In the Beginning, There Was … A Harmonious Relationship

A reflection on the Johannine logos

The beginning of the prologue of the Gospel of John, translated from Greek, is well known: «In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God» (John 1:1). In the following reflection, I do not want to criticize this common transmission, but to supplement and deepen it with an interpretation of the Greek term ‹lógos›, which points to a dimension of this inexhaustible source of spirituality, as far as I know, hitherto unnoticed.

The Greek term ‹lógos› not only refers to the creative ‹word› born of the divine intelligence (also lógos). The same term also points to the harmonious relationship that exists between the Father and the Son/Word at the beginning of all that is, and through which all forms of being arise (John 1, 3, and 10). In fact, the basic meaning of the Greek word ‹lógos› is relationship, relation, proportion, also understood in a musical-mathematical sense, that means, a coherent, harmonious relationship. Starting from this basic meaning, the beginning of The Prologue to John could also be understood as follows: «In the beginning there was the (coherent, harmonious) relationship, and the relationship was directed towards God.»

Photo: Katharina Müller

The interpretation proposed here «and the relationship was directed toward God» consistently expects the literal sense of the Greek formulation ‹pros ton theón›, because the preposition ‹pros› plus accusative means, also in the New Testament, the alignment with a place, a thing, a person, including in relation to speaking or a conversation.

Because of this interpretation, the creative, inexhaustibly living word of the Father (ho theós = God par excellence), that means, the Son, a dynamic, life- and light-bearing relationship (John 1, 4-5 and 9), like an I-conversation between Father and Son, through which the creation of being can occur. Word can be understood here, in other words, as a coherent, harmonious relationship, as a harmonious, original rhythm of the world and at the same time as ‹primordial eurythmy›, through which an archetypal musical and spiritually mathematical heart and breathing dynamic act and become apparent as the reason for all forms of being.

Based on what has been discussed so far, the meaning of ‹lógos› as a (coherent/harmonious) relationship is revealed not as an exclusionary alternative, but as a fruitful explication, deepening, interpretation in relation to the common transmissions from the beginning of the John prologue. By emphasizing this meaning, which the Johannine wording clearly indicates, the Johannine concept of the creative word gains dynamism and concreteness for us human beings of the present.

Understood as a harmonious relationship, the Johannine Christ Logos reveals itself as the primordial source of all world rhythms and heart dynamics, which are referred to in Rudolf Steiner’s foundation stone meditation as Christ’s will. The Christmas season would like to invite us to a creative reflection that can make this will of Christ more and more visible in the sensory world: visible as the present archetype of all sensory perception, which, supported by the freedom and love of the I, can become a harmonious relationship, harmonious rhythm, conversation born of the heart and with that give new life and light to people, to the world.

The reflection presented here is based on a contribution given at the conference ‹Der Sämann sät das Wort – Von der Keimkraft des Lógos› (Conference on the Work of Georg Kühlewind, Stuttgart, October 29–31, 2021).

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