2: God, Owner or Father? (John 1:3)
2: God: Owner or Father (John 1:3)
In his first two verses, John answers the question: “Who was here first?” This settles the issue of rights. Who is the most important person in the universe? The One who was there in the beginning. Divine rights come before and supersede human rights. Divine rights are the context in which all the rights of the cosmos, including human rights are decided upon.
Now John moves to the next most important question: “Who made everything?”
In doing so, he continues to follow the format, deliberately, of Genesis 1 which states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
John writes: “all things through Him came into being (were caused to be)” (John 1:3a).
This statement also has no contradiction to it. As Theos (God), the Logos (the Word) was the channel through which all things came into being. The concept of the universe was devised in the heart of God; the Logos was the person through whom those ideas became a reality.
“And without Him nothing came into being that came into being” (John 1:3b).
There is an emphasis here on the word “nothing”. Literally expanded it means: “not even one thing came into being without Him.” This tells us two things:
1. God (Theos) and the Word (Logos as Theos), did not “come into being”. In other words they were always there. If “not even one thing came into being without Him”, that obviously includes God Himself. He cannot have brought Himself into being and therefore nothing brought Him into being. In other words, He always was.
2. Everything that exists came from Him. Mankind has produced many things, some of them are truly remarkable to our eyes. But in truth we didn’t “bring them into being” from nothing. We created them from what is already created. It is part of our human frustration that we cannot create something out of nothing. Only God can.
A child believes that “I was here first” should give them certain rights and privileges. Children also believe (a belief that does not change in adulthood) that “I made it” gives us ownership of what we have made. The only exception to this is if we have been commissioned or paid by someone else to make it, or if we sell it once we have made it.
There is a sense of ownership that comes with God as creator.
“For He made us, we are His, the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3).
In a very real sense He does own everything, including us. “We are His”. A maker can only give up ownership by selling what he has made, or giving it away to someone else. God has done neither with us. In one sense, we cannot take true ownership of our lives or pass that on to the devil or anyone else. We are not ours to sell.
However the Bible deliberately steers the emphasis away from God’s rights of ownership. The God of the Bible does not create with “ownership” in mind as we understand the term. The phrase “bring into being” has more to do with a fathering than a creating. This is not simply something fashioned by the hands, something created for a particular purpose or adornment like a tool or a piece of pottery. “Bring into being” implies something that comes from the inside of someone, something born not made.
This makes God not simply a creator who oversees creation as the rightful owner. He is a Father who brings the world to birth from His innermost being, putting Himself, literally, into everything He makes. This is then a world not born out of some need to own or have dominion, but out of deep desire, out of love.
This is the truth about all of us. All of us “came into being through the Word”. We were all conceived in the heart of God before we were conceived in the wombs of our mothers and, at the right time, that passion for our existence welled up in the heart of God and we were “brought into being” through Christ.
He (the Logos) is not then merely the executive director of some great divine project, He is the birth canal of God. All things came into being through Him! We all came into being through Him. We were Fathered into existence by God Himself.
Things are birthed not merely created. In science, in the arts, in all the creative disciplines things are birthed out of relationship.
I have a background in music. Musical composition comes about through many different avenues of relationship. It could be human relationship, with a mentor, or particular teacher, or someone else who has impacted your life. It could be relationship with nature, or environment or circumstances that influences the writing. Whatever the genre or form, it all comes from relationships between the composer and other elements that influence them.
We do not have the gift to create simply out of ourselves. We are part of a complex web of relationships out of which we create, whether we want to admit it or not. Neither can we create from nothing. We can only pro-create, using what we already have to create something else. But even then we pro-create in relationship with whatever surrounds us or what we surround ourselves with.
In contrast, God creates from nothing. It is essential we believe that, because it is necessary for true faith: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
But even then it was created in and through relationship.
No, not merely created, it was “brought into being”, it was birthed, out of relationship. Three Persons expressing their perfect love for each other by bringing to birth a wonderful creation, out of nothing except the loving imagination of their hearts.
Who made everything? God did through the Logos, Who is also God.
How did He create everything? By birthing it through relationship from His heart.
What difference does that make?
It means that we don’t have a creator God who is demanding allegiance of us because He owns us.
We have a wonderful Father in heaven who is offering relationship to us because He loves us.Posted on: February 1, 2017Peter Todd