In the beginning was the Word
“In the beginning was the Word.” Thus says John 1:1. The Word did not come into being at a particular moment in time. The Word was in the beginning. What does in the beginning mean? Does it refer to a point inside time or outside time? Why not say, “Before the beginning,” then? No, for if before, then the beginning would no longer be the beginning. Or why not say, “In the beginning the Word had been”? No, for this phrase also contradicts itself. Had been refers to another point in time, and thus the beginning would no longer be the beginning. So, what does the beginning mean? How long is the beginning? Nil. For if it had a period, the beginning was not the beginning. Therefore, the beginning was the beginning of everything (for it is illogical to say that they began before the beginning) and was periodless.
In the beginning was the Word. If I say, “I was there at 5 pm,” we accept that I was there–if I am honest–for a period of time which began before 5 pm and ended after 5 pm. 5 pm is periodless and therefore it was impossible for me to be there exactly at 5 pm. I must have been there before 5 pm and left after 5 pm. But even if 5 pm is periodless, it is still in time. It needs time to mean something.
Some things also don’t have space, but they need space to explain themselves. They are in space. Take length for example. Length doesn’t have space but needs space to explain itself. Length doesn’t mean anything without space.
But what about other things, such as truth, love, or goodness?
In the beginning was the Word. This phrase doesn’t say anything about space, whereas my word there referred to space. [However, the word there doesn’t say anything about visibility–whether you saw me or not. If I was there but somehow you didn’t see me, I was still there.] And if by ‘I was there at 5 pm’ we accept without difficulty that I could not have appeared and disappeared instantly at 5 pm (even if I could, I was still there for a period of time however short), how do we say about ‘In the beginning was the Word’? The Word must be beyond the beginning of time, which was periodless. In fact if we are to understand ‘I was there at 5 pm’ literally, I, who was there at periodlessness must have been periodless also. But we don’t understand it that way because our existence is definitely not periodless.
Then, what about the Word?
It is interesting to examine the relationship between space and time. Would it be possible to separate the two? Can each of them exist without the other? I cannot think of anything in this world which is in space but not in time, and vice versa. Therefore, if nothing exists without both space and time, space and time must coexist.
Nothing exists without space and time, but in the beginning was the Word. Unless we conclude that the Word surpasses space and time, ‘In the beginning was the Word’ will not mean anything. But if it means anything at all, the meaning it contains is astonishing. The Word is eternal!–this is what it means. A number of ideas are also eternal. But they don’t exist by themselves. They are inherent with the Word. If ‘nothing exists without space and time’ is true, then these ideas exist eternally with the Word.
How marvelous is Your Word!
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- April 14, 2005 / 10:20