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John 1:1-18

09.27.2010

BAM!  TRINITY!!!*

You start into the gospels thinking that you’ll get a sweet little Christmas story.  Nope.  John blows your mind with the idea that Jesus is the Word and that He is both God and with God at once.

This is perhaps my favorite passage in the Bible.  It explores the connection between truth, the greek word logos (translated here as ‘word’), God, and Jesus.  It’s one of those things that I can’t even talk about adequately enough to capture my appreciation of this passage. 

But that won’t stop me from trying.  As I’ve mentioned in another context, God’s identity is synonymous with His name, ‘I Am.’  The study Bible uses the term ‘divine self expression’ to get at the essence of this concept.  This name, this Word, is active, speaking things into being, calling out to humanity.  Now John plumbs the depths of this concept and finds Jesus already there, wrapped up inextricably in the Godhead, the creation, the very essence of truth and being.**

Miscellany:

– ‘dwelt among us’ literally means ‘pitched his tent.’  This imagery already conjures idea of the tabernacle and Jesus becoming the locus of worship and relationship with the Father.

– ‘son’ as used here does not mean born of (as in, created) but rather sharing the same attributes (DNA, if you will) and establishing a filial/paternal relationship.  Does this mean that Jesus is subordinate to God?  I don’t think so, other than in the sense that He is obedient to His Father’s will.  The concept of subordinate means that the Father has the say when there is a conflict, but there cannot be a conflict between/within a unified being, which the Father and Son are.  Got that?  Good, moving on…

– ‘only’ here means unique, not sole offspring.  It’s the same usage as how Isaac was described as being Abraham’s only son despite the existence of his older half-brother Ishmael because Isaac was the favored, unique son, the one relevant to the story.  The KJV, and thus cultural literacy, has captured this concept as ‘only begotten’ Son.  This, however beautiful, is a mistranslation and has problematic implications for Jesus’ dually eternal nature.***

————

* You notice the three exclamation points, there?  Yeah, that was intentional.

** I told you this was going to get weird.  It’s hard to talk about John’s concepts without getting all undergraduate coffee house.  But that’s what makes him such a riot.

*** I use this in the sense that a singally eternal being was created but exists eternally into the future.  Dually eternal thus means that something has no beginning and no end, has never been created and will never cease to exist.

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