Five centuries before Christ, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, introduced the concept of the Logos. This term refers to a “universal divine reason, immanent in nature, yet transcending all oppositions and imperfections in the cosmos and humanity. An eternal and unchanging truth present from the time of creation, available to every individual who seeks it.” In effect this represented an attempt to understand and define the force and purpose behind the physical universe. It further hypothesized an internal awareness of the basis for creation which is potentially available universally.
This early philosophical attempt to fathom the mystery of cosmology is very intriguing to any Bible student. The very notion of “God’s Word” or “the Word” permeates the pages of the Bible, reflecting a wide range of apparent ideas. Within Christianity, the church recognizes God’s Word, the Word of God, or the Word as variously referring to God’s commandments, God’s creative and governing force, God’s promise and covenant, the entirety of God’s revelation to mankind, the source of ultimate truth and knowledge, and finally the incarnation of God, Himself, in the form of Jesus Christ.
This last understanding of The Word is especially noteworthy in light of the preceding Greek philosophy. The connection between Christ and The Word is derived from John Chapter One where the writer refers “The Logos” as being God who was made flesh. Since the New Testament was written in Greek, this reference to Christ uses the Greek word (Logos). To further add to the connection between Jesus and the earlier philosophical term, we have the biblical evidence that Jesus was to be a new creator, a benevolent force available to all.
Though many would dismiss Greek philosophers as irrelevant to understanding the Bible, it appears likely that the writer of John was, in fact, building upon and expanding on that philosophy. If that is the case, it adds additional, significant nuance to our picture of Jesus, which we inherit from this writer. Jesus, potentially, becomes above all else, the one who reveals to mankind, as the Word of God, that which has always been available, that which transcends all human differences and associated conflicts.
Jesus then represents the furtherance of God’s eternal purpose which initiated the creation in the first place. The Word or God’s purpose and mystery preceded all that we see. Jesus personified or incarnated the revelation of God’s eternal commitment to that purpose which was declared in the creation account to be “good”, if not “very good”. That leaves no room for “the Word”, in all its various connotations, to convey the meaning of “very bad” or any suggestion of a circumvention of the divine purpose.