4. The New Creation
After describing the importance of the word, John 1 goes on to describe a true light, of which John the Baptist witnessed,
John 1:9: The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. WEB
This light represented the work of Jesus in brighting the light of God into the world. Just as the physical light was the first part of the physical creation, here John is talking about a spiritual light which was to become the start of a spiritual creation. It was a spiritual creation to be based on the word of God through Jesus.
This is the centrepiece of the word-imagery, because just as the word spoken of God brought about the creation of Genesis, so does the word of God bring in a new creation. Then also Jesus represents the word of God and has a special role in both this new creation.
In Colossians 1, this new creation is spoken of as the kingdom of the Son,
Colossians 1:12: giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; 13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love; 14. in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins; 15. who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16. For by him were all things created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. WEB
Colossians 1:17: He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 18. He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. WEB
For us, this new creation is something very important. It isn't a physical trees, animals and plants type of creation like that of Genesis, but rather one that includes the orders of things, like thrones and dominions, and invisible things like the principalities and powers.
Ephesians 2 describes more about the relationship Jesus' followers have in this kingdom. There it talks about our lives becoming a creation of Christ,
Ephesians 2:4: But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5. even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6. and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, WEB
The power in the new creation imagery is that it expresses a new life for us. Even though we are condemned to death from sin, the new life we have in Jesus offers us a new hope. Along with the new hope, the new life brings us to be a new person,
Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them. WEB
Ephesians 2:19: So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20. being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; 21. in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; WEB
This temple is a new creation built through the word of God. The word had come through the prophets in the past, but then it came through the Son, and the apostles. They all form the foundations of this kingdom.
Ephesians 4:11: He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; 12. for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ; WEB
To look at the bigger picture of what this new kingdom would bring, we can look to the prophecy of Isaiah. Isaiah 11 speaks of Jesus and how he would come and alter the Earth.
Isaiah 11:1: There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. 2. The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh. 3. His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; 4. but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked. 5. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. 6. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8. The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea. WEB
With this vision, we see that the new creation of the Kingdom of God does indeed reach further than ideas and words. Just like the mustard seed that would grow into a tree, so the new creation in Jesus has a humble start, but yet a grand future. It contains both the spiritual aspects of sin forgiven, and also the physical aspect of a world without sin.
Although this physical transformation of the world has not year occurred, it is visible to us through the word of God. That means that it isn't far-off and out of reach for us.
Luke 17:20: Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The Kingdom of God doesn't come with observation; 21. neither will they say, `Look, here!' or, `Look, there!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." WEB
We can look at the picture of Isaiah, and know what the world will be when Jesus returns to conclude the process.
Just as with the original creation, the fact that God's word has gone out for this new creation means that it is also as good as done. It is that same word, the word of God that is behind it. That very evidence we have of the creation around us is the evidence that the kingdom of God will be completed.
The core of the message of John 1 is about the word of God, and how that word describes God. God is so well defined by his word, that he could enact creation through it. It also means that we don't need to see the face of God, or any image, to fully experience who he is. Instead, we can learn who he is from his words, and the life of those who lived out his word. In particular, his son Jesus became a human representation of the word of God.
The very special message of the word of God is of a new creation. It is a creation in Jesus that has already started. Believers in Christ can become a new person in Christ in this creation.
However, this lays down to us both a hope and a challenge. The joy is that the glories of the kingdom are set down and promised with the same word that brought about the creation of the world. The challenge is that there is still a question about our involvement.
Just like God, we can be known by our own word. If we listen to ourselves, we should be able to find out who we really are. Then the question for us is, do those words sound like the words of a person in the new creation in Christ, or are they the words of a person from the dying creation around us?
Luke 4:4: Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'" WEB
It is an option that is given to us, we can live by just the bread of this world, or we can live by the word of God. The important thing to remember is that because of the power of the word of God, it is all real. We don't have to wait to see God, and we don't have to wait to know his Kingdom. It's all there right now, if we will listen to it.
It is such a positive word too, because of the veracity of the promise of the kingdom world after the return of Christ. So it is something we can have joy in sharing with as many people as we can reach with the message of the Gospel. We have joy too, because we can come to know the great God of the universe through his word, and furthermore share in his inheritance though association in the new Creation with Christ.