The Beginning of the Gospel According to John
B.The Beginning of the Gospel According to John
Taking the beginning of the Gospel according to John as evidence for Jesus’ (PBUH) divinity, “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.”(John 1/1-3), made scholars point out many important points:
- Scholars brought to our attention, that the writer of this Gospel had plagiarized this passage from Philo Alexandrian (40 C.E.). Phelisian Shali says, “The idea of the Word (logos) comes from the Stoical philosophers and from the Jewish philosopher (Philo), and borrowed from these creeds and theories by Saint Justin, and, by the writer of the first lines of the Gospel, which is attributed to Saint John.
Scholars believe that the term (word) with its philosophical structure is different from Jesus’ (PBUH) culture, the simplicity of his words, and the language of his disciples, especially John whom the Book of Acts describes as illiterate and slang-spoken. It says,“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” (Acts 4/13)
- Deedat mentioned that there is a fabrication in the English translation, which is the origin of all other translations of the Holy Bible.
To understand the passage clearly, the prominent scholar Deedat brings us back to the Greek original codex.
The actual translation of that passage is, “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God”. The Greek translation uses the word (hotheos), which translates as “God”, in English with the capital ‘G’ referring to the real divinity.
The passage continues saying, “the word was god”, here, the Greekoriginal uses the word (tontheos). The English translation should use the word (god) with a small letter, to indicate the figurative divinity as the Bible uses in many places; I will list a few examples below.
In the Book of Exodus, we read,“I have made you like God to Pharaoh”(Exodus 7/1).
When he was talking about the devil that Paul called him the “god of age”, who blinded the mind of the unbelievers (see, Cor.2 4:4). The Greek original used the word (tenthoes) in Paul’s Epistle, and it translated to (god) in English, using the indefinite article (a).
The Holy Bible English translators changed the Greek passage of John’s Gospel, using the word “God” which refers to the real divinity, instead of (god) which refers to the figurative meaning, which makes the confusion in this passage, and that - without doubt – is a kind of fabrication.
Some translations realized this mistranslation and used the correct form of the word; one of them is the New World Translation, in its various universal translations, it says, (and the word was a god).
In addition, I have designated a special appendix to show the distortion in many different copies in reading this word. Some of what I mentioned is, “In John’s sentence, whether the Word or Logos was (god) or (divine) or (as god), does not mean that God was with God; it is only a characteristic of the Word or Logos, and it does not determine its identity as God Himself”.
I quoted from Phillip Horner, a writer in the Holy Bible Literature Magazine, his saying in (volume 92/87), “I think the description indication in (John 1:1) is so obvious, we cannot consider the name definite”
In his Commentary on John’s Gospel, the Egyptian priest Matta Al Meskeen said,
“Here the word (God), in the Greek origin, came without the definite article (the)… and since the word (the God) means the whole self. In the second sentence, (the word was god), it is to show the nature of the Word, that it is divine, and does not mean that it is God himself.
Be cautious not to read (God) with the definite article (the) in the sentence, (the word was god). In that case, there will be no difference between the Word and God; consequently, there will be no difference between the Father and the Son. That is the heterodoxy from Sabelius, who said that it is only names, while the Christian belief says: the hypostasis in God is distinctive, the Father is not the Son, nor the Son is the Father, each hypostasis has his special divine function, thus, God is not the Word and the Word is not God.”
Even If scholars ignored all that, many things in the passage prevent Christians taking it as evidence of Jesus’ divinity:
First:what does the word “beginning”, mean? The Christians’ answer is “the eternity”.
That is not strong evidence, as the word “beginning” comes in the Holy Bible with many other meanings:
-The beginning of creation, as mentioned in “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”(Genesis 1/1)
Jesus’ (PBUH) description of the devil, that he existed from the beginning,“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8/44)
What Matthew said quoting Jesus (PBUH), when he was debating the Jews,“They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”(Matthew 19:7-8) meaning, “That was not permitted when the creation began”. The beginning of creation is a created moment and not eternity, which may precede any time.
-The word “Beginning” also means a period, as mentioned in Luke,“just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us.”(Luke 1/2), means in the beginning of Jesus’ (PBUH) mission.
Likewise, John’s saying, “Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.” (John (1) 2/7)
When Jesus (PBUH) answered the Jews when they asked him, is similar,“So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.” (John 8/25)
These uses of the word “beginning” do not mean “eternity”, but it means, “Created specific time”.
Thus, Christians do not have the right to say that the word “beginning” means “eternity”, unless they can prove it undisputedly.
Second:what does the word “Word” mean? Does it mean Jesus (PBUH), or does it have other meanings?
In fact, the Holy Bible mentioned the word “Word” indicating different meanings, some of them are as follows:
- The Holy Bible uses it to indicate God’s Books and His inspiration, “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah.”(Luke3/2),“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8/21), “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” (Rom. 9/6)
- It uses it to indicate the divine orders and authority, which made the creatures. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. … For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalms 33/6-9)
That is the reason that Jesus (PBUH) was called a word, because he was created by Allah’s (S.W) command, without any human reason (meaning without a father), or because he declared Allah’s (S.W) word.
- Allah’s (S.W) word can also mean His promise; prophet Jeremiah told about the Israelite people and their urging for the day of curse and punishment, which Allah (S.W) had promised them.“Behold, they say to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come!" I have not run away from being your shepherd, nor have I desired the day of sickness.” (Jeremiah 17:15-16)
Jesus (PBUH), according to this, is Allah’s (S.W) word, meaning he is the promised word, the good tidings that Allah (S.W) had foretold us by his prophets. (Peace be upon them)
The Christians claimed meaning of the word “Word”, which is “Logos”, as the second hypostasis of Trinity, does not exist in all the prophet’s books.
Third: the sentence “and the word was God”, indicates that Jesus (PBUH) was called as God, the same as the judges in the Torah, “God has taken His place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods He holds judgment. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? (Psalms 82:1),
David (PBUH) called the Jewish nobles gods, “I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise” (Psalms 138:1)
Allah (S.W) told Moses about Aaron (PBUT),“He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.” (Exodus. 4:16), and the same for others as stated previously.
Fourth:his saying “the word was with God”, the word ‘with’ here is a preposition; it neither means sameness nor equality. It means Allah (S.W) created the word, as Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD.” (Gen. 4:1 KJV). Cain is not equal to Allah (S.W) or like Him, even though he came from Allah (S.W). The same meaning came in another passage. “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. (Gen. 19:24)