Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Word, the eternal life, and the spirit

I'm going through my book again, looking for things I should revise, and the study I did yesterday on John 1:1 made me see something I don't know that I would seen normally.

In my book I make the claim that John and other NT writers us the term aiōnios zōē to refer to the "Holy Spirit" or the indwelling thereof. In our bibles that term is translated "eternal life," but a better expression would be "boundless life" or "life in the age to come."

Anyways, I showed in Who Really Goes to Hell three linkages between the way NT writers spoke of the Spirit and the way they spoke of "eternal life."

What floored me last night was a linkage between "the eternal life" and "the Word." [Yes, there are many places where the "the" is there in the Greek...yet another reason why translating aiōnios zōē as "eternal life" should be considered a bit odd.

Anyways, check this out:

John 1:1b "The Word was with/toward/near/related to God"
John 1:14a "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,"

Now, compare that with

1st John 1:2 "...and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us"

the eternal life was "with the father" and the life was "manifested to us."

What's my point, John uses the same language to talk about "The Word" [an abstract concept] as he does to refer to "the eternal life" [another abstract concept]. They are both seen as being "with" God and being sent and manifest to us.

This makes perfect sense if we see (as I do) "the eternal life" as a reference to the Spirit (or its indwelling). Jesus speaks of the Spirit as another helper God will send after Jesus "goes away" (John 16:7) and could only come when Jesus had died (John 7:39 as well as the John 16:7 again).

Furthermore, we are told that "God has life in Himself and has granted that the son could as well...almost certain a reference to Jesus' baptism by the holy spirit [one of the few items that occurs in every Gospel. The early church focused on this far more than we do today.] (John 1:4, John 5:26)

Anyways, I just thought it was interesting that John treats "The Word" and "The 'eternal life'" in similar ways, as abstract principles that became manifest in the agents of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.


sweetdreams said...

People often focus on the word light while reading John 1, but the key word is Zoe (life)
Joh 1:4 In him was Zoe ; and the Zoe was the light of men.

1Jn 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Zoe;
1Jn 1:2 (For the Zoe was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that enduring Zoe, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

Isn't this what Jesus offers us?
Zoe now and Zoe in the age to come.

Not life without end but a regenerated life now (through spirit birth) and long enduring life into the next age given to us on the Resurrection day.

David Rudel said...

Do you believe the life we have upon the resurrection will eventually end?

I think Christ's words in Luke 20:36 go against that.