The one who gives life appeared! (CEV)
The Word of Life appeared … (MSG)
… the Life was manifested … (Young’s Literal Translation)
Ah … the one who gives life appeared! Life was manifested. This is such tremendous good news! As we mediate on 1 John 1:2, let’s begin with two important words …
Life and Appeared.
Life, we know, means something animated, something alive, has life. The Greek word John uses here is transliterated as “zoe.” From it we get words like “zoology” that deal with living animals.
If you’ve read much CS Lewis, you may have run into this word before, he uses it to mean the spiritual life, as opposed to physical life, respiration, animation, etc.
In the Bible, too, this word “zoe” often connotes the life of God, or life in God, or life eternal. The unending spiritual life we share with God, let’s say.
And “Appeared” here is the Greek word transliterated phaneroo, which means manifested or was made apparent or, more literally, something hidden that was revealed.
When I was asking Jesus about this phrase, I felt like He brought to my mind the book of Genesis and how our spiritual life, our zoe, was “hidden” when our First Parents turned from God’s path. The eternal life of communion with the Divine Mystery was hidden away after the disastrous choice to reject God’s plan for humanity and pursue our own plan.
But now, through the coming of Jesus, the “one who gives life,” it is revealed!