The first two verses of John 1 seem a little cryptic in that it talks of a mysterious entity called the Word and that the Word was in the beginning and that the Word was with God and the Word was God and that the Word was in the beginning with God. In verse two, John breaks away from using “the Word” as a pronoun and switches to another possibly confusing term – at least it is used in some translations – “the same.” This is very nearly a literal translation of the Greek word houtos (ουτος – in addition to “the same” it can also translate as he, she or it). Other translations switch to “He” right away.
Verse three continues the discussion of the creation, but instead of taking in the wide view of the universe as in verses one and two, it is bringing us down to earth, so to speak. We find in verse three, that He is the Creator of all things.
John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.
John is dealing now with the details of the creation showing that all things were made by the Word (note that John changes to the pronoun “He” when talking about the Word). So in these three verses John’s scope of writing is from the very large to the very small. One of the ways we understand this is because of the first word of the verse, all, and how it is viewed from the position of the Greek reader.
If John had been talking about the universe as a whole, the word all (panta / παντα) would not stand alone as it does. There would be an article (ta / τα) before it which would turn it into the all, (which is awkward in English). So looking at the Greek, it reads: παντα (meaning: all, separately), not τα παντα (meaning: the all, as a whole, or collectively). So the Greek reader understands this to be individual things that were created – all of them.
The latter part of the verse emphasizes that if something exists in this creation, then it was the Word that made it. John then restates this more forcefully by emphasizing that the Word’s presence at creation was imperative because without Him, nothing would have come into being. Here are all three verses:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
We go to Genesis and read that God, the Father-Creator, created the world and all that is in it, but in John, we find that Jesus is the one who did the creating! It sounds as if the Father gave the control of creation over to the Word. Why would He do that? What role did Yahweh play in creation, then? Is this a contradiction in scripture? What is the reason for revealing that Jesus is the Creator?
I don’t know the answers. I am trusting God, though, to reveal them to us if He chooses to do so. We just need to believe, trust and have faith.
[I get a little carried away with language and especially when it involves translation from the Greek. Because of errors in the translating, either through honest mistakes or through calculated misleading, the meaning has, in some passages, changed from the original writings; also, there are words in one language that do not translate into another well or even have no exact translation. So even though I am not (and quite possibly, neither are any of us) a Greek language scholar, the resources available to us are sufficient for us to examine and understand better what the writer had intended. If I have put-off anyone because of this investigation into the meanings behind the Greek words, I apologize, that is not my intent. I just find the “Why?” so darned interesting that I have to look into it.]