Again, I remind you that critique of the Gospels leads to the reduction of Christianity to humanist philosophy vs absolute truth.
The old bit of Absolute Truth rears its head again. So far no one has been able to show any absolute truths but I'm always willing to consider one if you can produce it.
I say, rather, that there is a spiritual impartation that most of the educated Jews...and intellectuals of this day and age...missed.
Oh, I agree. We're going over a chapter right now where I believe that's the case. And as we preceed further through the chapter I believe we will find that John 3:16 does not mean what most folk believe anyway.
Scripture is not for private interpretation.
Come on Phat. What else did Jesus do during his short span of teaching except encourage folk to do their own interpretation? That was all he did, day after day, person after person, group after group. He challenged the people to think for themselves.
So then where is the discussion? The way I see it we have discussed John 3:13-15 and concluded that it could be and most likely is, part of the dialog between Jesus and Nicodemus despite the switch from first to third person. Please feel free to dispute this if it is not settled.
Somewhere in there, it changes IMHO from Jesus speaking to the redactor. I would think that John 14-16 are most definitely NOT Jesus speaking and that it's likely that the change is as early as John 3:13.
I base this on several things. One is the major change in narative style. Second, there is a major change in content and emphasis. Third, the section between John 3:13 and John 3:16 simply does not fit within the context of what came before. Fourth, as we proceed through the next few lines we find the redactor backpedaling to try to make stuff fit.
All of John is Reactionary as opposed to Revolutionary. Of all the Gospels, it is the only one that pushes for an exclusionary Christianity. And this verse is, IMHO, where Reaction begins. Here is where Christianity is changed from being inclusionary to exclusionary, even though, as we will see, they had to work hard to make it fit.
If this were the only place in John where this occurs, perhaps we would be in agreement. But you could use all of these adjective phrases to compare John 1:1-18 to the balance of chapter 1 and the succeeding chapter 2. Would these verses be a redaction as well?
Just to try to make my position clear, I absolutely see John (the whole Gospel) as a Reactionary book that was intended to "Correct" and "Redirect" was seen as major shortcomings in the other three Gospels.
John itself is IMHO a complete redaction of Christianity as a whole. I personally have a very low opinion of John as inspired Christian Scripture.
I can honestly say that I totally disagree with every single point found in your last paragraph.
To explain all of the places where I believe your last paragraph is in error would take this thread way off topic and I have written at length on many of them already. But if there is one or two you'd like to discuss, please start a thread on them and I'll be glad to discuss things with you.
As for St. Thomas, many of his ideas have application in science but few have application in Theology. Again, would take us way off topic but one quick example is the existence of GOD. God either exists or does not exist, but while we may have beliefs on the matter, it is not something that can be determined with certainty.
"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
If humanity is condemned, it must be condemned for something - this something is the sin of Adam and Eve and whatever sin is committed after baptism - because the only thing God can take offence to is sin - it is the only real evil - perhaps you will tell me that the scripture quote doesn't say that. I answer that interpretations of scripture rarely stand completely and totally on their own - they usually must be understood in conjunction with the entirety of doctrine and the interpretation of the bible through tradition.
Since this is from John I'll try to respond.
Trent, that is NOT what the passage says at all. In fact, the passage goes on to explain exactly what the condemnation is and it is not damnation.
In John 3 the condemnation is simply to not behave properly.
19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
All it is saying is that if you do not act, do not behave, as Jesus taught then your behavior is condemned. It's not about profession of faith, or being a Christian, it's about behavior. It ain't what you say, it's what you do.
How about John 3:16? How can this NOT be an absolute truth?
Well,we are currently discussing what John 3:16 means. If we cannot be sure what it means it cannot be a Truth. And if we finally agree on a meaning, it is still not an Absolute Truth but rather an Absolute Belief.
The Nicene Creed is not the "I knows" but the "I believes".
Let's deal with Romans at another time because I also believe you good folk are misunderstanding what it says.
What does it mean when you say that John is/was Reactionary as opposed to Revolutionary?
The two concepts, reactionary and revolutionary are almost exact opposites. The latter is a new idea and change while the former stands in opposition to the revolution.
John was written a long long time after Jesus died. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are identified as a similar set in that they all contain the same basic information and the same basic point of view.
The Gospel of John though stands in direct contrast in style and content to the other three accepted Gospels.
Remember, the four Gospels were not the only existing gospels at the time, there were more both known and inferred that were common at the time.
Who were the redactors and what "side" were they on?
We have as little idea of who the redactors were as we do of who the authors were. We can conclude there were redactors though based on the evidence. The example of John 3:16 explained above is one example, the fact that the two flood myths are included just mushed together is another and the "Long ending" of the Gospel of Mark perhaps the best example. The redactors were later people who added something to the Bible stories and there are many, many, many examples going all the way back to the Books of Moses where there are descriptions of what happened after Moses died.
What side they were on just makes no sense. There were many, many sides just as there were many, many redactors. For example consider the two flood myths. They actual stories differ in details as well as in grammar and tone. They use different terms to reference God. Since it's likely the flood myths were developed concurrently with the two City/States of Judah and Israel and those two differed in their versions of Judaism it's very likely that the differences reflect the dogma of Judah and of Israel and that for political reasons each sides story got included during the redaction.
Finally, does this have any similar motive that Saul of Tarsus had when he decided to switch sides?
If you mean are the author and redactor of the Gospel of John trying to create something to show how they think the "Jesus followers movement" (remember they are all still Jews and not a separate religion) should be formed, organized and chartered then "Yes" the motives were the same.
I'm still confused as to why there was an alleged battle over the meaning of the message of Jesus and why there were at least two competing religions involved?(Judaism and Pauls new marketing as well as the redactors motives)
Then good. Confusion is probably the correct position. We don't know why the things that happened happened but the common causes are most likely the real causes; power and control. That continues right down to today with different chapters of Club Christian trying to define the meaning of the message of Jesus.
Have you ever noticed posters here claiming that someone is "Not a real Christian"?