Who is the Word, and did the Word became the Son?
There has been certain teachings in the past and even today that redefine God’s nature making up a whole different teaching from the Bible that is leading people astray.
There are those who deny there is an eternal relationship of God, as Father and Son, that it was active before creation. In fact there are those who say Jesus became the Son at either conception, or at birth (as Finis Dake) or, at his baptism (as William Branham).
What they do is use the logos, “the Word” for Jesus and redefine its meaning and confuse the Bibles teaching to the listener.
History of the “word (logos) in Greek philosophy
The idea of the logos in Greek thought goes back to a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus who first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan, the reasoning power in man.
Later, the Stoics, Greek philosophers who followed the teachings of the Zeno of Citium (4th–3rd century BC), defined the logos as the active rational and spiritual principle that permeated all reality. The Stoics spoke of the Logos as reason, through which all things came to be, by which all things were ordered, and to which all things returned.
In Greek philosophy “the word” referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God. The Logos was used by the Greeks in various ways, as the “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought, to denote the creative force, as well as logic and reason.
W. E. Vine brings clarity to Johns use of the Logos, he writes, “John's use of the word logos is entirely to be distinguished from the use made of it by Philo of Alexandria and his school of philosophy in the 2nd century BC. With them the logos was a impersonal idea, conveying the thoughts of God” (W. E. Vine The Epistles of John, p.11).
No other gospel speaks of Jesus as the Word, and neither does the Old Testament. It was John’s gospel that introduced this teaching with his Gospel. His gospel was the last of the 4 gospels written, many years after the other 3. So what is John trying to convey? John is concentrating on Jesus deity.
Many believe John's concept is directly from Greek origin, why would John use a Greek concept when there is a Hebrew one? The Gospel of John begins by introducing the logos as God, the Creative Word, who took on flesh as the man Jesus Christ.
John used the word the logos because of the Greek esteeming it as the highest knowledge as the highest ideal. John is showing this logos is not a thought or an ideal but a “he.” John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek word for “divine reason” or “the mind of God” to explain to the readers who Jesus is by a Hebrew viewpoint. John’s use of the Logos, explains Jesus’ eternal deity. It was a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to express the attributes and nature of God the Son.
John used the Greek word, and presented the Word (Memra) in a Hebrew/Aramaic setting, to show who the Son exists before he became man, that he is God and is with God. As in Jn.17 Jesus tells us he had glory with the Father before anything was created. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Showing that he shared in Gods glory before creation.
The term Logos is applied to Christ only by John in John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13; John 1:1. The “Logos John portrayed is of a pre-existent eternal being, who is God.
John’s Gospel carries a replay to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Before anything was formed- (notice) “He” was with (God) the Father-Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)
John tells us the Word was there from the beginning, it says the same for the Son.
Jesus speaking to the Father “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”(John 17:5)
God began the great work of creation there was light both John and Gen.1 mention this (Gen 1:3-4). Jn.1:5 the light shines in the darkness” v.10 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”
This light in Genesis was not a creation but God’s glory, 2 Cor. 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness.” The future will as it was in the past: Rev. 22:5 “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.”
Summary in John
Among the many things written John tells us- Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)
He is called the word because he is the active cause of the world. It is He whose words brought all things into existence. If the Word is a created thing or another creature (as in Arianism), then He could not be with God before anything was made. Therefore the Word is indeed God the creator, whom Believers know as the Son.
The only other time “the Word” is applied to Jesus is in Rev. 19:13. His name is called the word of God but He himself is not a word. He is the eternal Son of God that was WITH the Father before anything was made.
Since Jesus is already acknowledged as the Son by the Father in the New Testament, one must understand when he is called the word it is a title of the Son, as there are many titles.
The Bible calls the word a He, a Him, not a thought, not speech, attributing personal identity to him. He is a person who ALWAYS existed with the Father. Jesus IS the Word of God in the fullest, truest, and proper sense.
The personification of “the Word of God”
John also speaks of Jesus (the son) as “the word of life.” 1 John 1:1-2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-
Which is taught by him previously in the chapter 1 of his gospel v: 4-5 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Besides being called “the word of life,” he is also the word of truth (2 Cor. 6:7; Eph.1:13; 2 Thess. 2:15; Jms. 1:18) the word of the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:15) the word of God (1 thess.2:13; 4:5; 1 Pt. 1:23) Word of righteousness (Heb.5:13).
As seen in Heb.4:12. The word is called the sword of the Spirit: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17) given to us to resist Satan.
If we use “the word” as some do to deny there is an eternal Son does this mean the sword of the Spirit is God (as the word is) is the eternal sword? Selah
John uses eternal life as a similar metaphor in 1 John.
The word of God is represented as food: (Job 23:12). As bread by Jesus in Matthew 4:4 (quoting Deut.8:3) “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
The word is likened to a lamp or light (Ps. 119: 105,130); what a lamp is physically the word is spiritually. As John in Jn.1 portrays the world is in a state of moral darkness; but God’s word is a light shining in a dark place, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light” (Ps. 119:130).
The word of God is compared to a fire or hammer to break stony hearts: “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29).
The word is likened to seed: “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). Jesus used farming as a natural example. The seed is spiritual to be sown in our heart. We are commissioned to sow the word of God. Psalms 126:6-127:1: “He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
So the word of God in John’s gospel is used in this manner to represent the Son of God. As are many other synonyms, descriptions that are spiritual in meaning. To be God one must have the nature and attributes that make one God the creator. That includes being a person. God is a personal being, the Son is a personal identity as is the Father. The distinction of Son of God who became the son of man, which is showing his eternal deity.
Jn.1:1 He “was with God (face to face) and was God.” In Greek it is an imperfect tense, a continuous action from the past, which continues on. The same person always existed with God, as a person. The word was there before the beginning, and the word had been with, toward God (Pros theos) face to face in relationship, and this God (who is person) as the word was with God (another person).
John then moves from his work as an agent of creation to his incarnation, he explains in v.18 that this word who is with God from the beginning is the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father (Gr. Kolpos). Meaning, describing the place of dearest affection and greatest place of intimacy in a relationship (not literally in his bosom). The Father is a personal being who is God and so is the Son. Only Begotten” is also exclusive to the Gospel of John. He applies it five times to the Savior, who is a person.
The word became, in Greek ginomai which means to come into existence, to become, to be made, this is referring to his humanity (Jn.1:14).
“No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
First it says no man, meaning human, thus the only begotten does not refer to his humanity. Second point: “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father” has seen what no man has. And John tells us in John 6:46 states, "Not that anyone has seen the Father except HE who is from God."
This is explaining what he is before he was man. The Son enjoyed this place of his relationship before he became man.
The Word is a title for the Son of God who possesses the very same nature as the Father, as John clearly teaches throughout his epistle. Jn.1:2 John clearly explains, “He was in the beginning (already existing) with God” v.3 “All things were (past tense) made through Him,” (a person). He is using personal pronouns for the word which indicates “the Word” is a title of a person. The word is used by John as a synonym for the Son. He is a person just as the Father is a person. John 1:2, “He was in the beginning” with God. John is telling us the word is a HE, a person (not a human person).
In Jn.1:3 it states “all things were made by him.” The word is a “him”, a person. The word dia means through him. That he was not the only source, the sole agent of causation, but it was done with the Father (and the Spirit).
Heb.1:2 says “by whom He made the worlds”. The Bible calls “the Word” a he, a him, a person who existed along with the Father. God could not have made the worlds through the Son if He, the Son did not exist prior to creation?
The Father always calls Jesus his Son. Which is meant to reveal an ETERNAL relationship between them. Throughout the Old and New Testament He is called the Son showing that He previously existed as such. Only the Son who is not a man can make him known.
Heb. 1:8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever”
God does not have a throne that is empty waiting for it to be filled.
v.10 And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. v.12 And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."
The Father calls the Son God and God says he does not change, which means he was always the Son and the Father was always the Father,
To say he is the word and not the son is completely untrue
What early pastors and apologists wrote.
Long before the Nicea council (when these other beliefs were becoming popular challenging what was handed down by Scripture) the early church pastors, evangelists and apologists spoke on this Father and Son relationship in contradistinction to heresies that were surfacing.
“For with him [the Father] were always present the Word and Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, he made all things, to whom also he speaks, saying, 'Let us make man in our image and likeness' Gen. 1:26.” (Against Heresies 4:20:1).
‘If he was born at the time it follows that Christ did not exist before then. ‘For we have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist since he existed with the Father always: “(Irenaeus The ‘Recapitulation’ in Christ: Adv. Haer. III xviii) Clear, isn’t it. He was God the Son with the Father.
Hippolytus, another in the early Church (Against the Heresy of one Noetus, “a Oneness promoter” ch.14, 190 AD.) After quoting part of Jn.1:1 “If then the word was with God and was also God what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two God’s? I shall not speak of two Gods but of one; of two persons however and of a third economy, the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father is indeed one but there are two persons because there is also the Son; and there is the third the Holy Spirit And we cannot think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” In another of his writings: “This is the order of the rule of our faith...God the Father, not made, not material, invisible; One God, the creator of all things; this is the first point of our faith. The second point is this; the word of God, Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord who was manifested to the prophets according to the form of their prophesying and according to the method of the Fathers dispensation, through whom all things were made.”
The apostle does not use “the Word” from the writings of Plato, but does have this in mind. the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and from the subsequent style of the ancient Jews.-It is true the Platonists make mention of the Logos in this way:-kath' hon, aei onta, ta genomena egeneto-by whom, eternally existing, all things were made. But as Plato, Pythagoras, Zeno, and others, traveled among the Jews, and conversed with them, it is reasonable to suppose that they borrowed this, with many others of their most important notions and doctrines, from them.”
“[And the Word was God.] Or, God (Deity), theos (NT:2282), was the Logos: therefore no subordinate being, no second to the Most High, but the supreme eternal Yahweh (from Adam Clarke's Commentary)
So the word of God in John’s gospel is used in this manner to represent the Son of God- the word was God. To be God one must have the nature and attributes that make one God the creator and ruler over all things.
There cannot be a Father without the relationship of the Son. Therefore God didn’t become the Father when Jesus became the Son, at conception, at birth nor later. There is a difference between the son of God and the son of Man.
Gods only Son (only begotten) is not equal to the “sons of God” among men who are adopted into his family, he is a son by nature in relation to the Father. Sons of God (Gr teknon) is used for men means an adopted son (it is plural). But a son who is by nature God (huious) is only used for Jesus, the ETERNAL Son of God, (it is singular).
The Son is pre-existent just as the Father is, He is WITH the Father. To change this is to lose the Biblical view of God found in the Scripture. That is the point - to convey the relationship.
The Father always calls Jesus his Son. Which is meant to reveal that ETERNAL relationship between them. Throughout the Old and New Testament He is called the Son showing that He previously existed as such with the Father. Jn.17.
Prov. 30:4 “Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, If you know?”
This is asked in the Old Testament in the wisdom portion of Scripture. He is saying God's Son is the creator just as the Father is. Which the whole New Testament reveals and testifies to. This is in the present tense, it is written of the past event of creation. Solomon goes on to say Every word of God is pure. This "word" has nothing to do with the Son’s identity that he asks what his name is. The word of God he is speaking of is what is written, it is in the plural. How many words of God are there? The Sons name is conveyed to be the creator along with God, and he asking if you know his name.
If the Son is not pre-existent then why should we believe the Father is? The truth is that they both are existing eternally in relationship before anything was made.
“And we read God sent His only begotten Son” into the world (Jn. 3:16-17)
“I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior” (Isa.45:17). The New Testament makes it clear 1 Jn.4:14: “That the Father sent the Son as the Savior of the world.” Where was he sent from? HEAVEN, he as a person is the Son.
Jesus states in John 16:28 “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Therefore the Son existed with the Father before he became a man.
Jesus explains that he as the son was with the Father before he was sent to earth by the Father, both existed before he became man. The scriptural evidence is overwhelming if one is open to hear.
Jn.6:33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." So he is called not just the word by John but bread, meaning the sustenance of life.Jesus states in John 16:28 “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” therefor the son existed with the father in heaven.
Again, The Word is a title for the Son of God who possesses the very same nature as the Father, as John clearly teaches throughout his epistle. Jn.1:2 John clearly referring to the son, “He was in the beginning (already existing) with God” v.3 “All things were (past tense) made through Him,” (a person). He is using personal pronouns for the word which indicates the word” is a personification of a person.
No other gospel speaks of Jesus as the word and neither does the Old Testament. It is John who used the Greek concept of his day to clarify who the word is.
1 Jn.5:20 "And we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ this is the true God and eternal life." If the Son is the true God then doesn’t that make him eternal, possessing eternal life as his personal nature?
Prior to this John writes 1 Jn.5:10-12: "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
If you do not believe in an eternal son of God who is Jesus when he incarnated as man you have not received eternal life. You must have the correct Son, the one who is the true God as John writes in v.20.
So many like complicating what God made simple in his own words. Be careful of the distortions of the cults and the heresy teachers that deny an eternal Son and Father.