"In the beginning was the word" (Jn 1:1a)

From: KJohn36574@aol.com
Date: Wed Feb 23 2000 - 12:38:04 EST

  I thought I would add something to this discussion which appears to be
overlooked. We need to look at the entire Prologue text (Jn 1:1-18) simply
and more closely.
      Analyzing the Prologue of John as a whole, it can be seen that John is
looking back historically from the incarnation, focusing upon the anteriority
to time and the eternal existence of the Logos. He then looks forward to the
life of Jesus. The absolute "beginning," archee of time is justaposed with
the "historical" beginning of Christ's ministry, commencing with the
testimony of John the Baptist (Jn1:19). Oscar Cullman, in reference to the
'grand idea' of the Prologue, has termed this 'alternating juxtaposition'
"the main theological point of the prologue."
      Cullman, noting the Hebrew character of John's Prologue, states, "The
combining of historically unobservable occurrences with historic accounts is,
of course, characteristic of the presentation of divine events in the OT: the
God who reveals himself in the story of the people of Israel is the same as
the one who created heaven and earth. In both cases his action derives from
the self-communication to the world grounded in his being-it derives from the
Logos. This revelation reaches its decisive high-point in the Christ event of
the Incarnation, which is ushered in by the testimony of John the Baptist."
      Likewise, the original beginning of created things is juxtaposed with
the second when the Word became flesh. "The absolute beginning of the
creation and the absolute beginning of the incarnation stand in contrast to
the always wasness of the Logos."

Oscar Cullman, "The Theological Context of the Prologue of John in the

Now this is not just a theological statement or one of interpretation. It
appears to be the very "structure" of the Prologue. We need to not isolate
words like "Logos" when discussing vocabulary. We need to look at words in
their overall context. Grammar studies in vocabulary alone appear to often be
very misleading when defining or reinventing a word like an English
translation of Logos.

      I personally like, "the full account of God expressed" but this is
hardly a translation. I look at the Koine as so often used in the market
place, and the gospels for common readers that it is hard for me to not think
an "accounting" or business term might be associated here (the full account
of) or "the Accounting". It is hard for me to make John such an intellectual.
If anything we need to simplify our approach to John's Gospel, not further
complicate it.

      John was first of all writing from his personal experiences with the
"incarnated Logos", which is what Jesus of Bethlehem was, now, and will be
when he returns (Revelation 19:13). Let's start with this, please.

Ken Johnson
Elk Grove, CA

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