Many read John 1 with bias and read into the text things that are not there. They believe that John was describing the relationship of God the Son to God the Father. Most people don’t even realize how contrived this explanation is.
1. The traditional explanation
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
Word = God the Son
God (first mention) = God the Father
God (second mention) = God the Son
It is understood as: In the beginning was the Word (God the Son), and the Word (God the Son) was with God (God the Father), and the Word (God the Son) was God (God the Son but not God the Father or God the Holy Ghost).
In the same verse, “God” means God the Father, though the Father is never mentioned, and immediately after it means God the Son, even though the Son is not mentioned. In this passage “God” never means the triune Father, Son, and Spirit. We are to believe that this passage is irrefutable proof that God is a trinity, yet John under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost chose to use the ambiguous term “God” to immediately describe two different Persons.
The only reasonable way to arrive at this conclusion is to approach the material already convinced that God is a trinity. Just because we can sort of make it fit doesn’t mean that the interpretation was the author’s intent. Is this interpretation very logical? Is it consistent? Should the definition of the wording change mid-verse?
Let’s look at the second half of this verse along with verse fourteen of the same chapter and consistently apply the concept of the Trinity to the word “God”.
John 1:1,14…the Word was God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)… And the Word (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) was made flesh
If the term “God” truly refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Trinitarian dogma concludes in an Oneness understanding of the Incarnation. God, including the Father and Spirit, was made flesh.
2. The Oneness explanation
A. The beginning
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word…
It is common practice for Trinitarians to use John 1:1 to prove that the Son is eternal. They stress that “the Word” was from the beginning and became flesh. This scripture in actuality proves that “the Word” was not eternal. When does eternity end? The obvious answer is never. With that in mind, when does eternity begin? Eternity is continuous in both directions. The beginning here could not be speaking of eternity. It must speak of the creation of the world when time began.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
B. The Word
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
The Greek word “Logos” is translated as “Word” in English. The logos refers to a thought in the mind or the expression of a thought or plan. It is the root of the English word “logic”. A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. According to John, the Word, God’s divine plan, was with Him from the beginning.
C. The Word was God
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
From the beginning, the very creation of the world, God had a plan. However this did not involve another; this Word was God. This Word (God) became flesh. The creative Word or expression of salvation was God Himself. He was going to take on flesh and save the world. God would gloriously reveal Himself as the answer to sin. This was the preexisting glory that Jesus had from the foundation of the world (John 17:5). It was the preordained cross.
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Revelation 13:8 ...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Before the world began, in the mind of God the crucifixion was already a fact. Before man’s first sin, God already had a solution so that we could be holy and blameless. His logos or plan was to come in the flesh Himself, die as our sacrificial lamb, and demonstrate His love for us.
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
The beauty of the oneness message is that we can see how God, our Creator, gave Himself for us. He did not send another. He showed us His love.
1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…