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The Word Became Flesh

03 Jun

John 1:14 NASB  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (emphasis mine)

Herein is the climax of the preceding verses. The Word became flesh. In the Greek the verb became (G1096ginomai), is in the aorist middle tense. This means that the action is not continuous. That is to say, the Word was not continuously becoming flesh throughout Jesus’ life. It means that whatever the Word was became flesh once and for all. The aorist middle tense also represents the subject as acting upon himself, as in the case of Judas in Matthew 27:5, where he went out and hanged himself. In that verse hanged would be in the aorist middle tense, and Judas did this to himself.

My point in bringing out this grammatical point is to make clear that our heavenly Father did not make the Word flesh or, as the Biblical Unitarian[1] (BU hereafter) argument requires, make the plan flesh. The Word became flesh. This must mean the Word was already in existence and acted upon himself and became flesh. In what sense, then, would God be called Jesus’ Father? It is in the sense of his being the eternal Father of the eternal Son. The Son proceeds from the Father (John 8:42), and the Father eternally generates the Son. The Scripture is very clear that Jesus was at one time in the glorious form of God (Philippians 2:6), but set this aside to take upon himself the form of a bondservant – a mere man (Philippians 2:7). Indeed the Father did form the human body of Jesus within the womb of Mary (Hebrews 10:5), but the Greek language in John 1:14 shows that the Word acted upon himself in order to become flesh. This could never be so, if the Word of John 1:1 were a plan, such as the BUs suggest. Furthermore, as is stated above, the aorist tense reveals that the Word became flesh once and for all. It is not a continuous action that took place throughout Jesus’ ministry. Neither could this be so if the Word was originally the plan of God, because such a plan would have to be continually revealed in the life of Jesus throughout his human ministry. Therefore, the BU argument is again without Scriptural support.

Non-Trinitarians accuse Trinitarians of idolatry, saying the doctrine was developed from pagan mysticism, where three gods are said to have been the rulers of the universe. I have to wonder, if such people understand the implications of their own teaching. They claim that Jesus is a mere man. The sin of Genesis 3 was that man reached out on his own to be like God. What is the difference, if one says the sin of man was that he presumed to be like God through his own effort or saying Jesus, the man, had actually done it? I may not be able to do it but Jesus (a man) did! Is this not idolatry? The BUs would not say Jesus is a god (small ‘g’) as the Jehovah Witnesses do, but they do say that Jesus (a man) is so like God that it can be said, if one saw Jesus, this one would be seeing God! How is this not idolatry, unless Jesus is actually God manifest? This is not saying that Jesus was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), in the sense that his outward form was the image of God. This is saying that Jesus embodied the whole character of God (Hebrews 1:3).[2]

I realize Jesus said he did nothing of himself, that it was his Father doing the works (John 8:28). However, if all that was needed for a man to become the Savior of the world was to be fully yielded to God, how is it that only one made it? Surely, if a mere man could do such a thing more than one out of the innumerable masses of people who had come from Adam would have done so. If it were possible for any man to become like God, certainly another would have attained such an honor. After all, if it was God’s will for Jesus to be the exact image of God, and Jesus was only a man, it would have been God’s will for anyone to so accurately represent him. Something has to be lacking in man since the rebellion in Eden to have kept him from becoming his own savior. Even after the coming of Christ, those of us who claim the true God as our God still do not completely yield ourselves to him. Yet, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, an advantage our brethren under the Old Covenant did not have. If any man could do what Jesus did through the power of the Father, why hasn’t it ever been done before or after Jesus? In fact, Scripture tells us that all men have sinned, except Jesus (Romans 3:23; 5:12; Hebrews 4:15). If Jesus is unique, in what way is he unique, if he is merely a man?

Indeed, the Father did do the works (John 8:28), but it was Jesus’ will for all this to occur. Unless Jesus was a robot, he was purposefully yielded to the Father. This submission in itself must be regarded as the character of God (Hebrews 1:3). Remember, if we see Jesus, we see the Father (John 14:9). If Jesus’ own submission expresses what the Father is like, to whom does the Father submit himself?

My point is that the Father did not cause Jesus to yield to him. Jesus chose to be submissive, because it was his heart’s desire to reveal the Father. If this is not so, then Jesus was an automaton with no choice of his own. If Jesus had to act in such a manner, why would the Father be pleased in him? Why would the Father elevate a robot to the highest authority next to himself (Philippians 2:9-10)? Therefore, though the Father did do the works, Jesus’ submission to the Father was also revealing the fullness of the Godhead as expressed in (Colossians 2:9). If submission is a characteristic of the Godhead, to what or to whom was the Father submitting before he began to create? Love does not demand its own (1Corinthians 13:4-5). If God is Love (1John 4:8), then love would demand that the Persons within the Godhead would be in mutual submission to one another, dwelling in unity. But, if the Godhead is Unitarian, to what or to whom was the Father submitting in eternity past, because Jesus own submission to the Father expresses the character of God (Hebrews 1:3)?

Furthermore, if the Word is the plan, and the plan became flesh, how is it that this plan needed to become obedient (Philippians 2:8) to the Father? If the plan were set to be such and such, it is only logical that it would remain so, if it became flesh. If one programs a computer to act in such and such a manner, the computer will always obey, as long as there is no malfunction. By its very nature, a plan is what it implies, a map or a schematic of the purpose of the engineer who drew it up. Unless it is flawed, how is it possible for a plan to disobey the intent of the engineer? How is it possible for a plan to obey an engineer in the sense that it had a choice of its own? A plan is what it is and nothing more.

In the beginning the Word already existed with God. The fact is, the Word was God, and the Word became flesh – a man – and dwelt with men. If this is not so, John’s prologue is idolatrous. Who but God, dwelling in flesh, could still be God? Who, but God, sits upon the throne of God showing himself that he is God (Revelation 22:1, 3; cp. 2Thessalonians 2:4; Hebrews 10:12; 12:2)?


[1] The Biblical Unitarian website can be found HERE(http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/)

[2] The Biblical Unitarian point of view is this: “It is at this point in the prologue, in John 1:14, that “the Word of God” becomes associated with a particular historical person, Jesus of Nazareth. Up until this verse, the prologue has been dealing with impersonal personification of a concept called the logos, but this verse is the transition from personification to actual person… Jesus is genuinely and utterly a man who so completely incarnates [in a figurative sense] God that the one is the human face of the other.” [J.A.T. Robinson, op. cit., Priority, pp.379-381].

For John, Jesus is really man, but in a unique, all surpassing relationship with God. Anyone who knows him knows the Father. [E. Schillebeechx, Christ: the Christian Experience in the Modern World (E. T., London, 1980), p. 431].

 

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2 Comments

Posted by on June 3, 2011 in Godhead

 

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2 responses to “The Word Became Flesh

  1. wonder08

    August 29, 2014 at 10:16

    My studies has shown me that it all started with God, spirit, the Spoken Word.
    Then God wrote His Word, giving us the Logos, the presence of God.
    Then God made His Word, Logos, flesh and we know Him as Jesus.

    It has been a progressive work of God to revel to mankind who He is. So the spoken Word, written Word, and The Word made flesh is but ONE Word, The Ten Commandments.

    So when we are instructed to put on Jesus, we are being told to wear the Ten Commandments, the very presence of God.

    Why does people seem to try and confuse such simple Truth? ONE LAW for all!

     
    • Eddie

      August 29, 2014 at 12:01

      Greetings and welcome to my blog. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a few thoughts of your own.

      We agree that it all began with God. John 1:1 says as much. If I follow your reasoning that the 10 Commandments are the presence of God (the Logos) then God didn’t begin revealing himself until the time of Moses when the Law was first given to mankind. I don’t believe you are able to prove that the 10 Commandments are the presence of God or the Logos. The fact is, scripture seems to deny that idea. But thank you for your thoughts.

      Lord bless you as you study his word.

       

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