“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

There’s that word. That very simple word—only two measly letters long—but it carries more megatons of blast than any other word ever written. Ever. It’s more powerful than the tired abstract term God. And if it doesn’t have the sentimental wallop of Jesus, it packs way more infinity. The word is so. It’s a lowly adverb in every day lingo—a mere submodifier if you want the grammatical slam for it—but when it’s dropped in the Bible’s most famous verse it becomes a radioactive element with enough radiant energy to power the entire span of cosmic history, from the “In the beginning” of Genesis to Revelation’s final “Amen” and beyond. It’s the most powerful, most evocative, most astonishing two-letter word the world has ever known.

It’s not that God loved that hooks me. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing that God loves, that God is love itself. But that’s a love that God contains, a love that sits comfortably and wholly within his reach. That God loves is good news, but it’s what I would expect from a God who was perfectly good. To say “God loved the world” may be true, but it rings flat on the soul, a mere fact.

But put the word so in there and you’ve got something else entirely. That simple so, inserted between the subject and its verb, blows the lid off. That one so transforms the divine act of love into a love that overwhelms the Almighty. We are now talking about a love whose extent reaches to the very borders of what it means to be God, a love that pulls the divinity literally out of himself and into a form which is crushed by unfathomable yearning. That so reveals a longing that cannot be contained, even by the infinite. It’s a passion that consumes even the Consuming Fire.

It’s the so loved that gets me. It’s the so that slays the dragon who guards the hoard which is my human heart.


3 Responses

  1. Powerful and profound Fred. Thanks! And He did not come into the world to condemn the world. The God who exposes sin so that He can FORGIVE it!

  2. Good point- the “so” really does it.

  3. This article is so (every pun intended) good…. I got to the end and was left speechless. Thanks for your searching (and finding) another nugget about a God of infinite depth.

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