does is understanding what an F15 is, what it does and how.

All that can matter is how we think we ought to be as human beings and whether or not Jesus is the epitome of that picture. Salvation wouldn’t hinge on the latter but instead, on pursuing the former.

Again using the Greek, pistis is not episteme but persuation. Faith is pistis in that sense, not in the new post-enlightenment, Fregean, propositional sense. Grace, God’s active presence in the world, produces faith, a draw to God; which is to say, a draw to goodness, which is universal once again.

Ditching the mistaken “faith or works” false dichotomy, and given the teleology and eschaton of the Kingdom Of God, Heaven and Hell are not of any concern. Jesus didn’t speak of them in any sense that at least Protestants have in mind today. Salvation is the result of atonement which is a result of acting on faith. In other words, atonement is the experience of participating in the good and in those experiences, one is transformed and, this is salvation. And again, this needs no acknowledgment of God or Christ and why it is written that salvation is for all and especially those who believe in Christ. Meaning simply that a Christian is one who affirms that the mark for humanity is Jesus but that recognition or belief or confession isn’t necessary eschatologically, not a requirement of salvation. If it is true that Jesus is the fullness of humanity, then obviously it makes sense that those understanding Jesus would better understand salvation. Just as obviously, it doesn’t mean salvation is impossible without knowledge of Jesus.

We see in Christ what God had in mind for us all when we were created; each of us embodying His will, which is goodness itself.

Just a thought.

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