Five Great Truths from John 1:1
The first verse of the Gospel of John is absolutely brimming with meaning, and it refutes a host of popular errors. It reads:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Let us consider several important elements of this passage.
First, consistent with the affirmation of Genesis 1:1, the verse denies that the Universe is eternal—there was a “beginning.” Scientific evidence has so confirmed this truth that even an agnostic like Dr. Robert Jastrow is forced to admit that “modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe” (15).
Second, the apostle argues for the eternal existence of the Word (subsequently identified as the preincarnate Christ — vs. 14). The verb
en (thrice rendered “was” in 1:1) is an imperfect tense form which suggests the “continuous timeless existence” of the Second Person in the Godhead (Bernard, 2). This stands squarely opposed to the Watchtower contention that Christ was a created being.
Third, the pre-incarnate Christ is characterized in this context as “the Word.” The term “Word” implies communication. Jesus Christ is the revealer of truth to humanity (John 1:18; Heb. 1:1-2), and apart from Him there is no access to the Father (John 14:6). This contradicts the philosophy of deism, which alleges that whereas there may be a Creator in some remote corner of the Universe, He has not communicated with mankind.
Fourth, the Word was “with” God. The preposition
pros (“with”) literally means facing, and it reveals a distinction between the two Persons who, in the New Testament, are identified as Father and Son. This language is at odds with the “Oneness Pentecostal” doctrine which alleges that the Father and Son are the same Person, merely manifested in different forms.
Fifth, the Word is identified as “God,” which simply means deity. The eternal Word possesses the nature of a divine being (cf. Phil. 2:6). This negates the Watchtower dogma which asserts that Christ was nothing more “than a perfect man” (Let God Be True, 87).
Mark these five points in connection with John 1:1, and make appropriate notations in the margin of your Bible.
- Bernard, J. H. A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to St. John. Vol. 1. T. & T. Clark: Edinburg, Scotland.
- Jastrow, Robert. 1977. Until the Sun Dies. W. W. Norton & Company: New York, NY.
- Let God Be True. 1952. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: Brooklyn, NY.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.