John 1:1: How Is the Word With God and Also God?

The first chapter of John contains one of the most amazing statements about God in the Bible. It has confused many. What does it mean?

In the first chapter of John, we immediately read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Throughout the centuries, many have pondered this statement. What does this mean? How can somebody be with someone and also be that someone?

The late Herbert W. Armstrong had a unique and helpful way of explaining this verse. To paraphrase, he explained that a good way to understand it is to view God as a family. Imagine a man named Jack Jones, who is with a man called John Jones. Jack and John are both Jones, because Jones is their family name. Yet they are two separate individuals. They are two distinct individuals who are members of the same family.

But the unity and oneness of God and the Word goes beyond just being in the same family. What else does the Bible say?

United in love

Let’s look at John 17:21-22 to further clarify. Here Jesus was praying to God the Father just prior to being arrested, tortured and killed. Jesus said: “You, Father, are in Me, and I in You . . . We are one.”

He also beseeched His Father to also make the saints one with Him and the Father: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (verses 20-21, emphasis added throughout).

Jesus is describing a perfect oneness—a unity of purpose and direction—that He and His Father share. He wanted that same unity and oneness to be experienced by His people on the human level.

Jesus Christ: God in the flesh

God is a family. That family presently consists of two beings—the Father and the Son—but will someday include many more children.The above scriptures tell us that God and the Word have always been in existence, in eternal companionship. So, in the beginning there were two beings: God the Father and God the Word. God the Word was later begotten and born as Jesus Christ—at which time He became the Son of God (John 1:14). It’s important to understand that Jesus had lived for all eternity before His conception as a human being.

He divested Himself of His glory as a spirit being to be begotten by God and born of the virgin Mary as a human, the Son of God. When the Word was born as Jesus Christ, He became flesh and blood. Since He was no longer composed of invisible spirit, people could see and touch Him.

And now He is offering human beings the chance to become part of His eternal family. That’s why Jesus Christ wants us to have a relationship with the Father that is like His relationship with the Father.

In fact, the only way we can grow spiritually is by growing close to both the Father and the Son.

Who is God then?

This is one of the most amazing truths found in the Bible! That truth is that God is a family. That family presently consists of two beings—the Father and the Son—but will someday include many more children (Hebrews 2:10). These children will be those who have turned to God, earnestly repented of their sins and made a commitment to follow and obey God.

God the Father is at the head of the family, planning and leading, while Jesus executes the Father’s plans and ensures that all is accomplished according to the Father’s will.

How can we become like God now?

One of the most important statements about God’s character is found in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.”

That scripture begins by connecting God’s nature with how we are to live: “He who does not love does not know God.” In other words, we can’t have a relationship with God unless we think and live as He does.

In order to be part of His eternal family, God requires that you, too, love. Human beings must throw off hatred, prejudices and grudges and treat all people with love—genuine outgoing concern.

John 13:34 clarifies: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” We must love others as Christ loved—and continues to love—others.

If we do continue to grow in God’s character, we can be born into God’s family. We can live at His level of existence (1 John 3:2).

Nothing could be more unbelievable—and yet this is what the Bible promises to those who love Him and obey His commandments.

To learn more about the purpose God created you for, download our free booklet God’s Purpose for You: Discovering Why You Were Born.

Topics Covered: God, Doctrine

About the Author

Larry Murray

Larry Murray, a member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association in South Africa, is an electronic engineer who has worked for several multinational computer organizations, including Hewlett-Packard. Upon leaving HP, he was called into the Church of God after reading a book by Herbert W. Armstrong. He now lives in Pretoria with his artist wife and his son and daughter.