The Image of His Word
Published Dec. 8, 2011 @ 6 a.m.
One of the more amazing aspects of New Testament Christianity was its insistence upon the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the New Testament teaches that from before the world began Jesus was, and is, and is to come. Philippians 2:6-11 is one of the passages where this is the most evident. The lyrical quality of these verses when read in the Greek leads many to suspect this a hymn or liturgy from the early Church from which Paul is quoting. We know from other instances that Paul often echoes or quotes scripture and other sources he finds to be authoritative without citation. Here Paul proclaims that Jesus, though He was equal with God, willingly emptied himself to be found in form as one of us.
Another such passage occurs in Colossians 1:9-20. Here Jesus is listed as the firstborn of all creation. Now the term "firstborn" may mean that he was considered in chronological time to have been born first but it also could mean that Jesus was born "first in prominence" over all creation. Still, we are told that all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Jesus. The idea is still extant that Jesus was before all things both in time and prominence.
The most forceful passage comes in the prologue of the Gospel of John. Here the Word was in the beginning, with God and is God. The term "word" has often been debated among scholars many of whom in the past linked the idea of "word" to a concept in stoicism of the "ruling principle" in the world. More recent scholarship has begun to identify the Word with the personification of God’s Wisdom in the Old Testament (such as Proverbs 8) and develops the idea that God’s Word (literally spoken) was the agency God used to create the universe according to Genesis 1. Thus Jesus is not only the agency of God’s creation but God’s Wisdom communicated to us.
In all of these things we learn that we are not a mistake. That God’s plan from the beginning was the creation of a people in His Image, the image of His Word. That is to say, God knew who you would be from before creation began and God created you anyway knowing that it would take God’s Son dying to purchase your redemption. When you think that no one loves you consider your Father’s real love given to you in Jesus, the Word made Flesh.