The extant versions of the LXX Genesis 1:1 describes the making of the world using ἐποίησεν ("made") but the author of John, who seems to be commenting on Genesis 1:1 fails to follow the LXX verbiage and instead uses ἐγένετο. Might this be because the author is ascribing a particular role for the utterance in the overall making of biodome ("the skies and the land") and all therein?

Genesis 1:1

ΕΝ ΑΡΧΗ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.

Swete, H. B. (1909). The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Ge 1). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

John 1:3

Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν

I see that the LXX uses the word in and after the utterance of "Let there be (Γενηθήτω, the imperative form) light..." "and there was (ἐγένετο) light...".

Genesis 1:3 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς· καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς.

Swete, H. B. (1909). The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Ge 1:2–3). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

So clearly for John the logos was the utterance "let there be" in the creation of the light and the result was that the command resulted in the light coming into being.

I call attention to a passage that I think is related though it uses a different word for "word" (τὸ ῥῆμά μου):

NASB Isaiah 55: 10"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

10 ὡς γὰρ ἂν καταβῇ ὁ ὑετὸς ἢ χιὼν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀποστραφῇ ἕως ἂν μεθύσῃ τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἐκτέκῃ καὶ ἐκβλαστήσῃ, καὶ δῷ σπέρμα τῷ σπείροντι καὶ ἄρτον εἰς βρῶσιν· 11 οὕτως ἔσται τὸ ῥῆμά μου ὃ ἐὰν ἐξέλθῃ ἐκ τοῦ στόματός μου, οὐ μὴ ἀποστραφῇ ἕως ἂν τελεσθῇ ὅσα ἠθέλησα, καὶ εὐοδώσω τὰς ὁδούς σου καὶ τὰ ἐντάλματά μου.

Swete, H. B. (1909). The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Is 55:10–11). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Also related:

NASB Psalm 148: 4Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. 6He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.


English Standard Version Psalm 33:6 By the word (logos) of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath (pneuma) of his mouth all their host. ... Psalm 33:9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

So what are we to understand from this about who/what the logos is and his/its role in the making of Genesis 1?

Related question (on sister site): https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/60006/in-trinitarian-theology-who-created-the-world

  • 1
    You made a quick typo where you say "(Γενηθήτω, the imperative form) light..." "and there was (Γενηθήτω) light..." but give the correct Greek for 'was made' directly below (i.e. ἐγένετο). Inconsequential, but just letting you know :) Oct 20, 2017 at 21:10
  • 1
    Since it's not a full answer, I'd comment that εγενετο focuses more on the passive, i.e., 'had its origin in,' since it's root sense is 'came into being; happened.' Whereas εποιησεν has more focus on the active bringing into being on God's part. Oct 2, 2018 at 21:32
  • The word choice cannot difference for creation cannot show anything about the Word. The role of the Word/ Memra is quite clear in the Mishna or midrash, and John. The question is fundamentally misguided.
    – Michael16
    Oct 3, 2022 at 10:29

7 Answers 7


The author of John uses different language, ἐγένετο instead of ἐποίησεν, because they are describing something different than the work of creation found in Genesis. The perspective of the LXX translator of Genesis is to describe those works which occurred in the past. For example, making the skies and the land and all therein. However, John gives emphasis to current and future work: making children of God.

In his article Chiasmus: An Important Structural Device Commonly Found in Biblical Literature , Brad McCoy discusses chiasms, their use, and their exegetical significance. The chiastic structure of John’s Prologue is one example he outlines: 1

A: The Word with God (1-2)  
 B: The Word's role in creation (3)  
  C: God's grace to mankind (4-5)  
   D: Witness of John the Baptist (6-8)  
    E: The Incarnation of the Word (9-11)  
     X: Saving faith in the Incarnate Word (12-13)  
    E': The Incarnation of the Word (14)  
   D': Witness of John the Baptist (15)  
  C': God's grace to mankind (16)  
 B': The Word's role in re-creation (17)  
A': The Word with God the Father (18)

McCoy summarizes three important aspects of the chiasm: 2

  1. Delineate units of thought
  2. Accentuate the main idea or theme the writer is concerned to convey to their readers
  3. Compare and contrast the interplay between textually separated but thematically paired units of thought

The main theme of the John's prologue is the current and future work of making children of God:

But all who did receive Him, He gave them— the ones believing in His name— the right to become children of God, who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a husband, but of God. (1:12-13 DLNT)

John is describing a new work of the Word: taking those who had been born of bloods, or the will of the flesh and making children of God. This is an act of creation not found in Genesis.

John 1:3
The Word in creation (verse 1:3) is not a commentary on Genesis as if to restate the Word’s work of creation. John is stating the Word is the only means by which anything came into existence:

The Word’s Role in Creation:
B: All things came-into-being (ἐγένετο) through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being (ἐγένετο) which has come-into-being (γέγονεν). (1:3 DLNT)

The inverted parallel structure of the chiasm, makes verse 17 the thematic pair:

The Word’s Role in Re-Creation:
B': Because the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (1:17 DLNT)

The Word’s role in creation was not limited to Genesis. As with making children of God, John is attributing a current and future work to the Word: bringing grace and truth into creation.

John is affirming everything came into being through the Word. He is stating the present and future reality of the Christian faith:

Children of God (present):
So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things passed-away; behold, new things have come-into-being (γέγονεν). (2 Corinthians 5:17 DLNT)

Children of God (future):
See what-kind-of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called children of God! And we are! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet appeared. We know that if He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:1-2 DLNT)

  1. Brad McCoy, "Chiasmus: An Important Structural Device Commonly Found in Biblical Literature." p 29 Chafer Theological Seminary
  2. McCoy pp.30-31

"So clearly for John the logos was the utterance "let there be" in the creation of the light and the result was that the command resulted in the light coming into being".

This is impossible to defend based on the identification of the Logos as Jesus/"the Son" just sentences later: "And the Logos was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14) That is, the Logos refers to a Person (obviously, Divine—Theos), the Person of Jesus Christ (cf. Rev 19:13).

That said, it's clear the Creation/New Creation theme which has been noted in John's Gospel (e.g. cf. Gen 1:1/Jn 1:1; Gen 1:4/Jn 1:5; Ex 31:17/Jn 2:6 etc.), most clear at the beginning with the most memorable words (and probably most universally well-known), "In the beginning...," that the personal, divine Word is being compared to the metaphorical expression or declaration of God, His creative "word" or 'speech' (Ps 33:6). Whence His being called "Word."

Psalm 33:6 is an athropomorphological metaphor (quite a mouthful), as "God is [a] spirit" and therefore doesn't literally speak or have lungs to do so (Jn 4:24) but He metaphorically did create and thus we humans need some way to comprehend that: 'God commanded that it be done' (because we can't imagine an act in which someone doesn't have to consult or involve some other person or thing to carry out that action).

But St. John is making a real distinction between God and His Word ("Let there be" may be taken as an utterance or 'word;' as you note, it's in the imperative), and of course He does this by identifying a Logos Who is personal, who creates and is "with God," and yet "[is] God."

In other words, it's ridiculous to claim that the author of Genesis intended to say God's Logos or Fiat was a person and was with God creating all things, as John does (Jn 1:3). But John isn't trying to read such into the word in Genesis 1. By implication, He makes the point that Genesis 1 is the summary, and His is the more theological, detailed account of both the fundamental nature of the "Elohim" of Genesis 1:1 (which incidentally, John alludes to, whether his intentionally or not, since elohim is technically plural, and he does mention two 'figures,' treated as persons, Who are both "God"); and the creative activity of God in general as pertains to His nature (i.e. Jn 1:2-3 etc).

The Logos' role in creation is inseparably, intrinsically tied to—even identical to—the one creative act of the one God. Because John writes: "and without Him [the Word] was made nothing that has been made" (alternatively translated, "without Him there came into being nothing that has [ever] came into being") (Jn 1:3; cf. Col 1:16). That is, every creative act of God has been by the Word, and by God, in some indistinguishable sense. A loose translation of John 1:3 is, "Nothing exists without the Logos."

While this gives us an idea of the relationship of God, His creative act, and the Logos Who is inseparable therefrom, there is hardly any technical insights into the specifics. Only God creates. Only God made all things. (Rev 4:11). Yet there is a distinct (accusative) "God," and a "with God," Who is also "God."

(cf. Ps 102:22,25; Heb 1:8,10)

There is definitely intended mystery here, although the Word is the focus of His Gospel, of course, being Jesus Christ. Instead of going into Jesus' human geneology, He begins His Gospel with the eternal 'geneology' of the Son (cf. Jn 16:28; 17:5; 8:58). Because His Gospel will be focused heavily on theology. Hence his being seen as the "eagle" Evangelist, soaring to the heavenly in preference to earthly matters.

  • 1) I don't believe it's warranted to go beyond a simple, single 'let there be—one Logos' correspondence; the Spirit is not so much in mind in Jn or the 'corresponding' vs. in Gen. 2) Jesus contrasts "spirit" with "flesh" on mult. occasions, and defines "spirit" as fleshless, and thus lung- and mouthless, of course 3) Is there a case where God is a 'quality' rather than an identity (a qualitative noun can be and, I argue is, an identity here—since the New Testament is thourougly monotheistic, and yet the Word is distinct from, but intrinsic to the 'accusative' what we might call 'Father'; God)? Oct 20, 2017 at 23:44

John quotes the understanding of Genesis 2:4

αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς ὅτε ἐγένετο ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν Genesis 2:4

ἐποίησεν has the sense of something new, object of modification, of transformation.

BGT Judges 6:27 καὶ ἔλαβεν Γεδεων δέκα ἄνδρας ἀπὸ τῶν δούλων ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἐποίησεν ὃν τρόπον ἐλάλησεν πρὸς αὐτὸν κύριος καὶ ἐγενήθη ὡς ἐφοβήθη τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας τῆς πόλεως τοῦ ποιῆσαι ἡμέρας καὶ ἐποίησεν νυκτός (Jdg. 6:27 BGT) BGT Judges 6:40 καὶ ἐποίησεν οὕτως ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ἐκείνῃ καὶ ἐγένετο ξηρασία ἐπὶ τὸν πόκον μόνον καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἐγενήθη δρόσος (Jdg. 6:40 BGT)

BGT Psalm 113:16 ὅμοιοι αὐτοῖς γένοιντο οἱ ποιοῦντες αὐτὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ πεποιθότες ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῖς

BGT Ecclesiastes 1:9 τί τὸ γεγονός αὐτὸ τὸ γενησόμενον καὶ τί τὸ πεποιημένον αὐτὸ τὸ ποιηθησόμενον καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν πᾶν πρόσφατον ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον

BGT 2 Corinthians 5:21 τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.

The Septuagint narrator did not use the same criteria as Genesis 2:3-4

Genesis 5:1 αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως ἀνθρώπων ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν Αδαμ κατ᾽ εἰκόνα θεοῦ ἐποίησεν αὐτόν

WTT Genesis 5:1 זֶ֣ה סֵ֔פֶר תּוֹלְדֹ֖ת אָדָ֑ם בְּי֗וֹם בְּרֹ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אָדָ֔ם בִּדְמ֥וּת אֱלֹהִ֖ים עָשָׂ֥ה אֹתֽוֹ׃

Isaiah 43:7 πάντας ὅσοι ἐπικέκληνται τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐν γὰρ τῇ δόξῃ μου κατεσκεύασα αὐτὸν καὶ ἔπλασα καὶ ἐποίησα αὐτόν

WTT Isaiah 43:7 כֹּ֚ל הַנִּקְרָ֣א בִשְׁמִ֔י וְלִכְבוֹדִ֖י בְּרָאתִ֑יו יְצַרְתִּ֖יו אַף־עֲשִׂיתִֽיו׃

Isaiah 45:7 ἐγὼ ὁ κατασκευάσας φῶς καὶ ποιήσας σκότος ὁ ποιῶν εἰρήνην καὶ κτίζων κακά ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ ποιῶν ταῦτα πάντα

WTT Isaiah 45:7 יוֹצֵ֥ר אוֹר֙ וּבוֹרֵ֣א חֹ֔שֶׁךְ עֹשֶׂ֥ה שָׁל֖וֹם וּב֣וֹרֵא רָ֑ע אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה עֹשֶׂ֥ה כָל־אֵֽלֶּה׃ ס

Isaiah 45:12 ἐγὼ ἐποίησα γῆν καὶ ἄνθρωπον ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς ἐγὼ τῇ χειρί μου ἐστερέωσα τὸν οὐρανόν ἐγὼ πᾶσι τοῖς ἄστροις ἐνετειλάμην

WTT Isaiah 45:12 אָֽנֹכִי֙ עָשִׂ֣יתִי אֶ֔רֶץ וְאָדָ֖ם עָלֶ֣יהָ בָרָ֑אתִי אֲנִ֗י יָדַי֙ נָט֣וּ שָׁמַ֔יִם וְכָל־צְבָאָ֖ם צִוֵּֽיתִי׃

Isaiah 45:18 οὕτως λέγει κύριος ὁ ποιήσας τὸν οὐρανόν οὗτος ὁ θεὸς ὁ καταδείξας τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιήσας αὐτήν αὐτὸς διώρισεν αὐτήν οὐκ εἰς κενὸν ἐποίησεν αὐτὴν ἀλλὰ κατοικεῖσθαι ἐγώ εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι

WTT Isaiah 45:18 כִּ֣י כֹ֣ה אָֽמַר־יְ֠הוָה בּוֹרֵ֙א הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם ה֣וּא הָאֱלֹהִ֗ים יֹצֵ֙ר הָאָ֤רֶץ וְעֹשָׂהּ֙ ה֣וּא כֽוֹנְנָ֔הּ לֹא־תֹ֥הוּ בְרָאָ֖הּ לָשֶׁ֣בֶת יְצָרָ֑הּ אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה וְאֵ֥ין עֽוֹד׃

  • This is related to the new world, or transformed by Jesus in 1 John 1:1-3
    – Betho's
    Jan 2, 2020 at 13:32

At Genesis 1:1 it states, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The "Word/Logos" here is not the spoken word.

At John 1:2 beginning, The definite article has been supplied. The actual Greek is en arche--that is, "in beginning." Moreover at John 1:2 "with God." The "Word of God" (i.e., Jesus Christ) was God, yet also "with God." Thus God is both personal and plural (in a uni-plural) sense only, however, a mysterious category that makes sense only in terms of the doctrine of the Trinity)

John 1:3, made by Him. This is an emphatic statement declaring that Jesus Christ, before His incarnation, had made everything in the universe. He is the God of Genesis 1:1, the God of all creation. Furthermore, note that "all things were made." They are not now being made, as the concept of evolution requires. The Creator rested from all His work of creating and making all things (Genesis 2:1-3) after the six days of the creation week. Also, note the past tense in such passages as Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2-3 and other verses dealing with creation including Revelation 3:14.

So as was said, Genesis 1:1 states, "In the beginning and at John 1:1 it says, "In the beginning was the Word. This all means that the main thought in Genesis 1:1 is on WHAT HAPPENED "in the beginning," and in John 1:1 the emphasis is on WHO EXISTED "in the beginning." (The following was taken from the "Institute of Creation Research).


You are assuming that John 1:1 has the same time reference as the Genesis 1 creation event. It is more likely that beginning (arche) has its reference to Proverbs 8:22 where someone says "The Lord made me the beginning (arche) of his ways for his works" and Revelation 3:14 where the Son is called "the beginning (arche) of the creation of God."


John 1 is about the New Creation.

Which day did YHWH say "I have begotten you?" and placed His Son on Mount Zion? This is the beginning of John 1.

The logos is a quality of the Father. Similarly as His Spirit is also a quality of Himself. One Spirit, One Father, One God.... YHWH is ONE.

The Shema tells us that Jesus Christ's God is YHWH his Father.

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is 1. And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment."

John 17:3 (Jesus speaking to his God and Father)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Rev 3:12 (The Risen Son speaking)

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Therefore we know Jesus is NOT YHWH nor is the Risen Son. And so it follows, that Jesus is NOT God as there is only ONE God and His name is YHWH.

A Son inherits what the Father creates. The Greek word dia can be both translated as "through" and "on behalf of" or "because of". And I think it means both here.

A Father begets a Son and still is 100% the Father.... No change to Himself. A Son comes forth from the seed of his Father and takes on some of the Fathers roles and functions. The Son is now (HEB 1:1-2) the conduit for the Spirit (Consciousness) of his God and Father.

The king of lies, has infiltrated God’s first seed and its corresponding creation. The Father, in all His wisdom, knew immediately the corruption occurred and His plans for the eternal garden to grow and encompass the earth had to be delayed. The Father will not come dwell in a place that is corrupted by His enemy.

Instead of destroying this creation and starting completely new, in His mercy He has decided to make the effort and time - His timing, to restore this creation. He loves this creation. We are very important to Him.

Jesus is that new seed. Like Adam but better… Adam 2.0. He was begotten by the breath/Spirit/consciousness of life. Whereas Adam was created from the dust and breathed life into - animated. Jesus learned from His Father from his birth as a child. The Father was closer to this child than any other because this child was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him. He literally Fathered him and shared with him all His knowledge his entire life. They were ONE in Spirit Consciousness Jesus’ entire life. At some point, probably very early on, Jesus understood his purpose.

Now, the Risen Son, is the first glorified of the New Creation. One that will eventually, in the Father’s timing, completely encompass and restore the corrupted first creation and all its creatures.

Everything of the NEW Creation, now comes and will continue to come THROUGH the Risen Son-the True Vine. He is the only way to the Kingdom where the New Creation dwells and The Risen Son is King.

We are seeing the end of this age, this world, THIS original creation. There will be many more ages (aiōn Heb1:2) to come through the Risen Son, and many more creations different than this one if its the Will of the One True God…. Jesus’ Father and ours, YHWH.

  • 1
    Regarding the glory of the Risen Son. If you keep reading the same chapter of John, Jesus also says he gives the same glory to those given to him and those yet to come.... Paraphrasing. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: ---Jesus' glory and ours is the promised inheritance. . Sep 29, 2022 at 6:52
  • 2
    @VincentWong The early apostles aren't trinitarians. They are monothiests because, like their master and teacher, they also recited the Shema and obeyed it as it is the Messiah's most important command. Paul's Christology is quite clear. 1 Cor 15:20-28. Jesus subverted doctrine well established for longer than that. He was THEE Greatest heretic ever (by definition) and is worthy glory and honor and praise. We also know the church will fall away from the Truth in the end times. Sep 29, 2022 at 14:07
  • 2
    @Mr.Bond You are jumping around here. I am specifically answering your question about the glory in John 17:5. I've done that by referencing the same chapter and the same glory. The glory they "beheld" was the glory of the only begotten Son. He is the ONLY child of God BEGOTTEN of the Spirit. When was he begotten? What does that word mean? He is the FIRST BORN of the NEW creation. The rest of us children of God are his brethren and we are REBORN by the immersion/baptism of the breath/Spirit/Consciousness of the Father through him. He is the Vine we are the branches. This is the gospel. Sep 29, 2022 at 14:48
  • 2
    @Mr.Bond You are not all over the place, instead, you are jumping between different glories. I sufficiently answered your original question about the glory in John 17:5. This is the same glory ALL of the children of God inherit as Jesus himself states. In this way, he had THIS glory with the Father (as we all did) in His plan for His Creation which will ONLY be the NEW Creation in the ages to come. Isaiah 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also YHWH sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." YHWH is not Jesus. Sep 29, 2022 at 18:59
  • 2
    A great first post which honours the scriptures and not the doctrines of men which Mr Bond is anxious to maintain. This is done by dismissing plain speaking verses and relying on ambiguous verses to reinforce another Jesus. +1
    – Steve
    Oct 1, 2022 at 21:25

The key:

Say not: the Word is 'also' God, but say: God is the Word as well. Now it's clearer and the greek has it that way round: God was the Word. The Word, being God, came into flesh, without leaving a void space where it was. God was still the Word. The Word is Father and became Son.

  • Hi Andre! Welcome to Hermeneutics.SE. You might take the tour if you have not already to get an idea of what constitutes a thorough answer.
    – colboynik
    Oct 20, 2018 at 13:46
  • Word order in different languages can mean different things. Just because Greek source word order is one way doesn't mean it's okay to interpret the sentence with the same word order in English. If fact that will quite often be wrong. You haven't established what the original means step by step, please edit this to show you interpretive work.
    – Caleb
    May 7, 2019 at 9:25
  • Is "God said" "God Worded Let there be light"?
    – Walter S
    Jul 18, 2020 at 23:40

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