If they haven’t already, one day your children will ask you: “Daddy/Mommy, where did I come from?” And you will have to decide if that day is the day you tell them about “the birds and the bees.” But my guess is that, at minimum, you will say: “You came from Mommy and Daddy.” And when they ask where Mommy and Daddy came from, you will tell them that we came from our Mommy and Daddy. After you have worked your way back through the ages to the Garden of Eden, explaining to them where Adam and Eve came from, they likely will ask: “So, where did God come from?”
Last Sunday I began a new sermon series on the Gospel of John. As all of you are undoubtedly aware, the so-called “Prologue” to John’s gospel, chapter one, verses 1-18, is quite breathtaking! On Sunday we looked at seven things John says about the “Word” in vv. 1-5. Here I want to mention only two of them.
First, the Son of God, or the Word, was eternally pre-existent:
“In the beginning was the Word” (v. 1a).
You should immediately recognize John’s language in v. 1 as an echo of Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Thus when John says that the “in the beginning was the Word” he is telling us that the Word, the Son of God, the person who became human in the person of Jesus, is eternally pre-existent.
Mark begins his gospel by saying: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). John may be alluding to Mark, saying: “Mark has told you about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry here on earth. But I want to show you that the real starting point of the gospel can be traced back farther than that, indeed, back before the creation of the entire universe!”
John is telling us that when it all began, the Word already was. The Word was not a part of the beginning. He was eternally prior to or before it. He was eternally antecedent to the beginning. When the beginning began, the Word already was! The Word didn’t begin with the beginning. The Word was himself the beginner of the beginning!
Therefore, the Word was not made. The Word simply was and is. The Word was not started. He was the starter. He did not commence to be. He was not shaped or fashioned or formed. The Word wasn’t produced and packaged. The Word wasn’t constructed or created. The Word simply is, and always has been: unbegun, unmade, uncreated.
The Word was not the product of the Big Bang (assuming for the sake of argument that there was a Big Bang). If the universe started with a Big Bang, the Word was the Big Banger! He lit the fuse.
The Word, therefore, is eternal. He is ageless. To be measured in terms of age you have to have begun at some point from which your time in existence can be calculated. Not the Word! The Word has no birthday. Jesus had a birthday. When the eternally pre-existent Word “became flesh” (John 1:14), the human being we know as Jesus began to be. But the Word who became Jesus never began to be but always is.