What is the meaning of the apostle’s expression: “God is light”; “God is love?”
Next to the apostle John’s famous phrases, “God is light” (1 John 1:5), “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), there is also the notion of man as a light and as love. In his gospel apostle John quotes the words of Jesus Christ: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). But Christ also told His apostles, Christians: “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
So, in one place we read “I am the light of the world”, and in another place, “You are the light of the world”. These words of Christ about being the light are one of the pieces of evidence of the Lord’s divinity according to the apostolic epistle, where God is presented as the light. The words about Christ as a light and God as a light bring the idea of the divinity who have the properties of light.
Paul presents God as light and love in His essence, but man is with such quality not by the essence, but by borrowing. When we communicate with the light, we are filled with light, when we communicated with love, we are filled with love.
The apostolic epistle states – “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1:6). It shows that in the apostle John’s understanding the light and the acquisition of its properties and divine gifts is real in active communication with God and in spiritual experience.
Must Christians love this world and all people?
In his epistle, John the apostle gives the notion of expressing love for the world. Must we love the world or we mustn’t? In the apostolic epistle, the answer is negative; we should not love the world. The apostle says: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (2:15-16).
By saying that, the apostle seems to contradict himself. The apostle John, who is also known as St. John the Evangelist, in his gospel speaks about totally opposite things. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
In one place he says that God so loved the world, in another place – don’t love the world, in one place the love for the world is in a positive sense, in the other place it is negative. We need to know that in the apostle’s vocabulary, “the world” has different meanings. First of all, it means humanity, modern positive phenomena, but it also means the vices and world’s vicious realities.