1-3-5 “All things were made by him”
Speaking of the logos as a person was quite common amongst
the Jews- and they in no way understood that God could have any
other god in existence or equal with Him. One of the most thorough
surveys of the logos theme concludes: "It is an error
to see in such personifications an approach to personalisation.
Nowhere either in the Bible or in the extra-canonical literaure
of the Jews is the word of God a personal agent" (1). It was
the apostate Jew Philo who began to speak of the logos
as "the second God, who is his logos... God's firstborn,
the logos" (2). And it was this interpretation which
obviously came to influence Christians desperate for justification
of their idea of a Divine Jesus; but such justification is simply
not to be found in God's word. All talk of a "second God"
is utterly unBiblical.
However, whilst in a sense the logos was God's word, plan
and intent personified, it became actual flesh / concrete reality
in the person of Jesus. That God created and accomplished the physical
creation by His word was an obvious Old Testament doctrine (Is.
55:11). By the time John was writing his Gospel [somewhat later
than the others], the idea of believers being a new creation in
Christ would have been developed in the early ecclesia (2 Cor. 5:17
etc.). The Greek translated “made by…” occurs often in John’s Gospel.
It clearly describes how the Gospel of the Lord Jesus ‘made’ new
men and women; lives were transformed into something new. The phrase
is used in the immediate context of John 1: “to become [‘be made’]
the sons of God” (1:12), in that grace and truth came [‘were
made’] by Jesus (1:17). “All things” therefore refers to the “all
things” of the new creation. Note how Jesus came unto “his own things”
(1:11 RVmg.), i.e. to the Jewish people. “All things”
which were made by him therefore comfortably refers to the “all
things” of the new creation- which is just how Paul uses the phrase
(Eph. 1:10,22; 4:10; Col. 1:16-20). Quite simply all of us, in “all
things” of our spiritual experience, owe them all to God’s
word of promise and it’s fulfilment in Christ. This is how totally
central are the promises to Abraham! “All things were made by him”!
Consider other occurrences of “made by” in John’s Gospel:
4:14 The water of the life of Jesus shall
be [‘made’] in the believer “a well of water springing up
into everlasting life”
5:9,14 the lame man “was made” whole
10:16 the believers shall be made (RV
‘shall become’) one flock
12:36 may be [‘made’], RV ‘become’,
“the children of light”
15:8 So shall ye be [‘made’] my disciples
16:20 Your sorrow shall be turned [‘made’]
" Apart from him not a thing came to be" (Jn.
1:3) is a phrase repeated by the Lord Jesus in Jn. 15:5, where He
says that " apart from me" we can bring forth
no spiritual fruit. The things that came into being in Jn. 1:3 would
therefore appear to be the things of the new life enabled and empowered
in Christ. In this sense Jesus can be described as the creator of
a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). But in practice, it is the word
of the Gospel, the message of Jesus, which brings this
about in the lives of those who hear and respond to it. We are born
again by the word , the “seed” of the living God (1 Pet.
1:23 RV mg.). In this arresting, shocking analogy, the “word” of
the Gospel, the word which was made flesh in the person of Jesus,
is likened to the seed or sperm of God. We were begotten again by
“the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his
creations” (James 1:18). In God’s word, in all that is revealed
in it of the person of our Lord Jesus, we come face to face with
the imperative which there is in what we know of Him to be like
Him. In this feature of God’s word, as it is in the Bible record
and therefore and thereby as it is in and of His Son, we have the
ultimate creative power, the dynamism so desperately needed by humanity,
to transform our otherwise shapeless and formless lives. And in
a multitude of lives, “All things were made by him”.
As the Lord Jesus was sent into this world, so are we. We evidently
didn’t personally ‘pre-exist’; and so we cannot reason that He did
because He was sent by the Father. ‘Sending’ in Scripture can refer
to being commissioned to speak forth God’s word (Is. 48:16; Jer.
7:25; Ez. 3:4,5; Zech. 2:8-11). Thus God is often described as sending
forth His prophets. We too must allow ourselves to be sent forth
as our Lord was, making the word of the Gospel flesh in us as it
was in Him. For like Him, we personally are the message which we
preach. The word of God / the Gospel is as seed (1 Pet. 1:23); and
yet we believers end our probations as seed falling into the ground,
which then rises again in resurrection to be given a body and to
eternally grow into the unique type of person which we are now developing
(1 Cor. 15:38). The good seed which is sown is interpreted by the
Lord both as the word of God (Lk. 8:11), and as “the children of
the Kingdom” (Mt. 13:38). This means that the word of the Gospel
becomes flesh in us as it did in our Lord. The word of the Gospel
is not, therefore, merely dry theoretical propositions; it elicits
a life and a person. We will be changed; not just physically, but
we will each be given our own, unique ‘body’, as Paul puts it. There
will be eternal continuity between who we now become, and who we
grow into throughout eternity. This is the amazing power of the
word of the Gospel; for this is the seed, which transforms the essential
you and me into a seed which will rise up to great things in God’s
future Kingdom. In all this, the Lord was and is our pattern. “All
things were made by him”.
(1) G.F. Moore, Judaism In The First Centuries Of The Christian
Era (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1927) Vol. 1 p. 415.
(2) References in James Dunn, Christology In The Making
(Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1980) p. 221.