the “already” and “not yet,”
John has often been understood to dissolve any so-called “tension” between the “already” and “not yet,” between the present and future, in favor of his emphasis on the present reality of the salvation and blessings of God. Yet even though “tension” may not quite capture the flavor of Johannine eschatology, there clearly is a definite “space” between the here and now and the future. This may also be seen in Jesus’ own journey to the Father-and his promise to the disciples that they will be where he is. Since he is returning to the Father, to the place and position that he had before the creation of the world, and since in the position he alone has seen the Father, the implication is that the disciples too have the promise of the vision of God. In this present life, because the Word of God has become incarnate, here is genuine knowledge of God; in seeing the Son, one sees the unseen Father. Yet the full vision of the unseen Father remains a future hope (see 1 John 3:1-2). Similarly, through the words and deeds of Jesus, one knows God and so has eternal life (17:3). Yet just as the Incarnate Word is fully God, yet not the entire fullness of God, and just as one sees the Father in the Son and yet does not see the Father in fullness, so to the life that the Word grants to human beings is fully the life of God, but not yet the complete fullness of the life. It awaits the resurrection. The very language of eternal life presses logically toward this end: life with the one who is the very origin and source of all life, the living and life-giving God.
Title: The God of The Gospel of John
author: Marianne Meye Thompson