The Greek text of John 1:3 states,

Γʹ πάντα δι᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν TR, 1550

which I translate into English as,

3 Everything was made by means of him, and not even one thing that was made was made without him.

John 1:3 (among other scriptures in the New Testament) seems to me to be proof that the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be a creature, i.e. he is God. Some may object that «δι᾽ αὐτοῦ» does not mean that everything was made by the Lord Jesus Christ directly—as the efficient cause, but rather, by means of him—as the instrumental cause.

However, even if he were the instrumental cause (which I believe he is), the verse still seems to preclude him from being created. It states that everything was made by means of him [as the instrumental clause], and not even one thing that was made was made without him. Therefore, how did the Father create the Word by means of the Word if the Word did not exist?

Question: Is there anything in John 1:3 according to the Greek text, and in the context of the Gospel’s prologue (v. 1–18), that allows for the Word (ὁ λογός) to be created?


3 Answers 3


There is nothing in the prologue that allows for the Word to be a creature or creation of God (presumably, the Father).

I don't want to copy the entire page, but this source addresses this topic very well.

The first clue that John was teaching that the Word is fully God comes from the use of the Greek verb een, which is the imperfect tense form of the verb eimi. The word een implies continuous existence or action in the past. Just how continuous will depend primarily upon the context itself. In the case of John 1:1, een is used to denote the Word's continuous past existence before the very beginning of creation (cf. 1:3).

This means that since the Word was already existing before the start of all creation he therefore has no beginning or end. In other words, for the Word to be existing before creation came into being basically means that he is eternal. It further shows that he was existing in eternal fellowship and communion with the God who, in the context, is the Father (cf. 1:14, 18). The use of the verb within this specific context also implies that the Word eternally existed as God, or existed in the nature of God before creation itself.

To put all of this in simpler terms, there was no point in time when the Word didn’t exist with the Father and in the nature of God. Harris writes:

"… In itself John 1:1a speaks only of the pretemporality or supratemporality of the Logos, but in his conjunction of en arche and een (not egeneto) John implies the eternal preexistence of the Word. He who existed ‘in the beginning’ before creation was himself without a beginning and therefore uncreated. There was no time when he did not exist. John is hinting that all speculation about the origin of the Logos is pointless. The imperfect tense een (= Latin erat), which here denotes continuous existence is to be carefully distinguished from esti (‘he is’), which would have stressed his timelessness at the expense of any emphasis on his manifestation historically (cf. 1:14), and from egeneto, which would have implied either that he was a created being (‘he came into existence’) or that by the time of writing he had ceased to exist (= Latin fuit)." (Harris, p. 54; italic and underline emphasis ours)


"… In the first proposition of verse 1 John affirms that the Logos existed before time and creation and therefore implicitly denies that the Logos was a created being. In the second, he declares that the Logos always was in active communion with the Father and thereby implies that the Logos cannot be personally identified with the Father. In the third, he states that the Logos always was a partaker of deity and so implicitly denies that the Logos was ever elevated to divine status. The thought of the verse moves from eternal preexistence to personal communion to intrinsic deity… only because the Logos participated inherently in the divine nature could he be said to be already in existence when time began or creation occurred and to be in unbroken and eternal fellowship with the Father. This would justify regarding theos as emphatic, standing as it does at the head of its clause. (Harris, Jesus as God, p. 71; italic and underline emphasis ours)

Dr. Kenneth Wuest, long time professor of Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, commented on this verse:

The Word was God. Here the word "God" is without the article in the original. When it is used in this way, it refers to the divine essence. Emphasis is upon the quality or character. Thus, John teaches us here that our Lord is essentially Deity. He possesses the same essence as God the Father, is one with Him in nature and attributes. Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter, the teacher, is Very God. (8)

Wuest in his Expanded Translation, renders 1:1:

In the beginning the Word was existing. And the Word was in fellowship with God the Father. And the Word was as to His essence absolute deity.

  • 1
    (-1) for the baroque restatement.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 2:32
  • @WoundedEgo, better? Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 2:44
  • Better, thanks. But see my answer below for how I think it should be rendered. Peace.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 2:48
  • The most irksome thing about the debate over what John says in his account is just how much trouble he takes to make it clear the Jesus is God, only for those who reject that position to seize on the most trivial quibbles as "proof" that he really didn't say that.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 20:10

Note: KJV is quoted throughout.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
-- Genesis 1:1-3

In John 1, the writer is clearly making reference to the beginning as it is described in Genesis 1. There was no Word before "Let there be light". There was no need for it, since ears came with Adam. So, the Λόγος had a beginning.

There was no "man" before Adam. Paul tells us so,

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
-- 1 Corinthians 15:47

And Paul also tells us something else about this second man:

4But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
-- Galatians 4:4

Since the Son was "made of a woman", then he, just like the Word, had a beginning.

There is only ONE God and creator of all things. This ONE God uttered the first words heard in creation, and this ONE God knit himself a body in the womb of a woman.

I recently asked these questions of someone on this site,

In what form do you think the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ existed?
Do you imagine he was a man?

and this was the reply,

The pre-incarnate Jesus was In the form of spirit, obviously.
God is spirit (John 4:24).

I replied,

Yes. For God (who is Spirit) to be sensible to Man (who is flesh),
He has to "appear" in suitable forms. The "man Jesus" is the
preeminent form in which God has appeared to Man.

The scripture makes it clear:

  • that the "man" who bore the name Jesus, who is the Christ, had a beginning;

  • that this "man" did not exist prior to being knit together in the womb of his mother;

  • that this "man" was a creation of GOD, to make it possible for GOD, himself, to walk and talk among his children, to heal them and set them free, and pay, himself, the necessary cost of their redemption;

  • that this "man" was manifestly seen as the first of many brethren to be born from the dead;

  • that this "man" will be manifestly seen set above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and that before him every knee will bow.

  • In the Genesis creation record: There was no Word before "Let there be light". Might that be the fact John is making? He is saying the Word was present before it was first spoken. There was no need for it, since ears came with Adam. God hears; angels hear. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 19:42
  • God existed before the first words were uttered. The nature of existence without atoms and without the things that are dependent upon them, like light and vision and sound and hearing is incomprehensible to us. Every vision that has been given to the prophets consists of images that are comprehensible to us. When we are told "sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD", how such an event transpired in a timeless domain among non-corporeal beings cannot possibly be imagined.
    – enegue
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 20:53
  • But words, such as were uttered at the beginning of creation, were for ears to hear, and ears came into existence when God created Adam.
    – enegue
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 20:55

Wuest's translation is overlooked by pretty much all the responses above. "And the Word was as to His essence absolute deity..."

The translation "And the word was God..." is confusing (as is obvious in the answers). The translation by Wuest (Also advocated by, among others, W. Barclay) makes it clear that the word is of the SAME essence as the Father. If the essence of the Father, among other things, is eternity, without beginning, without end, than obviously, so is the Word. John 17 also makes it clear that there was a "glory" to which the Son would be restored.

Outside of John, Paul has some statements, such as in Philippians 2, Colossians 1, clearly outlining the fact that ALL things (unlike the NWT, which inserts the word, "other,") are created by, for and in Him.

The NWT had to add the word "other," because they do not believe Jesus to be of the same essence of the Father. So, the pesky statement of Paul had to be "adjusted" to meet their doctrinal needs.

  • Do you have any quotes from Wuest and W.Barclay you could add to support this? I would appreciate it very greatly if you do. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 18:31
  • The Wuest reference was given earlier in the discussion, and Barclay's view can be found in his commentary on the Gospel of John. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 1:32

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