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The Uncomprehending Darkness,
and the Deliciousness of Knowing the Light
John 1 and Genesis 1
There is clearly a conscious parallel between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. Just as Genesis directs us to the inception of things at the very outset of its discourse, so does John 1:1: IN THE BEGINNING.
In John, we have "in the beginning was the Word" and in Genesis, "in the beginning, God".
As to the former, it is a statement of the nature of divine existence, and it concerns what was before creation of all the host of heaven and the earth occurred; in the latter it is a depiction of action producing the created universe. In the one, it is reality in eternity, outside the things that come - and go; in the other, its focus is its product, creation, all of it (cf. Genesis 1:1, 2:1,4). In the one it is He who Fashions, yes even Creates all; in the other, it moves emphasis to what is fashioned, yes in its paths not secret, but prepared, not unknown but sequentially shown in the most emphatic manner conceivable. In both, it is God and not God, Creator and creation, precisely as Paul exhibits this most categorical of contrasts, in Romans 1.
Thus John, instead of detailing and itemising creation and its instituted components, its correlative actions, its production before our eyes, on the side of eternity exhibits the Word of God, as present. He was present in the beginning, prior to the institution of what is creation, what is not God, of whom there is precisely ONE (Exodus 20, and as Isaiah tells us repetitively in Isaiah 44-45). We are dealing not with what is NOT GOD (Deuteronomy 32:21,17), but with Him who is. Antecedent to the very criteria FOR time (Genesis 1:14, Romans 8:35ff.), we are dealing with Him who made them.
In Genesis, the GOD of creation is present and acts: at the beginning. As Genesis 2:4 makes so clear, the account following Genesis 1:1 is actually the way creation come to exist: all dependent on the voluntary action of God. In John 1:1, we are shown by what divine procedure the creation came to exist, deployment in divinity for temporality to come into being: and this, not in devices and artifices, forms and kinds, structural and successive stages, but in the One there at the beginning, before all creation, that is, God.
Outside creation, that is all there is, and there is of deity, ONE.
In God, there is the Word. He is there, He is with God and God it is that He is. It is God He is.
In John 1:1, this way of putting it in the Greek, is derived from the text, which actually is an inversion. It does not say, The word was ... but God was the Word, except that it makes it clear that 'the word' is the subject. The word to be taken as subject is shown in the normal way in such a case, by having the article with it: this article appears in the phrase, 'the Word'. If this were not known, the inversion could not well be clear. It would read simply, The word was God. In fact, it reads 'God was the Word' (with the explanatory note, derived from grammar, that 'the word' is subject). That is the order of the Greek. It starts with "God", ends with 'the Word'.
It is ambiguous without one, either 'God' or 'Word' having the definite article, which when bestowed, signifies the subject.
That one is 'the Word'. The sentence then reads, grammatically and clearly (to which God is committed - Proverbs 8:8). God was the Word. We are considering the correlativity of the eternal God, beyond time, and the eternal Word, beyond time, they in the beginning, this their condition, and in so doing we find that the Word, from before time, is WITH God, and then that "God is the word." What is His companion is given first, then what or who He is, given second. It is given in stark emphasis, in terms of being there in the beginning, not participant in the creation, but in terms of all that is made, not a part but the DOER of it (John 1:3). If He were a part of what is made, then He could not be there to make it; but it is affirmed categorically that as to whatever is of the order of a made thing, HE made it, He the Word. Nothing could be clearer.
This deity status which the Word embraces and constitutes, exactly as in John 8:58, Philippians 2, Revelation 2:8, is of course clear from the fact that PRIOR to creation, that is, in parallel to Genesis 1, IN THE BEGINNING in the Godhead, that reality which is God, from which all other reality takes its head and source: there is the Word. He is with God, and God is He. Because of this equality (paralleled in Philippians 2, John 10), in the form of God before the incarnation in which Christ humbled Himself for service, in the fact of being God yet, after it: the inversion then exhibits the emphasis. As Thomas told Christ, The God of me and the Lord of me! (Greek word for word, John 20).
That is the significance of the text. It is GOD who is the source of the creation in the beginning; and it is the WORD who is with Him in this, and hence the Word is of the being of God, or as Paul puts it in Philippians 2, He is in the FORM of God, and would not deem it a thing to be snatched at, to be equal with God, for that very reason.
What then ? That this is so is immediately and drastically underlined in two ways. First, we have the statement that "all things were made by Him" (John 1:3). Not, mark you, some things, or some features, qualities or components: ALL things. Obviously, then, HE is God not in the sense that this is all God is, but that what God is, is He. God has not only one Person in His being, but two; and yet, this is not to be confused with two gods, since GOD was the Word... not ONE of the gods! The term has been used, and now is re-used, not in some pageant of incomprehensibility, but of stability, not in incoherence, but in cohesion, of being and time and works.
Indeed in Genesis 1:2, we see the Spirit of God over the waters, brooding or hovering, showing yet a further reality in God, the One who sends and the One who is sent as express and expression, the Word, and the One who moves in performance in the very interstices, a Trinity. Denial of this trinity is denial of the Bible, of God and of truth, whether it be done by what calls itself by the name 'Christian' or Moslem, or JW, or Christadelphian, or Mormon or any other.
What GOD did, the Word (as in John 1:14) did, and as John 5:19ff. shows, HE DID IT IN THE SAME WAY: literally, in JUST the same way (from the Greek text). What then ? There is unity without confusion, and specialisation without duplication.
Thus we in mankind can meditate within ourselves, commune with ourselves. WHO does the communing then ? With whom does one commune! It is an internal spiritual musing, a research or a purviewing, an overview or an interview or both, made possible by our spirit moving through our very being and person, showing things up, consulting, communing in kinship. It is not someone else: it is certainly no duplication, but it is for all that, an involvement at the personal level in one's own personal interstices.
This is but a dim example of the incandescent glory of the God who made us ... in His image as Genesis 1:27 declares. You would expect that. This is one of those intimate, pervasive confirmations and verifications of the word of God which are inescapably multitudinous on all fronts.
That in turn is how in John 8:58, Christ can say concerning the fact He had just stated that Abraham REJOICED to see His day, "Before Abraham was, I am." It could have said, Before Abraham existed, I was. He did not. The name of God in Exodus 3, is "I am" and it is "I am" whom Moses is to CITE as the name of the God who sent him to seek the rescue of the Jewish slaves from the bondage of their former Egyptian masters. Hence Christ, the Lord, uses that famous identity code, express, explicit, as real as the seven hills of Rome as an indisputable index. What does it mean ? This: that He has an existence that precedes the works of creation.
That of course is precisely what we find in John 1:1-3, for not only is He there in the beginning, but that being so, He uses this fact to put into being ALL made things without exception. There is NOTHING made that is so without Him, that is what it says: no not an atom, not an energy, not a pulsation, not an atom, not an electron, not a meson, not a nano-second, not a material, not a time, not a space nor any configuration, institution, combination, correlation, potential, preamble or thing ascertainable or actualised whatever: NOTHING.
He is what is not made, there always preceding it, in terms of being there to make; and what does He do ? He makes IT ALL. God is not His Maker; He with God is the Maker of all, and God He is, as the word of God declares.
This brings us to the second phase of John 1:3. Not only were ALL things created through Him, but
"without Him, nothing was made that was made."
Consider then ... Thus, if anything is in the category of 'a made thing' then two things follow at once.
Firstly, HE made it, and thus secondly, that it is not HE. HE IS THERE, in the beginning. Things made are those which HE MADE. If there is a thing, then He made it; and to do so He has to exist beyond it, so that He is there to do the making. Thus the exquisitely clear and comprehensive statement surges into the scene rather as did the creation of light in Genesis,; but here, it is not in the realm of the created, the entirety of which without any exception whatsoever is dependent on His prior action in order that it might exist, but in the realm of the Creator that we move. As Isaiah 45:7 tells us, there is no God but the LORD, none besides HIM. Of Himself, the ONLY God, He declares this in 45:12.
"I have made
the earth" (hence a created thing), and
"created man upon
Beyond and before the earth and man,
God has done the creation, as shown in Genesis 1.
Moreover, as Isaiah 44:24 shows, God
"stretched out the heavens by Myself",
so that there is no non-deity
helper. There is, as is so often and so emphatically stated in Isaiah 44ff.,
"who created the heavens,
who is God,
who formed the earth and made it,
who has established it,
who did not create it in vain,
who formed it
too be inhabited."
Having said this, He adds: "I am the LORD, and there is no other."
Thus ALL creation is His work; it is His work alone. On the other side, ALL creation is Christ's work, it is His work as God, both WITH God and AS God. This of course necessarily follows since ONLY God created anything of creation, He having created it WITHOUT EXCEPTION; and CHRIST created ALL of creation, thus making Christ, once and then again, God in status, dynamic in mutual involvement, of the category of the unmade, of the eternal, and as Creator of what is not eternal by nature, inherent in that ONE GOD who is.
Unmade, He is not a creature; making all, He is God.
That is all there is to it. There is the made and the unmade in heaven and in earth; the unmade, the increate, who is the Creator is One, is God; the rest is creation, His product.
As unmade, Christ is God. As non-creation, He is God. As there in the beginning, creation apart and not done, He is God. Indeed, God is the Word, as the text reads with its emphasis from its grammatical structure. There is no other, as is so clear in Isaiah and Ephesians, indeed in Exodus 20. This term in the vocabulary of the context means the pre-creation Creator, from whom all ALL creation comes.
Hence the term 'word' does not exhaust the reality of God, since there is He who speaks; the term God however includes the Word, since the speech is integral to God: God, is the word. At once the truth of this statement is paraded before our delighted eyes, as we see that not only did He create, but He created ALL, and that this entire category of things made is His product, devolved on Him, proceeded from Him, and was His work. He is no creature, but He is the FIRSTBORN of ALL creation BECAUSE He created ALL of it, as Colossians 1:15 shows us. Late on the human scene in terms of history, around 4 B.C., He is yet its FIRSTBORN, eminent beyond all, since ALL is HIS OWN CREATION, so that HE is CREATOR, and hence God.
This means successively that He is God, Creator and Eternal. "Before Abraham was, I am."
It is not stated in John 1:1 that the word is the God, but that God is the word, this precluding any sense in this context of having just one more name to God. As noted that grammar of emphasis here precludes such a statement; just as the tenor of the truth enables the emphatic use of the term just employed, relative to Himself.
Another name for God ? Not at all: He is far more than that, being personal and designable as such. This is God expressed, and deity is His rank. He is the perfect expression of God (Hebrews 1:3), and indeed expression is so chief a function that 'the word of God' is His very name both here and in Revelation 19, just as God who alone is deity, is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6) and this title, like the explicit and eternal name, "I am" is used of Christ Jesus likewise in Revelation 2:8.
Infinitely intimate with Him who speaks, He, the living expression of God, personal and comprehensively in unity with Almighty, sharing His power and implementative of it, is not a word, but THE WORD, instituting the systems of the temporal and temporary, giving them meaning and providing for their kinds, whether the lowliest flower or man. While there is NONE is heaven like God, Christ in heaven in the beginning before creation (cf. John 17:1-3), is not only like God, but the precise expression of Him (Hebrews 1:3).
He is not only Saviour, but the One who DID it (Hebrews 1:3, Isaiah 43:10-11). The unique to God, is unique to Him, so that it is to God only, of whom there is emphatically again in Isaiah, ONE, and ONLY ONE, that every knee shall bow (Isaiah 45:23-24), and it is in God that one shall say, In Him I have righteousness; and it to Christ that every knee shall bow, and it is in HIM that one shall say, In Christ I have my righteousness (Philippians 2:10, Romans 5:12-17), and it is this in Philippians which states before this that being in the form of God, He did not esteem it something to be gained to be equal with God.
It is there for those who want it; and where it is absent, so is Christ and so likewise is salvation, for another Jesus, another Gospel and yes, another Spirit (II Corinthians 11), this does not save, but represents the work of the angel of light who has no light. To who does Paul attribute all this deceit and treachery ? It is to the evil one himself!
Let us then ponder these things. Emphatically, dramatically as in in Corinthians, the Bible knows of only one God, as distinct from the imperious and the spurious, only one to whom man is to give homage, render reverence as his Maker, and in whom to find salvation (Ephesians 4:4, Acts 4:11-12, Isaiah 43:10-11). Since Christ IS the ONLY Saviour, and GOD is the only Saviour, it again follows quite simply that what John 1:1 says, in parallel to Genesis 1:1, is in the most complete and open sense a declaration that in the beginning, God was and acted; and that as God, present in the beginning, Christ was and acted, that He was with God and thus being God, did what ONLY God does, can do, or allows any to affirm of another.
His office is to an unlimited degree to do what only God can do (cf. John 5:19-23). In state, in status, in action, at the first, from the first, in function and in unction (John 1:14), in mode of work (John 5:19ff.), and in name (John 8:58) as in clear exhibition (cf. the reaction in John 10:30ff., not reproved as Paul did when it was applied to him - Acts 14:14-15, tearing his clothes in distress as such an elevation!). No instead, as in John 20, when Thomas answered Him who spoke to him, and suddenly enlightened, replied to him, calling Him, "The Lord of me and the God of me!"
Christ not merely did NOT reprove him, but made such a testimony the very criterion of what faith is! YOU have seen and believed (what is true -for Thomas was invited to check it out with his finger), but "blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed."
This done, we come to another fascinating feature of John 1:1-3. Having declared that IN THE BEGINNING the Word was, was with God and God was He, John makes what at first sight is a rather astonishing duplication. It is not however simple duplication, but an emphasis that does not even bother to use a different wording.
He thus adds in verse 2, just this: "He was in the beginning with God." Why, one must wonder, having stated in the first, the opening words, that IN THE BEGINNING, the WORD was, hence putting Him beyond all creation and over it, where ONLY God is, is it to repeated ? It is because the Author wishes to make it perspicuously clear that this association, this affinity, this reality called God, it is He held the Word before any time you might like to mention. He is showing the household, or the Expressor- Expression, Speaker- Word relationship within God, and wants us to relate to this in a settled and solid way, so that all that follows will be seen securely, not just as in a flash.
Having introduced us to it, he wants us to look at it, as when one seeing a magnificent view flashing by, then stops the car and gazes at it. It is so remarkable and splendid that it must fully be taken in.
The extreme emphasis follows, so that John both states that the Word made all things, and then ADDS with exhaustive coverage and elaborate emphasis, that NOTHING that was in the category of 'made' was outside HIS making (John 1:3). God is God to man because all that man is comes from Him, including his environment, destiny and all means to it. He is the one for whom all else is direct or indirect derivative. Indeed, over ALL things He is God, since ALL omits NOTHING, any time, space, place or era, conceivable or inconceivable. If made, it is not He; if made, He made it.
Christ is that One: this is so, not as if that is ALL that God is, but all that He, the Word is, is God, and with God; so that He has consisted before there was anything that is not God in so much as existence. Again, just as Saviour from sin is what God alone is (Isaiah 43:10), so the predicted one to crush the Satan (Genesis 3:15) again performs what only God does: salvation (John 1:29, Isaiah 53, Acts 4:11-12, John 6:40,50ff., 8:24).
John is thus signalising the Word as not only deity, but as a personal being, one who, on 'becoming flesh' or incarnate, is Jesus Christ (1:14). He is not separable. As to the Word: In this role, this format, He exhibits His nature by being full of grace and truth, as the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), that in all ways and in all things, action or being, grace or power, place or making place, He as God shows God (John 1:18). For God did nothing like this at any other time, so that He is the ONLY begotten, God never coming into flesh in any other way, nor providing any other course (John 14:6, Hebrews 1:1-3, Ephesians 1:10).
The incarnation is unique because the WORD of God, being God, is not merely divine, but constitutive in nature within the godhead. He is not 'a word' but THE WORD, and of whom is He THE WORD ? It is of God that He is THE WORD! and He is to be called the Son of God in view of the fact that God actually caused the fleshly format to be found through instituting in the mother, so that "that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
Luke puts it: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Highest will overshadow you,
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born ... "
The "therefore" is quite emphatic. It is BECAUSE God will work and overshadow Mary, that the result will be this, that "the Son of God" is the earthly outcome of this divine intervention. It is possible because IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD; and it is in this way that "the word became flesh" and "dwelt among us." It is not a creation but an emplacement of what is the AUTHOR of ALL creation.
In John 1:4, we next learn that not only was He inextricably involved in the production of ALL creation, but His is the office of LIFE-GIVER for man. Just as Isaiah informs us that it is the ONE GOD of whom it is to be said that He has "made the earth", and it is He of whom it may be said that He "created man upon it", it is He who "stretched out the heavens" so that "all their host" He commanded, so John tells us that in THE WORD "was life, and the life was the light of man." Indeed, he declares in I John 5:12, that it is Jesus Christ who is the life of men as well, so that lacking Him, man lakes life; which is the more readily comprehensible, since CHRIST IS THE ETERNAL LIFE OF GOD.
It is His, life, internally and eternally (cf. I John 1:1-4); and He IS that eternal life. Accordingly, beyond time, now into time, He provides the life which is for man, as in God's image, IF man will receive Him, and receive this gift FROM Him (cf. Romans 6:23). It is not eternal life that starts in time, but eternal life which makes time, so that man may be in it, and creation may be emplaced, with time, in space, as also made, in timely and spacious fashion for man, a testimony and a limit, a grandeur but also a containment.
AS MANY, this is the bound and the boundary, as many as received Him, to them HE gave the AUTHORITY to become the children of God (John 1:12). It is not a matter of showing them principles, but of BEING in Himself what as creations they need, that eternal life which is their supreme opportunity and natural complement (John 15); yet which is also their option to reject (as in John 3:19): though it is only HE who actualises their potential into destiny within Himself as children of God, and so as His brothers by faith (Hebrews 1:6-8, 2:12-18).
This John 1:12 also affirms quite categorically: they are born. HE was born INTO this world, but they, already in it, need to be born by His Spirit, on His reception, into HIS world, into the kingdom of heaven (John 3).
When this second birth for man occurs, it is categorically NOT by means of ANY component in man, either race or genes, either will individually or superiority constitutively. That is John 1:13. We are not dealing with the things of and within creation when it is Christ who is at hand, but with their Creator, and as He has created the material world, so in the invisible and spiritual, which is its source and likewise its zenith through their created spirits which God breathed into them as in Genesis 1, He creates again.
This time what He who is the Creator creates, it is the restoration of the fallen, the reconciliation of the alienated and the institution of the godly, in a new nature alien to alienation and intimate to Himself, as is fitting, and always was, for man, in God's image a creation, to his Creator (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24). Man who believes, he is then categorically a brother of Christ, through redemption (Hebrews 2, 9:12), yes eternal redemption by which he is bound to the eternal security in Christ as by an anchor in the very holy place in heaven (Hebrews 6:19).
Now the reader may wonder that one is so free with the use of the word 'categorical', since good taste might limit or vary it. However it is a judicious multiplication, since the scripture at which we are looking has just this extreme emphasis on that very feature. GOD categorically is the Christ. Creator categorically is the Christ. Giver of life categorically is the Christ. Reception of Him categorically is the way.
There is removal categorically of any contribution from man is this gift of eternal life. It is the work of God ALONE which makes men the children of God. Now the only point to clarify in this, is that God is not a 'category' as if to have the illimitable One of infinity and eternity 'placed', but in terms of our language, and of designating what we MEAN and are TALKING ABOUT, in that sense, and in the emphatic sense of the adjective, God is categorically God: is the One to whom that TERM refers!
In this way we begin to see the parallel to Genesis 1, which John so conspicuously creates in John 1:1, as a continuing one. This parallel is by no means exhausted in the first verse of the Gospel of John. Just as categories of creation, moon, sun, stars, beasts, man, and for those reproducible, their KIND, all categorical, were made by God, so the categories of God as man, life eternal, total derivation of the same from God, and the eternal focus of God and the Word as One and eternal, are all revealed, emphatically, on occasion with duplication for emphasis, leading FROM GOD TO MAN.
In the one, Genesis, the outreach is into creation in its KINDS;
in the other, John, the inreach is to God and His nature.
On this occasion, in John, then, instead of the structure and form of things, we have the internal reality of the Creator in His creation, and the result of this for man; and the way in which God, instead of creating what was now in the Gospel era, already there, namely the kinds of the first creation, created a 'kind', a new race indeed (I Peter 2:9): those who are the children of God! This is done BY that same WORD together with whom He created ALL THINGS in the beginning. It is this WORD who brings out a NEW KIND, one which God causes to continue ONLY BY HIS OWN ACTION (John 10:9,27-28), and one which is brought to light ONLY because the Light which is He, the Word in its fulness (John 3:34), not measured out but intrinsically present as God (John 14:1-14), comes to flesh to make the gift.
It is the final action of creation, the new creation of the children of God from the eternal Word, antecedent to creation, transcendent above it , who gave to creation its existence, always with God, as God now completing the point of the creation in this salient aspect, the impartation of life which is eternal.
It is soon indeed that another unique category is exposed to our expectant eyes. In John 1:29 we learn that this Word is the ultimate gift, that Messiah who has been foretold by so many prophets for so long in so many ways, the one who is to be the SACRIFICE for SIN. This increases the marvel of it all to the uttermost: for it is wholly staggering to one's experience of life that God should have such a plan, to make man in His own image with the full knowledge (as seen in the proto-evangelion of Genesis 3:15), that HE would take upon His glorious self such an image for the deliverance of man from sin, and incarnate, so offer life eternal: and that, not for the venturesome or the best, but for those who received Him in a way which like creation, is entirely His gift, nothing added by man.
Even the will of man is specifically and by name excluded as the source and base for this gift of God: it is from God, by God and through God alone! God is Himself, derivative from nothing, eternal, without whom nothing could be, nor could it have children which is nothing! and the life which is His likewise has no help from anyone. You get it or you do not; but if you do, it is a gift from God, at HIS instance, insistence and performance, not earned by savvy, insight or power, but granted by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8), so that none can boast (Romans 3:23ff.). If this is unsatisfactory, it is because God is not desired in His own place, but in one's own conceptions; or from confusion.
Yet even more than this is it startling and awesome in a sort of ferocity of wonder, that God would go far further. He would allow Himself to suffer humiliation, to be the object of scorn, to be slain by man in a slaughter like that of a sheep, so that John declares in 1:29, of this same incarnate God: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." The term 'lamb' in the Old Testament sacrificial scriptural context of endless seeming sacrifices, personally applied for, and these with ramifying categories (cf. Leviticus 4), such as sin offering, or burnt offering, is not to show us some trilly little woolly thing gambolling about, to bring enjoyment to jaded hearts, or uplift to kindly ones.
It is what a lamb does WHEN it takes away SIN which is the context, so that it is the removal of life in human form in extremis, which is in view. In view for whom ? in view for the Lamb, an who is the Lamb ? It is the Word, who is God, for God is He!
That Isaiah had in such detail in 50-55 shown just this, as also did the Psalms, and Zechariah, for example, left no doubt of what was involved. It was to be a jousting, a revelling, an unrighteous, a contemptuous, a derogatory and denigratory death slowly suffered which was in view. While God would take, as Lord and Shepherd, the little ones in His arms (Isaiah 40:10), man would take arms against Him, and subject Him to the sacrificial fiasco of making the sinless Saviour die as if a criminal (Isaiah 53:8-9). When will man realise that if you do that to God, or ignore what He has done, since this was all part of His loving and most gracious plan for man's redemption, that He suffer the just for the unjust to bring us to God, then there IS NO MORE REMEDY (as in Hebrews 10:29-31, 26-27).
It was a transfer of penalty from the impious to the pious, remarkable enough; but with that, from the created to the Creator! Without this, you have nothing. In Him who made you, the Lamb sacrificed and amazingly but on the other hand, necessarily raised (Acts 2:24), you have everything, by faith. HE who had MADE all things, eternal as God, HE would endure this. But why on earth should He do this ?
It was because He loved. Indeed, He loved the world which He made. He did not, like some erratic and ignorant student, want to toss this magnificent product of all but infinite effort into the spiritual waste-paper basket. He knows the end from the beginning like an expert novelist, and being God, as having all things manifest before Him (Isaiah 46:10, Hebrews 4:13), for all things are naked before Him.
He did not make man in His image in order to laugh at the natural paternal and maternal love of children. He, He was its source! He created and this is one of the created components that sin has neither removed nor made alien to the race. He, the Lord, loved, loved the world, yes, but SO loved the world that He would go to no limit in expense ? far more than this, no limit in COST (John 3:16, Romans 5:1-11).
He would pay it in His own coin, in His own Word; and as the word is naturally wholly expressive of Himself (cr. Hebrews 1:1-3), being the exact exhibition of His entire nature, He would in love, painful as the sacrifice would be, and with His incarnate Son, the Word, these being One, Himself most willing (as foreshadowed in Psalm 40)*1, suffer the sin's darts to become impaled on Himself. If then these would include repentance, and if they would include the casting away of the sin, with broken heart, then the sin would be swallowed up, distanced as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103, Micah 7:19ff., Zechariah 3:9, 12:10).
THE FORM, FORMULA AND FOCUS OF JOHN 1
Thus, 'IN THE BEGINNING GOD ... ' in Genesis, becomes in John's Gospel,
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD,
AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND GOD WAS THE WORD.
Perhaps more securely from any error of understanding, one could translate as follows (reasons given in endnote 2):
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and it was God the Word was*2.
The creation of Genesis 1, becomes the functional totality of the work of the Word in ALL the creation. Not subordinate, a role He assumed as Messiah to be sacrificed when on earth, but equal with God (John 10:30ff.) was He (Philippians 2), in the form of God, the very God so named in the feature of Creator, Saviour and eternally alive in the BEGINNING, preceding ALL creation.
New KIND comes to the fore, to add to all the others, and to consummate the point and height of things. Now not only are kinds made, variable around their nature, but distinct; and not only is one of these man in God's own image; but the whole point of it becomes clear. The eternal purpose (as in Ephesians 1:4) is now completed in that sequential modality, that logical and comprehensible LIGHT.
God is eternal and so His works in time having just this intimate mutual involvement and logical sequence is one of the VERIFICATIONS of His power and unique mode of working. It is not only that He FORECASTS what He will do (cf. Amos 3:7); but He consummates the plan, so that integrally it all comes to the point, as does some Lecturer who, starting in a way not readily comprehensible, soon comes to the point, and shows the way it all coheres, thus establishing the wisdom of his ways, and his teaching method.
The new kind is MAN begotten by God in his spirit, so that not just his form, but that very spirit which at the first becoming autonomous, dashed its destiny, is taken to a new realm (Titus 3:3-7, Ephesians 3:16, 4:23-24). Not merely is pardon available, but process. Not only is the process benignant but it is transformative; and not merely does it transform inwardly, but it confers a status, and a destiny, that of child of God Himself\ (John 1:12-13). A KIND is born, born of God, by grace through faith.
In just this same consummatory way, or if you prefer, this way both consummative and transformative, there is the exposure and completion of the basic revelation. It concerns the One
TO BE the salvation of God, where He
is in focus as a person
TO BE the very SACRIFICE
ITSELF (as in Isaiah 53) which provides the salvation,
TO BE the Prince of Peace whose
kingdom extends forever (Isaiah 9:7),
TO BE the universal ruler (as in
Psalm 2, Isaiah 11), and
TO BE the SERVANT (Isaiah 42,49),
who, unlike all men, is sufficient for the purpose (Isaiah 41:28-29 and 51:18ff., Psalm 49:7,15 showing the insufficiency of any mere man).
Here is the explication and consummation of the entire agenda, written over the centuries, yes and the millenia before the Messiah*3, such that NO MAN can redeem his brother (Psalm 49:7,15), though GOD can and will redeem among men and it is by a man He will do it (Isaiah 53). How then could the Messiah, as man, do so ? Gone now is this mystery: He can AS GOD, for GOD is the Word. Clear from the first, it yet boggled the minds of many; for its transcendence becomes practical, its all might becomes vulnerable, yet its plan becomes implemented; for as to God, He CANNOT FAIL, for He brings all things to pass according to the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
You cannot outwit Him who knows it all; and you cannot beat Him on whom your very existence depends!
So here is it all made concrete, practical and manifest, and it is in One who could even be ... touched (I John 1:1-4, John 20:27), both on incarnation and on resurrection! It is GOD AS MAN! God with us as indicated by the child to be born of Isaiah 7, and the son to be given of Isaiah 9:6-7 who is the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God and presents in His own person, not as envoy, the everlasting Father!
Thus comes the inversion, "God is the Word." We are not engaging in the acme of confusion by using the same term in two different ways, and God being the realm of discourse, indeed the Creator, it is He who is the Word; but it is He so that there is an infinite intimacy. He, the Word, is WITH GOD; but He also has this to be said of Him: God is He! The article's omission does nothing to alter the fact that this is the grammatical mode for showing what is meant. It is not: the word is God that is written, if you are going to be precise. It is: GOD is the word!
This emphasis: GOD is the word fits Him from the beginning. As one might expect, though the thought be amazing to some, since He did so much and with such grace and vulnerability, it is He, the One who is there in the beginning and who institutes ALL creation, as in Genesis, who is GOD AND SAVIOUR. There is no other God, no other Saviour, no other Creator. It is HE!
How sad that so many go through incredible routines of 'discipline', giving and the like, only to be enemies of the Cross, calling themselves Christians, but with another Christ, another Gospel and another Spirit (Philippians 3:18, II Corinthians 11, II Peter 2:1-3). No wonder Paul advised us of this dimension of duplicity in deception, WITH TEARS! Who would not weep for such loss of so many on so false a trail, so foolishly, with inept leadership taking them on paying planes to hell, to the defeat that comes to those who refuse THIS SAME JESUS, who will return (Acts 1:11), just as He went.
God is the Word! The Creator it is who is the Word. The everlasting God, He who is from the beginning, He who in the beginning created all, it is HE who is Saviour, Lord, and it is HE who having been seen, has for the one so shown, shown God (John 14), and it is HE therefore, who being seen in reality, confers free salvation (John 6:40, Romans 6:23), which is neither bought nor an object of striving hope, but to the uttermost, of the dimension of donation. That is what it says and means.
Now in the depth of this revelation, we discern as those whose eyes adjust, that with Him, and God in Himself, is this Word, who does all these things, the exclusive and lonely prerogative of God. Thus, GOD is the Word, and creation, ALL of it is the Word's work, and the repetition, both of the concept, NOTHING that was made was made without Him, and of the fact that in the beginning the word was with God, these are the staples on the letter of communication, to ensure it is not opened amiss.
There is nothing in the least difficult about what is being said. Genesis in the first shows God doing the creation, that it is HE who does it, and Isaiah confirms He alone. It is not some omission. Implied from this: He was there and this is something that He did. Accordingly, 'In the beginning' in parallel in John, shows that in that HE was there, the WORD was there, there from the first, yes from the very beginning, yes creating ALL things, yes so that NOTHING made was made but by Him. In this way, the beginning, the eternity, the increate majesty, the total work in creation, all betokens, emphasises, asserts, attests and invests into all that follows, the reality. And that ? It is but ONE BEING from whom this act of creation has come; and GOD it is who is the Word, in full equality operative in, and sent from this Being, whose Spirit can move and empower and dower.
Moreover, as it is in Isaiah 48:16, so also in John 1.
Why then is there so much foolishness about the translation of John 1:1, as if 'a god' were in view, when the grammar does nothing, and the context permits nothing of this kind, when moreover there is nothing of such kind in the whole realm of the creator, the saviour, the instituter and moulder of the universe, and of all that is not God! Why is this thing, consummately obvious, emphatic, categorical and clear, confirmed on all sides and made the more manifest in every context, yet rejected by some who dare to use the name 'Christian', as if there were some new killing of Christ, but this time in the mind ?
Again, it is simply verification, for as Paul put it, "... many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." In contradistinction from these false brethren (as in II Corinthians 11!), Paul asks them, on the contrary, to walk as he walks (cf. I Cor. 14:37).
This phenomenon which brought tears to the eyes of the apostle Paul, it is to become rank and rampant in the end of the Age as Christ specifically taught (Matthew 24:7,24), and wolves in sheep's clothing are to become an order of the day as it declines into the darkness facing this world, in the ultimate, leading eventually to its entire removal (as in Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3), with that same power which created it at the first. If it had not happened in its way and in its day, the Bible would have been wrong; yet it is never wrong. It has indeed happened to the point that multitudes throng to the valley of decision, to the final overthrow of the devil and his deceptions. One cannot glory in this; but rather weep; but then one must present the truth, as if of a melanoma to someone who has one.
This is the least one can do! Since God SO loves that He gave His only begotten Son so that WHOEVER believes may live for ever and avoid perishing, this is what must be proclaimed, though all the world jam like some threshing cogs, caught in their own fracture. THIS is His desire, and this is His purpose, yet not so that He aborts the image of God in man, but rather fulfils it (Colossians 1:19-22).
Let us however note and underline the fact that this is fulfilment, just as the word becoming flesh was fulfilment, so that as in Psalm 45, the Messiah would be God Himself, yes and the Lamb, as in Zechariah 12:10, would be the very God who spoke to man! It is fulfilment of what always was before Him, before time commenced, in terms of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8), so that Christians are known and shown in Him "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). The very founding of the world has this in its turmoil, enshrined, and its results are from eternity.
What omni-competence, what total control, what total compassion and what categorical love is this! How marvellously does the Lord WORK everything after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11)!
Thus in John as in Genesis, it starts with God, and then details the action. In the Genesis case, it details the action to institute the entire orderly realm of creation in an orderly and progressive fashion, each step heavily integrated and expressly with the rest. In the John case, it details the action this time to focus not the mode of creation, but WHO did it, and then the mode of salvation, WHO WAS IT, even that salvation which is God's alone, the ONLY Saviour! Indeed, then it is WHAT IS IT, and you see this so exquisitely in John 6 and 10.
The complementarity of the two, Genesis 1 and John 1, with their various outcomes, is like that of right and left hand therefore.
Of 'gods' in this realm, the Bible knows only two kinds, that actual to whom worship is due, the one who as Thomas told Christ, is "the God", and the ones who think they are gods, act as if they are, are contemptuous of the difference, diseased in soul, diverse in kind, goats not sheep (Matthew 25). To these is the irony and the exposure which is correlative to hell.
Will you still say you are God to Him who slays you!
God asks in Ezekiel 28:9.
Or again, as in Psalm 82,
You SAY you are gods ? Yet you will DIE like MEN!
The ironically despatched imposters or spiritually roisterers, these are the one kind, frauds and fakes, and this is interesting when one considers the Mormon phenomenon*4. The other kind ? category ? no, the other ONE is the actual GOD. It is He ONLY who creates, who saves and who incarnate, constitutes the Salvation of man, and is hence the very Saviour who alone God is. Not only so, there is NO OTHER NAME but His under heaven given among men (Acts 4:11-12) by which they may be saved. Not only this, there is none other by which they MUST be saved.
This, it is what is written. There is indeed no other name in the universe, in heavenly or earthly places, you name it, by which reconciliation with God may be made! (Colossians 1:19ff.). If you seek to trifle with the Almighty by making Him up in your own mind, then lost is your end, except you repent. And this, it is the grand feature of our present Age, that you may. It is not always to be so (cf. Revelation 19). There is a time to rejoice, but also a time to repent! (cf. Ecclesiastes 1).
In this way, the inclusive nature of the exclusive, the Christ who is the Word, shines with a light and having eternal life, is able and willing to confer not only that life, but that light (John 9:5, 8:12, 1:4). It is BECAUSE He is the life that He is the light. BEING what and WHO He is, the divine light, which man needs, He grants light when life is found. Light is natural to it, and it is for this reason that "those who seek the Lord understand all" (Proverbs 28:5).
They know Him who has ALL (John 16:15), for as He says, "all things that the Father has are Mine" (including eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, deity); and thus He who is a revealer of secrets, and before whom nothing dark can stand, shows His people all they need to know from His infinitude of knowledge and wisdom. If as with Daniel, they need to know someone's dream, this they can be shown. Limit ? Nothing is the limit in power and knowledge to Him whose is all of creation, not only by ownership, but by construction of its very time and space, units and kinds. He gives, and life that you may live forever, and light that you should not stumble, and may work, each is one of His gifts.
It is HIS OFFICE to do so (as in Matthew 11:27-28), where it is NOT that that the Father is shown to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, as in the AV, but to whomsoever the Son WILLS to reveal Him, as in the Greek and the NAV. As you see in John 15, as in John 1:13, it is NOT that they chose Him, but that HE chose them!
However God SO loves that while this Creator, who also creates children of God at His will, is the sovereign who selects, He is also the Lover who seeks, and who WOULD HAVE all to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth: yes all to be reconciled, whether in heaven or on earth, and so far from constituting a barrier, it is He who removes all barriers (Colossians 1:19ff., Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff.). Even in announcing, as in Luke in this passage, the almost unutterable destruction coming to beloved Jerusalem, now ornery in resistance (Matthew 23), He weeps, and laments that even in this there day, a day in which came a visitation from above which could have been their so cherished deliverance, they stubbornly became the object of destruction. it is rather like a child which called, yet proceeds in front of a truck.
Yet it is HIS CREATION, as God the Creator, and the 'wind blows where it will' as in John 3.
The case is not with us, then, as if some official from heaven messes about with things, but that God is the God who acts: THE GOD WHO SAVES, as the grammar permits to be expressly stated in John 20, at the lips of Thomas. This, coming when at last Thomas realises the resurrection of the very body, the object of manifest creation to which Christ came, shows just WHO Christ is. In so doing, Thomas acted and spoke in a way which constituted a PRINCIPLE for admission to the kingdom of heaven (John 20:29).
THIS is believing! Not some other Jesus (II Cor. 11), but this same one. Not some happening; but bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9). Here is the criterion, the cross, the King and the salvation, and not in some other, constructed by the willing minds of meddling man. Our God does not meddle, and does not accept meddling; He has come and He has done and thus he who sees the Son and believes on Him has eternal life (John 6:40), that eternal life which the Son is, and which He brings, confers and conveys.
Let us ponder then the personal implications further.
THE AWESOME SHOCK AND THE NEED TO KNOCK
We have, in John 1:1, as in Genesis 1:1 been moved to the utmost elevation. Since the creation is the inclusive mandate of the Word of God, and all made is exclusive of His exclusion from its institution: then if HE did not make it, it is not a made thing. What is not made is either God or nothing, what IS NOT!
If the 'brick' does not have HIS stamp as Maker on it, it is a misnomer, a phantasm, illusion, mirage. MADE thing ? HE did it. Since clearly He did not make Himself, not in such a surmise being there to do it, such a conception constitutes a contradiction in terms precisely and directly. He Himself is excluded from things made. He was there at the beginning, and since God alone is Creator, He is God.
Now we come to ponder salvation in these terms. Since The Word of God = Christ, who is the ONLY begotten Son (John 3:16) and the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and the ONLY Saviour (Colossians 1:19ff., with Acts 4:11-12), then He is God as Saviour, Creator and Eternal, unmade. God is He! As LIGHT of men, in whom IS LIFE, He gives life eternal to men. From eternity He grants eternity, and from deity He grants children's position to those who come to Him, His name above every other name (Philippians 2:9ff.), Himself investing according to His own will those to whom the Father is revealed; and it is STATEDLY BECAUSE He is the Creator, that He is treated as first-born among men (Col. 1:15).
The Father and He are ONE, He said, indicating the nature of their infinite communion, so that the people took stones (John 10:30), seeking His immediate demise for blasphemy, making Himself equal with God. Hence as in Matthew 11:27, He WILLS the people to be His, and His Father WILLS the people to be His (as in John 6), as in the humble post of Messiah He works His 'wonderful work' as Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 29:14). Father and Son will the same thing, the Messiah as in the form of men and of a servant (Philippians 2) receiving what He also wills (Psalm 40, cf. Joyful Jottings 22).
Thus is the work of Him who in His labours might be touched, seen (I John 1:1-4), but who for all that, in the intensity and immensity of the miracle of grace, is "that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us" (I John 1:2). That is why it is, that to have Him is to have life (I John 5:12), and not to have Him is to lack it, for HIS is the life which is in the creation, eternal as available for man in God's image; and HIS is the eternal life which He constitutes, and applies in salvation to those who receive Him.
Now comes the incredible seeming shock, the staggering amazement that such a being on such a mission, even into time from eternity, should be so treated, so regarded, so placarded as an imposter and so crucified as a blasphemer.
Such is this world, which is contrary, which in is darkness (John 1:5,11), and it is a darkness which neither comprehends, nor apprehends, but which was such that it apprehended Him as a prisoner and slew Him slowly as an imposter: Him whom none could imitate, neither in word nor in miracle, in kindness nor in compassion, in power nor in wonder; whom none could overthrow, none could intimidate - nor could any show Him up. In terms of scientific method, He met all things to the uttermost, and His judges flayed not only Him, but truth; which after all, since it is He, on Him it all devolves, was implicit in any case. However, here again, it is that we find the composition, the mutual confirmation of all things, for all that is implied in WHO He is, is found in both WHAT He did, and what was done to Him. It fits as do two thousand facets of some mighty jewel, each reflecting light, each lit with refracted as well as direct light, in dazzling compounding and composition.
Thus is seen the fearfully awesome fact that like dark clouds on the sun, moving in menacing blackness and toiling in turbulence, is the contrast between the Christ and His detractors, His good and their evil, His grace and their ravagements. He made the world (John 1:10), was in it, the novelist in His book, and He came to His select people, Israel sent to exhibit His wonder and way (Isaiah 43:21); but He was not recognised. Even where it was impossible to fail to see His inimitable power as God (cf. John 11:48), He was not recognised in form by officialdom, and even derecognised by those intent on survival by disfaith.
In the level of this world, and of His own nation, He was not recognised by the spirits of men, the exalted characters clamouring for His removal, having no other way of meeting goodness and power, grace and love, mercy and peace. If He continued, ALL THE WORLD would be apt to follow Him, was the Caiaphas view. Priests bent their hearts to an illicit slaughter, even of the author of the authority which was theirs to be priests. Small wonder Paul was deemed to be turning the world upside down: it had already been inverted, and this was to rectify the tilt.
Dark as all this is, yet those who receive Him, to these came that life which is His, eternal, these so becoming children of God. To those came His light, so that even in the darkness, they should not stumble (John 8-9), and these work for Him, while work they may, for the night comes in which no man can work (John 9:4).
What however of these who so become His, were always known as His, but were in timely time, brought to Him in faith ? What of them ?
It is no matter of genes, genius, gender, engendering of mind or social caste, race, region or real estate; and it is nothing to do with any such creature's comforts or discomforts. The selection and the birth is OF GOD! (John 1:13). The choice is HIS, but the way too is HIS, and HE IS the way, so that in His seeking to save the lost, He does not exclude any, but draws all (Colossians 1:19ff., John 12:32). As to man, so deep is his darkness, that even his will is defunct at this level of choice (cf. Romans 9:16, I Corinthians 2:14, John 1:13).
These then who are born, in the very midst of the dark turbulences of the history of this world, they are re-created by God, and restored to His image (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:14). It is reclamation, restoration and regeneration (Titus 3:5ff.) which is in view, in this SECOND GREAT CHAPTER OF CREATION TRACED FROM FIRST TO LAST, in the Bible. So does Genesis 1 become prelude to John 1, and John 1 complement to Genesis 1.
Here, John 1 it is; and it is filled with the wonder and the glory of God, a shaft for all that follows, precisely as is Genesis 1 for the rest of that volume!
The infinite God, in flesh He was full of grace and truth, not given the Spirit by measure (John 1:14, 3:34), so that although none had seen God as such, yet He being of His heart, infinite and increate with Him, in the very bosom of the Father, led Him forth and declared Him to men (John 1:18, as in the vast Majority text). It is HE who has ALL that the Father has, and the Father being infinite, who also is Himself infinite, is God (John 16:15).
Dark is the way without Him, and gloomy, turbulent are the clouds of hatred and unbelief, rejecting the irrepressible and covering the light which burns no less, and will burn till this world is burnt up.
Some who prefer darkness have that very fact as their destiny, categorically self-categorised to belong to the ravagement of ruin (John 3:19).
How aweful it is, that even when the light shines, as it continues to do and has never ceased doing, even becoming flesh to give life, and that eternal: how horrendous and abysmal in kind, that the darkness does not comprehend it!
Christ did not predict that it would, but the opposite; yet that SOME would receive Him, and these on the NARROW way would inherit life (Matthew 7:15ff.). Christ is in this, as in all things, shown correct; but what is the cost of loss, when such is the cost for redemption, and how impervious are the impenitent, their hearts stricken with sin, their eyes shut against the light (Matthew 13:15), lest they should see, hear and being converted, be healed and so see naturally, and find truth pleasantly, where it belongs. As to the wisdom of God, "her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace" (Proverbs 3:17). "
Oh! He proclaims, that you had heeded My commandments,
then your peace would have been like a river ..." (Isaiah 48:18).
Man in manhandling the Truth, has never been able to find it, and the whole history of self-criticising philosophy over the generations and the Ages, is that it stumbles as in the dark (cf. SMR Ch. 3, 5, 10), and this, it is not the ground of cynicism, but the verification of virtue, and the shame on sham.
The light, and this alone, solves all mysteries, as this site constantly exhibits by following and applying His word as He is His grace alone, enables. For all time, what is there, it is shown by His light, which neither dims nor fails at any time, in things past, present or future. How many futures have become presents and pasts; and what a past this world now has, which has shunned the light, and teaches darkness with such passion (cf. News 122, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 8, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3).
A world build with love for love, is one into which the world of survival and stress, pride and pomp, pretence and irrationality cannot fit. In the end, the sham of shame outside His name goes to its own place, like Judas (Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3). It is best for those who seek love, to seek it where it is; who seek truth to take it where it is offered, to knock on the door which turns so readily, when it is addressed in faith (John 10:9); and for those who prize themselves, to return to the prize above all flesh, who became flesh, that man might find in eternity, a life which is fitting for his construction and his destiny.
It is necessary to knock (Matthew 7:7). It is necessary to repent (Luke 13:1ff.). It is necessary to receive Him who broke death in His own body, by faith, and to trust in Him. That, it is like saying to someone strolling through some magnificent botanical gardens, like that at Stirling near Adelaide, that it is necessary to find the scent, to ... admit its fragrance, through your nostrils.
*1 See Joyful Jottings 22, in the series 22-25.
Greek allows inversions to be clear in such a case. Thus the subject equipped with the "the", is distinguished from the complement, not so equipped. In this case, it is literally, God was the Word (plus the information that 'the Word' is the subject, plus the emphasis inherent in putting the complement before the subject). That is what we have to translate.
Now in English we could put this third part of the opening statement, as is done here, "and God was the word." The emphasis implicit in inversion, so that what would normally come later, comes instead first, is preserved by italicising the word 'God' in English. It has just been used, so that its meaning is clear; and now it is to be emphasised. In general terms, this might suffice.
However, it is just possible that someone might read this is simply meaning that God and the Word were co-extensive, whereas of course, there is the Father and the Spirit, and the Word. This is not what the text is saying. Hence to match English idiom and mannerisms, perhaps the best translation would be this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and it was God the Word was.
In this case, the italics are being used as in normal in the KJV and the NKJV to mean that these words are supplied for clarity in terms of English idiomatic usage, but do not appear in the Greek text. To the mind of this writer, this is the most secure translation, since it is virtually impossible to misunderstand it.
A further feature in favour of rendering it in this idiomatic English way is that the following verse now is far more perspicuous s to its repetitive element. The meaning would be, as in bold above, followed by this statement: He was in the beginning with God, which is verse 2.
Thus the development would be in this style. In the beginning, as in Genesis, before anything was made, was the Maker, and the One to whom we look now is the Word. He was, in this pre-creation, and thus pre-temporal phase, with God. Indeed, God it is that He was. He was in the beginning with God.
The explicatory force now flows as smoothly as a stream in mid-Spring. We meet this Person before creation. It is not surprising that He was with God before creation, since everything is either God or creation. We are told further than His was the status of deity, Himself, and this being so, neatly and compactly for the understanding, we are to picture Him, before all creation, one God. As shown in the main text of this chapter, that is precisely what is to be expected as soon as we learn that the ONE GOD was in fellowship with the Word, so that that which is affirmed of the ONE GOD, is affirmed no less of the WORD, so that in verse three we learn with that sobering relish for the inter-relation of all things to be found in this Gospel, that all things were made by Him, and nothing that is made was made without Him.
Than this, nothing could be clearer: one Being consists in Sender and Sent, Speaker and Spoken, Father and Son, and being ONE GOD, He was there from the first, and has control of things to the last of creation. We learn as John's Gospel proceeds, that He also has control to the last of it (John 5:19-23 cf. Matthew 24:35, John 16:15).
See Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3, News 87, Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8.
*4 The Mormon Mismatch of a Contrary Christ
The Mormon teaching is variable. At one time, it was taught that God, the God of man, was once Adam as in Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 50ff.). Now some do not like this, and like to assail those who attribute this 'authoritative' teaching to them. But it changes.
The Bible itself is not acceptable to them, merely containing revelations from God. In this way, they can take or leave at any time as they please; but they have already left so much, and contradicted it so vehemently, that its mere mention is misleading and gives a false sense of authority to what is anti-biblical in many basic doctrines, to the point it is identifiably at war with the author of the Bible, being willing to dismiss fundamental doctrines of its teaching as if those of a dunce. Yet it is attested in time, in form, in knowledge, in endurance, in fulfilment beyond any book ever written, as has been shown in detail often on this site (e.g. SMR Chs. 8-9, The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4).
The Bible is not authoritative for them, for they 'recognize its limitations' (Bennett, Why I am a Mormon, p. 159), do not 'ascribe final authority to any of its statements' and want to re-open the canon despite its most dramatic closure (Revelation 22, which forbids any MORE THINGS to be added, and provides the faith as centring on Christ and the apostles - Ephesians 2:20 as foundation, Christ the Chief Corner Stone, I Cor. 3:10-11 cf. SMR Appendix D). In placing their own 'scriptures' with the Bible, they then feel free to change in this way, making a polytheistic universe which lacks basis, a mere imaginary population without scientific confirmation, in heinous transgression of biblical teaching (Exodus 20, Ephesians 4:4, Isaiah 44-45), which could not on this point be more emphatic: in those terms incurring the most total divine wrath, according to the Bible, for idolatry.
Any association of 'gods' has always to be given their ground, realm of mutual communication, linguistic commonality, thought transference management, basis and of course origin as a kind and as indeed existent. If they pro-create, they need the sexual apparatus and the mutuality of its activity to be created as well. A system entails performance for its cause, unless magic be invoked; and the system-maker, then, being God, and ignored, makes any such religion as useful in the ultimate, as a course on mathematics which lacks numbers.
In making creation of man by pro-creation from God, whether or not He be still conceived as a glorified Adam or rather some glorified resurrected man, as the tides change, on the ground that "there is no other process of creation", as cited from Brigham Young's Journal of Discourses (Vol. II, p. 122), they ignore the necessity of having the entire creation in ordered structure, and make gods like people living in a motel, built by someone else who does not seem to rate! Further, in writing his Journal, Young used a different method of creation, for he did not pro-create it, and even if creation of man be meant, so that man can not be created except by pro-creation, this is merely an irrational statement of disfaith, ignoring the very thing that is to be used, as to its own creation.
To MAKE OVER a new man from an old, then, does not touch the creation of the system, so that this in that regard fails to register biblically at all, as much as logically (cf. SMR Ch. 1).
For this philosophy, positive, objective testability is zero, from the golden plates from the angel supposedly back of the Book of Mormon, to their disappearance. Negative testability is great, for how would large passages of the King James Bible occur in a book allegedly written long before the Bible was so translated, indeed many centuries before, that is, in the Book of Mormon; and how would passages verbatim from the Westminster Confession there appear centuries before it was formulated, for Smith's material was claimed to have been written many, many centuries before Smith 'translated' it!
What dysfunction is there is making the language of 1611, used in the KJ Bible, that of his alleged translation from the golden plates of mixed linguistic types, some 211 years later, while using the so important supplied spectacles, all alas lost! Is religion to be made hard by using a former language mode, out of date by centuries ?
Will a relatively unlearned Joseph Smith indulge in such learned recasts to former times ? Are disutility and anachronism to be married, with opportunity, the 1611 version of the Bible, their first child!
this most decisive rejection of basic biblical teachings,
this glorification of
sex as creator of gods,
this evolutionary zenith, in making gods arise and
develop in a universe
it all becomes Satanic in this: that it is a fraud.
In what way is it a fraud ? In this: it is USING the Bible on the one hand to denigrate its most basic teachings, while daring to cite it in the very act of assailing it in the most fundamental way, without evidence, in the face of evidence, on lost plates as basis, with a biblically forbidden angel as conveyor belt for the new revelation (Colossians 2:18, Galatians 1). It is this which is fraudulent. To complete the pantomime atmosphere, it proceeds with angelic authority, as if an angel simply said to be sighted could supersede Christ in teaching and contradict Him (John 4:24); as if their 'God', yes in terms of a massif of gods, exists in a multiplying system of movement and evolution which can thus move anywhere in an unknown ultimate.
This is the flavour of our own times and of their myths; but it has nothing to do with the Bible, not even rating as a caricature, for the contradiction makes any relationship but contradiction, meaningless. Further, in using Isaiah 53 verbatim from the KJV translation (Ch. 14, Book of Mormon!), and then making the Christ the 'offspring of a mortal mother and an immortal, or glorified and resurrected Father', this religion presents a mixture of cat and dog, rain and drought, plus and minus, yes, creation and Creator in impossible hybrids. Its plausibility as with various sects, is to be from the Bible, which it cites; but this is the opposite if one thinks even a little about the thing: for if the Bible is in such wholesale and basic way contradicted, what authority can it lend its assailant ?
Does a Major who attacks in the most flamboyant fashion, the words of his General, gain authority from his boss by such drastically antagonistic dealings ? Hardly, but only the certainty of discipline and probable removal from the Army post-haste!
Remove then the Bible, and you have nothing but disfaith making weird and unsupported stories outside the Bible, contrary to the Bible, based on air, consolidated from reports which offer no brand of evidence but the condemnation of experts on the linguistic symbols allegedly used in the missing plates.
In some ways, it is like freemasonry (cf. SMR p. 701, Know the Lord 31), mixing up the faiths and making a composite. If, however, you cannot rise from the dead, or raise the dead, heal the sick or answer all men with invincible power and knowledge; if you cannot fulfil prophecy including His death date, as Christ did (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), or predict the things to come, as He also did in vast measure (cf. SMR Ch. 8), then what could you do ?
What ? You could always, in the abstract, present a story of spectacles, of golden plates, of an angel not now about, and present a mixed-symbol material matching nothing but confusion in type by expert testimony, and give large excerpts from the Authorised Version of the Bible of more than 200 years earlier, itself made by scholars without magic glasses, together with some of the Westminster Confession of the 1640s, made with years of discussion, and other ingredients, to make a novelty.
What then is to be found of this religion ? They reject the work of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation ('therefore' the Son was to be called the 'son of God' as in Luke 1:35), make some imaginary journey of an imaginary God without evidence (Brigham Young op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 50-51), contrary to all evidence, leading Him to earth, this 'God' being allegedly man in resurrected form, and this visit of this amalgam, this flesh and bones being is for the purpose of copulation. They then make that being - thus biblically non-God, as NOT Spirit (John 4), whom they yet call God, but would have only a local spiritual aristocrat, to pursue this intrusion for copulation with a betrothed woman to its end, and that, even though this biblically was, in those days, an occasion for the death sentence (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
All this is done in a mirage of marvels without evidence, allegations without attestation, that is a mockery of Scripture, and as evidentially related to reality, as any other mirage.
Thus there is 'resurrected' more than the 'God' who came, resurrected by unknown power in what appears as if a convenient sports car called the universe, which ticks over without creator so well. It is imagined to proceed on its way, spawning gods without need of the logical basis, since allegedly creation comes ONLY by pro-creation, even in the realm of gods. What more, then, is resurrected ? The Christ in question is unquestionably anti-biblical, not being God at all, the God who alone created ALL and was before ANY creation! as we have seen in this Chapter.
Another Christ, as Paul declares in II Corinthians 11, this is a fatal venture, and he ascribes such activities to Satan, transforming himself as an angel of light; another Gospel, as in Galatians, he similarly abjures, insisting that there is one Lord, one Gospel and its inviolability is such that even if he, Paul, should make one other than the one he had already preached, he too would be accursed!
There is thus resurrected, from the realms of imagination without one scintilla of objective evidence, a false Christ without the incarnation by the Holy Spirit, without His eternity in heaven, as Spirit (John 17:1-3, John 1:1, 8:58), without His power as deity to bear all, without the love as of the only begotten Son sent for salvation, and hence without the miracles and without the testimony which created religion, a spiritual life based on what Christ said and did, and His Father said and did before Him!
This 'Christ', thus misconceived as carnally begotten, since begetting is presented as if popular with the gods (contrary to Matthew 22:30, which speaks of what is the nature of the resurrection), thus becomes a false Christ, coming as one of many, a result of a process where man starts it all off, turning invisibly and without witness of any kind, into gods in some cases at least. This too is by a process unknown, as visible as air, as clear a vacuum, as exhibited in equipment as gold from palm-trees.
That disjunction: it is merely measurable fact.
This is evolution with a vengeance. If the organic evolution is contrary to scientific method (cf. SMR pp. 140ff.), then this spiritual evolution, if possible, is even more illogical, based heavily on nothing testable in any regard, as to its processes, as to its ancient and enduring testimony, here using a Bible it scorns in reality, as to its teaching, to conjoin with a book from disappearing plates from ancient times, yet containing bits of a 17th century translation of the Bible, allegedly written long before scholars did that work, in order to present a Christ of fornication (there is nothing lawful in using a betrothed bride for sexual intercourse scripturally, with a man of any kind!) to fulfil processes which have neither evidence nor attestation of any kind.
It is in all respects, except its endeavour to bring in the Bible, as so many sects do, in the most gross rejection of its cardinal doctrines but as a name: a myth. What is a myth ? It is the ascription of observable events to no adequate causes, in terms of the invention of a series of powers, properties or processes without known evidence, so that the imaginary becomes as if real, while the realities attested are logically indistinguishable from the phantasms of unreality.
Works of value for this matter include Harold J. Berry's The Truth Twisters, and Oswald J. Sanders' Heresies and Cults.