John 8, 21-30 The Kosmos
In the Gospel according to John, Jesus talks about contrasts between the world and the heavens. The world in Greek is kosmos (κόσμος). It is the changing, transient life we live in. Pythagoras was the first who used it to refer to the physical universe as opposed to what is divine. Kosmos refers to the created universe, the inhabited world, and all that exists. Thus kosmos is the opposite of heaven. Kosmos does not include God.
In the Gospel today, Jesus says that He came from heaven into the world (John 1, 9). He was sent by God into the world. He is not from this world; but his opponents are.
But the kosmos is not separated from God. It is God’s creation (John 1, 10). It was through God’s word that it was created. Thus the world – κόσμος --- might be different from heaven, but there is no unbridgeable gulf between them. In addition, God loves the world. Thus, the kosmos is the object of God’s love. God so loved the world that He sent His Son. God has never abandoned the world; even if it is so different, the kosmos is still the recipient of God’s supreme love and gift.
Nevertheless, there is something wrong with the kosmos. The kosmos is blind: it does not recognize its very Creator when He came. Moreover, the kosmos hates Him and his followers.
In summary, the world is separate from God; yet there is no unbridgeable gap. God created the world and loves it that He sent his Only son. Yet, there is a blindness and hostility.
GK Chesterton once said that there is only one thing certain about us, that we are not what we are meant to be. There is one thing certain about the kosmos: that the kosmos is not what it was meant to be. There is something wrong: that something is sin. It is sin which separates us from God.
Therefore, Christ comes into the world that has gone wrong. Christ comes to heal and cure what has gone wrong. Like a doctor who has to tell the truth to his patient or else he dies; Christ also tells us the truth or else we will not be saved.
In the Season of Lent, we ask what is wrong in us, in our lives and how we live it. Usually we know what is wrong. We get to feel it too! (Especially when we say, “There is something wrong! I just can’t put my finger on it!). Usually, we know the cure (When we cry, we just need someone with us. We usually know what to do!). The solution is already before us, but we refuse to see it.
Niké offers us the advice: Just do it!