By a huge margin, the most popular interpretation of John 1:1 asserts that the Greek word logos is not a non-personified quality of God the "Father over all", but instead another eternal person and yet still God. This other person is God's only begotten son, who today is known by the name of Jesus Christ.
In the below verse, the centurion asks Jesus to "speak logos" only. Jesus praises the centurions understanding saying he has faith beyond anyone he has met in Israel.
Mat 8:8 KJV
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak logos (Strongs G3056) only, and my servant shall be healed.
How does God's logos speak logos?
This question is unique. If the claim is that the Logos of God is personified other than that which can be read in Prov. 8, than this question must be addressed. We read that the logos is never a person unless we make an exception in John 1. This question is also not about pronouns (which, by the way, conclude nothing as they are ambiguous). This question is about the Greek word logos within the context of the premised verse and every other verse of the New Testament.
Each of those bolded words is in nominative masculine singular form, and is preceded by the definite article.
Our first task in understanding this word is in seeing how it is used throughout the New Testament. Because it is used in hundreds of places, the following will be but a sampling.
for the cause
λόγου logou N-GMS
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the causeG3056 of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
ὁ λόγος ho logos N-NMS
But let your communicationG3056 be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
τοὺς λόγους tous logous N-AMP
Mt. 7:24 (cf. vss. 26, 28)
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayingsG3056 of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
λόγῳ logō N-DMS
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the wordG3056 only, and my servant shall be healed.
λόγῳ logō N-DMS
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with hisword,G3056 and healed all that were sick:
τοὺς λόγους tous logous N-AMP
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words,G3056 when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
λόγον logon N-AMS
And whosoever speaketh a wordG3056 against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
λόγον logon N-AMS
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give accountG3056 thereof in the day of judgment.
λόγων logōn N-GMP
For by thy wordsG3056 thou shalt be justified, and by thy wordsG3056 thou shalt be condemned.
τὸν λόγον ton logon N-AMS
But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter,G3056 insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
λόγον logon N-AMS
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question,G3056 and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
λόγων logōn N-GMP
That thou mightest know the certainty of those things,G3056 wherein thou hast been instructed.
ὁ λόγος ho logos N-NMS
But so much the more went there a fameG3056 abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
ὁ λόγος ho logos N-NMS
And this rumourG3056 of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
λόγον logon N-AMS
The former treatiseG3056 have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
ὁ λόγος ho logos N-NMS
Then tidingsG3056 of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
λόγον logon N-AMS
And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reasonG3056 would that I should bear with you:
λόγῳ logō N-DMS
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation,G3056 he came into Greece,
the work a work
λόγον logon N-AMS
For he will finish the work,G3056 and cut it short in righteousness: because a short workG3056 will the Lord make upon the earth.
λόγῳ logō N-DMS
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance,G3056 and in all knowledge;
λόγον logon N-AMS
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrineG3056 of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Notes on the above table: N-NMS = Noun Nominative Masculine Singular
N-GMS = Noun Genitive Masculine Singular
N-AMP = Noun Accusative Masculine Plural
N-DMS = Noun Dative Masculine Singular
Greek Cases Nominative = subject/noun form
Accusative = direct object of the verb
Genitive = possessive (usually with "of") / object of preposition
Dative = indirect object, or multiple other uses
Articles Where a short word precedes the "logos" form shown, such as "ho" or "tous" or "ton", that indicates the definite article. If this is not included, there was no article present in the Greek text for "logos". Greek has no indefinite article, only the definite article, and its form varies depending on the declension of the noun (dative, accusative, etc.).
Commentary on Table
The texts show that "logos" has broad usage within the New Testament. There are many word meanings associated with it, even when one considers only identical grammatical forms (cases). "Logos" is hardly limited to representation of a divine personage. In fact, one might question if it even does.
If we say "God is love" (and the Bible says this--see 1 John 4:8, 16), we do not suddenly personify "love" as a Person. When the word "logos" can even mean "truth" or "teaching" or "answer", how would the text sound if one were to translate with one of those terms?
In the beginning was the answer, and the answer was with God, and the answer was God.
Many people say God is the answer to all of life's biggest questions (and problems) right? But that doesn't make "Answer" into a person or a divine being.
The same might be applied to the use of "doctrine" or "reason" or virtually any other of the possible translations for "logos" such as are common throughout the New Testament.
We have the teaching of Jesus that he is "the life":
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6, KJV)
We also understand that this "life" was present in Jesus' words.
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John
[Note: "Words" in Jn. 6:63 is not from "logos"; it is from "rhēmata"--a different Greek root.]
If Jesus' words are life and spirit (pneuma), then one might even say that the words are God, in a sense, for Jesus also taught that God is spirit (pneuma) in John 4:24.
Thus, in a roundabout way, we can say that it is the speech itself, or the doctrine, of Jesus--his words--that the "logos" might represent and which is likened to God Himself. Certainly, speech, like the wind in Jesus' illustration to Nicodemus, is not visible, and would fit the Bible's description of God being invisible, no man having seen God at any time (see 1 Timothy 1:17 & 6:16; John 1:18).
But, though God is equated with light, fire, love, and spirit in the Bible, one must be careful never to put a human construction on God's substance. God's nature is a mystery that our finite minds cannot penetrate, and it was their attempt to see God in the ark that precipitated the death of 50,070 men of Bethshemesh (see 1 Samuel 6:19).
As is asked in the book of Job:
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty
unto perfection? (Job 11:17, KJV)
As with Moses at the burning bush, we had best put off our shoes when facing the Almighty, for the place where we are standing is holy ground.
The question itself cannot be properly answered as framed. The word "logos" may be translated in other ways, most of which would not be considered as representative of a being or person. Furthermore, the specific text in question does not use "logos" for both Jesus and for his word, as the question seeks to impose upon it.
Finally, the word "logos" has broad application, and, insofar as it may represent God, we dare not seek to understand more of God's nature than has been revealed, for our finite minds are neither capable of understanding the mysteries of God's being, nor should we presumptuously seek to intrude there.
Just as with most pertinent Greek words in NT, “logos” is simply the Jewish writer’s own (bilingual, internal) translation of the Hebraic word “davar (of ELOHIM/ YHWH)” used throughout the Hebraic scriptures. The context, culture and meaning of crucial terminologies of the Hebraic scriptures are not meant to be changed or replaced, just because the NT writers had used the lingua franca of the colonial power of their days (for obvious practical reasons).
λόγος is a common Greek word which, in this context, simply means "word," as in words spoken. Further, the Logos christology is John's, not Matthew's.
LSJ λόγος s.v. VII, VIII, and IX
When Moses asked God what was His name he should tell the Israelites, God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM" (Exodus 3:14). But what is the name of the Son who was with God in the beginning? Jesus was the name we know in His incarnation, but not His name in the beginning.
Moses had a chance to ask God, but nobody had asked Jesus, and therefore, John used the tradition, name by what it means.
Genesis 1:3 - And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (NIV)
As John recognized, the Son was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made (John 1:3). And therefore John called the Son "Logos", meaning "Word of God", as His word created all things.
The story of the centurion was interesting. We may asked where was his great faith came from, so great that able to amazed Jesus. The answer is "Obedience".
Let's review how the centurion replied Jesus; Matthew 8:8-9
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word (Logos, Strong 3056), and my servant will be healed.
9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” (NIV)
Verse 9 explained he was a man of obedience, and so were his people under him. And we can observe their obedience had no doubt, no question asked, but strictly performed as they were told, which is exactly the quality of a disciple of Jesus should be.
So the centurion believed, Jesus had divine nature, though he might not know He was the Son, that John called Him "Logos", but as long as Jesus granted his request, his servant would be healed, in obedient to His divine word (logos).
"48 `He who is rejecting me, and not receiving my sayings, hath one who is judging him, the word that I spake, that will judge him in the last day,
49 because I spake not from myself, but the Father who sent me, He did give me a command, what I may say, and what I may speak,
50 and I have known that His command is life age-during; what, therefore, I speak, according as the Father hath said to me, so I speak.'" (John 12:48-50 YLT)
John 1:1, "....the Word..." Personified because of capitalization, is the speaking of God's word... the Messenger (Angel) of the Lord. So, the Messenger speaks the words of the Father, and was always doing the will of the Father (John 5:19. 30; 6:38; 14:31, etc)
"9 Jesus saith to him, `So long time am I with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip? he who hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how dost thou say, Shew to us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I [am] in the Father, and the Father is in me? the sayings that I speak to you, from myself I speak not, and the Father who is abiding in me, Himself doth the works;
11 believe me, that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me; and if not, because of the works themselves, believe me." (John 14:9-11, YLT)
Jesus and the Father were of one mind as Jesus was always doing the will of the Father, and speaking what the Father told Him to say. The centurion's belief demonstrated in Matt. 8:8 mirrored Jesus' full faith and obedience to the Father's will. The centurion's life-long training and experience with chain of command authority gave him the recognition of the ultimate authority that Jesus placed in the Father.
Therefore, the Word of John 1:1 has the power to speak words in Matt. 8:8. The person vs. the action, the Messenger / Word / Angel of the Lord was with God, spoke the same as God, and was therefore one with God. AKA, God.
There is a huge difference in meaning of a) Logos as Person, b) logos as divine will or commandment: in this b)-sense, the Father's and Son's word is one and the same word, for "word"/logos here denotes a will and action of God, which action the Father and the Son have always jointly and cannot not have jointly ontologically (cf. John 5:17). So, when Peter says to the Lord: “in you are the words/logoi of eternal life” (John 6:68-69), he does not mean uttered words, but words as divine wills, that are dispensed to humans both through uttered or written human words and through His and the Father’s grace that is transmitted to a believer together with the commandment and will of God, for impossible to fulfill Christ’s commandment without Him, His grace co-acting in us (John 15:5).
Moreover, there is a c) meaning of "logos", that is, the words said by human tongue and voice, among them by tongue and voice of Jesus Christ who possesses a human nature; neither Person of Logos per se, nor the will or commandment of God per se make waves and are spread through air, and they aren't hindered by vacuum either.
And there is a d) meaning of "logos" which is a humanly audible meaning-transferring voice, but not uttered from humans, but from angels (Luke 2:13), demons (Luke 4:41) or from the Father Himself (Matthew 3:17).
Thus, to answer your question: since the semantics of "logos" in two cases you mention are drastically different, then there is not a bit of an awkwardness, to say nothing about a contradiction.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth... And God
said, Let there be light: and there was light... And God said, Let
there be a firmament... And God said, Let the waters... And God said,
Let the earth... And God said, Let there be lights... And God said,
Let the waters bring forth... And God said, Let the earth bring
forth... And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness..." Genesis 1:1-26
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of
them by the breath of his mouth... For he spake, and it was done; he
commanded, and it stood fast." Psalm 33:9
That is how powerful the word of God is - the spoken word of God. Yet what else do we find about God's word in the New Testament?
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was
the word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made
by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made... And
the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth." John 1:1-3, 14
"God... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he
hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his
person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had
by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty
on high." Hebrews 1:1-3
Just compare those four passages of scripture that tell us about the word of God, his spoken word, the word, his Son, and the power of God's word in its various manifestations. The link between speaking creation into existence and the Son creating everything that was made, and sustaining that creation by the word of his power is overwhelming. Well, it is if you just soak the written words up and, instead of trying to analyze koine Greek words, let the power of Holy-Spirit inspired written words get through to you.
Those four texts show how the word of God is worked out, used, because God is the originator of words and uses words as and how he pleases. He does things with words that no humans can even dream of doing. And he uses the only-begotten Son in that use of divine words exactly the same as shown in the Old Testament.
The Matthew 8:8 verse you imply gives rise to this question "How can the Logos [person] speak logos [words]?" does not give rise to that question. It is simply a human (the centurion) asking the man, Jesus, to just "say the word and my servant will be healed", without Jesus even needing to go into the centurion's house. That verse has nothing to do with John 1:1. It can be said that John 1:14 is connected, for the Logos became flesh and dwelt among men, but that wasn't in the centurion's thinking because that explanatory verse about Jesus as Logos had not even been written.
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. (ESV)
If we are to rely on the text, then we must begin by acknowledging there is no evidence this Roman centurion understood or accepted Greek philosophy, or that he was approaching a solution to his problem from a philosophical perspective. His concern was practical not philosophical.
For the centurion the issue was not whether Jesus was the Logos: he acknowledges Jesus as Lord. In other words, the centurion was not asking the Logos to speak; he was asking the Lord to speak. While we might dismiss "Lord" as a polite form of address, it is highly presumptive to believe a Roman centurion would use that form of address for anyone other than Caesar or a superior officer.1
The centurion used the address "Lord" because he believed Jesus had greater authority then he and what is found in the military. The centurion believed Jesus had the authority to restore his servant to health merely by speaking logos (not "the" logos and not rhema). This is further evidence Greek philosophy played no part in the centurion's request. Rather, what is described is a centurion making a request to someone with greater authority then found in his military or political setting.
Similarly, it is highly improbable understanding Logos as it is written in the Fourth Gospel was a concept the centurion was familiar with, much less would apply to the situation. However, since the centurion was stationed in Israel and familiar with Judaism, it is reasonable to consider what Old Testament passage might serve as a basis for the request he made. In other words, what would he understand about Judaism that would lead him to recognize Jesus' authority and believe Jesus would use that authority simply because it was requested.
Psalms 33 and 34 are part of the introductory prayers for the Sabbath morning.2Therefore, it is more likely the centurion, having been exposed to the Old Testament through the weekly Sabbath prayers, believed The Lord would have the both the desire and the authority to heal simply by speaking word:
1 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright.
2 Acknowledge the Lord with a lyre; with a harp of ten strings make music to him.
3 Sing to him a new song; make music skillfully, with shouting,
4 because upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are in faithfulness.
5 He loves mercy and justice; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.
6 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made firm, and by the breath of his mouth all their host,
7 as he gathers the waters of the sea like a wineskin, as he puts the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord, and due to him let all the inhabitants of the world be shaken,
9 because he it was that spoke, and they came to be; he it was that commanded, and they were created.
10 The Lord scatters counsels of nations, and he frustrates thoughts of peoples and frustrates counsels of rulers.
11 But the counsel of the Lord remains forever, thoughts of his heart to generation and generation.
12 Happy is the nation of whom the Lord is its God, a people he chose as a heritage for himself.
13 From heaven the Lord looked down; he saw all the sons of men.
14 From his prepared habitation he looked down on all the inhabitants of the earth—
15 he who alone fashioned their hearts, he who keeps observing all their deeds.
16 A king is not saved by a great army, and a giant will not be saved by the greatness of his strength.
17 Unreliable is a horse for deliverance, and by the greatness of its power it will not be saved.
18 Look, the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, those who hope in his mercy,
19 to rescue their souls from death and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord, because he is our helper and protector,
21 because in him our heart will be glad, and in his holy name we hoped.
22 May your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hoped in you. (LXX- Psalm 32(33) NETS)
The centurion is not motivated by Greek philosophy or the significance of The Logos. He believes Jesus can solve his problem. He believes Jesus has the authority to heal and will use that authority simply because he is asked.
Ae the Psalmist says. he (the Lord) loves mercy (v. 5), and the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, those who hope in his mercy (v. 18). The centurion believed Jesus had the authority and he believed Jesus would honor his request because of his heart and because of the Lord's mercy, as the prayer concludes:
May your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hoped in you.
1. διδάσκαλος master would be an appropriate address (cf. Matthew 8:19). 2. Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 1317.
The Logos of John 1 can not be fully grasped on earth by humankind. No one can fathom what knowledge can be contained within the entire Logos. By its very nature then, it defies definition by mere words. Words had a beginning. God’s Logos had no beginning. He always possessed it and IT was with Him.
The eternal Wisdom of YHWH is personified as a female for the sake of poetry.
22 YHWH possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
To possess all of God’s Logos(Wisdom), would be to know all Truth.
Only the 1 Creator can have this logos. Its the 1 Logos. No other’s logos is comparable because all things came from God’s Logos.
The Logos is God’s complete understanding and control of His creation.
By the very nature of a creation, the corresponding creator has ALL the understanding available, because he/she designed it. The 1 God was alone in creation, therefore it is His alone….. That was the case until He beget His son Jesus.
Logos(Wisdom/Truth) and Pneuma(Spirit) were hellenistic concepts that predated Jesus by 500 years.
“....Pneuma for the Stoics is the active, generative principle that organizes both the individual and the cosmos.”
God’s Logos is His wisdom and knowledge OF HOW He orders the cosmos. God’s Spirit (pneuma) IS HOW He orders it.
One way to conceptualize this is by visualizing an electromagnetic field. Without disturbances, the field is natural and constant or static. This is represented by the Logos. This is the passive understanding that holds the creation together. Around this same period, the scientists of the day, used the term Aether to describe the invisible medium which holds all things in place. This is only one of countless wisdoms within the Logos.
Whereas the Logos is the static medium, the dynamic aspect to this Aether is the breath or Spirit of God.
Consider this statement by our master:
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
God’s Logos orders the Static forces, rules, and laws that govern His creation. God’s Spirit is the vehicle He uses to Dynamically CHANGE the order in any way He pleases.
A son inherits qualities and duties of his father.
Likewise, Jesus has all the Wisdom and Truth of his Father because he inherited and kept it perfectly as a good son would.
This is completely in agreement with what the prophet Isaiah says about the Messiah:
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of YHWH;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of YHWH: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
Jesus received authority with understanding over all of creation. This is how the Logos became flesh for the first time. The Son inherited the absolute Wisdom of Everything from the only 1 who knows Everything, his Father, the 1 Creator, YHWH.
Of course, God’s Logos includes His redemptive plan and message to humanity and was spoken by the Spirit through the Son while he walked the earth.
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
Wisdom and/or Truth works seamlessly into the context of many verses. Here are some examples.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with wisdom, and healed all that were sick:
And the verse in question:
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak wisdom only, and my servant shall be healed.
And in John
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and truth which Jesus had said.
And ye have not His Truth abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, him ye believe not.
And many more believed because of his own wisdom;
The logos of God the Father was made flesh in His only son who was begotten by the new incorruptible seed of his Father. The seed of the New Creation.
Seeds produce more seeds. Therefore this new seed will redeem the entire old corrupted Genesis creation back to his God and Father, YHWH. All praise and honor to Him and the Lamb.