For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son ... (John 3:16-21)

[For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.] (John 3:16-21)

Is this commentary or scripture?

These verses have been controversial because there is considerable scholarly opinion that Jesus' statement to Nicodemus ended at John 3:15, and these verses (John 3:16-21) were added later by another writer.

This makes sense because these verses clearly come from a voice of commentary rather than the instructive, practical voice of Jesus. Further, there is no clarity in the text about who said this. And it stands out with multiple inconsistencies in Jesus' direct teachings.

The notion that 3:16-21 is commentary is supported by the translation from the Original New Testament version, which footnotes 3:16-21 with the following:
"Footnote: While much that was in his documentary source (the Memoirs of John the Priest) has been adapted by the Greek author to bring the text into line with his ideas, as here, some passages, largely by way of commentary, stand out as his distinctive contribution. Whenever possible attention has been drawn to these, as in this instance, and some have been placed below the main body of the text and in slightly smaller type. The present passage is John 3: 16-21. [This passage has been so placed by the translator.]"
Furthermore, the Ferrar Fenton Translation brackets the entire text of 3:16-21, as having been "added by translators."

Supporting this, we find a number of New Testament translations put end quotes of Jesus' statements to Nicodemus at the end of John 3:15. Biblical versions that do this include the New International Version, the New English Translation, the Revised Standard Version, and the Lost Gospels of Jesus.

This would make this section more likely a purport by sectarian translators, inserted following the Roman Nicene council of 325 AD. After all, the philosophy of Jesus was altered by the early Church at the Roman Nicene council of 325.

That council was presided over by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who was a Christian neophyte with no formal spiritual training. Constantine's motive in the council was to affirm that Jesus was divine (God) in order to control the people of the region. This led to the formation of the Roman Catholic church.

It should be noted that some of the council members - who were considered regional Bishops of their respective regions - did not agree with this affirmation that Jesus was divine (God). Instead, they accepted Jesus as God's representative.

What does 'God so loved the world' mean?

One example of some of the inconsistency with Scripture comes with the first phrase of 3:16. This phrase appears inconsistent with many other statements within the Bible that relate to God loving the world or the people of the world. Many translations of 3:16 have utilized "people of the world," though "people" is not in the Greek of this statement. And it is for this reason that most of the Biblical versions utilize only "world."

With regard to the world, Jesus himself stated:
"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble!" (Matt. 18:7)

"What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Matt. 8:36)

“You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8:23)

"I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me" (John 14:30)

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." (John 15:18)

"But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." (John 16:7-11)

"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." (John 17:14)

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me." (John 17:25)
So we find some major inconsistency here with regard to how Jesus' teachings perceived the "world" and how this particular commentary of John 3:16-21 sees the "world." Jesus saw the "world" as that place where people have forgotten the Supreme Being. The place that influences us towards self-centeredness. The place where Prophets were persecuted and Jesus was persecuted.

Therefore, if Jesus did say this he was referring to God loving those who are living within the world. This of course is a testament to God's unconditional love and mercy for us.

Does God have only one son?

Then we have the phrase, "one and only Son," which contradicts a number of other Biblical verses, including some statements by Jesus himself:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)
"nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." (Luke 20:36)
In addition, we find this verse in the first chapter of John:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)
One of the critical points to consider here is the Greek word μονογενής, which translates directly as “unique or special.” This word is used nine times in the new testament: Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Hebrews 11:17; and I John 4:9. In these texts, this word, μονογενής has been translated to either “one and only” or “only begotten.”

Again, the translation terminology from Greek was driven by the edicts of the Nicene council, as they attempted to portray Jesus as the only begotten son of God. Again, this was consistent with the entire strategy of the Nicene council, the politically motivated gathering of religious leaders from around Europe by Emperor Constantine, in an attempt to control the Christian world by controlling its scripture and interpretations.

This resulted in them choosing four of many living scriptures being read during those times that regarded Jesus, and literally burning the rest. The Dead Sea scrolls and the Nag Hammadi scriptures were just a few of those scriptures not acceptable to the Nicene council. A number of others have also been found, but many were burnt and lost forever.

The Nicene council also carefully selected "official" scribes who translated the Greek texts into the languages of Europe, following the edicts and creeds of the council. This supported the goals of Constantine to politically control the Christian world of that day. This political interest drove the council to translate (or create) the text to imply that Jesus was the exclusive son of God. This in effect would prevent any other teacher to gain a position of authority within the Christian societies throughout Europe.

The question that the "one and only" or "only begotten" interpretation/translation brings up is whether God is so impotent that He could only have one begotten son.

Accordingly, many theologians over the centuries have argued that the more appropriate translation for μονογενής ("monogenes") means "priceless and irreplaceable." This was certainly how the word was translated in Psalms 22:20 and 35:17.

Furthermore, the Septuagint word meaning “only” or “solitary” is μονοτροπος (see Psalm 68:6). This would differentiate from the word μονογενής used here.

In addition, we can see the use of μονογενής as translated as "unique" or "incomparable" from the Hebrew Wisdom of Solomon (7:22), written in Alexandria around 100 B.C.

We can also understand the meaning of μονογενής as we see other Greek works. In a Greek poem written by Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., μονογενής was used to describe a being who was "unique" (Frag. 8.3-4). This illustrates the use of the word in context.

The word μονογενής is also used in the Old Testament to refer to Isaac as supposedly Abraham’s "one and only" son (Heb 11:17). Yet we know that Abraham did not have only one son. Thus the more appropriate translation of the Greek μονογενής is “unique” or “special.”

We can also see that the word μονογενής cannot mean "only begotten son" as in "no one else" when we see that God also applied this honor to David:

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD :
He said to me, "You are my son;
today I have begotten you.”
(Psalm 2:7)

The same translation applies to this and John’s statement. Some have also translated Psalm 2:7’s last statement to “today I have become your Father.” Yet the context and Hebrew from which it is translated is the same.

What is a 'begotten son'?

We should note that there is another context of “begotten” that is revealed from Psalm 2:7. Since the word “today” is used, we know that there was a change, prompting God to bestow upon David the honor of being God's "begotten son."

What did David do to deserve this privilege? Certainly, we can see, from the statement "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD," that this assignment is due to David's acting on God's behalf, as he proclaims God's message. This illustrates that David has submitted himself to God, and become God's servant. He has surrendered himself to God, and God has empowered him to be His representative.

This process, of becoming God’s loving servant, results in a spiritual re-birth of sorts. This is a person who is deciding to do God's will instead of his own will. This “re-birth” is what is being translated to as “begotten” or “begetting” (meaning, “to give birth”).

Thus we can see that the application of this word is better describing Jesus as having a unique, priceless and irreplaceable relationship with God, one that is born from a decision to do God's will. This could also be described as an intimate and confidential relationship.

Thus we can more appropriately translate the two words together: “μονογενής υἱός” as a "special follower of God," or “intimate loving servant of God.”

This is confirmed by the fact that the Greek word translated to "son" (as in "son") in the New Testament is υἱός (huios), which according to the lexicon can mean "son" "in a restricted sense, the male offspring (one born by a father and of a mother)." But it also can mean according to the lexicon, "used to describe one who depends on another or is his follower."

This means the word is also used to describe a dedicated follower or loving servant.

This also more appropriately fits the situation and is also more practical. Anyway, why would God only beget one person? Is God somehow limited in His ability to beget children? Most men can theoretically beget tens if not hundreds of children in their lifetime. And we are saying that God would only beget one person? This is simply illogical.

Are there other 'sons' of God?

This also contradicts scripture. We find many places in the Old and New Testaments of others also referred to as “sons of God.” Here are a few:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:2)
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 6:9)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)
Here we can see a consensus on the use of “son of God” within scripture. The "son of God" is not an offspring as we might conceive of in the physical sense. With regard to creation, we are all children of God. But what creates that special title of being referred to as a son of God?

This follows when a person becomes devoted to God. When a person becomes exclusive to God and becomes His loving servant.

In the case of Jesus, we must add an additional concept - the reality that Jesus was sent by the Supreme Being to teach us. He was thus representing God. When the servant of God is sent to teach about God, the term υἱός τοῦ θεοῦ would be better translated to "Representative of God."

Is this about exclusivity?

The exclusivity inferred by many professional sectarians upon Jesus is not God’s exclusivity, as the political Nicaea council wanted us to think. It is us having an exclusive focus on God. As we can see by the quotes above, all of us have the ability to become confidential loving servants of God. We simply have to travel the road to get there. This means we have to dedicate our lives to God.

Gradually, with this dedication, comes our increasingly exclusive focus upon God. This is the exclusive or confidential nature of a unique and personal loving relationship with God. In other words, each of us has a unique, inborn relationship with God. Most of us inhabiting physical bodies within the temporary physical world have simply abandoned that relationship for the sake of self-satisfaction.

This is reflected by the statement above, "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." "Evil" is the state of selfishness that portends that we are the most important person. This develops into greed, which develops into lust, anger, violence, and the other symptoms of self-centered emptiness. "Light," on the other hand, is the worship and love of the real center, God. This is the opposite of "evil" or selfishness.

And the statement, "...what he has done has been done through God," indicates that Jesus is God's loving servant, and God utilized Jesus as His representative.