He was a son of God — a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that — and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty.
With “he must be about His Father’s business,” Nick refers to Luke 2:49:
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
This quote illustrates how Jesus knew he was the son of God and destined for great things from a young age. The same quote is used to characterize Gatsby and his similar ambitions. Gatsby believed wholeheartedly that he was destined for great things, even as a teenager.
The concept of God is distorted in this novel, as evidenced by Dr. T.J. Eckleburg assuming the role of God. Gatsby has no problem making the blasphemous statement that he is the son of God, because in his eyes all that means is that he is going to be rich and powerful. Religion and consumerism often blend in this story, so it is doubtful Gatsby would be heavily criticized for this statement (though this is Nick’s narrative, so it isn’t clear that Gatsby described himself like this in the first place). Fast-forward to 1966, when John Lennon claimed the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Great Gatsby (Chapter VI)” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and leave a comment on the lyrics box