-1

Moses describes the making of Adam as consisting of fashioning a body from dirt and then animating the dirt by breathing into his nostrils:

NIV Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

But the 4th gospel says that the life in the logos is the light of men:

New American Standard Bible John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Further on in the gospel Jesus claims to have "life in himself":

New American Standard Bible John 5:26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

So is the light of men and the life that Jesus has in himself the selfsame breath that God breathed into the dirt and animated it, and is this the Holy Ghost?

Or is the life in himself that of the gospel, where faith in him is life-giving?:

NASB John 6:40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” ... 48“I am the bread of life. 49“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50“This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

John 6: 52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” ... 62“What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? 63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

NASB John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Is "the life" in Jesus' flesh the Holy Ghost or "gospel light"?

UPDATE:

Is the "life" in Jesus that is the "light of men" the "lights every man that come into the world" the Holy Spirit?:

New American Standard Bible Job 32:8 "But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding. https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Job/32/8

-1

In John’s Prologue there are obvious connections to the creation account: “in the beginning,” “the Light,” and “the darkness.” However, it does not appear John is using the Prologue to suggest the reader connect the light of life to the breath of life in Genesis 2:7.

Background

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

Thus the main theme of 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)

What is of primary concern for John is explaining a new act of creation: making children of God. The references to Genesis show the Word is the Creator and establishes the Word is the only means by which any creation occurs. Thus, making children of God is also done through the Word.

Equally relevant is the chiastic arrangement means the complete unit of thought includes verse 5:

In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (1:4-5 DLNT)

The light of mankind is meant to be understood in the context of “the darkness” and if John intends a connection to Genesis, the direct reference is to the light and the darkness of Genesis 1.

Textual Evidence

The LXX describes the creation of the first man in the singular, whereas John writes as plural:

And God formed man (τὸν ἄνθρωπον), dust from the earth, and breathed into his face a breath of life, and the man (ὁ ἄνθρωπον) became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 LXX) [NETS]

In him was life, and the life was the light of men (τῶν ἀνθρώπων). (John 1:4 ESV)

The Genesis account is describing a breath which was given to a single man. The main point in John is the light which is available to all mankind. John conveys human beings, male and female [G444-anthrōpos] may become children of God. This point is emphasized by the language John employs in describing the work of the light:

There came-to-be a man (ἄνθρωπος), having been sent-forth from God. The name for him was John. This one came for a testimony— in order that he might testify concerning the Light, in order that all might believe through him. (1:6-7 DLNT)

A man was to give testimony concerning the Light in order that all might believe.

Also, when speaking of man in the context of making human beings, John deviates from the language of the LXX:

who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a husband (ἀνδρὸς), but of God. (1:13 DLNT)

ἀνδρὸς is singular and specifically a male [G435-anēr]. John's use of language is purposeful to differentiate from the creation of the first man since he is describing a new work of creation, children (τέκνα, which is neuter) of God.

The Light & the Darkness

After reading “in the beginning” and "the light" and "the darkness," John appears to recall the first day of creation:

And God said, “Let there be light (א֑וֹר),” and there was light (א֑וֹר). And God saw that the light (הָא֖וֹר) was good. And God separated the light (הָא֖וֹר) from the darkness (הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ). God called the light (לָאוֹר֙) Day, and the darkness (וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ) he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)

The creation account of day one uses a word meaning the-light three times and a word meaning the-darkness twice. Twice the-light is written as הָא֖וֹר and once as לָאוֹר֙ and the-darkness is written as הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ and וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ. John’s use of “the darkness” twice appears to follow Genesis, however, his choice of word deviates from the LXX:

And God said, “Let light come into being.” And light came into being. And God saw the light that it was good. And God separated between the light and between the darkness (σκότους). And God called the light Day and the darkness (σκότος) he called Night… (Genesis 1:3-5 LXX) [NETS]

In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light is shining in the darkness (σκοτίᾳ), and the darkness (σκοτίᾳ) did not overcome it. (1:4-5 DLNT)

The LXX uses σκότος which means physical darkness [G4655-skotos]. Where John uses σκοτία which is metaphorically used as ignorance of divine things [G4653-skotia]. This follows the central theme of a new, and therefore different creation from that described in Genesis.

In addition, John uses “the light” six times. More than is used in the entire creation account (3 on the first day and 1 on the fourth). John’s uses have been arranged using the inverted parallel structure common to chiasms:

A: In him was life, and the life was the light (τὸ φῶς) of men
  B: The light (τὸ φῶς) shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it
    C: He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light (τοῦ φωτός), that all might
       believe through him
    C’: He [John] was not the light (τὸ φῶς)
  B’: [John] came to bear witness about the light (τοῦ φωτός)
A’: The true light (τὸ φῶς) which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world

There is no central theme yet the paired units of thought considered from the center display a pattern taken from the work of creation:

C: He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him
C’: He [John] was not the light

B: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it
B’: [John] came to bear witness about the light

A: In him was life, and the life was the light of men
A’: The true light which enlightens (ὃ φωτίζε) everyone, was coming into the world

John's arrangement of "the light" has six uses followed by a seventh which is similar and yet different. This is the pattern of the Sabbath: six days of work followed by a seventh day of rest. The parallel John seems to be making is just as all creation rested on the seventh day of creation; the true light will enlighten everyone in the new creation.

The Word in the Gospel and The-Light in Genesis

In the Gospel John states Jesus is both the Word and the true light:

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

Thus the primary connection John is making to the Genesis account is with "the-light."

After "the-light" is written three times on the first day of creation, it used once on the fourth day:

to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the-light הָא֖וֹר from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:18)

Thus "the-light" was used in the Genesis account of creation four times: 3 times on the first day and once on the fourth. John's use of "the Word" follows this pattern of "the-light" from Genesis:

First day of creation - "the-light" written 3 times.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (1:1)

Fourth day of creation - "the-light" written once.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (1:14)

In addition to directly stating the Word is the true light, John uses "the Word" following the pattern of the use of "the-light" in Genesis.

Breath in John's Gospel

The main point of the Prologue is becoming children of God:

But to all who did receive (ἔλαβον) him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (1:12-13 ESV)

The focus of "received Him" is how John introduces the main theme of the Gospel and "receive" connects the introduction to its conclusion:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive (Λάβετε) the Holy Spirit." (20:22 ESV)

The breath from Jesus is the breath of eternal life:

but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (20:31 ESV)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive (λαμβάνειν), for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 ESV)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 ESV)


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

  • So are you saying that the Holy Ghost corresponds, in type, to the breath of life but is not identical? – Ruminator Sep 30 '17 at 17:13
  • Actually, there's pretty strong evidence john did mean to connect the 'light' of life and the breath of life. – James Shewey Oct 26 '17 at 3:04
  • @JamesShewey The problem with your question is that it amounts to a "straw dog" in that you ask about the logos in the limited context of Hellenistic philosophy, presuming the Biblical context is based on that philosophy. If you are interested in in the Biblical context of the logos, the question should consider ways John fits and does not fit the philosophy. Attempting to find "breath" in the prologue when the author has placed that at the very end of his work (with a clear reference to Genesis 2:7), is an attempt to make a connection the author understood yet refuted. – Revelation Lad Oct 26 '17 at 5:15
  • What my question assumes is that the text was written in a specific time and place and that "Logos" was a well-defined topic of philosophy at that time and place. I find it highly unlikely that John would have independently load the term with additional significant philosophical meaning if for no other reason than because it would have been confusing. With that assumption, John is either a corrective of or extension of existing philosophy, not necessarily that it is "based on" that. – James Shewey Oct 26 '17 at 13:57
  • 1
    Then the Torah is both corrective and responsive. It affirms those places where Hammurabi was right and corrects where he was wrong. It also responds to what amounts to the human demand to live and be judged by a written law. When John states the logos was in the beginning he is saying the logos is not a philosophy or a Hellenistic concept but an attribute of God which human philosophers like Philo have attempted to explain or present as a human construct. Another example is light. When John says God is light in whom there is no darkness, he is stating a Biblical truth. – Revelation Lad Oct 27 '17 at 15:31

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