"Divinity, pre-existence, and
Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, February 2008, p.4
AMONG THE FOUR Gospels, that of John is the most
explicit in teaching about the deity of Christ. Its very first
statement (John 1:1) provides the key to the correct
understanding of the Lord's true state
of being: that He is God
("and the Word was God"), and that He
pre-existed with God the Father ("in the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God"). Verse 14
reveals another truth about Him: that God
took on a human nature and
became a real human being
like you and me ("And
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us"). Why is it
that your religion does not teach these three basic doctrines
(divinity pre-existence, incarnation) about Christ?
Denver, Colorado, USA
We appreciate your noble intention to get our side
regarding the issues you raised in your letter.
What is spoken of in John 1:1, 14 as being with
God in the beginning is the "Word." Hence, in order to understand
the real message of John 1:1, 14, we should first clarify the
meaning of the term "Word." Does it really refer
to a 'pre-existent Christ' as others allege? No. The Holy
Scriptures prove instead that the "Word" refers to God's
"promise" to send His Son, which He "announced" before:
"Which He promised beforehand through
His prophets in the
holy Scriptures, concerning His Son,
who was born of a descendant of
David according to the flesh" (Rom.
1:2-3, New American Standard Bible, emphasis
announced before through His
prophets in holy writings—concerning
His Son, (who is come of the seed
of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:2-3, Young's Literal
Translation, emphasis ours)
Moreover, Ryrie Study Bible explains that
logos, the Greek equivalent of the term Word"
in John 1:1, 14, means a "thought or
concept" p. 1599). These terms—promise, announcement, thought,
concept—refer to things that are abstract, not yet concrete,
or not yet "made flesh" This is similar to a blueprint for a house,
which is only a plan and not yet a constructed material house.
Clearly, then, the term "Word in John 1:1,
14 is not Christ Himself but the "foreknowledge'*'
or plan of God concerning Christ:
before the foundation of the world, he has
been manifested in the last times for your sakes." (I
Pet. 1:20, Confraternity Version, emphasis ours)
This pronouncement of Apostle Peter that Christ
was "foreknown before the foundation of the world" explains
the statement in the Gospel according to
John, "In the beginning
was the Word." Hence, what was there in the beginning was not
Christ Himself but God's "Word" or foreknowledge
"Foreknowledge" is defined by
the dictionary as "knowledge of a thing before it
happens or exists? (Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary,
If Christ had already been existing before the
foundation of the world, then there would not be any need to
"foreknow" Him. Therefore, the fact that Christ
was foreknown before the foundation of the world
disproves His so-called pre- existence.
What does the clause
"And the Word became flesh" mean then? The "Word" which
was only a thought or plan in the beginning
was fulfilled when Mary gave birth to Jesus (Gal. 4;4) who is "truly human" (I Tim. 2:3 , Contemporary
English Version") or "indeed flesh" (Gen. 6:3).
when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to
him. His Son obeyed the Law, (Gal. 4:4, Contemporary English
We should not
forget that it was the ''Word" which became flesh and not God
Himself. John 1:1 & 14 therefore does not in any way teach that
God became man or that Christ is God incarnate.
So why then did Apostle John state in John 1:1
that "the Word was God"? It is because God is almighty or powerful
(Gen, 35:11), and so are His words (Luke 1:37).
Thus, "the Word was God"
indeed, but not in the sense that the "Word" is another divine being aside from God, but
that it possesses the qualities and attributes of God. In John 1:1
the word "God'' in the clause "the Word was God" is used not as a
noun but as an adjective. That is why in other renditions of the
Bible, such as Moffatt and Goodspeed, John 1:1 states:
"The Word was divine"
THE Logos existed in the very beginning, the
Logos was with God, the Logos was divine. (John 1:1, James Moffatt
In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the
Word was divine. (John 1:1, Goodspeed New Testament)
Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free
to visit the
Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or
an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question
you have in mind.