Lessons from John 1: When Only God Existed
What do you do when you are confronted by something you cannot explain but you are told is true? What was it like when only God existed?
Do you take it as a challenge to investigate in order to prove your point or belief? Or are you one of those who says, “I can’t or won’t believe it until I can prove it”?
Or maybe you are one who takes what you know to be true and are willing to wait until the rest is revealed.
For the majority of us, we are more likely to believe something if someone we know and trust tells us.
And then there are some who need to see it, even though they don’t fully understand it. If they see it in action they are more likely to believe it.
For example, I do not know exactly how electricity works, but I do know that when I plug in my blow dryer and curling iron, they both work. But without being connected to the source, they do not. I also do not have a full understanding of aerodynamics, though my son, who is fascinated by this, often tries to explain it to me. But what I do know or understand is that I see planes take off and land safely because of the science of aerodynamics.
I also am not quite sure how, when I have a headache or toothache or muscle soreness, I take some form of Ibuprofen and I feel better.
I may not fully understand how these things work, but I know them to be true. And the demonstration of them also proves them to be true.
Today John will reveal to us some truths that, though we may not be able to fully explain them, we can know them to be true. John will also bring forth a witness to verify these facts, while challenging us to believe what he says.
John and I will ask you to take from this lesson something that is very difficult to understand, though it is verifiably true and that is:
Jesus Christ is God, the eternal Creator, who gives life and light.
For the purpose of the next few lessons, I have broken the first 18 verses of John 1 into four divisions.
- I. The Word~John 1:1-5
- II. The Witness~John 1:6-9
- III. The Will~John 1:10-13
- IV. The Incarnation~John 1:14-18
These first 18 verses are known as the prologue, which simply means they are meant to introduce the theme of the book. And like many books which we read, John stated his primary purpose and main aim for his writing at the end of the book, in John 20:31.
There John stated, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
When Only God Existed
So it is fitting that John uses these opening verses to take us back to the beginning. Not just the beginning of time as we know, but to a time when everything as we know it was not. A time when only God existed!
It also points us back to the opening words in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
John adds to that element of truth by stating that before Genesis 1:1 took place, something else was going on. John adds that even before the creation of the world… “was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2).
John does not use Jesus’s name here. Instead he speaks of Jesus as the Word, which is the Greek word logos. John uses this four times in these first 18 verses. The first three are found in the first verse and the other will appear later in verse 14.
John wrote to believers everywhere, both Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). And many in his original audience would have had a Greek background. John knew that the Greek culture encouraged the worship of many mythological gods, whose supernatural characteristics were as important to the Greeks as genealogy was to the Jews.
So John uses this Greek term to show that Jesus is not only different from these mythical gods, but that He was superior to them.
Yet the Jews too would have been familiar with this term, “The Word.” They had experience in the OT with words coming from God’s mouth. And for them, (the Jews), they would have related John’s term as synonymous with God Himself.
I found it very interesting and enlightening as I took the name of Jesus and inserted it in place of the Word.
Won’t you do this exercise with me?
This very exchange of the name of God points us to the fact that the Word, the Eternal Son of God, was indeed before all things.
Colossians 1:15 tells us that He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”
You can’t have one without the other! Revealing to us the eternal being of God the Father and God the Son and, if I may add, God the Holy Spirit.
So we learn that God exists outside of time. He is superior to all. He has always been and will always be and there is no one like Him. And not only is He eternal and superior to all, He is also the Creator.
In verse 3, John points us to the fact that not only was He (Jesus) before all things, but also that all things were made through Him. The scripture states that, “without him nothing was made that has been made.”
In other words, He created everything that ever was, is, and will be.