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Abundant Life in Johanine Dualism?

Kind of a hint for any Gatherers reading as to what's coming soon, and a plea for help from any clever Bible scholars out there.

I've been flicking through the commentaries I have on John's gospel and searching the www with little success, but someone must have an idea where there's an article or a book that picks this up helpfully.  I have some ideas on where I want to go with 'abundant life' or 'life in all its fullness' (or fulness, depending where you went to school and which spell checker you're using) but found myself wondering how this fits with some of the up/down, light/dark, in/out, life/death dualism that pervades the gospel.  Anyone got an ideas (i.e. can point me to any) please?


  • I'm anything but a Biblical scholar as you know, but my thoughts - just for a change - immediately leap to El Salvador and Archbishop Romero. I can't dredge up a reference off the top of my head, but in one of his sermons he used this verse - to describe the life, the vitality and the hope which he found in the Base Ecclesial Communities, the poor and the oppressed - but which were only being revealed in the death, the oppression and the destruction of the Salvadoran civil war. It was only in the extremes of evil that the extremes of love and self-sacrifice were being manifested.
    I'll have a look through my Romero biographies and see if I can find a reference for you.

  • No books to point you towards, only my own take on this:
    Imagine a person who has never been ill, never had a bereavement, is happily married, with well-behaved kids, a good job that is satisfying and pays well, and has some kind of leisure activity which they enjoy and excel at. Oh, and they have faith in Jesus too.
    Do they know 'life in all its fullness?'
    Would you turn to them when you lose your job/ your kid becomes a junkie/ you get divorced/ you become depressed/ someone special to you dies?

    If Jesus shows us 'life in all its fullness' then surely it encompass grief, anger, questions, being betrayed, feeling estranged from God etc etc. The difference is that Jesus continued to remain open to others and the possibility of being hurt again. And he also remained obedient to God throughout.
    Maybe for us the challenge is that experiencing 'life in all its fullness' means experiencing the bad stuff and NOT allowing it to make us bitter or put up defences to make sure it doesn't happen again.

  • Thanks both, thoughts that concur pretty much with ideas I'm playing with. If I can find anything on Johanine dualism in this regard it'd be helpful as I think there's too much unhelpful residual dualism kicking around, not least in some parts of the Church, though not the bits we inhabit or aspire to.

  • I think the other strand of Johannine theology this links to is the life of the believer being bound up in the relationship of Father with Son through the imparted life of the Spirit. Like a lot of John this leaves us tantalisingly, but liberatingly (new word), short of description on what this means - it's up to us to find out. Enter the door marked 'Relationship' and everything else will follow.

    So the life of faith, like that of Jesus, may contain grief, anger, being betrayed, feeling estranged from God etc etc., but it will be held in the context of relationship with God and with others...???

    First thoughts only...

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