Summary: What is "The" word? What is it that glues the universe together? Science? This one is the basic of basics. For Jan 5.
January 5, 2014
A young girl who was writing a paper for school came to her father and asked, “Dad, what is the difference between anger and exasperation?”
The father replied, “It’s mostly a matter of degree. Let me show you what I mean.” With that, the father went to the telephone and dialed a number at random. To the man who answered the phone, he said, “Hello, is Melvin there?”
The man answered, “There’s no one living her named Melvin. Why don’t you learn to look up numbers before you dial them?!”
“See,” said the father, “That man was not a bit happy with my call. He was probably very busy with something and we annoyed him. Now watch!
The father dialed the number again. “Hello. Is Melvin there?”
“Now, look here,” came the heated reply. “You just called this number and I told you there is no Melvin living here. You’ve got a lot of nerve calling me again!” The receiver was slammed down hard.
The father turned to his daughter and said, “You see, that was anger. Now, I’ll show you what exasperation means.”
He again dialed the same number to hear a violent voice roar, “Hello!”
The father calmly said, “Hello, this is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?”
Through the ages since the birth of Christ, humanity has come to the point of exasperation, discussing what it all means and why. Through puffed-up attitudes about ourselves, we need to understand this God thing to make life work correctly. But who can tell us what to do? We are human. We are brilliant. We can figure things out on our own. After all, we have science. Seriously? Are we closer to peace on earth than we were two-thousand years ago?
Like dissertations on truth, not many take on the understanding of “The Word” except to say that the Bible is the Word of God and leave it there. Then there are some who claim God speaks to them and that what they are told in these connections with the Almighty is the word of God, and others had better listen. To religious leaders claiming they have a special connection, I repeat the question posed to my Sunday school teachers, which is; do you expect me to live my life by what you say? If you do, you had better be right.
Some claim that the Bible is not the Word of God, that the Bible only points us to the Word. The same ones relay their belief that the Word is Jesus Christ, and that by following Messiah we have the connection we need.
We have explanations that should connect us to basic understanding, such as the words of Messiah himself, amplified by the likes of the Gospel writers and learned theologians among us since Bible times. Still, there are theories and ideas about what the Word of God should mean to us. Top all that with tradition and denominational thinking and we see that confusion rules while we are told that we are redeemed through all that confusion. Heaven help us!
There is much agreement with those most familiar with the Bible, that if there were only two books available to us we would do best with Genesis and John. Such thought certainly rings true with me! These two books are where we find attempts to teach us the foundation of everything, starting with that two-word phrase, “The Word.”
It is fitting then, that we begin the New Year with a serious yet elementary look at John the first chapter, from verse one through 18. Here we find the basic understanding of God and His role in the universe, the world and with mankind. It’s either foolish or brave to take on such task of explaining these verses. Decide at the end which it is for me.
The beginning of the Gospel of John reads like this; “The Word was in the beginning, and that very Word was with God, and God was that Word.” Greek for “word” is log’-os, meaning “something said, including thought, topic, reasoning, motive, computation, intent, talk, tidings, utterance, word and work. Log’-os comes from leg’-o, yes, the word used by the toy makers, but means in scriptural context, “to lay forth and relate, or break silence.” What is behind the “Word?” We can obviously see that intelligence, thought, reasoning, intent and even work, which means order and ability to create, support the very meaning. The Greek understanding of God is, “The supreme Divinity, a magistrate, exceeding, with an emphasis on ‘the.’” The “magistrate” portion means one entrusted with administration of the laws. Is this what God is? There is an interconnection involving understandings and yes, even work, to see the complexity and simplicity of God.