John the Evangelist from the 6th-century Rabbula Gospels

The strange Gospel

The Gospel of John is strikingly distinct from the other Gospels of the New Testament. In the first three Gospels, Jesus appears human. In the Gospel of John, he appears godlike. Biblical scholars have long believed that the Gospel of John is from a later date than the other gospels and that Christians had already deified Jesus by then. Only, there is evidence suggesting that Christians were on the path of deifying Jesus very early on. In the Epistle to the Philippians, Paul cites a poem stating that Jesus is God in nature (Philippians 2:6-11). Scholars believe it is an older poem.1 Another theory is that this Gospel originally was written by someone close to Jesus. The first three Gospels probably contain stories about Jesus that were circulating. A small group of insiders may have known more about the nature of the relationship between God and Jesus. This insider account, after heavy redactions, may have become the Gospel of John. This Gospel likely has undergone several revisions.

To understand the following paragraphs, you can read the following:

The identity of God

The Gospels state that Jesus had a personal and intimate relationship with God. Scholars agree that the Gospels have been edited.

Christianity may at first have had a separate creation myth in which Eve was God, gave birth to Adam, and then took him as her husband. The account of the fall may also have been different. The Christian account of creation and fall may have contradicted the Jewish scriptures. Eve giving birth to Adam and taking him as her husband also carries a lewd suggestion. The tale of Eve and Adam is a myth, so it probably never happened like that, but people did not know that at the time. And so, under the influence of Platonic thinking, the Word may have become flesh in the form of Jesus (John 1:1-14). If Jesus was Adam reincarnated, and all of humanity descends from Eve and Adam, one can imagine that without him, there is no life. And if Adam was a child of Eve, we are all children of God, and because God is a woman, Christians are born of God (John 1:13).

Then there was a wedding in Galilee (John 2:1-10). Jesus was there, as were his mother and his disciples. When the wine was gone, his mother said to Jesus that there was no more wine. That would not have been his concern unless he was the bridegroom. Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.’ It could mean that Jesus was not the bridegroom and was about to be married too. He called his mother ‘woman’. If he considered God as his mother, then that makes more sense. Jesus started doing miracles at this wedding by turning water into wine. Perhaps, he became the Christ through this wedding. Hence, it may have been his wedding after all, and the scribes may have changed the narrative to make it appear that it is not.

If you are already born, you have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. When arguing with Jesus, the Pharisee Nicodemus noted that you cannot enter a second time into your mother’s womb to be born again (John 3:4). Nicodemus may have correctly understood what Jesus meant, which is that Christians are figuratively born of God’s womb. Jesus then gave it a spiritual meaning with his answer, ‘No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.’ (John 3:5)

And then John comes with a remark not found in the other Gospels, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” (John 3:27-29) Jesus was the Messiah because he was the bridegroom in a heavenly marriage. The other Gospels also indicate that Jesus was the bridegroom (Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34). The kingdom of heaven is also compared to a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son (Matthew 22:2). The Gospels leave us in the dark about the identity of the bride. The official doctrine is that the Church is Jesus’ bride. But if that were true then there is no reason not to mention it.

Jesus called God his Mother Father, making himself equal with God, so the Jews wanted to persecute him, the Gospel of John tells us (John 5:16-18). Jesus made a few other assertions in this vein. If the Gospel of John is a heavily redacted insider account, these claims reflect Jesus’ own words. For instance, if Jesus believed himself to be Adam, the eternal husband of Eve, he could have said that before Abraham was born, he existed (John 8:58). The wording in the Gospel of John implies that he claimed to be God, which appears understandable in this context.

And then comes a most intriguing assertion, ‘I and the Mother Father are one.’ (John 10:30) Again, it appears that Jesus claimed to be God. The Jews wanted to stone him for blasphemy (John 10:33). Marriage is the only way to become one flesh with another person (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). If Jesus instead had claimed to be eternally married to God, it would still be blasphemy to the Jews. And if Mary Magdalene remained in the background to let Jesus do Her bidding, and Jesus believed himself to be Adam from whom all of humanity descends, then he may have said something similar to, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Mother Father except through me.’ (John 14:6) Mary Magdalene is hardly mentioned in the Gospels, even though she travelled with Jesus, to suddenly become a prominent figure after the crucifixion. At that point, the situation may have required her leadership.

And love is a central theme of Christianity, ‘As the Mother Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Mother Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’ (John 15:9-12) If Jesus was married to God, it makes sense.

The Gospel of John features an enigmatic beloved disciple. Perhaps, Mary Magdalene became Jesus’ most beloved disciple in an early redaction of the text. Later redactions may have turned the beloved disciple into the anonymous author of the Gospel. The Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary indicate that Jesus loved Mary Magdalene more than anyone else. But if Mary Magdalene was God, then it is not an obvious choice to turn her into a disciple in a redaction. And so, the Gospel may indeed be based on the testimony of a disciple. Then we arrive at a remark that is easily overlooked, ‘Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Mother Father.’ (John 16:25) The people who redacted this gospel may have been well aware of what they were doing and have realised that the truth could come out in the end times.

1. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher. Bart D. Ehrman (2014). HarperCollins Publishers.

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