"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1 KJV]
In my last post I identified the "word" as the thought, mind, plan, purpose of Yahweh. This is seen to be perfectly legitimate when examining the Greek text behind "word" which reads logos. When one does not already have the presupposition that "word = Son" in their minds, one can easily see that there is no pre-existent Son being spoken of in John 1:1. Many scholars, theologians, and Bible translations have been faithful to the text of Scripture and rendered the remainder of John 1:1 in a fashion that does not equal trinitarian dogma, but rather remains true to the original intent of the text.
We next come to the statement, "...and the word was with God..." One may at this point ask how can a man’s word or more correctly in this context, Yahweh’s word, be with Him? At this point I need to bring up a concept which you most likely already believe, at least to an extent. In Hebraic thought items or even persons of great magnitude and importance are said to exist in the thought, plan, and purpose of Yahweh before ever coming into existence literally or actually.
For example passages like Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:3-9, and 1 Peter 1:1-2 speak of Yahweh foreknowing His elect children even to the extent of glorifying those elect in his beginningless plan. Likewise 1 Peter 1:18-20 states that Yeshua the Messiah was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was made known or revealed in these last times for us. This must be a reference to Yeshua being the antitypical lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). We know that he was not actually or literally slain, hanging there beside the Father since the beginning of time, but in the mind and plan of Yahweh the crucifixion could not be thwarted. Yeshua always existed, but his existence wasn't actual it was ideal or as John later writes "in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:18).
Allow me to give a human example of this to illustrate. What If I told my second son Elijah, “Our car was once in the mind of its designer?” Elijah (6 years old) may respond, “But Dad, how did that car fit in a man’s head? It’s way too big for that!” The concept or thinking of my child would be inaccurate because he would be thinking that the actual or literal car was in a man’s mind, rather than the thought, plan, or blueprint (if you will) existing in the mind of the designer.
Consider these passages:
Job 10:12-13 – “Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.”
Job 23:13-14 – “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.”
Job 27:11-13 – “I will teach you by the hand of Elohim: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal. Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain? This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.”
Job 12:12-13 – “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.”
This last reference is to and elderly man, but it still significant in showing that in Hebrew thinking when something is logded in a persons mind or thoughts, that something can be said to be "with" a person or being. Thus Yahweh's plan has always been with Him; therefore the Son has truly always been with the Father, but not as a co-equal, co-eternal person. His pre-existence is in the plan of Yahweh.
I must also labor the point that the word "God" in the phrase "...and the word was with God..." is a direct reference to the Father. The term in the Greek is "ho theos" having the meaning of "The God" being used as a noun in the Greek language. In other words "The thought, plan, and purpose was with the God in the beginning." The reason for pointing this out will been seen even further in my next post which will examine the phrase (KJV) "...and the word was God."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1, KJV]
The next part of this passage I would like to consider is the term "the Word" in the "a" part of the verse. In the beginning was the word. What is this word? Most people believe that the word was the pre-existent Son, but the text does not say "In the beginning was the Son," nor "In the beginning was Yeshua," but only "In the beginning was the word." So once again, what was this "word"?
It is extremely common for Trinitarians at this point to read the Son into this passage at John 1:1 because of what is mentioned in John 1:14. However, here are some facts to consider:
Fact #1: The text reads word (Greek: logos), it does not read son.
Fact #2: When we look at the Greek word used here (its definition, along with the many other places in Scripture that use it) we should see clearly what is being referenced in John 1:1.
The Scriptures teach that the word of Yahweh made the creation come into existence. (Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 148:1-5). We read in Genesis 1 over 20 times that “Elohim said…” and creation happened. Thus it was literally by the speaking of Yahweh that creation came to be.
When looking at several Greek uses of the word logos in the New Testament we see the following:
A. Matthew 8:8 – word
B. Luke 1:29 – saying
C. Acts 19:40 – account
D. 1 Corinthians 2:1 – speech
E. Acts 19:38 – matter
F. 2 Corinthians 8:7 – utterance
G. Ephesians 4:29 – communication
H. 1 Peter 3:15 – reason
I. Romans 9:28 – work
J. Acts 10:29 – intent
K. Acts 14:12 – speaker
As we look at these uses we see that all have a reference to what is thought of in the mind, a purpose or plan that comes out in the form of words through an individual. Some of the definitions that Thayer’s gives (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon) for this Greek word include the following: speech, something said, thought, decree, discourse, teaching, narrative, reason, the mental faculty of thinking, etc. (NOTE: The last definition Mr. Thayer gives for the word logos is Jesus Christ, but he does this simply upon his assumption that this the Son is spoken of in John 1:1, not on the actual meaning of the word logos in the Greek language.)
By looking at the use of the word logos, we need conclude nothing more that what John 1:1a is speaking of when he says, “In the beginning was the word,” is that at the laying of the foundation of the heavens and earth the thought, intent, speech, utterance, work, plan, etc. existed. For those of us that know what the remainder of John 1:1 states we realize that this is the thought, plan, word, etc. of Almighty Yahweh.
Interestingly enough, a renown Oneness Pentecostal theologian “hits the nail on the head” with his understanding.
"The Word was not a separate person or a separate god any more than a man’s word is a separate person from him. Rather the Word was the thought, plan, or mind of God… In Greek usage, logos can mean the expression or plan as it exists in the mind of the proclaimed - as a play in the mind of a playwright - or it can mean the thought as uttered or otherwise physically expressed - as a play that is enacted on stage. John 1 says the logos existed in the mind of God from the beginning of time. When the fullness of time was come, God put that plan in action. He put flesh on that plan in the form of Jesus Christ." [The Oneness of God, by David K. Bernard, Word Aflame Press, 2000, pg. 60.]
The late professor G.B. Caird gave the translation of John 1:1, 14 as follows:
"In the beginning was the purpose, the purpose in the mind of God, the purpose which was God’s own being… this purpose took human form in Jesus of Nazareth." [New Testament Theology, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995, pg. 332.]
Here are very scholarly theologians that recognize the use of the word logos in John 1:1 does not mean that the Son was being referred to in person, or that the Son literally pre-existed with the Father in the beginning. Rather, the word was in the beginning. These theologians are much more accurate than the common understanding of Trinitarian theologians today.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.