CHAPTER 0 – PROLOGUE
Act 1 – Foreword
Scene 2 – The Word of God
John 1:1-5, 9-10, 14
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- He was in the beginning with God.
- All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
- In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
- And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
- There was the true Light, which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
- The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
- He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him –
- but we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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This second Scene from The Synoptic Gospel is taken entirely from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and is one of the most deeply profound and spiritually significant theological statements that has ever been made!
It is appropriate to use it here in the Prologue Chapter of The Synoptic Gospel because it talks about beginnings. This is the beginning of The Gospel Story of Jesus Christ, and it opens the New Testament, even as the opening line of the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
From the first verse, “In the beginning was the Word. …” the first thing to consider is: the beginning of what? The beginning of God? The beginning of the Word? The beginning of Heaven or the heavens? The beginning of the universe? Or is it merely the beginning of the earth?
The second question is, what is “the Word”? And if “word” means something that is spoken verbally, as a command, who is the one that spoke it?
As for the first question, as God is The Creator of all that is or will ever be, it is clear logic that God, the Creator, of necessity, existed in time before, and apart from, anything that He created.
As God must have existed before His creation, the beginning mentioned here by John cannot refer to a beginning for the Creator God Himself, who is eternal and has always existed without beginning.
As this “beginning” cannot be of God the Creator, perhaps this is speaking, as in the Book of Genesis, of the beginning of “heaven” as a spiritual – that is energy and non-physical – dimension/reality/existence within the universe itself. And this could be the case, as Heaven – the spiritual dimension – would have come into existence with the universe itself.
The Greek word for “Word” is logos, and it refers to something that is said, told or spoken. Other classical uses of logos are in reference to knowledge, reason and order, and this is the root of the word logic.
In another sense, a spoken word is breath, which is the Greek word pneuma. Pneuma also means spirit (or even soul), as well as air or wind.
The Hebrew word equivalent is ruach – which also means spirit or breath – as from Genesis 2:7: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (or soul).”
With this in mind, it can be seen that God the Creator spoke the logos, which would represent the spirit or spoken (uttered) Will of God.
In terms of a beginning, the logos had a beginning – when it was first spoken or uttered by God. In this case, perhaps that Word or command was that there Be a Creation that could recognize and appreciate its Creator.
From this uttered command of God’s Will, all things then apparently came into being, beginning with the logos which God spoke. This beginning of all things is with the exception of course, of the Creator God who spoke the Word of His Will into being in the first place.
Having thus been spoken by God, “All things came into being through Him (the logos), and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3)
It is logical that if creation began by an uttered command of the Creator God, then that command or Word existed as the beginning of whatever it was that the logos was to create.
Being a Spirit (breath/word) from God, this “Holy Spirit” was with God. Being an intelligent “spirit” from God, the logos is also Divine – which means set apart/above – as in set apart from or above the creation that it brought forth into existence.
As the essence of the Creator God is beyond the form and bounds of the universe, the logos that fulfilled the Will of that Creator God is certainly as God to the creation which sprang forth from it.
It should be noted though, that in the opening line, “…and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, the Greek word for God is “theon” in the first instance, and “theos” in the second, which are not the same thing. This should therefore be properly rendered as “and the logos was Divine”, or “the logos was a god”. And this makes sense, because if the Word was the exact same thing as the God that spoke it, then there would only be one thing – God – and not two things – God and His Word. A thing cannot be both God and also with God, because it is illogical to say that anything can be with or besides itself – as Verse 2 clearly states – “He was in the beginning with God”.
Verse 3 indicates that all things came into being through the agency or action of the logos, and this indicates that there is God the Creator, and there is also the logos, which represents everything else that exists, at least in this known universe.
Verse 4 reads, “In Him (the logos) was life, and the life was the Light of men.” This indicates that the logos or Word of God is life for humanity, and that this Word of God is the light of men.
As light is the opposite of darkness, then this Life of God’s Word is our Light, or existence, which is the opposite of the darkness, or death, of non-existence. Light can also mean knowledge, as in “enlightened”.
In this way, it can be seen that the logos is an intelligent Spirit or being – having been created, or spoken/willed into existence – that proceeded forth from God. And this is also the image of the Holy Spirit which also proceeds forth is from God, and is Divine; and therefore is, in relation to the creation that sprang forth from it, as God to that creation.
Verse 5 states that the Word became manifested in human flesh, and that it “dwelt among us”. This is clearly an allusion to Jesus Christ, who came forth from the Holy Spirit of God as God’s “Son” (Luke 1:35), and lived on the earth among us as a human being.
Now the body of Jesus was human, but the Spirit that inhabited that body was Holy, or “set apart”, because it was called into being, and proceeded forth from the Creator God.
Verse 6 indicates that the logos is “the true Light, which enlightens every man.” From this it can be seen that the Word is not just a physical life force to humanity, or even for all things, but because the Word enlightens every man – and that man is already alive – then the Word must be something more than the mere human life force.
The thing that distinguishes a human being from other animals is our intellect and reason. Using the play on words of the word Word (logos), it seems clear that the Word is being depicted here as knowledge or teachings that come to us from God; and this is what enlightens every man.
This knowledge about God, and the teachings that He sends to humanity, are as words spoken to us by God. In this case, the Word is teaching that which the logos has itself learned about, or been taught by, the Creator God that created (spoke) it.
This view that the logos as the light of men represents knowledge is logical, because surely the Creator God, who Willed this universe of creation into existence, would require humanity to know that He exists, and to know something about His nature, or how else can the invisible God be acknowledged by us. If the purpose of our being created was to know of the invisible Creator, who exists outside of and before this universe of creation, then we must first be taught that such a Being exists.
And note that “the Life is the Light of men”. This does not mention the other creatures or animals with whom we share this planet, whom we assume do not share the human capacity to recognize or acknowledge the invisible Creator who is beyond all physical senses, but is rather intellectually understood.
Verse 7 again confirms that the Light of the logos is not understood (comprehended) by the darkness, and there is no need to state the difference between light and darkness, unless you are talking about the light of understanding or knowledge. So here, because the darkness cannot comprehend the Light of the logos, which “is the Light of men”, the Light or logos of the Word must represent teachings or knowledge about God, the Creator. Further, it is clear that ignorance does not comprehend knowledge, because if it did, then it would no longer be ignorance, and there would no longer be any darkness.
So it can be seen that the logos/Word of God is knowledge, or Light, which, to humanity is Life; and the darkness is ignorance, which is a form of non-life, or death, when compared to the knowledge that is, and leads to life. And this makes sense if God created us (humanity) to know Him, and to acknowledge Him. If we know of God, then we are alive, having fulfilled the purpose of our being created, as opposed to being not alive with the light of that knowledge, which is as darkness, or death (non-life).
The other side of this is that it can be seen that to not know God does not fulfill the purpose of a human being, and such a human does not attain to that Life which is generated through the Light of the knowledge of the Creator, as brought to us by His Word.
Verses 8 again indicates that the logos Spirit created the world, and yet, while He was incarnated (which means, “in flesh”) as a human being, the world did not know Him. This means that people did not recognize or acknowledge the logos as the source of our light – the knowledge that proceeds from God being as the source of our life, as opposed to the darkness of not knowing, which is the opposite of life, and is therefore equivalent to death. And this view is confirmed by the words of the Word of God, Jesus, in Matthew 8:22 & Luke 9:60.
While it is true that very few people knew of or saw Jesus as the logos when He was here in this world, the “word” which Jesus spoke (His teachings) was recorded in the Gospels, so that most people today have heard of Jesus, and a record exists of some of the things that He said, and did, and taught. And that Word of God continues to enlighten us, and those teachings to give us life.
Verse 9 says that “we” – or some people who were alive at the time of His incarnation, some 2,000 years ago – saw and acknowledged Jesus as the Word of God, and as the “Glory of God”; and that He is indeed “full of grace and truth”.
Verse 9 also mentions that this Word of God in flesh who dwelt among men, is the “only begotten of the Father”, which indicates that Jesus was a unique being, in that such a manifestation of the Spirit or Word of God in human flesh had perhaps not happened on the earth before. As that logos Spirit is from God, the relationship to the God that generated it is as “the Father”, making Jesus as a “son”, and this therefore partly explains the title of Jesus as “the Son of God”, which is a title indicating relationship, and not a statement of the relative natures or essences of the Creator and His uttered Word.
The conclusion is that the Spirit of Jesus, being a manifestation of the logos, was not a mere human soul, but that it had pre-existed the creation of God, even as the very beginning of that creation. It was generated by God so that there should be a creation that had the capacity to know the Creator. And this creation began as a spoken “Word” or command from the mind or Will of God the Creator.
Whether the man Jesus was an exalted Spirit being as the Word of God who was born into the human flesh of this world, or whether Jesus merely channeled the Word or Holy Spirit from God (His Father), it amounts to about the same thing as far as we human beings encountering Him are concerned. As far as humanity is concerned, Jesus is as God to us, in the flesh. What Jesus said, and did, and taught, was at least on some level, the direct Will or Command of God, having come from the mind or desire of the Creator. In this way, Jesus is either a manifestation of the logos, or He was a vessel for it. Jesus was the body, but His spirit/mind was of the logos.
One might suppose that the Word of God came into the flesh of a man so that humanity could understand something about the Will of God – which in this case, is that God exists, and also consists of the teachings of God. These teachings Jesus gave as a living example of the way that God wants us to be – a way of acknowledging God and living a life that is both alive, and also full of Light.
Perhaps the logos of God was manifested to us in human flesh for the simple reason that if you want to communicate with another (lesser) species, it is best if you communicate to them on their own level, and in their own language. For instance, if you want to communicate with ants, you will be better understood if you are an ant yourself.
So the Word of God came to earth as a human being to teach us deep spiritual things about the nature of God, and about how we are to interact both in relation to God, and also to each other.
That the mighty Word of God would dwell among humanity to teach us about the Creator God, to educate us to save us from ourselves, can only prompt one to give Thanks to God – and to try and understand and obey the teachings that the Word Jesus brought – which is the Light and Life of men.
In conclusion, God sent or spoke the Word, the Life and Light of men, to bring us the knowledge of God and His teachings. These teachings are as light and life indeed, in that without them we are in darkness, which, if the purpose of our life is to know God, then the darkness of ignorance is not being truly alive to the purpose and reason for which we were created by the Creator through the agency of His Holy Word in the first place.
It should be noted that the text of this Scene from The Synoptic Gospel does not follow the first chapter of the Gospel of John in its entirety, and that these opening verses from John’s Gospel are split between this Prologue scene, and also the very last scene, the Epilogue of this book. And when you read the Prologue and the Epilogue back-to-back, you will agree that this is a most logical sequence.
Next Commentary: Scene 021 – The Genealogy of The Messiah