Date: Tue Feb 10 1998 - 10:11:21 EST
>John 1:1 says nothing about "time." The Bible frequently uses ARCH to refer
>the beginning of the physical universe. Now, if you mean time as counted
>that point forward, then there is merit to your position.
Well fair enough, I guess "The Bible" here means LXX:
EN ARCHi EPOIHSEN hO QEOS TON OURANON KAI THN GHN etc.
It's probably also fair to say that Matthew uses ARCH
to refer to the beginning of the physical universe,
although KTIZW in 19:4 and KOSMOU in 24:21 supply this
meaning rather than ARCH itself. >>
I agree with you, particularly on your citation of Matthew 19:4.The use of
KTIZW in reference to the creation of humans serves to further reveal the link
between ARKH and the creation of the physical universe, or in this case
physical beings. 2 Peter 3:4 makes a similar point. You might also consider
Psalm 102-25-27, quoted of course in Hebrews 1:10-12.
I'm not so certain that John does though. Looking at
the 19 uses of ARCH in Gospel and Epistles one almost
gets the impression that the avoidance of a Genesis
or Matthean ARCH [KTISEWS] is deliberate, even if
8:44 and probably refers to Gen 4, and 1J3:8 to Gen3.
I certainly believe John has the "beginning" of Genesis 1:1 in mind, is that
what you're suggesting, also?
Mark doesn't either, at least not without the the qualifier
ARCH KTISEWS to distinguish from ARCH TOU EUAGGELIOU of 1:1.
Do we think the author of John 1:1 was familiar with the
ARCH of Mark 1:1? (or "Q"1:1 if you prefer)
Yes, I do. But, again, I think he is quite intent upon drawing from the
language and imagery of Genesis 1.
It also seems unlikely that 1John1:1 AP' ARCHS .. h0
EWRAKAMEN TOIS OFQALMOIS hHMWN and Luke 1:2 AP' ARCHS
AUTOPTAI were written entirely independantly of each
other (though I won't speculate on the sequence).
I think the use of ARKH in these and other, similar texts has to do with the
"beginning" of Jesus' ministry.
Given the above, I doubt John 1:1 was intended by the
author as a chronology even if EN ARCHi as a set phrase
does obviously parallel Genesis.
It seems that John simply chose a point of reference that he knew would set
the stage for his introduction of the one who later became a man. The
importance of showing Jesus' pre-human relationship with God, as a divine
being, helps make his point about the LOGOS being PLHRHS XARITOS, when he
became "flesh." (John 1:14) I think Paul uses this same scenario in Phil.
2:6-9, to help illustrate his point about humility.
University of Wisconsin
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