Study to Grow
By Randy Dillon
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
Among both Christians and pagans there is often a question of the relationship of Jesus as both God and Man. Although there is sometimes a mystery and misunderstanding of Jesus as the God-Man (that is both God and Man simultaneously), there is also a similar misunderstanding of Jesus in His relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit. John seeks to make clear the divine relationship in the first verses of his gospel. John also writes in the following verses in order to make clear in his account that Jesus was truly God incarnate.
The concept of God taking on a human presence is not just a theological underpinning of John’s narrative to Jews, but it is also a philosophical statement meant to address Greek understanding of a divine nature. Thus, John connects Jesus as the Messiah to the monotheistic Yahweh of the Jews as predicted by the Old Testament prophets while at the same time addressing the Greek philosophical concept that viewed their gods as an essential element in giving the world a coherence and stability.
Jews understood the "Word" to be a binding of God's creation, prophecy and law into an eternal framework. Greeks viewed their polytheistic gods to be considered more like faulty humans but supremely powerful, nevertheless. The gods were clearly not human and therefore John was creating a starting point to show that the humanity of Jesus, which would have been considered impossible to the Greeks, was a dual nature: God and Man. Jesus was not simply "with" God as a separate entity but rather He was one in essence with God.
Finally, as if to seal the connection with Genesis, John concludes that all creation was made by Jesus in His divine role. This last statement fulfilled the Jewish scripture of a creative God and the Greek concept of a god with superhuman ability to both create and interact with human life. Inherent in the creative process manifested by Jesus was also the idea that the process by which the creation functioned was likewise due to the divine creator. Thus, Jews could understand God's law and the predictions of the prophets as the visible operation of creation. This was also acceptable to Greeks, as the "Word" which maintained the regularity of the natural world. John thus introduces Jesus in the following verses to both Jew and Gentile as the divine God who has revealed Himself to all of humanity as the "Word" which binds all things in nature to the creation and to His dual nature of Man and God.