Below is John 1: 1-4. (If you’re new to learning the Bible, what John 1:1-4 means is that in the New Testament we’re looking at The Book of John [sometimes also called "The Gospel According to John," or, most often, just "John"], chapter one, verses 1-4.)
John 1: 1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
I think these first four sentences of The Book of John are capturing and expressing the reality of the Trinity. They’re saying that God comes in three modes: Absolute and unchanging (“God”); exuberantly creative (“Word”); and personally and specifically inside of each and every man (“the light of men”).
And there’s the ineffable mystery of the three-in-one God. There, in four (heartbreakingly elegant) sentences, is the basis for the entirety of Christianity.
Jesus, of course, is the Word, the active aspect of God; he is God’s unending potential manifested in real space and time. Jesus is the perfect means by which God’s absolute, undifferentiated power is physically, corporeally expressed.
“Word” perfectly captures that extraordinary dynamic. A thing doesn’t really have an identity, hasn’t ever been definitively differentiated from everything else in the world, until it has been named—until someone has attached a unique word to it that, from then on out, refers exclusively to that thing, and only that thing. Naming something marks the finality of the process by which something gains its own distinct, enduring presence; it is how a thing transforms from unknown to known.
Put in the broadest possible terms, it’s how a thing moves from the world of undivided and absolute God, to the differentiated, relative, human world in which God became Jesus.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
And there it is: by the power of the active, creative force of God—which ultimately personified itself into the Jesus we worship today—all things that ever were or will be were created. Jesus is the Word through which God created us, and our world.
In him was life was life, and that life was the light of men.
That’s just an extremely perfect way of saying that, ultimately, what Jesus brought is the means by which his essence (“the light”) is meant to be fully imparted and awakened in the hearts and minds of all who believe that he was, in fact, exactly who he said he was.
And that is the Holy Spirit.
And there we have the Holy Trinity, laid down before us like a path any of us are free to walk upon.
Other posts of mine about the opening verses of John: