In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.John 1:1-4 (ESV)
There is so many extraordinary thoughts and revelations in this sentence.
In the beginning was Logos – the idea, the thought, the expression of God. But more, Logos was God and more was with (gk: pros) or toward/alongside God. Before Logos was nothing.
HE (gk: οὗτος houtos nominative singular masculine) exists in the beginning with God.
He is the Creator – there is nothing that exists that does not owe it’s existence to Him.
He is the embodiment of LIFE. The life force or life principle derives from Him, there is no external life force or agency that enlivens Him. He is the one who enlivens every living thing. The life force is a person /personality.
Without this self-revelation of himself we would never know these facts about our universe, ourselves and about Him, the Creator. There is no way from inside the universe that we could learn of anything outside this closed system. In fact we know very little about the entire system, it is so vast and complex. We know very little about ourselves, our own world and the systems that make up our environment and consciousness. To be presented with the facts of who created and the agency of creation is mind blowing and confronting when thought about deeply for any length of time.
But the next sentence is the one that is probably the most difficult to understand.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.John 1:4 (ESV)
How is the life that Logos, the Creator embody, how is that the light of men? What exactly does that mean? Is it physical light? Spiritual light, almost certainly, emotional, moral, consciousness? All of the above?
Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Jordan B. Peterson makes the point that we think in words. That we use words to organise our thoughts and to make sense of our world. (cit. The Importance of Being Ethical, with Jordan Peterson, Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Hoover Institute, YouTube Apr 30, 2022 https://youtu.be/DcA5TotAkhs?t=1745 )
Is it in this sense, that at bottom, we are words or expressions of divine thought that are made flesh, that we are made in the image of God? Is it the ability to express ourselves and thus relate to “others” that enables us to be an expression of the light and life of God?
The statement “the life was the light of men” indicates that for darkness to be dispelled, for knowledge and awareness and understanding to flourish, we must partake of this life, we must know this life and we must inhabit or be inhabited by this life.