Does John 1:1-2 teach that Jesus is God?

The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus is not God. However, does John 1:1 teach that Jesus is God?

John 1:1-2 (ESV) - 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

When we examine the verse, we see that it does in fact teach that Jesus is God.

The Word is Jesus.

This is a point to which the INC agrees (in some sense)[1], but it is worth pointing out regardless. When John speaks of the "word", he is referring to Jesus.

John 1:14 (ESV) - 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The emphasis of this passage is on Christ's pre-existence.

"In the beginning was the Word" and "He was in the beginning" clearly speaks to the pre-existence of Christ! He was - existed - in the beginning!

The Word was with God.

"the Word was with God" and "He was in the beginning with God" points to the distinction between the person of the Father and the person of the Son. This is important for the INC to recognize, because if they say that Jesus did not exist in the beginning or that he only existed in the mind of God, then Jesus could not have been with God. The fact that he was with God means that he must have existed as more than an idea.

The Word was God.

Not only does the passage say that Jesus pre-existed as a distinct person from the Father, it also teaches that Jesus himself is God! How is an idea the same as the being who forms the idea? Jesus was God in the very beginning and he is God today.

One defense the INC has produced is to say that the word for God, "theos", is being used as an adjective.[2] They quote several authors and translations who suggest that it should be translated as "divine". First, appealing to several "authorities" is no real proof. A Trinitarian could point to far more authorities and translations that testify "theos" is indeed a predicate nominative. The fact that "theos" has no definite article does not make it an adjective as the INC claims. Rather, it is a very, very common Greek construction that every first year student learns -- the lack of the definite article specifies that the first noun should be the predicate nominative and not the subject.

The Word is immutable.

Another issue the INC points out is that if this passage refers to the incarnation of Christ and his deity, then it would seem that God is not immutable.

First, this not a violation of immutability. The Trinitarian claim is not that God changed into a man, but that his deity remained unchanged, and that a second nature was added to the person of Christ.

Second, the Bible plainly teaches that Jesus is immutable! The INC teaches that Jesus cannot be God because Jesus was born (and in their eyes, mutable), but they have no way to explain the fact that scripture confesses Christ as immutable!

Hebrws 13:8 (ESV) - 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The Trinitarian understanding of Jesus having both a divine nature and a human nature makes sense of both these verses, but the INC rejection of the divinity of Christ makes their position irreconcilable with what Scripture teaches. The INC forces God to submit to their false definition of immutability. Further, they do not truly believe that Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The Word was not merely a plan.

The INC teaches that the word "Word" refers to a mere plan of God and does not actually refer to the existant person of Jesus. Not only is the idea that the Word was a plan a foolish idea, but it ignores the plain meaning of this passage that Jesus pre-existed in a very real way. Additionally, it ignores what scripture teaches about the Word. For example, in the prologue to John's first epistle, which matches the prologue of his gospel, he writes that the Word was not an intangible plan, but something he touched and heard and saw.

1 John 1:1 (ESV) - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life

Jesus is the Word of life. If the Word refers to a plan and not to the actual person of Christ, how could John have touched and heard and saw this Word?


John 1:1-2 plainly teaches that Christ pre-existed and that he is God. The INC avoids this plain meaning and instead develops creative, post-modern readings of scripture in order to hide from this truth.

[1] The INC would say that it refers to Jesus as a plan, but not the actual person of Christ.

[2] INC article on John 1:1

[3] Article on the proper translation of John 1:1