In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 HCSB)
In his prologue, the Fourth Evangelist takes the Genesis story of creation and uses its words and images to announce the significance of Jesus. In Genesis, God speaks and his word alone brings about creation. His first creation is light, which he separates from the darkness. For John, this word is not merely the mechanism of creation or an insignificant detail of the Genesis story. The word is a personification of an element of God’s essential nature. The Jewish wisdom tradition had personified “wisdom” as an aspect of God himself. For Hellenistic readers, the personification of the “logos” would have reminded them of the philosophical concept of “reason” that orders all things. For John, however, the word is more than just divine wisdom or reason personified. The word is God expressing himself. One speaks because one wants to be heard, and the act of creation is God inviting his creatures into relationship. The invitation, however, is largely refused. Here John draws on the image of light and darkness in the creation story. The creation did not just generate points of physical light in the darkness of space; the word that God spoke produced a moral light that continued to shine in the midst of the darkness of human alienation and rejection. Human sin could do nothing to extinguish the light of God’s love.
In Jesus, John sees the personification of this word. He is the word become flesh. Jesus is the ultimate self-expression of the God that created the universe. The darkness of this world still largely rejects the light of God’s love offered in Jesus, but some receive it. In those who receive Jesus as God’s eternal message, God’s intention in creation is fulfilled.