; VII. Dualism Gospel of John
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VII. Dualism Gospel of John


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									VII. Dualism
A. Types of dualism
1. Cosmic dualism – world above and world below
Above: Light – God, good

Below: Darkness – demons, evil

2. Temporal dualism – present age and age to come
Present evil age (Satan) Age to come (God)

3. Metaphysical dualism – physical and spiritual 4. Ethical dualism – evil as result of sin

B. The World
1. World – neutral/positive (1:9; 3:16; 16:21; 17:24)
a. God created world; loves world. b. World not negated because physical.

2. World – negative (8:12, 23; 9:39; 12:31, 46; 14:17; 16:11).
a. ―This world‖ is opposed to God; in darkness; under Satan‘s power; subject to judgment. b. Symbolizes unbelief – rejection of God‘s revelation in Christ. c. Not metaphysical but ethical dualism. d. Bultmann: Creation becomes ―this world‖ when it rejects its creaturehood and tries to live unto itself. (Theology of NT, vol. 2)

3. Cosmic dualism - contrasts world below and world above.
a. b. Rest of NT emphasizes temporal dualism. Jn. emphasizes cosmic dualism. Primarily unbelief (16:8-9) – rejection of God‘s revelation in Christ (!5:22, 24). Spiritual blindness – symbolized by darkness. Leads to death (8:24). Faith in Jesus delivers from sin and death; brings life.

4. Sin
a. b. c. d.

C. The Jews – 71x; often negative
1. Positive (4:22; 5:46; 11:45).
2. Negative (5:16; 8:31, 37-38, 44-47, 57-59; 10:31-39; 18:12; etc).
a. ―Jews‖ misunderstand, reject, persecute, crucify Jesus. b. Does Jn. teach hatred of Jews?

3. Who are the ―Ioudaioi”? –

not an ethnic slur; cannot always refer to Jewish people as a whole (cf. 7:11-13). a. ―Jews‖ – by birth, race, or religion. b. ―Judeans‖ – as opposed to Samaritans or Galileans. c. Brown: ―Religious authorities‖ or ―Jerusalem leaders.‖ d. Kysar: ―Stylized types of those who reject Jesus.‖

4. Reasons for not viewing FG as anti-Semitic:
a. FG is responding to attacks from synagogue. b. Author, reader, characters are all Jews – internal Jewish dispute. c. FG opposes unbelief, not Jewishness.

Yet, FG has often been used to justify anti-Semitism.

C. The Jews – cont.
5. What can we do about it?
a. Better translations. b. More sensitive interpretation. c. Sermons against anti-Semitism.

D. Freedom and Determinism in FG
1. Determinism passages (see handout)
a. Imply predestination. b. Only those chosen by God can believe. c. Gnostic interpretation – people divided by innate nature:
   Sarkikoi (fleshly) Psychikoi (soulish) Pneumatikoi (spiritual) – only they are capable of responding to saving gnosis.

2. Freedom passages (see handout)
a. Imply freedom to believe or not. b. Invitation is open to all.

D. Freedom and Determinism – cont.
3. Four possible ways to reconcile:
a. Historical explanation (Kysar)
    Freedom texts – older tradition; period of successful mission. Determinism– later tradition; after Jewish hostility crystalized. Takes determinism texts as primary; explains freedom texts in light of them. God calls only some for salvation; only they have freedom to respond. Takes freedom texts as primary; explains determinism texts in light of them. God calls all for salvation; deterministic language emphasizes divine initiative in salvation. Paradox of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom.
All depends on God‘s call – all depends on human response.
Salvation viewed from divine perspective vs. human perspective.

b. Calvinistic explanation

c. Arminian explanation
 

d. Dialectical explanation (cf. Bultmann, NT Theology, vol. 2, pp. 23-24)

How ―Creation‖ Becomes ―This World‖ (Bultmann, NT Theology, vol. 2, p. 18)
―Since creation is a revelation of God and (since) the ‗Word‘ is at work as the ‗light‘ in that which was created, then man is given the possibility of a genuine self-understanding in the possibility of understanding himself as God‘s creature. Darkness, then, means that a man does not seize this possibility—that he shuts himself up against the God revealed in the creation. It means that instead of understanding himself as creature he arrogates to himself a self-sovereignty that belongs to the Creator alone…. Darkness is nothing other than shutting one‘s self up against the light. It is turning away from the origin of one‘s existence, away from that which alone offers the possibility of illumining one‘s existence. When the world shuts itself up against the light it thereby rebels against God, making itself independent of God—i.e. it attempts to do so, vainly imagines that it can do so…‖

How ―Creation‖ Becomes ―This World‖ (Bultmann, NT Theology, vol. 2, pp. 20-21)
―(A person) has only one alternative: to exist either from God (reality) or from the world (unreality). By man‘s Whence, his Whither is also determined; they who are ‗from below,‘ ‗of the world,‘ will die in their sins (8:21-23); ‗the world‘ and its ‗lust‘ pass away (I Jn. 2:17). The bondage, therefore, to which the world has surrendered itself, consists in this: that by disavowing God the Creator as its origin it falls into the hands of Nothing….‖

―Each man is, or once was, confronted with deciding for or against God; and he is confronted anew with this decision by the revelation of God in Jesus. The cosmological dualism of Gnosticism has become in John a dualism of decision….‖
―By its opposition to the Revealer the ‗world‘ definitively constitutes itself as ‗world‘…‖


Johannine Determinism
(Bultmann, Theology of NT, vol. 2, p. 24)
―John‘s predestinatory formulations mean that the decision of faith is not a choice between possibilities within this world that arise from inner-worldly impulses, and also mean that the believer in the presence of God cannot rely on his own faith. He never has his security in himself, but always in God alone. So if faith is such a surrender of one‘s own selfassertion, then the believer can understand his faith not as the accomplishment of his own purposeful act, but only as God‘s working upon him. This and nothing else is the meaning of the statements that only he comes to Jesus to whom it is ‗granted‘ by the Father…‖

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