In the Beginning . . .logos.gif (4634 bytes)


John 1:1-4, 14:"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. [. . .] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."


The original term translated as "Word" in this passage is the Greek word logos. When John (under the Holy Spirit's inspiration) applied this concept to Christ, he was making a radical claim. Logos in Greek philosophy is an impersonal rational order that directs and controls the universe. Thus, John can claim that through the Word "all things were made." But he can also state that "The Word became flesh." That impersonal force, he tells us, is actually a personal Being. Jesus came to show us what God is like.

The concept of a logos suggests that reality is inherently linguistic in structure, that we need words to relate to, understand, and exist with the world. It equally implies that an order and harmony exists in creation that is uncoverable, and for this too, we need words.

Yet Christians also believe that humans are partially out of phase with our world. Sin has clouded our ability to name correctly what is there. We often use words in a fragmented, halting, cursory way. We misunderstand, misname, and miss the point. Sometimes, our names are even out-flat lies.

No wonder that the Supreme Word needed to become one of us. We needed true language to come dwell among us with a human accent.

"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding