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 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 whom 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.
This is what I tell my Muslims to explain the oneness of God.
Despite what you may have heard about Christians, God is One, not many. When you speak into an audio recorder and your voice then comes out of that machine for other people to hear, that doesn’t make you two. You are still one; you have just chosen to put your voice in something where you can be heard by more people or people far away. That audio recording is just another form of you.
God is One, and yet he revealed a part of himself in a burning tree to Moses just like you revealed a part of yourself in the audio recorder. Does that mean there were two Gods ~ one in heaven and one in the tree? No. God can reveal himself in different things if he wants to.
Today, God has his Word on paper and ink in a holy Book. He has made his words visible to us in physical form. He is still not many Gods ~ one in heaven and thousands in his holy Books around the world. He is still one God.
To say “God needs no partners” is the same as denying we have a body, and declaring, “My mind needs no body”. We need our body to show others what we are like. True, God doesn’t need a body, but mankind, who dwells in the bodies he created for our minds to use, needed to see for themselves what God is like. So God revealed himself in a body for a little while.
God can put his voice in a human being and that human say the exact words of God just like you can put your voice in an audio recorder and that recorder say the exact words of you. You can also put both your voice and body in a movie. God is still not two any more than you become two.
God can put his words in a tree (as with Moses), in holy books (with paper and ink), and a human body (as with Jesus). God is still one.
To say “God has no son” is the same as saying “God has no hands” or “God has no eyes”. Even the Qur’an speaks of God having hands and eyes. Would it be fair to accuse Muslims of believing God has them in the human sense? Of course not, for God is a spirit. It is unfair to accuse Christians of believing God had to have a wife so he could have a son in the human way like we do. That is a terrible idea. God’s Son is God’s Word.
Jesus is often called “the Word” or “God’s Word”. God watches people, but not with literal eyes the way we have them. In the same way, God can have a “son,” but not in the literal sense that we do. John 1:1-3,14 in the Bible explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and THE WORD WAS WITH GOD and THE WORD WAS GOD….The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Why? Because we needed to know how God would act with part of him in a human body.
You have an eternal mind that is in your body right now. That body says and does things to show people what is in your mind. But it is just temporary. When your body dies, you will live on because your body is not the real you. Your mind, your eternal mind, is the real you. In the same way, when God was in Jesus’ body, that body was not God. The mind, the spirit, the heart and soul in that body was God.
We can be children of God. But it would be foolish to say Christians believe God had lots of wives and we became his children the way humans do. God “adopts” us and makes us his children. It is a spiritual thing, and wonderful.
Why would Jesus be called the only begotten Son of God, since he was not a son created in the literal way that we have sons? You have thoughts and those thoughts have existed as long as you have. But you still created those thoughts. When your thoughts become hearable or seeable, people call that your “brain child”. In that same sense, Jesus was God’s “brain child” ~ God’s thoughts in hearable and seeable form. God was in Jesus in the same way that you are in an audio recorder or in a movie. You are still one and God is still one.
So, the ancient quote is true: “John is a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim”
Thank you ! It is gorgeous. It is really worth pondering.
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