If you haven't already,first read my previous blog post.I have to qualify here again that I am journeying into the Socinian mind and writing as a Socinian(those who don't believe Jesus preexisted)would to see how well their interpretations register with my reasoning.I must say,with John 1:1,very well so far!I hope to explain soon to my Arian friends why I'm seriously questioning my Arian tradition.Hopefully I will be able to articulate why satisfactorily so as to do this topic justice and bring glory to God and Christ always no matter what!May God guide us in our truth seeking to the absolute truth of his word and to the Jesus of the bible.May he have mercy on those of us who can admit we don't know everything,who have questions and crave answers in all earnestness as Christian seekers.God alone knows our deepest thoughts and yearnings and I have faith that as long as we're willing to humbly seek,we will by his spirit find.If there's one thing I have learned as a former Jehovah's Witness though,it is that if we are scared to question our traditions,if we're wrapped up in our doctrines at all costs,there is no way he can help us.We must become like children and surrender to him alone in Christ Jesus.
In further regards to John 1:1:
Often in scripture,the preposition "with" can,as Greg Deuble notes in "They never told me THIS in Church", "describe the relationship between a person and what is in his heart or mind."(p.192)Just a few examples:
2 Kings 3:12:And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.”
2 John 2 because of the truth that remains in us, and it will be with us forever
Jeremiah 27:18:If the word of the LORD is with them
Proverbs 11:12:Wisdom is with the humble
So is it any marvel that God's word was WITH him and so identified with him?Just like in these texts truth,God's word and wisdom even could be with US and identified WITH us because they're a poetic and poignant part of us?
This principle can be summed up in Proverbs 23:7:
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Yes,as God thinks and wills and purposes,wrapped up in his word which becomes reality if he makes it be so,can be (poetically)described as what he himself is.
2 Peter 3:5:long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
Does this mean that by His Son the heavens and such existed or by God's will and plan and spoken word?
Rev. 4:11:Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.
God's *will*, *word*,*spirit* and *wisdom* ,encompassing his plans and attributes, can be spoken of as separate from him,poetically and understandably.God speaks and it comes to pass via divine strength,will,and wisdom.Does John ch 1say that GOD became flesh OR that his "word" did?Jesus was indeed fully expressive of God's plan,purpose,will,word and wisdom for being the Amen,God's vessel to inhabit by spirit fully,our redeemer,and the fulfillment of all things PURPOSED from the "beginning."Because of God's foreknowledge of our downfall and man's sure eventuality in abusing the gift of free will,hence needing a redeemer.
Taken from "Restoring the Biblical Christ.. Is Jesus God?" by Jason Kerrigan(who in this book does communicate his belief that Christ preexisted)..here Kerrigan notes definitions of "word".. p. 7
logos-something SAID(including the thought);by implication a topic(subject of discourse),also reasoning(the mental faculty) or motive;by extension a computation(-Strong's #3056)
rhema-an utterance(individually,collectively,or specifically);by implication a matter or topic(especially of narration,command or dispute)saying,word(-Strong's #4487)
Kerrigan says "Our words are expressions of our thoughts.Likewise,the word of God is the expression of God,and this expression is how God reveals himself."(p.8)
In Ephesians 6:17 the Word of God is identified as the *spirit.*
Kerrigan notes:"(because a word is an expression),the fact that the Spirit is called "The Word of God" shows us that God is somehow expressed via his spirit."(p.10)
And we all know that spirit was expressed in and through Christ more fully than anyone else ever,given him "without measure."(John 3:34)Make no mistake that the spirit of Christ IS the spirit of God meaning that which was GIVEN to him BY God to not only reveal God to the world through his person but also to dispense measures of it to believers due to this authority given him by his own God to do so as mediator and agent.
In 1 Cor. 2:9-12 ,God is revealed by his spirit because it searches the deep things of Him.It is likened to OUR spirits that "know us."Our spirits are within us yet not separate people that exist within our "beings."Similarly,God's spirit is within him and expressive of him and not a separate entity or person either.After all,it is compared to ours but is yet superior,unfathomable,and of course divine beyond measure,hence indescribable and personifiable and extraordinary!It's God's spirit after all!it searches the "deep things of God" and hence reveals those to us,sometimes through others,most especially Christ.I love the way Kerrigan in his book describes the spirit of man which can help us discern the definition of God's as well(pp.11-12)..He says:
"Our spirits search out the inward things that pertain to us so that those things may be brought forth,made intelligible,and applied to various situations in an orderly way."
Skipping ahead some..he says
"By way of analogy,it is like each of us is a big library,and in this library there are books that contain all our memories,books that contain all our emotions,and books that contain all our knowledge.When we learn something new it is our spirit that records those things in one of the library books(so to speak)and then places the book containing that knowledge within the shelves of our soul(our very being or life-force..my own words to define soul here)until that knowledge is needed again.Our spirit is also what goes back to those books and retrieves the information stored in us so as to present that information to our thoughts(or AS our thoughts) in an orderly way.Hence,a man's spirit is not a personality that is distinct from the man,but is rather that man's own personality revealed."
Skipping ahead again..
"It is the spiritual man(the soul) residing within a man's physical body that is the SOURCE of that man's personality(2 Cor. 5:1-8,2 Peter 1:13-14).In a similar way that our spirits search us,so also the Spirit of God searches the things of God and brings those forth.This is how God is expressed via his Spirit-the Spirit searches the things of God and reveals those things outwardly."
Kerrigan points out that God's spirit isn't constrained by the boundaries that limit the spirits of human beings and that we have no spiritual power at all but by the grace of God.
God's expression,or logos(word) is his spirit in some sense in that the spirit reveals it to us.So in my personal opinion,when God's spirit impregnated a virgin womb,the spirit that caused the birth of Christ in the flesh revealed God's expressive *word* through Christ,and that is how and why the word became flesh,how and why God is revealed in Christ.Though Kerrigan believes Christ preexisted and so would not agree with some of my conclusions here,I agree with him when he says "We cannot partake of the Spirit of God apart from Christ.God is expressed in his Spirit,but we cannot perceive nor access that expression unless we look to Christ,through whom that expression is revealed."(p.13)(1 Tim 2:5)..He goes on to say "Christ IS the expression of God unto us(but only in an intermediary sense.)And this is why BOTH Christ AND the Spirit are called "The Word of God."The Spirit is God's word inherently,but Christ is God's word mediated unto us.The Spirit is the principle truth of God revealed,but Jesus is the one THROUGH whom that principle truth is revealed to us."(p. 13)(John 8:40,John 18:37)
Even though the bible says:
Psalm 33:6a (NASB)
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.
Psalms 107:20 (KJV)
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
It also says:
Isaiah 55:11 (NRSV)
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
So the "word" spoken of comes forth from God's MOUTH.Similarly,God's spirit comes forth from his lips or mouth,as it does Jesus's when he BLEW the spirit upon his disciples in John to give them the power to forgive sin.(John 20:21-23)Yes indeed!..God's purposes come to fruition by means of his personifiable force and power,his spirit.From biblicalunitarian's site:
"Broughton and Southgate argue that “Word,” “Spirit” and “Wisdom” are all personified because they are intimately connected to how God has related to the world as its Creator, and that John’s use of logos is consistent with this biblical usage."
The article on the biblicalunitarian site about John 1:1 is taken from their book "One God & One Lord: Reconsidering the Cornerstone of the Christian Faith."All the rest of this blog,as long as it is in quotations is from the site linked above.Anything not in quotations are my personal thoughts.This is obviously just snippets from the site so visit it for in depth analysis and more from their book.
To quote them:
"We can see how John draws on all the Old Testament teaching…Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8 as saying that she was in the beginning, that she was with God, and that she was His instrument in creation. The Word of God created the heavens (Ps. 33:6), and so did the Spirit as described in Job 26:13 (KJV) [and Gen. 1:2]. The language clearly is of figure and metaphor, of personification, not actual personality. And John is saying exactly the same of the logos or Word. No Jewish reader brought up on the writings of the prophets would have deduced from John’s introduction that he was alluding to a person who had existed with God from all time. They would see it instead as a continuation of the imagery by which the Word or Wisdom or the Spirit—those manifestations of God which are inseparable from Him—are described as putting God’s intentions into effect."--Broughton, James H. and Southgate, Peter J., The Trinity: True or False? (The Dawn Book Supply, Nottingham, 1995), p. 247."
The Jews being strictly unabashedly monotheistic understood the personifiability of the wisdom,spirit,word,etc. OF God without ever identifying those things as people within the being of God.
Also from the site:
"While in John 1:1 the logos is God’s self expression and His wisdom, plan and power, many times in the New Testament the logos is the message of the coming, the life, the death, the resurrection, the ascension, the exaltation, the lordship and the coming again of Jesus the Messiah. If the logos that was “in the beginning” is understood in these terms, then it becomes clear that God had this very series of events in mind when He created the cosmos. “The Word was God” (John 1:1) in that it is God’s self-revelation, the account that God chose to give of Himself and His will to all nations."
“In the beginning God” in Genesis 1:1. John tells us that “in the beginning” God had wisdom and a plan, and was prepared to start acting that plan out so that the people He created and invested His love in could be rescued from death and live with Him eternally. The crowning piece of the plan of God was the creation of Jesus Christ, who was in a very real sense, “the last word."
I guess in essence this could mean Jesus was the "beginning and the end" of God's plan of salvation and as the "creator" of the NEW heavens and NEW earth in that in him all things will consist and because of him it will come to be and for him God had a perfect kingdom in mind,to gift to a Son he so adores who faithfully served him in love and reverence,foreknown and decreed,slain even!,from the foundation of the world!God also had Christ in mind as redeemer and heir as he originally created,knowing mankind would fall and need his foreknown Son to save us with an imputation of his own superb righteousness.
More from site:
"God’s plan was being expressed in wisdom and action all through the Old Testament. The logos was being expressed as Abraham set off to sacrifice Isaac, as Moses lifted the serpent up on the pole, as Solomon built the Temple, and as Isaiah penned the verses stating that the Servant of God would be pierced for our transgressions. It was expressed in pieces and parts in history, as people acted, and in prophecy, as people spoke. Then one day, probably in 3 BC, the types, foreshadowings and prophecies ceased, and the logos, the plan, purpose, wisdom and power of God, “became flesh” in the man Jesus Christ."
"As E. W. Bullinger notes on John 1:1 in the Companion Bible: “As the spoken word reveals the invisible thought, so the Living Word reveals the invisible God.” (Bullinger, op. cit., Companion, p. 1512)
“Before Jesus’ conception in the womb of Mary, the logos was to Jesus what promise is to fulfillment. When “the logos became flesh,” the promise was fulfilled in the form of a person. "
"C. H. Dodd is another scholar who sees in the logos the meeting of the divine, God’s communication of Himself, with the human, the man in whom God most clearly revealed Himself. The logos is the “final concentration of the whole creative and revealing thought of God” in “an individual who is what humanity was designed to be in the divine purpose.” (C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, (Cambridge, 1953), p. 282.) In other words, Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, is what Man was intended to be, the perfect representative of God."
“If Jesus is not identical to the logos, what exactly is the relationship between them? The relationship of Jesus to the logos of God can best be described as intimate and prophetic, two important characteristics of the entire Gospel of John. Jesus was conceived in the mind of God “in the beginning,” and was in view when God created the present heavens and earth. God knew His plan, and throughout the Old Testament communicated it through a body of prophetic language that pointed toward Christ’s coming. Jesus refers to this plan in his prayer on the eve of his death:
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Peter communicates this same truth in his first epistle:
1 Peter 1:20 (NASB)
For he was foreknown before [pro] the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.
John is not propounding a mystical process by which a pre-existent spirit being became clothed in flesh. Rather, it is asserting that the prophetic plan and purpose of God has become a true man, “in the flesh,” and that as the “purpose of the ages,” even creation itself is organized around him. “
"The logos was not “made flesh” through a metaphysical or mystical process by which a pre-existent spirit being transmigrated his eternal consciousness into a temporal human zygote at the moment of conception. The logos was “made flesh” through a process that began when God fulfilled His Word to His people by creating the long awaited Seed of Promise, the seed of the woman, the one who would be just like his Dad, the “chip off the old Rock.”
And to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
So Christ wasn't existing in heaven for all time but was rather hidden in God to appear at the decreed time as the Last Adam through human genealogy for the salvation and glorification of faithful mankind and his own inimitable inherited exaltation to a remarkable glory,2nd only to his father's!
Did John write the gospel to let us know Jesus preexisted or was the 2nd person of a triune philosophical homoousios (substance)?Apparently not.
John 20:31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
And is calling him the son of God a declaration he's also True God?(John 17:3) Apparently not!
Luke 1:35:And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God."
Yes,he's the Son of God because he was conceived in a virgin womb supernaturally and miraculously by God's spirit,of course making him God's unique Son.Who else has ever been?Who else is the fulfillment of all things?Who else is the beginning and end of all God's plans by his admirable faithfulness to his own God which leads to salvation for all who exercise faith in him?Praise the Lord Messiah!For everything he is and for everything he's done to the glory of God and the exaltation of righteous mankind!