Here, we learn that the Word (who, as you'll remember, was both with God and one with Him) is the source everything that exists. In other words, nothing has appeared on the universe's stage without His direct, express involvement.All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.-John 1:3 (NASB)
This is probably as good a time as any to address a couple of Christianity's fundamental problems:
- If God's nature is thoroughly good, unadulterated by any evil, and if everything in existence has come through God, then how can we explain evil's existence? How could a good God have created a world fraught with evil?
- Similarly, if God is all-powerful, and if He hates evil (since it is foreign to His character), how can we explain evil's continued existence? Why hasn't He wiped it out from the universe once and for all?
It would be foolish to claim that I have some final, ironclad answer to these questions. In fact, many brilliant philosophers have been arguing about this very matter for centuries. I can, however, tell you where my intellectual and spiritual journey has led me.
- I believe that when God creates rational beings, He gives them the ability to make decisions. This statement may seem obvious, but think about its implications. If God forced every human -- or angel, or whatever other will-bearing beings may exist -- to behave in accordance with His perfect nature, they wouldn't truly have the ability to make decisions. Oh, they might be able to choose within a range of acceptable options, but the decisions that mattered most to their identities would have been made for them long ago.
I would argue, then, that our ability to choose evil is a fundamental part of being made in God's image. That is, our capacity for making decisions -- good or bad -- is the fingerprint of the divine.
- I believe that mercy is a fundamental part of God's nature. This is particularly true in how He views mankind, His favorite creatures. Just as I do not wish to destroy my children when they choose to disobey me, God does not wish to wipe out His disobedient children, either. Instead, He wants to reach out, to restore our broken relationship, to give us as many chances to repent as possible.
This is why He sent His Son to take our sins on Himself and bear the punishment of our evil. Being divine, Christ is able to accept God's wrath without being permanently removed from His sight. Being human, Christ is able to truly take the punishment that Adam and his children deserved.
Nonetheless, God is also constrained by His goodness, righteousness, and holiness. Thus, He cannot and will not brook unrepentant rebellion forever. A day of reckoning must come for those who do not accept Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on their behalf.
We'll dig deeper into these ideas later. For now, the important thing to see is that everything came into existence through the medium of the Word, the divine logos. And by everything, the evangelist means EVERYTHING. He emphasizes this by repeating himself in the second phrase: "Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."
God's very divine Word, the being with whom He is one, and with whom He was in the beginning, is the source of everything that is and everything that ever has been. And, as we'll see, the Word is also the only way for God's rebellious children to return to Him.