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Discussion 1 to Meditation 272
A Response to Meditation #272

by Jim

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This same book of John, in which you referred to the last (2) verses, interestingly enough gives what I consider to be very important context to your topic in the very first verses.  My take is that to fully understand John’s ending statement; the first (3) verses need consideration. 

This gospel begins with John’s testimony of the eternal Jesus (referred to as the Word) through whom the world was created.  John tells us v3 that all things (and I would believe this to include every molecule, atom, sub-atomic particle, etc) were brought into existence through Him.  And John goes on to clearly tell us that without Him nothing was made that has been made.

So, if the self-existent, pre-creation Christ, the eternal 2nd person of the trinity, who was there in the ‘beginning’ and therefore has been in a sense, forever working, creating, etc; would there then not be much more that could be written about Him than just the brief 1.1 billion seconds to which you limited Him?  

I would offer that John’s statement in very last verse was indeed intended to be understood just as written - an understatement - that the world, in fact, could not contain the books that would be written.

Secondly, the number of books in the world at the time of John’s writing would very certainly have fit into your backyard if not on the shelf in your bedroom closet.  So, to expect John to foresee the far reaching future effects of the Gutenberg press would be like expecting him to see every 20th century household with a couple automobiles in the driveway or to foresee every home with scores of appliance, or ______well just fill in the blank.  John was writing to the contemporaries in his culture, in the context of what he lived and knew.  The limiting factor of John’s statement not being the size of one’s backyard or the square footage of our planet, but the sheer inability of the world at that time to churn out (as done today) millions of copies in a week to ship out to Barnes & Noble.

I’ll end by drawing you to the word suppose in the last verse.  John is asking his readers to try to fathom what Christ had done and how impossible to put into words, just for example, the immeasurable work of His atonement (a work still ongoing today and being written about in the lives of millions).  John is overwhelmed by the eternal Christ - recognizing that Jesus had not stopped and would never stop working.  If one believes that He has risen and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, then one also must believe that He is even now still influencing, helping, guiding, and working today.  He is even now sustaining the very universe as well as doing so much more than we can think or even imagine or for that matter write about. 

So, just as John said, I would ask you to consider this apostle as rightly and accurately saying, “I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

Just my thoughts and a brief response to article 272….