The Word of God

by mitchellgallery

Dialogues 7

“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 was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:1-4

God spoke, and from an amorphous darkness and void there became the physical manifestation of his words: the universe. “Let there be…” he said, and through the word of God there was creation and existence. Logos, meaning that by which inward thought is expressed and more significantly, inward thought itself, holds the intimate connection between the absolute entity of the divine creator and the created. It is by vocalization that God’s immaterial thoughts are transformed into material creations. The word of God, then, is the instrument and medium of his creative authority. Yet God is absolute, entirely separate from the limits of time and space, and so he is not living in the same manner as it is meant regarding physical substance. Still by active use of language, the word of God is in a sense a living extension of the divine.

The word of God and God himself, however, are not one and the same for one’s speech is not the individual himself just as one is not composed of breathy vocalizations. Rather one’s words reflect the individual, and in the case of God himself, may influence a subject. In this way, the word of God allows the creator to influence the universe by use of language without becoming fully integrated into his material creations himself. Additionally logos, defined as proportion, lends an even stronger sense of relationship between the creator and created. For it would appear that the universe is the material self-expression of God in being a direct result of God’s logos, and it would indeed be appropriate that this relationship is proportional. This is principally seen in the relationship and dominion of God to man and man to animals and as blessed father of a nation, man to his people.

In this there is a striking parallel between vocalization and aspiration. For both the word of God and the “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), which gives animation to man, find a common origin at the mouth of the creator. While breath may be silent, vocalization comes about by breath being expelled from the lungs and mouth. In this, man is more than a physical image of God. He is a reflection of God’s rationality and intelligence, a personified self-expression. This is the distinction between man and animals. For while all living beings are made from the dust of the earth, only man is additionally made from God’s breath of life. In this example, the word of God as palpable breath coming from the mouth of man’s creator is striking in that it would appear that God’s logos is physical. This is an intriguing difference from man’s speech. For man, words themselves are not actually tangible. Yet God’s words which give life to man must be something material. Therefore the word of God is both the instrument by which there is creation and the material by which there is life.

Consequently, God cannot be thought to be entirely transcendent from the physical realm of his created material universe. He is not simply a creator who tinkers and leaves his work to remain separate and independent, and so the universe, while the subject of his creative authority, is not detached from the divinity of God. For it is by the word of God, an active connection from the divine creator to the universe, that there is existence. Moreover, it is by the integrated physical and living extension of God’s logos that there is life at all. In this by the word of God, divinity dwells within the very material of the universe.

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Holly Huey – St. John’s College student

Photo credit: William Blake, Ancient of Days (God Creating the Universe), 1794

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