“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
The Eternal Word of God is God
Before I go any further, I need to prove that the Son and the Spirit are God. Later on, we’ll see how they differ from each other. When God’s Word is talked in the Bible, it would be absurd to think of it like a voice shouting into the wind: passing away quickly. Rather, the Word comes from God Himself. Even the wisdom from God which inspired the prophets and apostles comes from Him. Just like Peter tells us, the ancient prophet spoke through the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11). Both the prophets and the apostles were servants of God’s truth. Since Christ had not been become human in the incarnation, we understand the Word was begotten by the Father before time even began. But if the Spirit, who inspired the prophets to speak and write, belongs to the Word, then we must believe that the Word was truly God.
That the Word is God is shown clearly enough by Moses in his account of creation (Genesis 1:1-31). He clearly shows the Word as the medium by which creations comes into existence. For example, when God creates each of his works, He say, “Let there be…” This indicates that the unsearchable glory of God will shine forth in His image. Some people object and respond, “Well, the ‘word’ just means ‘order’ or ‘command.'” But the apostles are better teachers. They tell us that the worlds were created by the Son, and he sustains all things by His mighty word (Hebrews 1:2). In this verse, we see here that the “word” is used for command of the Son, who Himself eternal and essential Word of the Father.
Solomon means essentially the same thing when he introduces Wisdom as being begotten by God which is present at the creation of the world, and all other divine works (Proverbs 8:22). It is nonsensical to imagine God issuing a temporal command when He was pleased to execute His fixed and eternal counsel, something which is a great mystery. Jesus refers to this plan when He says, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17). When Jesus affirms that He has been working since the foundation of the world, He gives a clearer explanation of what Moses merely touched on. What Jesus means is this: God gave His Word a particular part in the work of creation. Both creation was common to both God and the Word. The clearest explanation is given by John, when he says that the Word–which was from the beginning, God and with God-worked together with God to make all things. John attributes both a substantial and permanent essence to the Word. He also assigns the Word a certain particularity and shows how God the world into being. Therefore, even though all revelations from God have the title, “the Word of God,” the highest place must be given to the substantial Word, the source of all Scripture. This Word cannot change and remains forever one and the same with God and is God!