Q&A–"God So Loved"

Quite often we get asked questions through our website and/or social channels. Here's a great question I got last week from a friend named Nigel and thought it might be a helpful conversation to share here. Enjoy!

Nigel: 

Greetings from Durban, South Africa! We're wanting to learn "For God so loved the world"... Help me out with verse 3, I'm just getting stuck on 'you are in the air I breathe'... I see the Danish literal translation has the thrust of a desperate need for hope ... Perhaps I'm being pedantic but I'm just nervous to put out Pan-theistic vibes. How would you explain it to avoid that error? (On another note I love your songs... keep up the great work brother!)

Aaron: 

Hi Nigel,
Thanks for your thoughtful note.

I was thinking of Acts 17:28 there, “in him we live and move and have our being” which I ended up writing almost verbatim just to clearly anchor it to scripture. The verse before that shows Paul talking about God being so near to us as well…

Ephesians 1 (v23 I think?) talks about God being the one who fills all things, everywhere! Amazing.

Romans 11 also has that great line from Paul about “From him, through him, and to him are all things.” Everything is from him, for him, and through him. I love it. He’s filling it all! 

Also thinking of Colossians 1, “In him all things hold together.” Recognizing that the reason I am living and breathing right this second is because God is sustaining me at this moment. This connects obv with Psalm 3, “I lay down to sleep, and awake for the Lord sustains me.” 
Hebrews 1:3 is helpful too. Jacob at Bethel (in Genesis 28) is another clue that God is with us, and we usually are just late to recognize it.

I don’t see it at all as pantheistic; if anything, it flirts with pan-entheism, but again, I’m not saying God is the air we breathe (although that did wonders for Kathryn Scott years ago, haha), but simply that God is in that air. He’s what keeps us alive actually, just, in this case, through oxygen, nitrogen, and whatever else is in there!

Hope that’s helpful!
A