When John in his gospel wants to say that one person is next to or with another person, he does not use the Greek preposition pros (translated “with” in John 1:1). But in John 1:1 John does use the preposition pros. John writes that the word was “with God.” Thus John did not write, “In the beginning was the SON of God [a person] and the SON of God was with GOD [person with person].” If John had written “In the beginning the Son was with God (the Father),” that of course would make two GODS and break the fundamental rule of Scripture that GOD is a single Person. It would also contradict flat, the wonderful accounts of the origin of the Son of God by miracle in Mary some 2000 years ago. Luke 1:35 and Matt. 1:18, 20 (“begotten in her”) inform us with simple clarity that the Son of God began to exist in the womb of Mary. This is true of all human beings. Jesus was a human being, not an “average” human being, but still a human being. He is “the man Messiah Jesus.”
Paul said this beautifully and simply in 1 Timothy 2:5 where he repeats the true Christian creed:
We need to repeat our point: John did not contradict Matthew and Luke by teaching that the Son of God was literally with God from eternity. John did not write “the Son was with the Father.” He wrote “the word was in God’s mind” — fully expressive of God’s plan and purpose.
Jesus defined God as “one single Lord” in Mark 12:29: “The Lord our God is one Lord” — agreeing with a fellow Jew about the most important of all commands! And we all know that Jews were never Trinitarians. They believed God was a single divine Self/Person. Jesus taught and rehearsed this in prayer (as we should) that the Father is “the only one who is true God” (John 17:3). That excludes Jesus from being the One God! “The Father is the only ONE who is true GOD.” Jesus is not God but the Son of God (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18, 20). John 17:3 proclaims that Jesus Christ is the fully accredited agent of the One God, the Father. Jesus was sent by God as agent of the One God.
Look again at John 1:1. “In the beginning was the word [not Word!] and the word was with God.” The word was pros God.
If John had wanted us to believe that this means one person was with another person he would have used the preposition para (with) or meta (with). Why? Because those are the pronouns he used elsewhere in his gospel to describe one person with another person. Thus (show your friends this) John 1:39: “They stayed with (para) him for the day.” 4:40: “They asked him to stay with (para) them.” 14:17: “He remains with (para) you.” 14:23: “We will come and make our residence with (para) him.” 14:25: “These hings I have spoken to you while remaining with (para) you.” John also uses the preposition meta (with) in 3:22: “they remained with (meta) them.” 3:25: “a discussion with (meta) a Jew.” So then this shows us that if John wanted to say “In the beginning was the Son and the Son was with the Father,” he would have used meta or para, for person with person. But John meant in fact that the word/plan/intention of God was with (pros) GOD, in the mind of God. In the same way Paul wrote in Galatians 2:5: “so that the truth of the Gospel [not a person!] might remain with (pros) you.” The meaning is “in your mind, in your consciousness.”
Thus in John 1:1 the word or Gospel-plan was in God’s mind, fully expressive of God, the Father. The word was in relation to [pros] God, was God’s concern.
The capitalization of “Word” in many translations for logos (word) misleads the reader into believing that GOD was with GOD. How many Gods is that? More than one. The universe is shaken by polytheism.
(For a striking account of how a former Trinitarian scholar came to see the truth of our point here, please read free on the internet Eric Chang, The Only True God at theonlytruegod.org)
All the English translations from the original Greek before the KJV in 1611 spoke of “word” (lower-case w) and not “Word.” And they translated correctly, “All things were made by it,” the word, not by him, the Son — contradicting the rest of the Bible.
It is interesting that in John 1:5 he speaks of the light. The light is a thing, not a person. The pronoun is neuter (auto). But once Jesus comes on the scene, the light becomes a person (auton, him) in verse 10. The Son appears fully in verse 14 and is the uniquely begotten SON — certainly not a second GOD! The Bible is based on the unitary monotheism of Jesus and his Jewish heritage (Deut. 6:4 = Mark 12:29).
John 1:18 reports, “No one has ever seen GOD [the Father], but the uniquely begotten SON has revealed the Father.” It would be nonsense to say that “no one has ever seen GOD, but we all saw Jesus who is GOD!”
John, remember always, defines that Father as “the only one (monos) who is true GOD” (17:3).
The word “only,” as we all know from an early age, restricts and limits and excludes all others! Jesus is the Son of God who was sent (John 17:3) but he cannot be “the only one who is true GOD” — the Father. It is instructive to see how muddled and contradictory Trinitarian Dr. James White becomes when he tries to avoid the obvious in John 17:3. He writes in his book The Forgotten Trinity: “What of the phrase ‘the only true God’ (John 17:3)?” He forgets to tell you that this phrase from Jesus is addressed to the Father: “You, Father, are the only true God.” White then asks, “Doesn’t this mean that Jesus isn’t God? Of course not.”
But of course it obviously does mean that Jesus isn’t God! If the Father is the only one who is true God, everyone else is excluded. Dr. White has been using language like this (involving “only”) all his life without the slightest confusion. But here he is driven by the Trinity! He is forced into an obvious misuse of easy language. He goes on to repeat his tradition that Father and Son both share the one Being of God. But Jesus does not say anything like this.
Jesus knows nothing of the language of “Being.” Jesus knows nothing of the language of “Essence.” Dr White thinks that his Triune God is “one what” (The Forgotten Trinity, p. 27). But Jesus has a different concept entirely in John 17:3: “The Father [one single Person] is the only one [a single Person, excluding all other p/Persons] who is [a single Person] true God [a single Person].” All quite straightforward until a contradictory tradition (post-Bible) was introduced to complicate and confuse the monotheism of Jesus.
Well did scholar and teacher Franz-Josef Ohlig write in his very informative book One or Three: from the Father of Jesus to the Mystery of the Trinity:
- “Jesus himself stood in the tradition of Jewish monotheism…His thinking and acting were geared toward this one God…It is certain that the doctrine of the Trinity as it became dogma…has no biblical foundation whatsoever” (p. 121,130)