In The BEGINNING Was The WORD


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1‭-‬5 RSV

The eternal existence of the Lord Jesus Christ and his absolute identification with God and as God are unequivocally stated in the first line of this gospel; and this may be considered the theme of the whole Gospel, every word and every event of the entire narrative having been skillfully chosen by the narrator for the purpose of proving the Godhead of Jesus Christ and of persuading people to believe in him.

From this opening word to the end of the Gospel, there is not the slightest deviation from the sacred author’s intention of presenting Jesus Christ as God come in the flesh for the purpose of human redemption, and to whom every person owes the uttermost worship and devotion.

“In the beginning” is like the opening words of Genesis; and, by such a choice of words, the apostle John evaluates the new creation through Jesus Christ in the same category of importance as the physical creation itself, and, in fact, being another creative act of the same Word which was active in the first.

A bolder beginning cannot be imagined.

The Greek word [logos] from which “WORD” is translated was widely known in the world of John’s day, being found some 1,300 times in the writings of Philo, a Hellenistic Jew of Alexandria (30 B.C. to 40 A.D.).

However, John owed nothing to Philo, who taught that the absolute purity, perfection, and loftiness of God would be violated by direct contact with imperfect, impure, and finite things.

He even went so far as to say that “God could not be conceived of as actively concerned with the multiplicity of individual things.”

Philo’s [logos] had no hard identity of any kind, being called the “reason of God” in one view, and in another, “a distinct individual, or hypostasis, standing between God and man.”

Philo’s [logos] did not create anything, for matter was viewed by him as eternal; and it is impossible to form any intelligent harmony out of Philo’s writings on the [logos], described in the Encyclopedia Britannica as “self-contradictory.”

It was the inspired genius of the apostle John which seized upon this word, applied it to Christ, and gave it a meaning as far above anything that Philo ever dreamed as the heavens are above the Nile Delta where Philo lived.

The Word, as applied to Jesus Christ, is found only four times in the New Testament, twice in this prologue (John 1:1,14), in 1 John 1:1, and in Revelation 19:13.

John’s use of “WORD” [Greek: logos] for Christ Jesus might have been suggested by Psalms 33:6, “By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made,” a passage which represents the Word of God as a person.

Whatever the source of the thought that led John to so designate Christ, it was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and perfectly appropriate.

A word, in the primary meaning of the term, is a vessel for the conveyance of an idea; and Christ was the vessel which conveyed the true idea of God to humanity.

As Jesus stated it. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

“And the Word was with God” means that our Lord was intimately associated with the Father upon a parity and equality with him.

He himself was in the beginning, face to face with God.

The fully divine Word, existing from all eternity as a distinct Person, was enjoying loving fellowship with the Father.

Thus, the full deity of Christ, his eternity, and his distinct personal existence are confessed once more, in order that heretics may be refuted and the church may be established in the faith and love of God.

“And the Word was God” This truth might have been deduced from either of the two preceding clauses, but the apostle left nothing to chance, categorically affirming in this third clause that the Word was indeed God, a truth reaffirmed at the end of the prologue (John 1:18), and again by the apostle Thomas (John 20:28).

John’s estimate of the deity of Christ does not exceed that of other New Testament writers.

The apostle’s doctrine of the [Greek: logos] is thus seen to differ from the [logos] of Greek philosophy in these particulars:

  • (1) The New Testament [logos] is God.
  • (2) is personal.
  • (3) created all things, including matter.
  • (4) became flesh and dwelt among human beings.

To presume that John got anything like that out of Philo’s [logos] is like supposing that Thomas Jefferson got the Declaration of Independence out of McGuffy’s Third Reader!

On the statement here that the “Word was God,”

This means that Christ was divine, and is therefore to be worshipped with the same worship as is due the Father.

Other New Testament passages which attribute the creation of the universe to Jesus Christ are as follows:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Colossians 1:15‭-‬17 RSV

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “Lords” — yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

1 Corinthians 8:5‭-‬6 RSV

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

And, “Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou are the same, and thy years will never end.”

Hebrews 1:1‭-‬2‭, ‬10‭-‬12 RSV

Some seek to make a point of the fact that creation is not directly attributed to Jesus in the synoptics, claiming a “contradiction.”

The point fails in light of the fact that Matthew represented Jesus as having twelve legions of angels, that is, some 75,000 angels, at his command (Matthew 26:53), quoting his words that “All authority in heaven and upon earth” were his (Matthew 28:18-20).

One wonders just how such an accumulation of power in Jesus’ hands is any less than the power of God!

Mark 5:6 represents Jesus as having authority over the entire demonic creation.

Luke 10:19 plainly presents Christ as a being capable of creating all things – hence, there is no conflict.

Added to this is the fact that each of the synoptics records instances of Jesus’ raising the dead; and that is an act fully equal to the creation of the world in that only God could have done it.

Also, the synoptics are filled with Jesus’ promises of eternal life, which, again, is just as wonderful as creation, or even more wonderful, since the creation itself is not eternal!

Those who wish to open a conflict between John and the synoptics must do it upon other grounds than this.


REGARDING CREATION

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1‭-‬2 RSV

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