John 3:16; God’s World

God is reaching out for you

“Go so loved the world….”

Surprisingly enough, this whole “world”  idea has been giving me more problems addressing than anything else in this passage so far.  God loves the world?  Why? Let’s be honest, I’m not the only one who wonders this.  The Church teaches to be “in the world but not of the world.”  But God loves the world.  Why should we not relish being a part of something that God loves?

“God so loved the cosmos…”

So, I figured that I would check out what the original Greek says, thinking that this would clear up the issue.  Surely it would “actually mean” something like “all the people in the world” or something like that.  Well… the Greek word is Kosmos (as in cosmos and cosmonaut).  Great.  That sounds more like the universe than the people.  Then I dug a little deeper and found that the Greek sense of the term is more like the order of things, everything including the people who are within that order.

God’s design

Kosmos, then, in a Biblical context and in the context of John’s Gospel which begins, “In the beginning was the Word….” hearkening back to Genesis, means that God loves everything that He created.  He still believes that it is very good.  Remember that he proclaimed creation to be “very good” on the sixth day when He created humankind.

I’m still left with the “in the world but not of the world” dilemma.  I’m sensing from what follows this verse that Jesus is primarily concerned with people.  Humans are the ones who are capable of believing and therefore receiving God’s gift of salvation.  But, at the same time, I’m sensing that God also loves everything around us as well.  The whole thing is “very good”.  The earth and all that is in it, the sun and the moon and the stars and all the planets, and dust and dark matter… it’s all created by God and for that reason it’s all “very good”.

God loves them all.

I want to say that I’m confused at this point, but I’m not.  I am instead, blessed with a profound sense of wonder and astonishment.  Think about it.  Look up and long down and all around you.  God created it.  It’s not all pretty.  A lot of it is inscrutable.  But so much of it is so complex, so miniscule, so massive, so profound and amazing that one cannot but imagine the perfection that originated it. And this ultimately unimaginable Creator loves His kosmos in its entirety but you and me most of all and wants to know us on such an intimate level that He’s willing to just give us such a life that he enjoys in eternity.  If that doesn’t take your breath away then I don’t know what ever will.

God Bless,

Christopher

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