The Logos and Jesus
I Seek refuge in The God from Satan the rejected. My Lord I seek refuge in You from the whispers of the devils; and I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they come near me.
May the peace, blessings and mercy of The God be upon you.
There was once an ancient Greek philosopher named Heraclitus. He claimed that the supreme ordering principle and pervading intelligence of the cosmos, the universe, was the “Logos.” This word in ancient Greek meant multiple things: “word,” “speech,” “discourse,” “reason,” et cetera. What Heraclitus basically meant to say was that there was a common divine reason behind all things in the universe, which was what ordered and controlled all things.
After Heraclitus came the Stoic Philosophers who adopted the belief in the Logos. But to them the Logos was more specifically, the Divine Reason behind all things. By “reason” what is meant is as in when one says, “The brain possesses the faculties of logic, thought, and reason.” It is the rationality by which the universe is ordered.
The Gospel of John says in two places (John 1:1 and 14) that Jesus is the Logos, (“Logos” is commonly translated as “Word”). It is known that when the Gospel of John was written, the writer intended the word “Logos” to be understood as none other than the Logos of common Stoic Greek Philosophy; Jesus is supposed to be not literally a “word” like what people speak, but more like a material manifestation of the divine ordering force of the universe.
The idea in John 1:1, 14 that Jesus is a material manifestation and concentration of the ordering force of the universe, the Logos, is actually confirmed in The Qur’an in 3:45 and 4:171:
“When the angels said, O Mary, God gives the good news of a word from Him whose name is the Healer, Jesus, son of Mary, distinguished in this world and one of the close ones in the Hereafter.” – 3:45
“O people of the scripture do not boast about your religion and do not say about God except the truth. Indeed the Healer, Jesus, Son of Mary was no more than a messenger from God and His word that He inspired to Mary and a spirit from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in God and His messengers, and do not say trinity. You shall stop for your own good. Indeed God is one god, be He glorified much too high to have a son, to Him belongs everything in the skies and everything on the land. And God suffices as an Advocate.” – 4:171
The Arabic word used here for “word” is “kalimah.”
John 1:1 and 14:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Interesting note: the verse number 1, as in John chapter 1, verse 1, followed by the verse number 14, makes the number 114; and as The Qur’an confirms the main teaching of John 1:1 and 14 that Jesus is the Logos, 114 is the total number of Surahs (“chapters”) in The Qur’an.
It is important for me to temporarily tarry from the main topic of this post, that Jesus is the Logos, the Kalimah, and delve into the subject of Jesus’ supposed divinity; although The Qur’an confirms the idea in John 1:1 and 14 that Jesus is the Logos, it does not confirm, and in fact rejects, the doctrine that Jesus or the Logos is God. Furthermore, if you want you can read “Misquoting Jesus,” a scholarly book by Bart D. Ehrman which goes over all the historic and scientific evidence that shows that the various verses or parts of verses throughout The Bible that claim Jesus’ divinity are not truly authentic portions of The Gospel. According to modern scholars and scientific studies, the most reliable portions of The Bible, collected together into something called The Lost Gospel Q, make no mention of Jesus or the Logos being God, or even God’s literal son. Calling someone a “son of God” was an ancient Hebrew way of saying that someone was simply very close to God. This is why the angels in the Old Testament were sometimes called the “Sons of God.” Genesis 6:1-4 describes how the angels procreated with human women, but calls the angels “sons of God” and also other prophets were called sons of God, as in David in the Psalms of David 2:7; this was not meant to be taken literally. In either case, there is really no basis even in The Bible as a whole for the claim that Jesus is a literal son of God, much less the only begotten son of God.
Psalms of David 2:7, “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
“O people of the scripture do not boast about your religion and do not say about God except the truth. Indeed the Healer, Jesus, Son of Mary was no more than a messenger from God and His word that He inspired to Mary and a spirit from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in God and His messengers, and do not say trinity. You shall stop for your own good. Indeed God is one god, be He glorified much too high to have a son, to Him belongs everything in the skies and everything on the land. And God suffices as an Advocate.”
Thus, even in light of The Bible, there is no reason to think that Jesus or the Logos is God. If that was true, then that too would have been confirmed by the later and the final scripture of God, The Qur’an. But it is instead rejected by The Qur’an, (5:73, 116; ). Yet there is plenty of reason to believe that,while neither Jesus nor the Logos are God, Jesus is the Logos and the Logos is what Heraclitus and the Stoics were talking about. Both The Bible and The Qur’an support the fact that Jesus was the Logos in a physical, material, fleshly manifestation; Jesus was a concentration of the pervading ordering force and the pervading reason – or in my understanding, the pervading design program – of the universe, manifested physically as one of God’s human prophets.
Now let us return to Jesus being the Logos. Here are some quotations that support this interpretation, that Jesus is the Logos, and that by “Logos” what is meant is the very same Logos that the Stoics and Heraclitus were talking about – the ordering force of the cosmos:
Logos ( /ˈloʊɡɒs/, UK /ˈlɒɡɒs/, or US /ˈloʊɡoʊs/; Greek: λόγος, from λέγω lego “I say”) is an important term in philosophy, psychology,rhetoric, and religion. Originally a word meaning “a ground”, “a plea”, “an opinion”, “an expectation”, “word,” “speech,” “account,” “reason,” it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.
Ancient philosophers used the term in different ways. The sophists used the term to mean discourse, and Aristotle applied the term to refer to “reasoned discourse” or “the argument” in the field of rhetoric. The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divineanimating principle pervading the Universe.
After Judaism came under Hellenistic influence, Philo (ca. 20 BC–AD 50) adopted the term into Jewish philosophy. The Gospel of Johnidentifies the Logos, through which all things are made, as divine (theos), and further identifies Jesus as the incarnation of the Logos.
Although the term “Logos” is widely used in this Christian sense, in academic circles it often refers to the various ancient Greek uses, or to post-Christian uses within contemporary philosophy, Sufism, and the analytical psychology of Carl Jung.
“Concerning The Logos
Date of last revision: 29 Dec 96
The Greek word — transliterated logos — which was used by John in the prologue to his gospel, is often translated as word. Taken literally, that meaning is problematic, for how could a mere word exist from the beginning of time? How could a word be God? And how could such a word become human, in particular, the man, Jesus Christ? To properly understand John’s prologue and, in fact, to fully understand his gospel and the whole New Testament, one must know something of the interpretation a literate, first century citizen of the Roman Empire — one thoroughly steeped in Greek philosophy and culture — would attach to the term.
Literally, logos, did mean word. It could also mean utterance, speech, logic, or reason, to name but a few. Heraclitus of Ephesus, who lived in the sixth century, BC, was the first philosopher we know of to give logos a philosophical or theological interpretation. Heraclitus might in fact be called the first western philosopher, for his writings were perhaps the first to set forth a coherent system of thought akin to what we now term philosophy. Although his writings are preserved only in fragments quoted in the writings of others, we know that he described an elaborate system touching on the ubiquity of change, the dynamic interplay of opposites, and a profound unity of things. The Logos seemed to figure heavily in his thought and he described it as a universal, underlying principle, through which all things come to pass and in which all things share.
This notion of The Logos was further developed by Stoic philosophers over the next few centuries. The Stoics spoke of The Logos as the Seminal Reason, through which all things came to be, by which all things were ordered, and to which all things returned.
Perhaps the most extensive accounting of The Logos was by Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Jew who lived around the time of Christ. Philo wrote allegories of Old Testament books authored by Moses, interpreting them in the light of Greek philosophy. He used the term, logos,refer more than 1300 times in his writings, in many varied ways. Of particular note are his references to The Logos as the Divine Reason, by participation in which humans are rational; the model of the universe; the superintendent or governor of the universe; and the first-born son of God. Although there is no direct evidence that John ever even read Philo, it seems clear that the concepts he articulated were firmly in the mind of the evangelist when he wrote his gospel.
The understanding of The Logos by an intended reader of the prologue to the fourth gospel may be summarized as follows.
The Logos is
- the plan or model of the universe.
- the source of order in the universe, that by which all things come into being and all things come to pass.
- the source of human reason and intelligence.
- not understood by humankind.
If it is true that there is a single, unifying principle eternally at work in the universe, through which all things come into being and by which all things are ordered, one would expect that it would be attested to by other sources. That is in fact the case. For example, in The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote of such a principle he called the tao, or ‘the way of life’. In the Upanishads, ancient Hindu philosophers wrote of the ultimate reality and called it Brahman, which is manifested in the individual as Atman, much as The Logos manifests itself in the individual human’s intellect or reason. Today, modern physicists acknowledge a single, fundamental principle of the universe and seek to articulate it in the form of a complete, unified theory of physics.
I believe that these sources reflect a valid yet severely limited comprehension of The Logos. A more complete understanding comes from recognizing, as John states in his gospel, that The Logos became flesh at a particular time in history: about 4 BC; in a particular place: Palestine; as a particular man: Jesus Christ; and for a particular purpose: to reconcile humankind with God through his human life, death, and resurrection.”
Now, this latter quotation does claim that Jesus=Logos=God; but, if you notice, there is not any proof of this given in the quotation. And if you actually do read the book “Misquoting Jesus,” I assure you you’ll find no reason to consider the doctrine that Jesus or Logos is God is even valid. But both of these sources do support my own finding that Jesus, according to The Bible and The Qur’an, was a human manifestation of the Logos that Heraclitus and the Stoics believed in and discussed.
The Creative Principle that God uses:
The Qur’an says that to have anything be, God simply says “Be,” and it is; and it says specifically about Jesus and Adam that their examples are the same; God created Adam and Jesus from mud, and then said “Be,” and they were. Thus, it is by God’s word that God’s will is done, and, there is very clearly a close relationship between Jesus and the Word of God. Here are the relevant quotations:
“She said, my Lord, how can I have a son while no man has touched me? He said so does God create what He wills. Once he wills a matter, then, indeed He will say to it “be,” and it is.” – 3:47
“Surely, the example of Jesus as far as God is concerned is just like the example of Adam. He created him from clay and said to it “be,” and it then became.” – 3:59
There is a mechanism by which God creates and orders the universe. That mechanism is the Logos, the cosmic Word by which God manifests His will and His authority. About two-thousand years ago, God produced a concentration of the Logos, the vibration of the universe, and manifested it physically in human flesh as a human being to be one of His prophets and messengers. That prophet thus was supported by God’s authority – God’s command or word, and his name was Jesus. Jesus was the Logos, the Kalimah.
This does not make Jesus a partner with God in creation or in anything; it simply means that Jesus was a tool of God. Jesus was the Logos, the cosmic vibration – that which in Hinduism and Yoga is called the Aum – the pervading rational force of the universe, concentrated in the form of a man by God’s will to serve God as a messenger and a prophet. This also does not mean that there is some distinction between Jesus and the other messengers; it is simply one of the special qualities of Jesus. Every prophet and messenger of God had special qualities to them. For example, Abraham was a close friend of God, and Muhammad was the special Seal of the Prophets.