For God So Loved
John 3 v 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Calling Christians claims that this is the case. Many Muslims agree with him. Does this verse prove this? I am obviously biased but I do not think that this is self-evident from the text itself. This seems to be what many Muslims argue. If the Son is sent he must be subordinate because he has no choice in the matter. If the Father says go he has to go, end of story. He is simply an object, or a slave as personal object, over which the Father has lordship and can dispose of as he will. On the surface this could be an option but must the text be interpreted in this way? No, certainly not. This is just arguing from silence and begging the question because of the inherent bias of Muslim thinkers who have to follow the Quran.
Why are two different words used for the “movement” of the Son from the heavenly to the earthly sphere? The word give and the word sent are both used in this verse. My understanding would be that the giving of the Son takes place before the incarnation. This is a voluntary agreement on the part of the Father and the Son between themselves. Only the giving on the part of the Father is mentioned in this verse but this does not preclude the existence of a complementary act on the part of the Son who gives himself to the Father to dedicate himself to the purpose which the Father has conceived in his heart.
The sending takes place after the incarnation and applies to the human Jesus who is made under the law; the same Jesus who acknowledges that he has received a commandment from the Father:
John 10 v 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.