The Word Became Flesh

Episode 76 Show Notes 

The Word Became Flesh

From the Show

Justin Holcomb: The Word has a rich Old Testament background because God’s word is effective. God speaks and things come into being, Genesis 1 and Psalm 33 and a whole bunch of other Psalms, Isaiah 55, and by speech, God also relates personally to his people.  And so, God creates with his Word, he relates to his people with this Word. So, the Word in this passage has a lot more fullness, is a lot more robust than in a personal universal principle of reason. The Word is how God has done, what God doesn’t, God’s Word is effective.  We can come back to the Word, but to kind of spread out from the idea of looking for some Hebrew themes, the fact that it starts off with ‘in the beginning’. This is a clear indication of Genesis. I mean, John is basically saying, okay, this is a new creation. Genesis – in the beginning was the Word, that’s very intentional.  We look at other verses 4 and 5 and you see the theme of light, life and darkness. Those are drawing straight from Genesis motif. So, John is intentionally connecting his gospel to the foundational text of the Hebrew Scriptures of God creating everything from nothing and breathing life into it.

Adriel Sanchez: And the people for whom this would have been very significant were Jews who were familiar with the Old Testament, who, when they hear in the beginning are immediately thinking Genesis, as Justin helpfully said.  I think of other passages also that sort of highlight this idea of God’s word being more than just this philosophical principle in Psalm 33:6. “By the word of the Lord, the Heavens were made and by the breath of his mouth, all their hosts.” These are the types of ideas that John is getting at here early on in his prologue.

Caleb Bassett: And that longevity of this idea is so clear throughout the scriptures, as you see other Psalms. You know, “the Word has a light to our path,” as Justin mentioned, the clear creation from nothing by the power of the Word.  The idea has been for a very long time that this God is one who speaks. He uses words to accomplish what he does and the whole concept behind this, of course, is that God has been wise and speaking using Word to accomplish his deeds and his will long before the Greeks used this as a category.  And we can be very thankful for the work the philosophers have done, but this is not something that was new to them. This has been going on for a long time.

Michael Horton: And yet, with Christ actually appearing in the fullness of time, the Old Testament has to be interpreted through that lens.  And so, yeah, things that were kind of obscure in the Old Testament become clear. See, there’s continuity but it’s not as if you can read the Old Testament and know everything that John’s Gospel is going to unfold. Let me read you 1:6, “There is a man sent from God whose name was John.” He’s talking about the guy.  I mean the whole idea that God sent a messenger. And then 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Every time that you use that structure of Theos without a definite article, everywhere else in the prologue where it’s used is actually highlighting who that God is. It is understood that this is Yahweh.  This is the creator. So, if John 1 is the one place where an article is not used and it meant some type of generic god, that wouldn’t fit with the rest of the way that God is referred to in the rest of the prologue.


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