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Volume 29 - Page 98 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
passage, which is in some respects parallel with John's Prologue and his insistence upon
"Wisdom came to make her dwelling among the children of men, and found no
dwelling-place; thus Wisdom returned, and took her seat among the angels."
The philosophy of the Greeks, and particularly that of Heraclitus and Plato, must
never be forgotten in considering the meaning of the Logos. This does not imply that we
should import the speculations of men into the revelation of God, but simply that we
should recognize that even inspired truth must use words of common meaning, and that
John's immediate readers would be fully cognizant of the philosophic use of this word.
Speaking of Heraclitus, Dr. Drummond writes:
"He clearly perceived that the universe was one, and that all its multifarious changes
were governed by a rational and unalterable law. To this law he gave the very name
which we translate `Word' in the Gospel."
To Heraclitus, however, the Logos was not a person, but much like the scientists "laws
Plato's views on the Logos are set forth in the TimŠus:
"The world is represented as `a living and rational organism', the `only begotten'
(monogenes) Son of God, itself a god and the express image (eikon) of the supreme God"
(J. S. Johnston).
What Plato ascribed to the creation itself, revelation ascribes to the Person of the Son
of God. The groping of unaided reason stumbled upon the terms "logos" and "only
begotten" and "image", but could not relate them one to another, or to the truth.
Plato speaks of ideas as "vowels", which, chain-like, pervade all things (Soph. 253)--
a suggestion which at once makes us think of Him Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the
glorious "chain-like" link in the purpose of the ages.
We must now pass on to Philo, a Jew of Alexandria, who attempted to bridge the gulf
between the revelation of God as given in the Hebrew Scriptures and the demands of
Philosophy. Two contrary views were held as to the nature of God: one view being that
He was transcendent, and the other that He was immanent. The first view removed God
so far from creation and human affairs as to reduce Him to an abstraction, while the
second identified Him with creation so closely that it became virtually Pantheism. The
transcendental God was "unknowable and unthinkable". He had no qualities, and no
attributes. His only name was "I am that I am".
With these thoughts in mind, let us turn once more to the Gospel of John. Here, too,
we find One Who could say: "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8: 58), but we also
read that He said, "I am the bread of life", and "I am the light of the world". The
transcendent One was also immanent. Greek philosophy felt the need for the mediating