“The Word” of Creation

Lake  Tipsoo 1284I have just started teaching a class on the Gospel of John at the church where I serve.  I love the Fourth Gospel; it is such an amazing book!  As we looked at the first eighteen verses of this Gospel, its Prologue, I found myself thinking that there is likely no more beautiful, poetic or inspired passage to be found than this.

Interestingly, John’s Gospel begins with the same three words found at the beginning of Genesis 1–“In the beginning.”  If you look closely at John’s Prologue and Genesis 1 you will find many similarities beyond the opening words.  Both speak of the creation of the world.  Both develop the theme of light overcoming darkness.  Both emphasize the giving of life.  Both stress the power of God’s Word.

MR 1545Genesis 1 tells how “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  In the verses that follow we have the first of two creation accounts found in the Bible.  John 1 speaks about the creation of the world in v. 3 but the Prologue is really about the re-creation of the world through God’s Son.  John writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”

There can be no denying that the author of the Fourth Gospel understood “the Word” to be Jesus Christ.  Many people associate the creation of the world with God the Father but John claims it was “the Word,” or God the Son, that brought forth the world and everything in it.  This makes the story of Christmas  even more fascinating.  It means that the baby born in that Bethlehem stable was the one who made the world.  It means the Creator or “Maker of heaven and earth” actually became a part of Creation.

MR 1589Many at the time of of John’s writing believed the world was inherently evil.  There was a group that believed that anything material was bad; only the spiritual realm was good.  This is certainly not the teaching found in the Bible.  In Genesis 1 God declares that everything that He made is “good.”  The fact that Jesus was the instrument of creation and was willing to take on human flesh only intensifies this message.  Unfortunately there are still people around who seem to think the world in and of itself is evil.  Nature and the rest of Creation is considered to be something of lesser value than things “spiritual.”  Such thinking has contributed to the degradation and destruction of the natural world.  Such thinking has also contributed greatly to people’s failure to see God in Creation and the sacredness of the earth.    It seems very important to me that we begin to affirm once again the goodness of God’s Creation.  It will help us all to move in this direction if we can remember that the one who gave his life for us, the Word, is the agent of Creation.  The purpose of his gifts of Creation and sacrificial death are that we might have life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)

–Chuck

(I took the images above at Mount Rainier National Park a couple of weeks ago.)