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5. JESUS THE SON OF GOD AND LOGOS IN HEAVEN.

But the Fourth Evangelist exercised the greatest influence by adopting to some extent the view of the world held by the great thinkers of his age and applying it to the Person of Jesus. Paul and those who followed him (pp. 144-146) had already ascribed to Jesus a life with God in heaven before his descent upon earth, and even a share in the creation of the world; but Jn. is the first to start clearly with the idea that Jesus was the Logos and that without him God could have produced no effect upon the world, because He, being perfectly good, was obliged without question to keep at a distance from the world which was thoroughly evil. The idea that Jesus was begotten of God as a human son is begotten by his human father, an idea which Paul and those who followed him had given expression to before Jn., must of itself have helped very much to make Gentiles familiar with Jesus from the start and favourably disposed towards his worship, for they knew of and worshipped so many deities who were begotten by a god. But the statement was truly a greater one when it could be said that the Logos, whose work the deepest thinkers had found to be necessary if the divine influence was to come into the world, was no other than Jesus. While the conception of Jesus as a Son of God might make an impression on the lower classes among the Gentiles, that of Jesus as the Logos would attract the people of culture. And, as a matter of fact, it was very important that Christianity should not always remain a religion merely for uncultured and uninfluential people. In the form in which the Fourth Gospel presented it, it was capable of satisfying the highest demands of the age. Here attention was no longer 239paid to the fact that this Jesus in whom people were to believe was a Jew—a fact which might have greatly repelled many Gentiles—for he is described in such a way as to make him quite superior to everything Jewish. And so Jn., even more than Paul, has brought it about that Jesus should be recognised as being what he was—without Jesus himself thinking the idea out—the Saviour of the world.

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