John 1:3 – the Word Who Creates

Gospel of John

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

All things came into being through Him. Now we have added the notion of creation. The word who is to become flesh (v.14) is the Creator. However, His activity as creator is not His identity. His identity is that He is God, and with God. Unity and division at once.

All things indicates things such as:
physical universe
rationality and rational constructs such as mathematics and logic
physical life
spiritual life
heavenly realm and heavenly creatures
Paul gives us a similar idea, a little more fleshed out:

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:15

Apart from Him: There is no other agent of creation. No mysterious multiverse can account for the personal rational design that is in evidence in our existence. He is the sole creator, the one and only architect and builder of existence. Apart from Him nothing has come into being.

In the Greek, incredibly, there is no actual word for “create”. The translators inserted the words “came into being”. It just says, “All things were by Him”. I think we can read into this that while John strongly indicates that God created all things, His primary identity is not that of a Creator but of a Word who is with and was God. Like a cobbler who does not think of himself in terms of shoes but in terms of family and church and civic responsibility, but does a fine job of making and repairing shoes, so is God. He is the Father of a Son, and the Son of a Father, and similarly of fellowship with the Spirit:

John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Before any other thing came into being, there was the Logos and God, and there was love and satisfaction there. There was glory given; beauty and joy. He was with God, and He was God, and peripherally, He brought all things into being. Creation is something He did, but it is not His identity.

It is this God who is not defined in His role as Creator, that created.

God, then, is the one who brings everything else into existence, but who is not himself brought into being by anything. He is the uncaused cause. That is who he is. God is, essentially, The Creator, The One in Charge. It all sounds very reasonable and unobjectionable, but if I do start there, with that as my basic view of God, I will find every inch of my Christianity covered and wasted by the nastiest toxic fallout. First of all, if God’s very identity is to be The Creator, The Ruler, then he needs a creation to rule in order to be who he is. For all his cosmic power, then, this God turns out to be pitifully weak: he needs us. And yet you’d struggle to find the pity in you, given what he’s like.

Michael Reeves, delighting in the Trinity

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