John 1: 1-5, 14 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 that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The first line obviously takes us back to Genesis 1. But verse 2 seems a bit puzzling. “He was in the beginning with God.” I never really understood who “He” referred to. Different translations word it differently, some in such a way that I don’t even notice the peculiarity of the statement. Some feel that the “He” referred to Jesus. But I think that John is making the very metaphysical argument that God’s spoken word was an extension of Himself. His “word” is as divine as his being. And in the beginning…his word created things into being.
As Descartes would say…almost desperately in an attempt to amplify the significance of man…”I think therefore I am.” John’s retort is: God speaks, therefore the world is….and therefore you are. Not really much competition there.
Kinda cool. Ok, moving on to something totally different…
It has to be noteworthy that John chose to quote Genesis here. Literally thousands of years after creation John points us back to that event. We spend lots of time talking about God’s reign over his kingdom. We talk about his perfect perspective. I feel like John is reminding us that God has always been in charge, always been present…and he knows how this story will end.
I had a professor in college make this comparison. He said that the best way to understand God’s transcendence of time was to envision the events of history as though they were a parade passing by. We, sit in the first row watching the parade. Parade floats pass by like the events in our lives. They are huge and they overwhelm when they’re directly in front of us. But prior to their arrival and as they leave, they wane in their influence. God sits in the back row…he can see the entire parade from start to finish. To him, all of the floats are the same size. It’s with that perspective that he perceives events and situations.
It’s almost funny how inappropriate my reactions are to certain “parade floats” in my life. I’m interviewing for a promotion at work right now. It’s a really exciting opportunity for me…one that would be a huge step forward in my career and mean more financial security for my family. It’s all that I can think about sometimes. If I get it…I’ll be elated…at least for a while. And if I don’t…I’ll be sad and angry…also for a while. But right now, it seems so huge. I’m sure God looks at me with pity…knowing how vulnerable I am to these fleeting events. Without hesitation I know what decision I think is right. Hire me! That’s obviously the best thing, right?
I guess that in my sanest, most objective moment…I’m actually glad that I’m not the one in control. I’m glad that there’s someone who can see the end of the parade and all the floats from now until the last. I’m glad that this person is the one deciding what happens to me. He certainly has all of the right information.