I’ve often puzzled over the meaning of this Bible verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I believe a common interpretation of this verse is that God so loved the material world and mortals within it, that he sacrificed his only son, Jesus, on the cross, to show us how much He loved us, and made this sacrificial offering of Jesus to save all those who believed on the risen Savior.
I’ve struggled with this interpretation because my concept of God is one of a loving Father-Mother, and a loving Father-Mother does not sacrifice His son to pain and suffering.
Christian Science explains that it was the human material concept of Christ called Jesus that suffered on the cross. It was not the Son of God that suffered. The Son of God was the Christ that Jesus reflected in his healing ministry. The Son of God was not a physical body that suffered at the hands of mortal tyrants and terrorists. The Christ is spiritual, immortal, and divine, forever living in Mind, not in matter. And we find our spiritual selfhood in Christ too.
So, in trying to understand the original spiritual meaning of the above verse, I came up with:
“God’s love is revealed in His Son, the Christ, in which we find eternal Life.”
I’m still thinking on this verse, but feel I’m getting closer to the original spiritual meaning before it was translated.
God has given us His Son, the true idea of Himself, which serves as the example of who we are in His image and likeness. (Please excuse using the male gender here, for the word Her works just as well.) And we have Christ, or God’s direction and guidance at work in our lives, to lead us to eternal life.
Christ never died, and is never at the mercy of hate, evil or death. This is the example Jesus’ resurrection left for us to learn from, and we can faithfully follow.
“The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science, taking away the sins of the world, as the Christ has always done, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to mortal eyes.” Mary Baker Eddy