Christ, the Beginning of Creation – Part V
by Fr. Maximilian M. Dean
[To see the full article on one page visit Appendix: Christ the Beginning]
The Incarnate Word “ab initio” (1 Jn 1:1-3)
Another useful passage for our discussion, brilliant as it is brief, comes from the first Epistle of St. John. In the “Prologue,” we could say, of his first Epistle there is a strong and clear confirmation of what we have been saying. Here are his words:
“I write of what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled: of the Word of Life. And the Life was made known and we have seen, and now testify and announce to you, the Life Eternal which was with the Father and has appeared to us. What we have seen and have heard we announce to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us, and that our fellowship may be with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Note well his message: The Evangelist is speaking of the Word of Life who was “from the beginning” [Latin: ab initio; Greek: ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς] and “was with the Father” [apud Patrem]. These expressions are in strict parallel with the Prologue of his Gospel. Yet here it is self-evident that the Word of which he is speaking, that Word which was from the beginning and was before the Father, is Incarnate! This Word has been “heard” with the ears, “seen” with the eyes, and “handled/touched” with the hands. Obviously he is not speaking of the Word in Himself in so far as He is God, as considered apart from the Incarnation in His Divinity. No, he is clearly speaking to us of the Word which “has appeared” and is visible, the Word Incarnate, namely Jesus Christ. Therefore, if John speaks to us of Christ, the Son of man, as the Word “from the beginning” and as “with/before the Father” in his first Epistle, this means that this should be the authentic interpretation of the Prologue of his Gospel where he speaks to us precisely of the Word “in the beginning” who was “with God” [apud Deum].
To be continued…