In the Beginning

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:1-4

John begins his account with the words, “in the beginning” with a very different beginning in mind than we find in Genesis 1:1, for while Genesis begins with the creation, John begins with God alone.  The “God” that John refers to here is first called the Word (logos) God, the uncreated Creator, before the creation of anything… The Word. That “Word” was there first of all… with God; in fact the Word was and is God.

We throw those terms around in our day, don’t we? “The Word” referring to the Scriptures, and we seem to like to use it to prove our various points in arguments with each other as though the  “Word” is our own very precious tool for debating. Yet John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ uses it as a name for Almighty God.

Notice how the Word becomes God, and then in the next verse God becomes “he.” He was with God in the beginning. The Word was with God in the beginning: “The Word” “God” and “He” were all together in the beginning, before anything had been created.

They are One.

Jesus is God’s messenger to mankind, as well as being the embodiment of God’s message (Heb. 1:1-4)  It was by His Word that the universe came into being, and it is by His blood that we may enter into relationship with Him, as told in His Word.  Thus, we may say that the Word is not only God’s person, essence and power, but that it is one and inseparable from the person of Jesus Christ, who is entirely one with God. Verse 2 is set up as transition in the sense that it begins the move from “what” to “whom”; from “the Word” to “he”: Jesus was there.

Now it becomes clear and unambiguous that this “he” is the one through who all things have been made.  This is stated positively “all things” and negatively “without him nothing…”  Within him was life which reminds us of God breathing life into Adam. (Gen. 2:7)  “He” contained life, was its very source, and this essence will be the light of the world.  Life and light are two themes that carry throughout the entire gospel of John, and will become more and more clear as we go on.  For now, suffice it to say that His very essence is “Truth” and that will illuminate a dark world that carries on without either Truth or God’s presence, since fellowship with God had ceased after the entry of rebellion into the world.

I hope that you have noticed how much theological truth that John has expressed in four simple, clear and easy to understand little verses; scholars write volumes and can’t say so much. This is precisely why I always tell my students that John’s gospel is very much a “Big Boy” book.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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7 Responses to In the Beginning

  1. Pingback: In the Beginning — The Life Project | Talmidimblogging

  2. pipermac5 says:

    I believe that John, in John 1:1-4, is expanding and explaining who that Creator-God is in: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) He is also clarifying “Us” in “Then God said, “Let Us make man in our own image…” (Genesis 1:26). John is showing that God IS an “Us”, a plurality of persons, which hadn’t been explained-explicitly in the Old Testament.

    Blessings!
    Steve

  3. Mel Wild says:

    John 1:1 is one of the clearest and most concisely written statements about Jesus. As I’m sure you know, in the Greek, Jesus’s identity is more clearly stated. It literally reads, “And God was the Word.” Grammatically, no article is in front of “God” (theos), but one is in front of “word” (logos). As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism (“the God”: the Father and Jesus are the same); the word order is against Arianism (The word is “a god”).

    What a brilliant revelation of Jesus Christ in five little words!

  4. Pingback: In the Beginning | A disciple's study

  5. Pingback: In the Beginning | The Life Project-Don Merritt | franciscansonthemountains

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