What is the Logos?Question: "What is the Logos?"
Answer: Logos is the Greek term translated as “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” In Greek philosophy, it also referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God.
In the New Testament, the Gospel of John begins, “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 any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). Here it is clear that the “Word” or Logos is a reference to Jesus Christ.
John argues that Jesus, the Word or Logos, is eternal and is God. Further, all creation came about by and through Jesus, who is presented as the source of life. Amazingly, this Logos came and lived among us: “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” (John 1:14).
John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” as a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to note many of the attributes of Jesus. In John’s use of the Logos concept, we find that
-Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)
-Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth (“the Word was with God”)
-Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)
-Jesus is Creator (“All things were made through him”)
-Jesus is the Giver of Life (“In him was life”)
-Jesus became human to live among us (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”)
Further, the opening of John’s Gospel carries a striking resemblance to Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
“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…” (John 1:1).
(The corresponding theme of “light” is also used in both Genesis 1 and John 1.)
Logos is used in many ways, yet in John’s Gospel Logos is a clear reference to Jesus, the God who both created us and lived among us. Logos became a theological term important to Christians in the early church and remains a concept of significant influence today.
Recommended Resource: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland
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