FIRST MEAN PRIORITY
What does this mean, in John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word and he Word was with God and the Word was God — Nothing exists without this Word?
In the beginning, God announced the news to Himself! "Watch the beginning of EVERYTHING!
SUNRISES! SUNRISES AND SUNSETS COMING! SWIMMING IN SUMMERTIME IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER! WHEELS ON THE DUSTY ROAD AHEAD! FRESH PEACHES IN THE NEWS TODAY! CHERRIES, LAUGHTER! PLUMS, KISSES! TUNES AND RHYTHMS! DEBATES ABOUT ENGINEERED SEEDS! THERE'S STEEL AND IRON HIDDEN OVER THERE FOR SKYSCRAPERS! GREEN LIMES! GRASS FOR THATCH! EYES TO READ, FLIRT! EARS TO WHISPER INTO! POMEGRANATES! ROMAN NOSES! CHEDDAR CHEESE AND CAROWAY!"
God announced everything with the Word of Life. His most clearly executed point of argument for Himself and His message to Earth was made in the flesh, the personification of Himself, the person of Jesus. This was, is, LOGOS.
Christ was already in the beginning, however, not created by God, but being God. Is God. Jesus, the Christ, is not only the Savior, but was this LOGOS Who summoned it all into existence! Colossians 1:1618 explains that in Christ all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. Christ is before all things, and in Christ, all things hold together. He is also the head of the Church, the first to rise from the dead so that in everything, He has the preeminence in and for Life!
I can see it now. God the Father and God the Word breathed — in the beginning, light appeared on the waft of Holy Spirit. Three Persons, One Front, so unified that They could only be separated for one sacred purpose. And, even on that painful separation, They were agreed.
His Word didn't fall with gravity from lips, but lifted, creating our planetary spheres along with earth's boundaries. He purposely planted objects.
The Word began to fill up the void with the sound and the activity of an announcement that bred results. God's own language began to shine, to find life – ongoing life.
Notes on the page began to sing their tones, their lengths, their harmonies, and together they scattered upward into the heavens, a choir! The waters of the heavens were layered for God's purposes by another word and they began to flow. The sea was then separated from the dry land. Animals were created — each after their kind — on another breath, another heavenly word. The seeds and leafy vegetation began to spring from the earth and curl into colorful whorls on another spiritual exhale, another word of inspiration. And then, God formed flesh. In God's image, both male and female.
I'm so curious. How did God breathe His full expressive Self into the flesh of Christ thousands of years later? How did God insert the LOGOS into a living, written Word that lies published on a coffee table or bookshelf or on a desk seemingly inert, or in a pocket of so many? Was God's language only a verbal expression, "the Word"? Did it include physical energy flung like stones into a pool, some physiological communication?
Referring to "The Word" in a biblical sense is a mystery to Earthlings. We search our alphabet for symbols and references of connotations to the "logos" or "LOGOS" because it is difficult to understand the term, the God-breathed WORD.
I happen to love definitions and connotations of words. When I looked up the term, "word" the meaning of this verse opened up to me.
The Word translated does not mean an English language noun. It does not mean that the Word existed only after Gutenberg's first publishing of the Bible.
It does not mean that God generated His impressions only to the left side of the human brain, which tends to control aspects of language and logic, or to the right side of the brain, which tends to handle spatial and visual comprehension.
Logos, in its essential definition, means the Essential Point of Expression or Argument. In this case, the biblical author, John, uses the term, logos, creatively by giving it living, personal powers applying it to the greatest argument for the living God, the incarnation of God, the begotten Son, best human, fully lit up for all to see!
"Word" is actually an incredibly bad translation of LOGOS. The specific term, logos, in Greek philosophy, means "the central defining principle, the idea of an argument or philosophy" — in fact, it is the hub upon which all else within the system turns! The Wikipedia entry for logos is quite good. Logos is a term that would have been commonly known among the people to whom John, the disciple of Jesus, was writing. Then, John personified logos into LOGOS.
So, in the beginning of Earth, our Father God and God the Son expressed what the Godhead wanted the world to know through 1) personally mingling with, walking, and talking with those created in His image, and 2) by lavishing on them a perfectly-created universe and the human form with perfectly working systems, expressions, and a will to act bodily, and 3) by offering a unified form of necessary imagination and communication to people: the elegant and sword-like word of God full of history, math, law, natural science, prophecy, injunction, psychology, mercy, testimony, and justice. "Word" was the argument passed from generation to generation tucked inside of image, song, drawing, story, human example, nature, and writings.
The Word then, in every other sense of creative expression, is everything else – all the bits and pieces - that God wants us to know about Himself; from the gifts of music which evoke rooted emotions without lyrics, to the ever-changing projections of His hand and eye coordination in nature, and in the heavens and the earth, to the comical animals and fierce, to the fragrant and shady foliage, in diverse human abilities made in His image and imagination, and in the continuing recreation of this world's cycle of each day and night. The heavens declare the glory of God! His harvests provide food for hungry mouths showing the Father's care.
In the expression of God's law, ordinances, His statutes, His poetry, His drama, and peace in a variety of testimonies, stories, and letters of love contained in the Bible that the oil flows. All of this is God's intentional Word to us.
How safe are we as co-creators, as copycats of Christ, if He is the Head of the Church, if He goes before us in every creative aspect and also sits as the preeminent judge of all?
Discovering these bookends, my insecurities about my desires to create, the process of creating and researching whatever I was creating, the editing of what I'd created and the length of time it took to express myself properly, the space taken up in my room, the messes! ... I then stopped apologizing.
Instead, I focused on how to make everything I do, write, eat, drink, rule, sing, love, and whom I serve to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Artists are not necessarily lazy. We live midst tensions of the unknown, in distractions of creating, in sin and glory.
Previously, I was used to interrupting my own creative processes to answer the phone or doorbell, to do something more pragmatic, or more pressing, more fun, or more financially necessary. I would always turn off my music when a friend or family member joined me in my own car. I was a conflicted soul. Aren't most creatives? If someone asked me, "Whatcha doin'?" I'd say, "Oh, nothing. What are you doing?" to deflect the attention away from having to explain my art, my songwriting, or my poetic processes. I didn't yet understand the priority that God Himself put on creativity in the beginning.
FIRST ISN'T EVERYTHING, BUT FIRST IS PARAMOUNT.
In the beginning, God revealed Himself by creating His heart's desire. The Father and Holy Spirit did this with the best form of persuasion. This was love. God gives all of Earth a sense of belonging. God's creative joy mingled with the first humans, almost as though a writer had joyfully entered His own plot and became a character in the story.
Do you argue that Creation was first more of necessity than priority? But an author sets the rules of His created world, and in the case of Earth, God's rationale was to create first, and the finest creativity was set into a pocket of belonging to Him. He is our creative hub. Knowing Him begets His secrets!
In the beginning, there was, and is, The Being. There was, and still is, The Being's energetic self-expression. Creating. Persuading. Through His artistic activity in nature, and through many chips off the old block, in specific forms of communication, the revealed LOGOS welcomed human beings and expressed Himself as their place of belonging. He offered this belonging to anyone in the world, for God so loved the world.
Now I see that one phrase, "In the beginning" is combined with a second phrase, "God created". These phrases are found in the first book of the Bible. First, First, First. The first book of the Holy Bible. First in our time (beginning), first in God's activity on our behalf (He is First). God's Word was effectively creating (wording, speaking, breathing, expressing) the light and the cosmos, going forth from the corporate office, Godhead. God's creativity skillfully set the stage for salvation.
WHAT MAKES US SO IMPORTANT?
In one extraordinary move, God said, "Let's make someone like us." He differentiated this living being, however, from the minerals of the earth, from all the flora, fauna, from breathing-yapping-willful-emotional animals procreating after their own kind, and from the asexual sun, moon, singing stars, and orbiting planets, by anointing the first man and woman with a measure of His own creativity! "I want family!" God declared. With a breath of His inspiration, humanity received layers of gifts: inspiration, imagination, the ability to love, to learn. "Belonging" was defined as an ability to know Him personally, be with the One who knows all things, to walk, and play in His gifts.
Creativity came prior to salvation, to evangelism, to preaching, and teaching. The Son was God's creative power expressing His heart for a story and a place of belonging for the first flesh. In the beginning, the incomprehensible Being (Psalm 145:3; Revelation 4:8) expressed His attributes and benefits in the incredible architecture of the ongoing universe with particularly measured and engineered systems so that it became a place of belonging for us.
We inherited His legacy of wisdom, a purposeful cunning, to understand and implement aspects of the LOGOS ourselves. Without creativity, nothing exists. When mortals speak with God's blessing, a higher meaning, purpose, character, delight, and intrigue infuses itself. Thinking analytically, we can understand and implement science, books, other designed things, and more love.
Humanity received the first body with fingers to wield tools and to put inspirations into existence, to create things. Otherwise, how would all this inspiration find a useful expression, an outlet? God also provides a reward of glory for all who continue ruling with Him, creatively, ingeniously. Throughout the day, glory breaks off bits of itself, like bread crumbs, dropping a trail of joy in our processes, leading on to the big Shivoo! And, Joy is better than happiness. It is the present assurance of the glory to come, no matter what.
The Godhead also communicated through mighty, ferocious wonders in nature to which we often become accustomed. We may analyze wonders away scientifically, as if God didn't design physics, to explain why natural wonders occur. We may also, however, experience these wonders in human awe.
LOGOS created the human mind to capture and direct paths of electricity, velocity, biological genes and viruses, make engines, imagine wheels, design homes, plumbing, space shuttles ... God gave us measures of His own creative intelligence! However, God's own particular glory is reserved for Himself alone. We sense hints of glory in the feats (first miracles) purposed of God for displaying His love and glory.
It was only when Adam and Eve broke confidence with their Creator, that God's Spirit separated from them. God is Holy and cannot mingle with sin. But, out of love and goodness, He devised another means of expression to divulge Himself through a loquacious covenant. This covenant over us required theatrical rituals, purposeful sacrifices, and community laws and festivals to allow those He loved to gain access to Him, to gain honesty for ourselves, and compassion for each other. Because sin was released and began to mar the first perfection, God would implement mighty works and wonders for the rescue of His loved ones.
In God's creation, He contemplated rescue for any who grew deaf, blind, stupid, lost, or paralyzed. He even contemplated resuscitating the dead. This is primarily God's creativity. If you have been taught, that winning souls is a fruit of the Spirit, check again. The nine fruits of the spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Benedictine monks would call these practices 'the conversation of life.'
It wouldn't surprise me to discover that as we are working out our own salvation by practicing these spiritual characteristics in artistic endeavors, in writing, and in the stressors of life's interactions with others, that some winning is done. However, if you are a creative, practice creating in the spiritual tree that bears biblical fruits, and prayerfully leave the aim of another's conversion up to God.
FIRSTS. What does it mean in time, in priority, in the act of doing, to have a first child?
We know that in biblical history the first child obtained the first and best, most complete blessing. The first male was dedicated to God because God claimed him (Exodus 13:2; 22:29-31; 34:19). He was destined to assume the role of family leader, given authority, double inheritance, and special rights. The Law forbade the disinheriting of the firstborn (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). The first animal to breach the womb was to be sacrificed to God or redeemed by an offering as an act of faith and tribute to the Provider of life and Sustainer (Exodus 34:19).
When God reached over the first to bless the second child or the last, He was making quite a statement which made news at least twice in the Bible. Jacob and Esau experience it (Genesis 25:21-26), and Jacob later reenacted the experience with Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13-22). Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but his rights as the firstborn were taken away because of sin (Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4). These instances were recorded in history because the rule of firsts was broken.
When God created first, when God gave mimicking powers to the first man and woman, He signified a double portion of right, rule, and inheritance.
So, the "Word," personally, refers to Emanuel, God with Us. The Son of God came as the incarnation of the Father taking on baby flesh comprised of honor and glory as beings beheld Him full of grace and truth. Our most specific right, rule, and inheritance is found in Emmanuel. Not only is He LORD but also our pattern, God's Son. And, men are foreordained to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). This Word of flesh creatively clothed Himself in humility, even washing the dirty feet of His followers.
The second Adam obeyed His unique purpose to redeem us through His torture, dark hours, and the crowd's despair and confusion over His death. He imagined, ordained, and accepted His character arc on the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Separated from God the Father in death, He was raised again in triumph. Jesus is said to be the first fruit of the resurrection from the dead, and many are to follow Him in a twinkling of an eye. The details of this story are critical.
Imagine a seed germinating underground in the winter and then springing to life and the first buds of summer becoming fruit. What does it mean to have a first fruit crop and to give back to God from the first fruits of your labor? It creates an image of trust in the goodness and supply of the Creator, that He will supply all you need, and it is a form of giving honor. You reserve the first tastes of His good supply to Him, which He indicates for sharing with the community that loves Him (a tithe) and for charity.