The Old Testament Word: Creator et Redemptor? -- By: Eugene H. Merrill

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 10:29 (May 2006)
Article: The Old Testament Word: Creator et Redemptor?
Author: Eugene H. Merrill

The Old Testament Word: Creator et Redemptor?

Eugene H. Merrill

Distinguished Professor of Old Testament

Dallas Theological Seminary


From the earliest days of the Christian Church a theological linkage has been made between the word of creation uttered by God in the creation narrative of Genesis 1:1–2:3 and the word of incarnational redemption proclaimed by John the Evangelist in John 1:1–18. The question raised repeatedly since then—and if anything more insistently in modern times—is what hermeneutical and theological warrant justifies this linkage? Is it at all defensible and if so on what grounds? This paper is a modest attempt to address these profoundly important questions.

The New Testament Evidence

Central to the heart of the Christian faith is the confession that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the Word of God made flesh. This dogma of the Church, hammered out as a tenet of orthodoxy in early church councils,1 is not merely a theological deduction or inference but one founded squarely on the New Testament text itself, notably on the Prologue to the Gospel of John (Jn. 1:1–18). In no uncertain terms the evangelist proclaims that “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14 HCSB).

To this testimony John adds the astounding idea that the Word incarnate in Jesus did not come into existence at His birth but existed in the beginning (ἐν ἀρχῆ) with God and, in fact, was identical to God Himself (θεος ἦν ὁ λόγος) (Jn. 1:1). Moreover, “All things were created through Him (δἰ αὐτού), and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created” (v.3). Though John most clearly articulates this notion, other NT texts join their voices to the Johannine witness.

Luke relates that Jesus’ listeners were “astonished at His teaching because His message (λόγος) had authority” (Luke 4:32; cf. v. 36). The powerful authority inherent in His words is explicitly affirmed in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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