By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.
This is a series of articles to clarify the issue on the status of the “Logos” (Word) of John 1:1, 14. The period we look at is before the incarnation or before the “Logos” became flesh. One side of this issue affirms that the “Logos’was a spirit persona; the other side claims that He was a mere plan, an impersonal idea, or a concept which materialized or concretized with the incarnation of Christ thro the Virgin Mary in A. D. 1
Proposition A is like this: Resolved according to the Bible that the “Logos” of John 1:1, 14 before the incarnation of Christ thro Virgin Mary was a spirit persona.
Proposition B is like this: Resolved according to the Bible that the “Logos” of John 1:1, 14 before the incarnation of Christ thro Virgin Mary was a mere plan or a concept in God’s mind.
A persona is a spirit being/entity or human being/entity that has a mind, a self consciousness, is capable of moral choices and has action.
Angels are persona beings or entities. Human beings are persona entities. Satan the Devil is a spirit being or persona. This writer affirms that Christ, before His incarnation thro Virgin Mary, was a spirit persona, a spirit being, the Second Persona in the Godhead or the Holy Trinity.
When Christ became flesh, He was a persona. In that one persona, Christ had deity in Him as well as humanity in Him. Hypostatic union is the term applied to the union of two natures in the one persona of Christ.
IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY
Determining whether or not Christ was a persona before His incarnation will help clarify the question of Christ’s deity.
After presenting this series #1, one should be able reason out that the Logos in the Book of John is a persona and not an impersonal idea, not a mere plan, not a mere concept in God’s mind.
VERSES TO ANALYZE
For every action, description or attribute mentioned in a passage in this series ask the question: “Does this befit a spirit persona or does it point to an impersonal promised idea?” “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 nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”(John 1:1-4, NKJV) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1:14 NKJV)
Points to consider:
(a) Scholars and translators of the KJV and the NKJV all feel that the “Logos” (in the Greek text) which is translated Word in English are capitalized in John 1:1 &14; 1 John 1:1 and Rev. 19:13 because, as grammarians, they felt it is a proper noun, the name of a Persona as stated in Rev. 19:13.
(b) The preposition “with” (“pros” in the Greek text) points to the location of the Logos in relation to God (Father) which was “beside” or “face to face” with God. Were the “Logos” an impersonal idea or a verbalized concept, the preposition should be “in” according to the rule in grammar.
(c) The personal pronouns “Him” which refer to the “Logos” according to the rule in grammar should refer to a persona in prose literature, and not to an impersonal idea, plan, promise or concept.
(d) The act of creating (bring animate entities and inanimate objects into existence from nothing) is more logically assigned to a persona rather than to an impersonal idea or a plan. This act of creating by and through the “Logos” is sufficiently supported by Colossians 1:16-17 which reads, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Hebrew 1:10-12; Psalm 102:25-27 point to Christ as creator of the heavens and the earth.
The above passages clearly prove the existence of the “Logos” as a persona before He became flesh, before he became a human being.
Here is a brief summary on the three major usages of the term logos from Thayer’s Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 380-82:
I. As respects to SPEECH: a word, what some one has said, discourse, what is communicated by instruction, anything reported in speech, thing spoken of, and a thing spoken about;
II. Its use as respects to the MIND alone: reason, account, reckoning, in relation to, cause;
III. In several passages in the writings of John how “logos” denotes the essential WORD of God, i.e. the personal (hypostatic) wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in the creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah and shone forth conspicuously from his words and deeds.