Tutorial 2 - God in the Gospel of John.docx

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Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

Tutorial 2 – God in the Gospel of John Weekly Questions  What does it mean to say Jesus is God’s Word? - Jesus is God’s method of communication, with him from the beginning - God’s word in a physical body - To hear this Word is to hear God himself - Jesus is the embodied communication from God What complications arise because a human is seen as God’s Word? - 1 century roman empire – very anti-material way of looking at things - That which Is fleshly is the lowest order - People see Jesus as flesh and can’t relate that to how he’s a divine being - God must communicate in such a way that will be intelligible to humans so he sends a human - Then they have to accept something that looks like them is divine - Human who comes directly from God and has his authority – disconnect for humans to understand In what way are the works signs and why does Jesus speak in figurative terms? - These miracles are observable and can be understood to some degree as they are seen - Point away from themselves to point towards the glory and potency of God - Truths themselves are inexplicable and need to be explained in a way people can understand even though they’re concepts beyond human understanding What is the relationship between God’s will and the hostility leading to Jesus’ crucifixion? - In the gospel of John, evil is something that is simply there – it’s a given and is understood as being there, it’s not God’s will but God uses it - God harnesses it as he enacts his will - Jesus, despite being more powerful, always acts in a gracious way towards evil – doesn’t fight against it, fights what’s going to happen - It’s all prefigured in the scriptures but not an active part of God’s plan - It’s evil acting against God’s plan but God is able to use it - Analogy of a snake on a pole – Israelites complain, God sends snakes to kill them, they ask for mercy, Moses sets up a snake on a pole and anyone who looks to it is saved from the venom of the snakes  looks a lot like idolatry .. but is used for good and healing Brief Summary of the Chapter - Big issue: Problem that God is transcendent and holy but seeks to have a relationship with humanity o God doesn’t really speak in the gospel of John except through others o Looking for a way around the transcendent and holy way of God - Ways that God communicates: o Jesus o Scripture o Holy Spirit Communicating God: Scriptures - John 1:45 o “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote..” - John 5:39-47 o “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf..” o “.. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” - All scripture points to Jesus - Moses is the ultimate law-giver from the past – the one who people look to for eternal life - You should be able to read this in scripture but if you can’t, scripture and Moses will be your accuser – you should understand and know about Jesus at this point - Divine communication directly regarding Jesus Communicating God: Logos as Shekinah - Jesus as the embodied aspect of the word - Logos – not just Word, - Alexandria is in Egypt – second largest city of Roman empire – the educational mecha - Philo of Alexandria is THE Jewish scholar; middle platanist - combination of the thought of Plato, Stoics, and Pythagoreans  anti-material understanding that the true creator were completely separate from material or corporial existence - Plato  Everything good on earth has a perfect form (earth is an image / degraded version of the perfect version) - Stoics  one creator that was completely other, and used the term logos for the part of God that was able to create - Within Philo, the term logos was used this way - Word becomes the part of God that would be willing to touch / interact with the human world - All-cutting word  separated everything into what would become creation - Main point/issue : before the gospel of John, in Judaism, there’s an understanding that God is completely other and completely separate, and an issue of how does God interact with what’s on earth? - Shekinah – the indwelling of God (not specifically spoken of this way in the bible, but the aramiac tralslation of God of whenever God interacted with humans – they would refer to it as the Shekinah of God that did this  the only part willing to touch creation - Shekinah: To make present or cause to dwell Communicating God: Logos and Wisdom - John 1:1-4 - Lady Wisdom – female character - This one part of God is very female - Ben Sira 24:8-10 (w
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