In the Beginning – Our Father Spoke!
The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.
For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.
– Psalm 33:6, 9 NLT
The Father created by his own mighty word – his own command. He speaks and even the elements respond:
And God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light (Gen. 1:3).
He alone created us. That is why we call him, “Our Father.”
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from
the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things; I alone
stretched forth the heavens. I spread out the earth by myself” (Isa. 44:24).
He did not create the heavens and earth by an agent, another person who helped him. He describes the actual work of creating – “stretching forth the heavens” and “spreading out the earth” – and says that he did that work alone and by himself. Again the Scriptures tell us:
Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us all? (Mal. 2:10).
It is the Father’s spoken word which so wonderfully was “with” him – and really “was” the Father himself – not another. It is his personal word. God’s word originates with him – it is in his mind – his heart. It is spoken by his mouth and accomplishes his purposes:
So will my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but it will accomplish what I desire, and succeed in the purpose for which I sent it (Isa. 55:11).
John, the author of the fourth gospel, captures the unfathomable glory of all of this in his prologue. It is the mightiness of God himself, who by the speaking of his word has brought forth all creation.
God’s prophets and people of old never speak of an actual “Person” called “the Word.” Rather, they speak and write consistently about God’s own personal word. John did not write in order to bring people a different understanding of God’s word. Rather, he wrote to declare what God has now so extraordinarily accomplished with his word. He has vested, embodied, his word in his human son – the man Christ Jesus. John’s message is clear, the power of God’s word is now found in this man – and by that word in Jesus – comes light and grace to all men.
And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us – and we
beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the
Father – full of grace and truth (John 1:14}.
In the centuries after the Bible was written, Gentile Christians began creating a new meaning for “word” in John. Post-biblical Christians who had by then lost touch with the Hebrew roots of Jesus, John and of the other early disciples began to propose that God’s word was a “Person” in itself – another in addition to the Father.
But Jesus never says that before he was born he was a “Person” called the “Word.” Neither did Jesus say that a “Person” called “the Word” was in him. Rather, he said that it was the Father himself who was in him:
The words that I speak to you I speak not of myself – but the
Father that dwells in me, he does the works (John 14:10).
Likewise, Jesus tells people that rather than being a Person called the Word, that his Father actually taught him the words that he spoke. (John 7:17; 12:48-50).
There has always been, and continues to be, faithful Christians who believe that God’s word is not a Person in addition to the Father, but rather the Father’s own spoken word by which he created all things in the beginning. We are among those people. So was the apostle Peter who wrote:
God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the
earth out from the water and surrounded it with water (2 Peter 3:5 – NLT).
By J. Dan Gill
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. — Job 23:12
God’s word is the word of our Creator. It is the standard by which the words of all others must be measured. If we cannot trust the One who made us, all is lost! Why then would we imagine that we could trust anyone or anything else? His word is a connection to the very meaning of our human existence.
To the people of the Bible, God’s word is the definition of truth. King David prayed, “And now, O Lord YHWH, you are God, and your words are truth” (2 Sam. 7:28). Jesus gives that same definition of truth in the New Testament, “Father … Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
The one true God extends himself to creation by his spirit and shares his thoughts with us by his words. We as human beings come to know one another by our words. So it is that we can know God by his words. They are light to our minds. The psalmist writes, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130).
A person’s word is something that can be shared with others without being lost to the sharer. It is in that sense that God’s word is “with” him and can come to be “with” us as well. It is spoken by the mouth of God (2 Chron. 6:4), and comes to his prophets (1 Sam. 15:10). In turn it is spoken or written by them (1 Kings 17:24); people can hear it, read it. As he imparts his word to us, we can know the mind of God.
His Word is Him
Just as God’s spirit is him in his operation and presence, so is his word. By it he shares his knowledge, understanding and wisdom. To the people of the Bible, his word is the expression of his thoughts. In it are his will for us and his plans for all he does. And just as the word of a human being is not a separate person from that human being, neither is God’s word a separate person from the Father. What God’s word does is done by the Father himself. He acts by communicating — commanding. [Read More]
EDITOR’S CHOICE – ARTICLE
One day a theological storm is likely to erupt over the translation of John’s prologue in our standard versions. At present the public is offered a wide range of renderings, from the purely literal to the freely paraphrased. But do these translations represent John’s intention? Or are they traditional, based on what “everyone accepts”? Have they sometimes served as a weapon in the hands of Christian orthodoxy to enforce the decisions of post-biblical creeds and councils? The seeker after Truth of the Berean style (Acts 17:11) should investigate all things carefully.
According to the findings of a recent monumental study of the origin of Christ in the Bible, Bible-readers instinctively hear the text of John 1:1 as follows: “In the beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus was God,” or “In the beginning was the Son and the Son was with the Father . . . ” [Read More]