Logos: A Quick Word About it Doesn’t Do It Justice

In his Prologue to his Gospel, John said that the Word– the logos– was God! Did anybody understand what he meant? Have you ever thought about what it means? Let’s take a quick look at it and consider what it says today…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NIV). Matthew and Luke provide historical and genealogical context for Jesus’ arrival. John’s gospel explores the theological implications. He starts his gospel by describing the Word in cosmic terms that transcend time and space, terms that offer no equivocation or apology.

Connecting Dots in the Universe

The idea of the logos, or true word, had been floating around philosophical circles for several centuries. (You might stop and consider that it’s still a major concept even in our “modern” world–we currently use logo as the personification of a Brand, or a symbol that fully represents a product or company.) But back then, Heraclitus used the term as a principle for order and knowledge as early as 500 BC. Sophists like Aristotle used it to describe discourse, and Stoics believed it was “the divine animating principle pervading the universe”. Philo (20 BC-AD 50) was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and contemporary of John’s who adopted it into Jewish philosophy.

John logos

It’s hard to adequately describe to 21st century America how dynamic and pervasive this connection really is linguistically, philosophically, or theologically. Logos is such a broad connective concept that it exceeds our definition. Read simply as “the Word” in the English language, all of these uses and definitions fail to capture or describe the full breadth of meaning behind logos. It is a concept which conveyed generative force and dynamic thought to first century users. John takes this word, however and gives it a unique application that changed and challenged everything.

Thinking the Unthinkable

He says in 1:14 that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” This connects Jesus to John’s opening sentence, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This is one of the most insightful and important sentences ever written. It provides cohesion and context for the Christ’s place in the Bible, and presents Jesus as the incarnate word who connects the Old Testament with the New.

Consider these connections: The Pentateuch opens with, “in the beginning, GOD…” So does John’s Gospel. Moses said, “God created”. So did the Word. In the Genesis account, God created through the word…” John says, “all things were made through” the logos… Moses inferred that God spoke the world into existence. John boldly declared that there was a connection between the Word and creation.

Is it Science, Though?

As an aside, when it comes to creation, I find it fascinating that adherents of a Big Bang theory can leap by assumption to a very complex set of conditions about the creation of life. Those assumptions are based on preexisting elements which were NOT recorded or observable (much like the Bible). These scientists contend that things happened randomly, but also exactly in a certain way at the beginning of all things. The actual science of probability suggests that the odds of such a set of random occurrences resulting in life on earth is practically nil.

I’m not saying scientists are stupid, just that they, too have to rely on faith. They assume that preexistent elements and randomly interacting elements resulted in life. So how can they can turn around and be critical of a hypothesis that rationally assumes a preexistent God? That attributes creation and origin to the one who already existed in the beginning, and who expressed himself creatively? That kind of assumptive science is faith of a sort, at best; but it is scientific hypocrisy, at worst. If it’s ok for science to operate based on a set of assumption based on random chance, it’s ok for Christians to accept a Creator by faith.

No Room for Negotiation

John talks about the Word who was with God and who WAS God. The Greek syntax where John says “the Word was God” is such that the two parts are identical and interchangeable: the Word = God, and God = the Word.

There is no ambiguity about Jesus’ identity in either this statement or in the other Gospels. Matthew connects Jesus’ birth to the Messiah who had long been foretold. Luke connects Jesus to mankind by tracing his genealogy back to Adam, and John? Well, he connects Jesus to God. If those connections are correct, then Jesus wasn’t just a Jewish prophet, and he wasn’t just a good man. He was God. That’s not just a good word, it is THE Word. Always has been. Always will be.

The Word


The universe was not a bang or something that just occurred,
But cosmic energy released within the spoken word.
“In the beginning was The Word.” John said this long before
Eternity past created what the future holds, and more…
Eons can be relative, and time may seem to plod,
But the Word transcended time and space because the Word was God.
That Word, John said, became a man, and we beheld his glory,
His execution of the plan to tell redemption’s story.
Of all the things you’ve read and out of everything you’ve heard,
Consider this: the Word was God. And Jesus was the Word.

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Mommy, Where did I Come From?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NIV). This simple statement provides an amazing foundation for the Bible. Just break it down and you’ll see what I mean. First, it addresses the notion of time by saying, “In the beginning”. It doesn’t try to quantify time or define it in a linear sense. It doesn’t apply assumptions to a geological aging process and come up with a number. It doesn’t say that God began with time or even that time has any particular relevance to God. It merely states that our heaven and earth had a beginning, and that God preceded them in existence. I’m sure early man would lay outside at night gazing up at the stars, or think while walking the world around him, “what started this? Where did all this come from?” Genesis 1 addresses those questions with profound simplicity. Second, it says, “In the beginning, God”. It makes a logical assumption about God, His place in the universe, and the nature of eternity. It presupposes God. Some scientists object to this because it was not observable, but I would submit to you that those same scientists are also basing many of their conclusions about origin on assumptions as well. To me, “In the beginning, matter”; or “In the beginning, gases were floating in the cosmos” is no more scientific than “In the beginning, GOD.” The notion of God existing in the beginning is every bit as logical and rational as any of those other things. Also, read that verse again and think about its perspective; it is talking about OUR beginning, not God’s. He was already in existence. There is no assumptive logic or attempt to try to explain where He came from. In our quest for logical, scientific answers to everything, God makes every bit as much (and perhaps more) intellectual sense as Random Elements affected by Random Chance. Third, Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” The writer of Genesis (Moses) knew that man did not create heaven and earth. Scientists today have confirmed this is true. Man can build some pretty nifty stuff out of created elements; he has yet to accomplish ‘creatio ex nihilo’ (creation out of nothing). But God designed, and God created. Walk out tonight and look up at the stars. Hold a baby. Look at a flower. Reflect upon the fact that you alone, of all the animals, have spiritual inclinations and moral obligations. All of those things make sense when you put them in context right after the sentence, “In the beginning, God created”. Placing the world of physical things into a spiritual context changes everything. It means that there is a God of order and intelligence, and that we are made in His image, with the ability for spiritual as well as physical sight. As you appreciate the heavens and as you walk the earth, remember who you came from.