Monday

20 February 2012

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being." (vv. 1-2)

Background

Apart from John's Gospel, no other New Testament writing refers to God as "Word". For today's audience this might seem a strange term to use for God. However, the term "Word" (from the Greek 'logos') as used in John 1, has a very long history indeed. It is in Ephesus (a Greek trading colony in what is now western Turkey) during the late 6th century BC that logos first appears as a 'universal governing principle' in the philosophy of Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher).

Nearly three centuries later the Stoic philosophers developed their philosophy around the logos, which was the principle of all rationality in the universe. The Stoics referred to God as 'seminal logos', which contains the seed, essence or idea of all that is created. With that sort of pedigree it should be no surprise that Ephesus has been considered the traditional site of John's Gospel with its marvellous prologue "In the beginning was the Word ...".

As complex as this might seem at first glance, there is a simpler side to it. Language and words are the very things which enable us to think. A word is the most basic building block in our thinking. With this basic building block we create our art, feats of engineering, literature, music, as well as express our love and emotions.

Genesis 1 tells us that we humans are made in the image of our creator. Is it any wonder then that we should be endowed with the creative and imaginative power of the Word?

To Ponder

Words, as we know, have the power to build up or tear down. Knowing now some of the background to God as 'Word', how are you more likely to weigh more wisely the words you use?

What difference does it make knowing that your very processes of reasoning are a gift of God?

Bible notes author: Jack Lawson

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