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Examining John 1:1

 

By Sami Zaatari

 

[Part One] [Part Two]

 

 

 

One of the most commonly used passages in the Bible to try and affirm that Jesus is God, and there is a trinity is John 1:1. Christians often quote this verse when asked about the Trinity, or the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Christian does not only quote John 1:1, the Christian quotes from John 1 verse 1 all the way to verse 18 to prove the divinity of Jesus. The passages read like this:

 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.


Basically the Trinitarian Christian concludes that Jesus is God from these verses.

 

In this article of mine we shall examine whether these verses do really prove that Jesus is God or a Trinity, by doing this I shall in fact quote a Christian source showing that these verses do not prove that Jesus is God, nor do they show a Trinity, along with the Christian information that I shall post I shall also add some of my own points as we go on. Let me make one thing clear though, I am not quoting a Jehovah witness, what I will be quoting will be from a Unitarian Christian, not a Jehovah witness whom Christian's regard as non-Christians and deviants.

 

This article will be pretty long since I will be quoting a lot, so therefore I hope you the reader will bear with us and appreciate the information that will be presented to you, since it is very interesting and will be very helpful to use against many Christians who always bring John 1:1-18 to prove that Jesus is God.

 

With all that said we now proceed to the information regarding these passages.

 

Before I quote these Christians, let me first post who they are and what their credentials are:

 

Spirit & Truth Fellowship International <http://www.stfonline.org> is a worldwide community of Christians who desire to make known the written Word of God so as to proclaim the Good News <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=508> of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a legal entity, we are a non-profit, tax-exempt United States (Indiana) corporation.

The fellowship and community arm of the ministry, including our events <http://www.stfonline.org/events/calendar.html> and the infrastructure (support services and finances) operates under the banner of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International. At the same time, Christian Educational Services is the publication and production arm of our ministry. Thus, the organization, like a human body, has two arms with which to reach out.

Our Vision Statement is: A global community of committed Christians living the truth in love.

Our Mission Statement is: To provide sound, biblically-based teaching and build a spiritually-empowered fellowship community so that all people may have the opportunity to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, enter into a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, and become established in faithful and fruitful Christian living.

Spirit & Truth Fellowship International is accomplishing its overall mission by way of live speakers, audio <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=418> and videotapes <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=567>, books <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&new_topic=13>, and literature, as well as many different kinds of camps and conferences <http://www.stfonline.org/events/calendar.html> for all ages. Our biblically based teachings point people towards having the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. The materials produced by Spirit & Truth Fellowship International are designed to assist individual spiritual growth as well as to support local fellowships and churches in the Fellowship Community. We encourage Christians to apply these teachings in their local areas in community with other likeminded believers.

Spirit & Truth Fellowship is composed of an International Headquarters and an international network of independent local groups of Christians. This Fellowship Community <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=202> is made up of believers who freely affiliate themselves with us because they are in agreement with our Statement of Beliefs <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=113>, Statement of Values <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=248>, Code of Conduct <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=249>, and have seen the quality of their lives improve by their association with us and what we have to offer. Our goal is to be a full service ministry where people can come and find wholeness for themselves, as well as an arena in which to exercise their own unique callings in the Body of Christ.

Our name is partially derived from Jesus' statement in John 4:23 that God is seeking people to worship <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=215> Him in spirit and in truth. As that is the only thing stated in Scripture that God seeks, we believe it is imperative that our ministry is oriented to that way of honoring our God. We are a community of worshipers, knit together by the love of God and a common belief of His Word (the truth <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=376>). We seek to empower each believer involved in our ministry to exercise his own unique giftings in accordance with his personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The basis for all our efforts is the Bible <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=43>, which we believe to be the Word of God, perfect in its original writing. So-called errors, contradictions, or discrepancies are the result of man's subsequent interference in the transmission of the text, mistranslations, or failure to understand what is written. Spirit & Truth Fellowship International draws from all relevant sources that shed light on the integrity of Scripture, whether in the field of geography, customs, language, history, or principles governing Bible interpretation. Our goal is to seek the truth without respect to tradition or orthodoxy. [For further study, read 22 Principles of Biblical Interpretation <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=168>.]

Let us now proceed to what these Christians have to say regarding John 1:1-18, we first start with John 1:1

 

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV)

 

1. It is imperative that the serious student of the Bible come to a basic understanding of logos, which is translated as Word in John 1:1. Most Trinitarians believe that the word logos refers directly to Jesus Christ, so in most versions of John logos is capitalized and translated Word (some versions even write Jesus Christ in John 1:1). However, a study of the Greek word logos shows that it occurs more than 300 times in the New Testament, and in both the NIV and the KJV it is capitalized only 7 times (and even those versions disagree on exactly when to capitalize it). When a word that occurs more than 300 times is capitalized fewer than 10 times, it is obvious that when to capitalize and when not to capitalize is a translators decision based on their particular understanding of Scripture.

 

As it is used throughout Scripture, logos has a very wide range of meanings along two basic lines of thought. One is the mind and products of the mind like reason, (thus logic is related to logos) and the other is the expression of that reason as a word, saying, command etc. The Bible itself demonstrates the wide range of meaning logos has, and some of the ways it is translated in Scripture are: account, appearance, book, command, conversation, eloquence, flattery, grievance, heard, instruction, matter, message, ministry, news, proposal, question, reason, reasonable, reply, report, rule, rumor, said, say, saying, sentence, speaker, speaking, speech, stories, story, talk, talking, teaching, testimony, thing, things, this, truths, what, why, word and words.

 

Any good Greek lexicon will also show this wide range of meaning (the words in italics are translated from logos):

       speaking; words you say (Rom. 15:18, what I have said and done).

       a statement you make (Luke 20:20 - (NASB), they might catch him in some statement).

       a question (Matt. 21:24, I will also ask you one question).

       preaching (1 Tim. 5:17, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching).

       command (Gal. 5:14, the entire law is summed up in a single command).

       proverb; saying (John 4:37, thus the saying, One sows, and another reaps).

       message; instruction; proclamation (Luke 4:32, his message had authority).

       assertion; declaration; teaching (John 6:60, this is a hard teaching).

       the subject under discussion; matter (Acts 8:21, you have no part or share in this ministry. Acts 15:6 (NASB), And the apostles... came together to look into this matter).

       revelation from God (Matt. 15:6, you nullify the Word of God ).

       Gods revelation spoken by His servants (Heb. 13:7, leaders who spoke the Word of God).

       a reckoning, an account (Matt. 12:36, men will have to give account on the day of judgment).

       an account or matter in a financial sense (Matt. 18:23, A king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. Phil. 4:15, the matter of giving and receiving).

       a reason; motive (Acts 10:29 - NASB), I ask for what reason you have sent for me). [16]

 

The above list is not exhaustive, but it does show that logos has a very wide range of meaning. With all the definitions and ways logos can be translated, how can we decide which meaning of logos to choose for any one verse? How can it be determined what the logos in John 1:1 is? Any occurrence of logos has to be carefully studied in its context in order to get the proper meaning. We assert that the logos in John 1:1 cannot be Jesus. Please notice that Jesus Christ is not a lexical definition of logos. This verse does not say, In the beginning was Jesus. The Word is not synonymous with Jesus, or even the Messiah. The word logos in John 1:1 refers to Gods creative self-expression-His reason, purposes and plans, especially as they are brought into action. It refers to Gods self-expression, or communication, of Himself. This has come to pass through His creation (Rom. 1:19 and 20), and especially the heavens (Ps. 19). It has come through the spoken word of the prophets <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=372> and through Scripture, the written Word. Most notably and finally, it has come into being through His Son (Heb. 1:1 and 2).

 

The renowned Trinitarian scholar, John Lightfoot, writes:

 

The word logos then, denoting both reason and speech, was a philosophical term adopted by Alexandrian Judaism before St. Paul wrote, to express the manifestation of the Unseen God in the creation and government of the World. It included all modes by which God makes Himself known to man. As His reason, it denoted His purpose or design; as His speech, it implied His revelation. Christian teachers, when they adopted this term, exalted and fixed its meaning by attaching to it two precise and definite ideas: (1) The Word is a Divine Person, (2) The Word became incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is obvious that these two propositions must have altered materially the significance of all the subordinate terms connected with the idea of the logos. [17]

 

It is important to note that it was Christian teachers who attached the idea of a divine person to the word logos. It is certainly true that when the word logos came to be understood as being Jesus Christ, the understanding of John 1:1 was altered substantially. Lightfoot correctly understands that the early meaning of logos concerned reason and speech, not Jesus Christ. Norton develops the concept of logos as reason and writes:

 

There is no word in English answering to the Greek word logos, as used here [in John 1:1]. It was employed to denote a mode of conception concerning the Deity, familiar at the time when St. John wrote and intimately blended with the philosophy of his age, but long since obsolete, and so foreign from our habits of thinking that it is not easy for us to conform our minds to its apprehension. The Greek word logos, in one of its primary senses, answered nearly to our word Reason. The logos of God was regarded, not in its strictest sense, as merely the Reason of God; but, under certain aspects, as the Wisdom, the Mind, the Intellect of God (p. 307).

 

Norton postulates that perhaps the power of God would be a good translation for logos (p. 323). Buzzard sets forth plan, purpose or promise as three acceptable translations. Broughton and Southgate say thoughts, plan or purpose of God, particularly in action. Many scholars identify logos with Gods wisdom and reason.

T

he logos is the expression of God, and is His communication of Himself, just as a word is an outward expression of a persons thoughts. This outward expression of God has now occurred through His Son, and thus it is perfectly understandable why Jesus is called the Word. Jesus is an outward expression of Gods reason, wisdom, purpose and plan. For the same reason, we call revelation <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=561> a word from God and the Bible the Word of God.

If we understand that the logos is Gods expression-His plan, purposes, reason and wisdom, it is clear that they were indeed with Him in the beginning. Scripture says that Gods wisdom was from the beginning (Prov. 8:23). It was very common in Hebrew writing to personify a concept such as wisdom. No ancient Jew reading Proverbs would think that Gods wisdom was a separate person, even though it is portrayed as one in verses like Proverbs 8:29 and 30: when He marked out the foundations of the earth, I [wisdom] was the craftsman at His side.

 

2. Most Jewish readers of the Gospel of John <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=230> would have been familiar with the concept of Gods word being with God as He worked to bring His creation into existence. There is an obvious working of Gods power in Genesis 1 as He brings His plan into concretion by speaking things into being. The Targums are well known for describing the wisdom and action of God as His word. This is especially important to note because the Targums are the Aramaic translations and paraphrases of the Old Testament, and Aramaic was the spoken language of many Jews at the time of Christ. Remembering that a Targum is usually a paraphrase of what the Hebrew text says, note how the following examples attribute action to the word:

       And the word of the Lord was Josephs helper (Gen. 39:2).

       And Moses brought the people to meet the word of the Lord (Ex. 19:17).

       And the word of the Lord accepted the face of Job (Job 42:9).

       And the word of the Lord shall laugh them to scorn (Ps. 2:4).

       They believed in the name of His word (Ps. 106:12). [18]

 

The above examples demonstrate that the Jews were familiar with the idea of Gods Word referring to His wisdom and action. This is especially important to note because these Jews were fiercely monotheistic, and did not in any way believe in a Triune God. They were familiar with the idioms <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=604> of their own language, and understood that the wisdom and power of God were being personified as word.

 

The Greek-speaking Jews were also familiar with Gods creative force being called the word. J. H. Bernard writes, When we turn from Palestine to Alexandria [Egypt], from Hebrew sapiential [wisdom] literature to that which was written in Greek, we find this creative wisdom identified with the Divine logos, Hebraism and Hellenism thus coming into contact. [19] One example of this is in the Apocryphal book known as the Wisdom of Solomon, which says, O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy who hast made all things by thy word (logos), and by thy wisdom hast formed man (9:1). In this verse, the word and wisdom are seen as the creative force of God, but without being a person.

 

3. The logos, that is, the plan, purpose and wisdom of God, became flesh (came into concretion or physical existence) in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15 <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=128>) and His chief emissary, representative and agent. Because Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father, he represents everything that God could communicate about Himself in a human person. As such, Jesus could say, If you have seen me, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). The fact that the logos became flesh shows that it did not exist that way before. There is no pre-existence for Jesus in this verse other than his figurative existence as the plan, purpose or wisdom of God for the salvation of man. The same is true with the word in writing. It had no literal pre-existence as a spirit-book somewhere in eternity past, but it came into being as God gave the revelation to people and they wrote it down.

 

4. The last phrase in the verse, which most versions translate as and the Word was God, should not be translated that way. The Greek language uses the word God (Greek = theos) to refer to the Father as well as to other authorities. These include the Devil <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=18> (2 Cor. 4:4), lesser gods (1 Cor. 8:5) and men with great authority (John 10:34 and 35; Acts 12:22). At the time the New Testament was written, Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters. The upper and lower case letters were not blended as we do today. Thus, the distinction that we today make between God and god could not be made, and the context became the judge in determining to whom THEOS referred.

Although context is the final arbiter, it is almost always the case in the New Testament that when

 

God refers to the Father, the definite article appears in the Greek text (this article can be seen only in the Greek text, it is never translated into English). Translators are normally very sensitive to this (see John 10:33 <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=72>). The difference between theos with and without the article occurs in John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the theos, and the Word was theos. Since the definite article is missing from the second occurrence of theos (God,) the usual meaning would be god or divine. The New English Bible gets the sense of this phrase by translating it, What God was, the Word was. James Moffatt who was a professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Mansfield College in Oxford, England, and author of the well-known Moffatt Bible, translated the phrase, the logos was divine.

 

So as you can see, this response makes perfect sense and is completely reasonable. The word of God is God's purpose, plan, and wisdom, and his action. For instance in the Quran we are told about God's word:

 

004.171
YUSUFALI: O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

 

Ibn Kathirs tafsir writes:

 

Allah forbids the People of the Scriptures from going to extremes in religion, which is a common trait of theirs, especially among the Christians. The Christians exaggerated over `Isa until they elevated him above the grade that Allah gave him. They elevated him from the rank of prophethood to being a god, whom they worshipped just as they worshipped Allah. They exaggerated even more in the case of those who they claim were his followers, claiming that they were inspired, thus following every word they uttered whether true or false, be it guidance or misguidance, truth or lies. This is why Allah said,

 

[ ]

 

(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah.) Imam Ahmad recorded

 

that Ibn `Abbas said that `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

 

.

:

(Do not unduly praise me like the Christians exaggerated over `Isa, son of Maryam. Verily, I am only a servant, so say, `Allah's servant and His Messenger.') This is the wording of Al-Bukhari. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said that a man once said, "O Muhammad! You are our master and the son of our master, our most righteous person and the son of our most righteous person...'' The Messenger of Allah said,

 

(O people! Say what you have to say, but do not allow Shaytan to trick you. I am Muhammad bin `Abdullah, Allah's servant and Messenger. By Allah! I do not like that you elevate me above the rank that Allah has granted me.) Allah's statement,

 

[ ]

(nor say of Allah except the truth.) means, do not lie and claim that Allah has a wife or a son, Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. Allah is glorified, praised, and honored in His might, grandure and greatness, and there is no deity worthy of worship nor Lord but Him. Allah said;

 

[ ]

(Al-Masih `Isa, son of Maryam, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from [created by] Him;) `Isa is only one of Allah's servants and one of His creatures. Allah said to him, `Be', and he was, and He sent him as a Messenger. `Isa was a word from Allah that He bestowed on Maryam, meaning He created him with the word `Be' that He sent with Jibril to Maryam. Jibril blew the life of `Isa into Maryam by Allah's leave, and `Isa came to existence as a result. This incident was in place of the normal conception between man and woman that results in children. This is why `Isa was a word and a Ruh (spirit) created by Allah, as he had no father to conceive him. Rather, he came to existence through the word that Allah uttered, `Be,' and he was, through the life that Allah sent with Jibril. Allah said,

 

[ ]

(Al-Masih [`Isa], son of Maryam, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam] was a Siddiqah. They both ate food.) And Allah said,

 

[ ]

(Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be! and he was.)

 

[ ]

(And she who guarded her chastity, We breathed into her (garment) and We made her and her son [`Isa] a sign for all that exits.) (21:91)

 

[ ]

(And Maryam, the daughter of `Imran who guarded her chastity,) and Allah said concerning the Messiah,

 

[ ]

(He [`Isa] was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him.)

The Meaning of "His Word and a spirit from Him

`Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said that the Ayah,

 

[ ]

(And His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from [created by] Him;) means, He said,

 

(Be) and he was. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ahmad bin Sinan Al-Wasiti said that he heard Shadh bin Yahya saying about Allah's statement,

 

[ ]

(and His Word, which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit from [created by] Him;) "`Isa was not the word. Rather, `Isa came to existence because of the word.'' Al-

Bukhari recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Prophet said,

 

(If anyone testifies that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and that `Isa is Allah's servant and Messenger and His Word which He bestowed on Maryam and a spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true and Hell is true, then Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he performed.) In another narration, the Prophet said,

 

(...through any of the eight doors of Paradise he wishes.) Muslim also recorded it. Therefore, `Ruh from Allah', in the Ayah and the Hadith is similar to Allah's statement,

[ ]

(And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all from Him.) meaning, from His creation. `from Him' does not mean that it is a part of Him, as the Christians claim, may Allah's continued curses be upon them. Saying that something is from Allah, such as the spirit of Allah, the she-camel of Allah or the House of Allah, is meant to honor such items. Allah said,

 

[ ]

(This is the she-camel of Allah...) and,

 

[ ]

(and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it.) An authentic Hadith states,

 

(I will enter on my Lord in His Home) All these examples are meant to honor such items when they are attributed to Allah in this manner. Allah said,

 

[ ]

(so believe in Allah and His Messengers.) believe that Allah is One and Alone and that He does not have a son or wife. Know and be certain that `Isa is the servant and Messenger of Allah. Allah said after that,

 

[ ]

(Say not: "Three!") do not elevate `Isa and his mother to be gods with Allah. Allah is far holier than what they attribute to Him. In Surat Al-Ma'idah (chapter 5), Allah said,

 

[ ]

(Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allah is the third of the three.'' But there is none who has the right to be worshipped but One God.) Allah said by the end of the same Surah,

 

[ ]

(And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): "O `Isa, son of Maryam! Did you say unto men: `Worship me''') and in its beginning,

 

[ ]

 

(Surely, in disbelief are they who say that Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam.) The Christians, may Allah curse them, have no limit to their disbelief because of their ignorance, so their deviant statements and their misguidance grows. Some of them believe that `Isa is Allah, some believe that he is one in a trinity and some believe that he is the son of Allah. Their beliefs and creeds are numerous and contradict each other, prompting some people to say that if ten Christians meet, they would end up with eleven sects!

 

So as you can see, Jesus is the word of God in the sense that God said be and he was, as the Quran also says:

 

003.047
YUSUFALI: She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!

So in this sense Jesus is the word of God, God simply said be and he was, however so it must be made known that Jesus is THE word of God, he just a word of God. And God's word is his plan, purpose, and action, as the Christian also said. So in fact John 1:1 is a very correct understanding of Jesus, since the word of God in John 1:1 is referring to God's plan and action, and it is not specifically referring to Jesus alone as Christians say. Jesus is a word of God, but he is not THE word of God.

 

And as we know, God's purpose and plan is always with him from the beginning, he always knows what he will do, his plan, purpose, and action is always known to him, so therefore the word of God is there with God. This is why Muslims say the Quran is the eternal speech of Allah, so when John 1:1 says the word was with God from the beginning, this is true since God's word (which is his action, plan, and wisdom) is always with him.

 

So therefore when John 1:1 says:

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God

 

In the beginning was the word, the word as we know is God's plan and purpose, and as know this is with God since the beginning, although God has no beginning, nor does he have an end. As us Muslim's believe, the Quran is the eternal speech of Allah, and not created, hence his word is with him for all times.

 

the verse goes on saying and the word was with God, as we all know God's purpose and plan is always with him, and he makes them come to light by saying BE.

 

As to the second part of the verse which says:

 

and the Word was God

 

As we have seen this is a wrong and deceptive translation, the translation should rather be and the word was a god, with a small g, meaning that Jesus is just a prophet, and a leader and teacher, and to Jews they call judges and teachers and people of high ranking god's with a small g. However by saying god or gods they do not literally mean a GOD, nor did they perceive it as such.

 

Here is another response they give on John 1:1

 

The Meaning of Logos in Greek

 

It is a challenge for the modern translator to even translate the word logos into a single English word. [1] Logos is derived from lego, to say or speak, and its root, leg, means to gather or arrange. For the Greeks, to speak is to utter the arrangement or gathering of ones thoughts. This is reflected in English, as in I gather that you are not coming this morning. This meaning then developed into speak, reckon, think then into word and finally into reason.

The logos is Gods expression, His communication of Himself, just as a spoken word is the expression of the inner and unseen thoughts of a person. Thus, logos includes the idea of plan, purpose, wisdom and even power. Logos is the term that God uses to represent His purpose for this new creation, which was eventually realized in the person of Jesus. The translation of logos as word is a good one-word translation of its meaning, but it falls short of illuminating the richness of logos in its Greek usage, a richness that sheds light on both the purpose of God and the person of Jesus.

 

Logos expressed the essential unity of language and thought, both of which consist, in their most advanced forms, of words. When we think, we are talking to ourselves; when we talk, we are thinking out loud. English words such as dialogue and monologue signify the connection of logos with language, while words like logic and logistics signify its connection with thought. Logos, in its earliest usage, did not have to do with words per se, but rather with words that made sense out of and gave meaning to human existence and experience.

 

In addition to its connection to language and thought, logos was also associated with the reality of things. To think and speak, in other words, is to think and speak about something. To have and give a logos was, in ancient Greece, to have and give a rational account, a reasonable explanation, of something in the world of human experience, whether an object (of nature or human nature) or an event (an act of God or man). The English suffix -ology signifies the connection of logos with the world of things, things that have become the objects of human interest and study, e.g., biology, physiology, sociology, psychology and theology.

 

Another defining point of logos was its practical connection to human life. Every logos, or reasonable explanation of a human experience, was intended to lead to a wise course of action, a rational approach to handling similar experiences in the future. Logos, in other words, implied a purposefulness to life based on a reasonable explanation and a rational understanding of human existence.

 

Logos, then, in its original Greek usage, encompassed human language and thought in its relation to the things of human experience and the purpose of human existence. The biblical usage of logos runs parallel to this concept in that the Word is Gods purpose or plan, His reasonable explanation of, and His rationale for, His creation of all things before they became corrupted in human experience. His rationale constitutes wisdom, that is, a rational understanding of and approach to human life. Sir Anthony Buzzard waxes eloquent:

 

Recent commentaries on John admit that despite the long-standing tradition to the contrary, the term word in the famous prologue of John need not refer to the Son of God before he was born. Our translations imply belief in the traditional doctrine of incarnation <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=213> by capitalizing Word. But what was it that became flesh in John 1:14? Was it a pre-existing person? Or was it the self-expressive activity of God, the Father, His eternal plan? A plan may take flesh, for example, when the design in the architects mind finally takes shape as a house. What pre-existed the visible bricks and mortar was the intention in the mind of the architect. Thus, it is quite in order to read John 1:1-3a: In the beginning was the creative purpose of God. It was with God and was fully expressive of God [just as wisdom was with God before creation]. All things came into being through it. This rendering suits the Old Testament use of word admirably: So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. [2]

 

We are now in a better position to see why Jesus is known as the word (logos) in the flesh. Jesus was the ultimate expression of God. Gods plan, wisdom and purpose was the logos, and when we speak of the Bible, it is called the Word because it also is Gods expression of Himself. When we speak of a prophecy <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=557>, we say, it is the word of the Lord, both because it is in the form of words and because it is Gods expression of Himself. Jesus was the logos in the most complete sense. He was the ultimate expression of God and the essence of His plan and purpose. Thus, it is quite correct to say that Jesus was the logos, but he was not all of the logos. Jesus does not equal the logos, he was part of and the ultimate expression of the logos. If we see Jesus, we see the Father, but it is also true that if we study the Bible, Gods Word, Gods expression of Himself in writing, we will see the Father. More dimly, to be sure, because the written Word is not the clear and ultimate expression of God that the Living Word is, but it is the logos just the same.

 

The Hebrew Word for Word

 

As is true with all genuine study of the Bible, the real question is not what we today think of these words in Johns prologue, but how the readers in the first century would have understood them, especially those who had a Semitic understanding. [3] One scholar made the following insightful comment about the Hebrew view of word not emphasizing the rationale or the plan of God, but His power to bring His will to pass upon the earth:

 

All over the ancient Orient, in Assyria and Babylon as well as in Egypt, the word, especially the Word of God, was not only nor even primarily an expression of thought; it was a mighty and dynamic force. The Hebrew conception of the divine word had an express dynamic character and possessed a tremendous power. [4]

 

The Hebrew conception of word (dabhar) was more dynamic than the Greek conception, which is characteristic of the language as a whole. One basic meaning of the root of dabhar is to be behind and thus be able to drive forward from behind. This is consistent with the Semitic idea expressed by Jesus in Luke 6:45 that out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. In other words, what is in the heart drives the mind, then the mouth and finally the actions. Thus, the meaning of dabhar developed along a line defined by three points: speak, word and finally deed. [5] Boman shows that in the Hebrew mind, words were equivalent to deeds, and this fact is integrated into the very construction of the language itself:

 

Dabhar means not only word, but also deed. Abrahams servant recounted to Isaac all the words that he had done (Gen. 24:66) [seen in the literal Hebrew rendering of this verse]. The word is the highest and noblest function of man and is, for that reason, identical with his action. Word and deed are thus not two different meanings of dabhar, but the deed is the consequence of the basic meaning inhering in dabhar. Our term word is thus a poor translation for the Hebrew dabhar, because for us, word never includes the deed within it. The commentators understand as a contrived witticism Goethes translation of John 1:1 In the beginning was the deed. [6] Actually, Goethe is on solid linguistic ground because he goes back to the Hebrew (Aramaic) original and translates its deepest meaning; for if dabhar forms a unity of word and deed, in our thinking the deed is the higher concept in the unity. [7]

 

F. F. Bruce is another scholar who recognizes that the key to understanding the significance of the concept of logos is by tracing its Old Testament roots:

 

The true background to Johns thought and language is found not in Greek philosophy but in Hebrew revelation. The Word of God in the Old Testament denotes God in action, especially in creation, revelation and deliverance. [8]

 

The Word of God is repeatedly portrayed in the Old Testament as the agent of Gods creative

power, as the following verses show:

 

Psalm 33:6a (NASB)
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.

 

Psalms 107:20 (KJV)
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

 

In Isaiah, the word of God is spoken of as an agent independent of, but fully in the service of, God:

 

Isaiah 55:11 (NRSV)
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

 

This is reminiscent of the personification of wisdom in Proverbs, where she is portrayed as Gods helper in creation:

 

Proverbs 8:22, 23, and 30
(22) The Lord brought me [wisdom] forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
(23) I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
(30) Then I was his craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence.

 

Broughton and Southgate argue that Word, Spirit and Wisdom are all personified because they are intimately connected to how God has related to the world as its Creator, and that Johns use of logos is consistent with this biblical usage.

 

We can see how John draws on all the Old Testament teachingWisdom is personified in Proverbs 8 as saying that she was in the beginning, that she was with God, and that she was His instrument in creation. The Word of God created the heavens (Ps. 33:6), and so did the Spirit as described in Job 26:13 (KJV) [and Gen. 1:2]. The language clearly is of figure and metaphor, of personification, not actual personality. And John is saying exactly the same of the logos or Word. No Jewish reader brought up on the writings of the prophets <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=372> would have deduced from Johns introduction that he was alluding to a person who had existed with God from all time. They would see it instead as a continuation of the imagery by which the Word or Wisdom or the Spirit-those manifestations of God which are inseparable from Him-are described as putting Gods intentions into effect. [9]

 

Barclay, a respected Greek scholar, also recognizes that the logos is intimately connected to both power and wisdom.

 

First, Gods Word is not only speech; it is power. Second, it is impossible to separate the ideas of Word and Wisdom; and it was Gods Wisdom, which created and permeated the world, which God made. [10]

 

There is still more evidence for connecting the Semitic understanding of logos with power. The Targums are Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew text, and they are well known for describing the wisdom and action of God as His Word. This is especially important to note because Aramaic was the spoken language of many Jews at the time of Christ, including Christ himself, and thus the people at the time of Christ would have been very familiar with them. Remembering that a Targum is usually a paraphrase of what the Hebrew text says, note how the following examples attribute action to the word of the Lord:

 

Genesis 39:2
And the word of the Lord was Josephs helper (Hebrew text: The Lord was with Joseph).

Exodus 19:17
And Moses brought the people to meet the word of the Lord (Hebrew text: And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God).

Job 42:9
And the word of the Lord accepted the face of Job (Hebrew text: And the Lord accepted the face of Job).

Psalm 2:4
And the word of the Lord shall laugh them to scorn (Hebrew text: The Lord shall laugh at them). [11]

 

The contrast between the Hebrew text and the Aramaic paraphrases in the verses above show that the Jews had no problem personifying the Word of God such that it could act on Gods behalf. They also prove that the Jews were familiar with the idea of the Word referring to His wisdom and action. This is especially important to note because these Jews were fiercely monotheistic, and did not in any way believe in a Triune God <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=203>. They were familiar with the idioms <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=604> of their own language, and understood that the wisdom and power of God were being personified and did not represent actual persons in any way.

Thus, the Word in John 1:1 represents an intersection of the two differing Hebrew and Greek lines of thought. [12] Although there are similarities, the Hebrew and the Greek languages reflect profound differences in the way the world was perceived. Boman observes:

 

According to the Israelite conception, everything is in eternal movement: God and man, nature and the world. The totality of existence, olam, is time, history, life. The history of heaven and earth (Gen. 2:4) is of the same form as the history of Adam (5:1), Noah (6:9), and Shem (11:10); it is referred to in each case by the same word, toledhoth [generations]. The fact that God created the world and man once and for all implies that God makes history and brings forth life and that he continues them until they achieve their goalAs space was the given thought-form for the Greeks, so for the Hebrews it was timeFor the Hebrew, the decisive reality of the world of experience was the word; for the Greek it was the thing. Yet the word had a great significance for the Greek on account of its meaning; on the whole, however, the meaning of the word is independent of the word as spoken or dynamic reality. [13]

 

As we read the Gospel of John with a true understanding of the concept of logos, the wonderful love of our heavenly Father is clearly shown. From the very beginning God had a purpose, a plan that He brought to pass in the world in a way that reveals His love and wisdom and clearly expresses Himself. It should be apparent, then, that the use of logos in the prologue of John reflects the richness of the biblical usage of the term Word when it is used in relation to God and His creative purpose and activity.

 

While in John 1:1 the logos is Gods self expression and His wisdom, plan and power, many times in the New Testament the logos is the message of the coming, the life, the death, the resurrection, the ascension, the exaltation, the lordship and the coming again of Jesus the Messiah. If the logos that was in the beginning is understood in these terms, then it becomes clear that God had this very series of events in mind when He created the cosmos. The Word was God (John 1:1) in that it is Gods self-revelation, the account that God chose to give of Himself and His will to all nations. [14]

 

The logos or message of God, as it has been revealed in Jesus, includes the following account of the meaning and purpose of creation: Jesus coming was prophesied throughout the Hebrew Scriptures; he was finally born a man, and by his free will lived a sinless life; Jesus died on the Cross <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=613> to mark the beginning of the end of the present age of sin and death, revealing that it is only a matter of time until this age and fallen humanity as it now exists come to an end; Jesus was raised from the dead <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=207> to reveal that death (the experience that all humans since Adam have held in common) is contrary to Gods will and will ultimately be abolished by resurrection; Jesus was exalted as Lord to the right hand of God <http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=44> where he presently exercises this authority; after he comes to gather together the Church, Jesus will come again at the end of this age in judgment <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=311>, bringing destruction on the unbelieving world and salvation to the community of faith; he will rule for one thousand years on this earth <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=313>; finally he will destroy Satan <http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=18> and all evil, end the heavens and earth of the present age and begin the new heavens and earth of the age to come, a new creation.

 

Now off course I do not agree with the Christian saying that God's purpose and plan for Jesus the word of God was him dying for us and so on, but it is good that the Christian does say that lest any Trinitarian Christian wants to try and argue that the people I am quoting are not 'real' Christians and are a bunch of heretics.

 

Now to these Christians they believe that God's purpose and plan with Jesus the word of God was for him dying, as a Muslim I off course do not believe that, rather God's purpose and will was for Jesus to teach the Gospel and bring the children of Israel back to God, and God's purpose was to also save Jesus from death and make him come back during the last days to kill the anti-Christ.

 

This brings us to the end of part one. We shall now examine the other verses in this chapter which Christians also often use, such as 1:3, 1:4, 1:5 and so on.

 

Continue on with Part II.