“In the beginning was the Word.” This is no arbitrary statement. Understanding the Genesis phrase “In the beginning” to mean “before everything was, at the time that Creation was about to roll out,” we must pause to understand what the Apostle John is getting at when he begins this Gospel account of the life and work of Jesus. Here John makes the three-fold claim that the one called “the Word” was 1) in the beginning, 2) with God, 3) was God.
What you must see is that when we examine this series of claims a very distinct theology emerges. First, to fully define “the Word,” we must go further along in the text to verse 14, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” This statement indicates to us the same thing that we learn from Paul in Philippians 2:7, that Jesus humbled himself and “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Similarly Hebrews 2:14 teaches that Jesus took on “flesh and blood.” Seeing plainly that this one John is referring to as “the Word” is Jesus, we can go on further to understand what John is saying about Jesus.
1) Jesus was “in the beginning.” Before Creation had begun, Jesus was already in existence. This means foremost that Jesus is not a creation of God. He did not come as an afterthought from God. He was pre-existent to Creation and contained in himself the power to create as indicated in verse 3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Not only was he pre-existent to the creation of everything, He was an integral part of the creative act.
2) Jesus was “with God.” Jesus did not exist in eternity past by himself. Neither did God. Together, they existed in communion before the world existed. In John 17:24, Jesus praying to God says, “thou loved me before the foundation of the world.” Here we have a glimpse in Christ’s prayer of the relationship of love that God and Jesus have for one another. A love that is more ancient than the cosmos. Before they made everything, they were altogether satisfied in communion with each other. God with Christ, and Christ “with God.”
3) Jesus is “God.” There is no article “a” that precedes the word “God,” for Jesus is not “a God.” He is definitively and fully God. Any who would seek to remove this divine title from Him only do so with misleading words, because He is truly the Sovereign of the universe. It is Jesus to whom “every knee should bow and every tongue should confess.” (Philippians 2:10) It is Jesus in whom “dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9) It is Jesus that affirms the truth of John 1:1 when He says “Verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.” (John 8:58)
Jesus is the pre-existent, all-powerfully creative God of the universe.
Afterthought: The religious group who call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses” use a mistranslation of the Scriptures known as the New World Translation. In John 1:1, this version mistranslates the words “the word was God” as “the word was a god.” This allows for the heretical teaching that Jesus is not God, but is simply a “divine one” among many lesser gods. Consistent with this heresy they furthermore deny the existence of the Trinity.
Food For Thought: In your own words, what three things does John 1:1 tell us about Jesus?