This is part one in a brief series on communication as part of the very quality of God and His Kingdom. It is also a clarion call to that Kingdom to become excellent at this vital issue, the very thing we were made for.
As Christians looking at the Bible for matters that are important to God and thus important for us, we tend to think of sin, righteousness, helping the poor and hurting, eschatology, and others. These are all very important biblical themes. But we tend to miss something huge that is both inherent and explicit in the Bible, communication. It seems simple, a ‘no brainer,’ but it just may spark deep issues related to our faith that we often forsake. I know we talk about communicating the gospel (good news about Jesus) message, but I think our understanding of a theology of communication should be much broader than that.
The famous passage in John 1:1-2 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” The common exegesis of this passage in today’s pulpits is mostly along the lines of, “Well…’The Word’ is just kind of a code word for Jesus…kind of like a nickname.” But this misses a huge concept that the Bible spends much of its pages trying to get across. In order to really understand this, we need to turn back a few hundred pages, to the very beginning.
God created the world by speaking it into existence. He said “Let there be light, and there was light.” Interestingly, God wasn’t saying “Turn on the lights,” but “Let light exist.” God created the very concept of light by simply speaking it into existence. The same goes for everything…literally, everything. All that is came into being through God’s word.
In John 1 we are transported back to that moment in Genesis 1 when everything came into existence. The passage starts with the exact same phrase as Genesis (Septuagint), “en archae,” and contains the same concept of creation. That is the purpose of the passage in the first place. The other gospels have their genealogies, showing Jesus lineage from Adam, from Abraham and David, but John gives Jesus genealogy from the beginning of all and preexistence with God from eternity.
But John 1 goes beyond just a lineage (or lack thereof). Going further in the John 1 passage we read, “Through Him all things were made; Without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3) Anyone thinking about the tie to Genesis would quite easily recognize that John hadn’t stopped the parallelism here. John was saying that Jesus was the speaking into being that did the creating. He doesn’t leave it in doubt at all. Nothing was made at any time through any means other than Jesus, God’s word.
The concept of trinity to start with incorporates into the Godhead fellowship. God is in Himself community. Community requires communication. The more intimate the community, the more intimate the communication must be. In fact, communication is not a function of community (or vice versa) but the essence of it. We, made in God’s image are by nature community-building communicators.
I have some dear friends with a small 1+ year old child. This little girl has not yet developed the verbal skills to be able to actually tell me what it is that she is thinking, but that doesn’t stop her from trying, and try she does. She will be involved in all manner of toddler intrigue and dawdle up to me as I sit on the floor. Putting her hand on my shoulder in order to share with me some deep secret of the universe, she then belts out “phlat ab da phfff.”
This little girl, though currently unable to get it quite right, is doing what she was made to do. She is sharing her world with me. There is something beautifully human about that. It is also a reflection of God Himself.
Stay tuned for the continuation of this series