For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 New International Version)
Arguably one of the pivotal verses in the New Testament Canon, John’s explanation of the process and motivation of salvation is striking. Folks have tended to read it anthropocentrically, God loved ‘humanity’ you and me. But the single word ‘world’ is clear. All translations in English use the same word. What ‘world’ constituted in ancient times is debatable, but then and now, it still means all that can be considered beyond the local. It is not hard to include creation, and humanity within it, as the centre of God’s passion, and Christ’s self-giving action Phil 2).
For those concerned with creation, as a mission priority, the connection is easy. God has provided, graciously for our needs and the needs of non-human elements and being within creation. Salvation, specially expressed in Christ’s self-offering affect humans within the broadest realms of creation.
‘Belief’ as set out in this verse is often understood as a gateway to eternal things, to the detriment of current existence and environment. I beg to differ. What God creates, and continues to animate, is a direct expression of God’s creativeness. So consider what we have done with this gift! Consider our silence as others continue to destroy God’s gift.
As a reflection enjoy this clip from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
A blessed Holy week to all.