John 1:1-3 And The Deity Of Christ

The English word “was” is about as bland a term as you can find. Yet in Greek, it is most expressive. The Greeks were quite concerned about being able to express subtleties in regard not only to when something happened, but how it happened as well. Our little word “was” is poorly suited to handle the depth of the Greek at this point. John’s choice of words is deliberate and, quite honestly, beautiful.

Throughout the prologue of the Gospel of John, the author balances between two verbs. When speaking of the Logos as He existed in eternity past, John uses the Greek word rlv, en (a form of eimi). The tense’ of the word expresses continuous action in the past. Compare this with the verb he chooses to use when speaking of everything else-found, for example, in verse 3: “All things carne into being through Him,” eyeve ro, egeneto. This verb contains the very element missing from the other: a point of origin. The term, when used in contexts of creation and origin, speaks of a time when something came into existence. The first verb, en, does not. John is very careful to use only the first verb of the Logos throughout the first thirteen verses, and the second verb, egeneto, he uses for everything else (including John the Baptist in verse 6). Finally, in verse 14, he breaks this pattern, for a very specific reason, as we shall see. 

Why emphasize the tense of a little verb? Because it tells us a great deal. When we speak of the Word, the Logos, we must ask ourselves: how long has the Logos existed? Did the Logos come into being at a point in time? Is the Logos a creature? John is very concerned that we get the right answer to such questions, and he provides the answers by the careful selection of the words he uses.

Above we noted that John gave us some very important information about the time frame he has in mind when he says “in the beginning.” That information is found in the tense of the verb en. You see, as far back as you wish to push “the beginning,” the Word is already in existence. The Word does not come into existence at the “beginning,” but is already in existence when the “beginning” takes place. If we take the beginning of John 1:1, the Word is already there. If we push it back further (if one can even do so!), say, a year, the Word is already there. A thousand years, the Word is there. A billion years, the Word is there.’ What is John’s point? The Word is eternal. The Word has always existed. The Word is not a creation. The New English Bible puts it quite nicely: “When all things began, the Word already was.”

Right from the start, then, John tells us something vital about the Word. Whatever else we will learn about the Word, the Word is eternal. With this John begins to lay the foundation for what will come.

Excerpts taken James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering The Heart Of Christian Belief, p. 46-48

Comments

Anonymous said…
This post is ridisculous. Calling Jesus "a word" does not make him a god.
"Joseph Hinman" is also a "word" and no Christians worship him.

Pix
Anonymous said…
This post is ridisculous. Calling Jesus "a word" does not make him a god.
"Joseph Hinman" is also a "word" and no Christians worship him.

Pix

Sorry Pix you do not now what you are talking about. It's not"a word" It's THE word.It's not proof he is God it's proof that John considered him divine. The reason is the special use made of the term Logos in both Greek and Hebrew thought. Essentially logos was the Greek term used by Hebrew thinkers when expressing God's presence on earth. It is used in place of the Hebrew Memra which in OT relays God's presence on earth.

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