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The Deity of Christ from John 1:1-3

The radiance of God's glory on the earth

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The truth that Jesus Christ is fully God is explicitly proclaimed throughout the New Testament. One of the most significant texts that assert this truth is John 1:1-3. In these verses, the apostle John boldly states, “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 was not anything made that was made.”

Let’s start by examining the verb “was,” which is translated from the Greek term “εἰμί” (eimi) and used in the imperfect tense in these verses. In Greek, the imperfect tense signifies an ongoing action that has been occurring in the past and is still occurring, and it has no end point specified. By employing this tense, John communicates the enduring existence of the Word, dating infinitely into the past. There is no conceivable “beginning” where the Word is not already in existence. Thus, the usage of “εἰμί” underscores the eternal pre-existence of the Word, offering a powerful testimony to the eternity of Jesus Christ.

Next, the phrase “and the Word was with God” introduces another layer of understanding. Here, the preposition “with” is translated from the Greek word “πρὸς” (pros). This term, in this context, conveys more than a mere presence or association. It illustrates a deeper, intimate relationship, akin to fellowship or communion. Unlike other Greek words that might be translated as “with,” “πρὸς” provides a richer description of the relationship between the Word and God. It suggests that the Word wasn’t simply present with God, but was intimately involved in divine fellowship.

Moving to the third part of the opening verse, “and the Word was God,” we encounter an essential assertion about the nature of the Word. The Greek phrasing here, “kai theos en ho logos,” forms what is known as a substantival clause. In such a structure, the predicate “God” (theos) is applied to the subject “the Word” (logos), but without any linking verb. This absence of a linking verb gives greater emphasis to the quality ascribed to the subject. Thus, this structure makes the assertion that everything God is, the Word also was, speaking volumes about the divine nature of the Word.

The Gospel continues to emphasize that the Word “was” (again, “εἰμί”) in the beginning “with” (“πρὸς”) God. This repetition affirms the pre-incarnate existence of the Word (Jesus) in intimate communion with God the Father. This existence precedes even the act of creation, signifying that Jesus’s relationship with the Father extends beyond the confines of time and space.

The Gospel then unequivocally asserts in verse 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” This presents the Word (Jesus) as the agent of all creation. The act of creating is intrinsically divine, and it underscores the divinity of Jesus Christ, reinforcing the statement that the Word (Jesus) is indeed God. This aligns with the Apostle Paul’s declaration in Colossians 1:16-17, which unequivocally ascribes the work of creation to Jesus: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

In sum, John 1:1-3 serves as a potent declaration of Jesus Christ’s divinity, eternal pre-existence, and role as Creator. Each word and grammatical choice in these verses has been meticulously chosen to convey these truths, offering an enriching glimpse into the profound depths of Christ’s nature. The eternal Word, in intimate fellowship with God, sharing the fullness of God’s nature, and acting as the Creator of all, is indeed the divine Jesus Christ. This passage offers a robust foundation for the understanding of Jesus’s divinity, which shapes the theology of the entire New Testament.

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