Friday, March 25, 2011

John 1:1

In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.

Every Jew would recognize the first words of the Torah, "In the beginning..." but the Genesis story begins with chaos coming to order. John tells us that there was order at the beginning. The 'word' or 'logos' is a strange term to describe what was there at the beginning. Only John uses it in the whole Bible (in his gospel, his first letter and in Revelation). But it tells us something about God. He is order not chaos; he is creative not destructive; he is intelligent; he is plural. Once something is something it is not nothing. By naming it everything else is excluded. A cat is not a dog; a book is not a table; a God is not a devil.

Logos implies more than just speech. In Proverbs chapter 8 this description is given of 'wisdom': I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so that the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day rejoicing always in his presence.

But we are talking about more than the personification of an attribute of God. We are talking about a real person. The word was both with God and actually God. From the first God was one but he was also more than one. This paradox will unfold as we read on.

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