August 3, 2011

λόγος IV: The Revealer of Truth

Whatever the Word is, Jesus is also…divine, perfect, etc. John was trying to reach back into philosophical Jewish thought processes and reveal to those who had been raised as Jews Christ’s true identity in terms of purpose. He is God, yet distinct from God (the Father) in personality (Sproul 4). Jesus as the Word would’ve been the closest analogy in Jewish thinking to latch onto and explain to them in “their own words”. Jesus was to be God’s Word revealed to man in the flesh or incarnate for the purpose of giving life…eternal life. Jesus was also a revealing of the Father Himself and the revealing of the heart of God.

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? ~John 14:9

John is also making other theological statements in John 1:1 and subsequently connected verses such as John 1:14. Having established that the Word was God, we can then go back to the very opening clause of verse 1: “In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” John is making a significant chronological statement. Here John goes way beyond the Jewish thought-process that the Word existed before the Creation but it was itself actually created. By saying that the Word (Jesus) was from “the beginning” and was “with God” he is categorically stating that the Word was not created, he is saying it preexisted (Cullmann 250). There was never a time when the Word was not (Morris 73-74). The word “beginning” is arch/ἀρχή in this verse and is referring to a period before the Creation (Cullmann 250, Rienecker et al 217). It is just another way of stating that “the Word”/Jesus has existed from all eternity and all things were created through Him /the Word (Hendriksen 69). How do we know for sure that’s what he meant by this statement? We need only read ahead to verse 3 and we see an uncompromising statement about the creation, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” If Jesus (Him) is interchangeable with the Word than the Word was preexistent because the Creation came into being through (Gk: dia) the Word/Him (Elwell 645, Evans 41-42, Wiersbe 284).

At the same time that John is making statements about “the Word’s” existence before Creation he is also linking the new beginning that is inaugurated with Christ’s entrance into the world as flesh with that of the Creation of the Universe in Genesis 1. Thus John draws tight the 1st century Jewish thought processes rooted in the Old Testament with the new Christ/Christian reality. This is some seriously profound theology.

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