“IN THE BEGINNING”
The same three words start the entire Bible (Genesis 1:1) and start the Gospel as recorded by John. This is no coincidence.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.
The author of Genesis tells us what existed prior to the “Big Bang”. God stands outside of time and space as the Uncaused Cause. Before there was anything there was God, and God made everything that is.
John 1:1a In the beginning was the WORD (Logos).
“LOGOS” resonated with all of John’s readers. To the Jews LOGOS conveyed the concept of identity. My words are who I am. The identity of God was known to the Jews because of His words, given to them, recorded carefully, passed down through generations. John’s Greek audience defined LOGOS as Reason, Knowledge and Wisdom. Think about “logical” and “logistics”. The Greeks felt that the pursuit of wisdom and understanding was not only noble, it was one of the highest expressions of humanity.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the word and the word was WITH God and the word WAS God.
There seems to be a contradiction here. I was with my wife on a date last weekend, however I cannot say that I was her. Last week at the office I was Matthew, however I was not with Matthew. John is describing the doctrine of the Trinity. We believe in ONE God with THREE essences. The Bible is replete with references to the Trinity starting with Genesis 1:26 – God said “let US make man in OUR own image”. Within the Trinity there is love, fellowship and community. The creation of the universe emerged from the perfect love of the Trinity.
John 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
John starts with a creation narrative, just like Genesis except shorter. John is stating that this LOGOS, this everlasting personification of perfect wisdom, this member of the Trinity is the force that created the universe. Don’t miss this – JESUS is the CREATOR, not the created. The Apostle Paul restated this in Colossians 1:16 For by HIM all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through HIM and for HIM.
John 1:4 In Him was LIFE and the LIFE was the LIGHT of men.
We have the two metaphors for Jesus - LIFE and LIGHT. God is the giver of life. God breathed into the dust and man became a living soul. It is a simple and logical explanation for the origin of life. The secular naturalist is at a loss to explain the origin of life. Their explanations might even include life being seeded on earth by aliens. Jesus is the creative agent who gives life and sustains it. Our hope for meaning and fulfillment in life is only through Jesus.
LIGHT has always meant truth, what is good, right and desirable. Light symbolizes both the moral purity itself and also the mechanism by which we can see what is right. Isaiah wrote “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2a). We are those people who walk in darkness, lost and alone, looking for the light. A few verses down, still in Isaiah chapter 9 the prophet tells us what this great light is: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6a). This beautiful chapter is prophetic, pointing toward the entry of God into the world in the person of Jesus, the light and the life.