Is the “Word” In John 1:1 a person or a personification?

Did Jesus exist before His human birth?

In the Beginning

John 1:1 reads, “In the beginning was the Word.” Some propose that Jesus did not exist before He became a human being. See, for example, Tuggy’s case against preexistence.

Consequently, they hold that “the Word,” in these dramatic verses (John 1:1-2), does not refer to the Son of God, but simply to God’s eternal plan or wisdom by which He made all things.

For example, John 1:9-10 indicates that “the world was made through” “the true Light … coming into the world.” People that do not believe that Jesus existed before His human birth would argue that this simply means that the world was made through God’s wisdom and that God’s wisdom, which is the true light, came into the world when God gave it to the mortal human being called Jesus.

Genesis 1 provides support for this view, for in that chapter God creates by speaking. The phrase “God said” is found 10 times in that chapter. For instance, “God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Gen 1:3).

Another verse used to support this view is Psalm 33:6:

“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”

But the Word is the Son of God.

This is indicated by the following:

The beginningWith God – The Word is described as “with God” (John 1:1-2). The Word must therefore be a Person; not merely God’s plan or wisdom.

Created through – According to John 1:3, God created all things through the Word, but according to Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2, God created through His Son. The Word is therefore His Son.

(Note: “Him” in John 1:3 is an interpretation. The original Greek word means “the same”. The “Him” therefore cannot be used as proof that “the Word” is the Son of God.)

Word of GodBecame flesh – But perhaps the clearest evidence is John 1:14, which states that “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”. This can only be the Son of God.

Interestingly, His preexistence is not a clear teaching in the synoptic gospels, but there is also much evidence of His preexistence elsewhere in John and in Paul’s letters. For example:

He “descended from heaven” (John 3:13; 6:38, 62).

He said, “I am from above … I am not of this world” (John 8:23).  See Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God.

Revelation is progressive.

The synoptic gospels do not clearly teach His preexistence because revelation is progressive. At first, the apostles did not know that He existed before His birth.  That was only later revealed to John and perhaps also to Paul.

Evolution of Religious Dogma

The progressive nature of revelation should not be confused with the evolution of religious dogma. Religious theories slowly develop over time. The existence of the conflicting Christian schools of thought proves that this development is mostly not from God, but from man’s corrupt mind. God’s whole truth exists in the world but is spread among the different Christian denominations and movements.

Why is the Son of God called “the Word?”

He is the Word because He brings light and life:

“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:4).

“The true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:9).

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).

He is also the Word because He is God’s creative power. Perhaps He is the Word that God spoke to bring the universe into existence and, therefore, that He was “begotten” when God spoke. These things are beyond human understanding.