John 1:1

English: King James Version

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1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This stained glass window, at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Charleston, S.C., USA, shows the Word of God being shared with followers of Jesus.

Commentary on this verse

The Lord is, in His essence, perfect, infinite, divine love, a love so powerful it wrought the creation of not only the universe but of reality itself. To take action and have a presence, though, that love had to express itself . That expression was in the form of what the Writings call "divine truth," which is in the Bible called "the Word."

That idea – of love needing truth to express itself – is not an ordinary one. But imagine you’re in a store, and suddenly, unexpectedly, you see a dear friend. Immediately you feel a rush of affection, of joy in seeing that person and anticipating talking to him or her. So then what happens? Your mind starts generating information, telling your face to smile, your hand to wave, your voice to call out. That love you feel instantaneously generates ideas of how to express itself, generates information that puts that love into form.

That’s akin to the relationship between the Lord’s divine love and his divine truth; his infinite love instantaneously generates infinite truth to give itself form, so it can be shared and felt, so it can create. That truth, then, has existed for as long as the love has existed – which is from eternity and to eternity. So it was "in the beginning." And it was "with God," meaning it was conjoined with the good things the Lord wished for His creation. And it "was God," as intrinsic to His being as the love it expressed.

(References: Apocalypse Explained 1069 [2]; De Domino 1)

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Explanation(s) or references from Swedenborg's works:

Apocalypse Revealed 6, 58, 200, 256, 273, 294, 490, ...

Arcana Coelestia 20, 1069, 1093, 2533, 2803, 2894, 3195, ...

Brief Exposition of Doctrine 57, 63, 98, 117

Conjugial Love 129

Divine Providence 159, 172

Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 2, 98, 109

Doctrine of the Lord 1, 2

Heaven and Hell 137

Interaction of the Soul and Body 5

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 263, 284

The White Horse 14

True Christian Religion 3, 39, 50, 59, 76, 85, 111, ...

Worlds in Space 122

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works