The scriptures record two ‘beginnings.’ Doubtless you are familiar with Genesis 1: 1: the very first verse in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The other beginning is in the gospel of John and is very similar, which is recorded thusly, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1: 1). The ‘beginning’ in John’s gospel is not the same as that in Genesis. The Hebrew word for ‘beginning’ in Genesis has the same meaning as our English word. It simply means first things, the start, or the original movement— the beginning of time, for instance. The Greek word used in John however, has a broader meaning to the Hebrew or English words used for beginning.
The Greek word is, arche (ἀρχή) from which we get such derivatives as architype, archangel and architect. This word means something like the origin, source or principle upon which everything rests. The Genesis 1:1 beginning may be the beginning of time, but the John 1:1 ‘beginning’ precedes time, for time is a created thing and comes from the source or the arche of everything. Arche is the eternal principle that goes before everything—including time and space. As far as John is concerned the first day of creation is not the true beginning of everything but is downstream from the eternal source of everything. For John the ‘beginning’ is the source from which everything flows.
What then is the source of everything? For John it is the Word, the Word with God, the Word who is God. To really understand the logic and purpose of everything requires that we come to know the Word, i.e. – the logic and rationale of the universe: Jesus Christ. John is keen to let us know that the good news is that we can know this Word for, as John goes on to say, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1: 14). Put simply Jesus is the flesh-and-blood embodiment of the logic and truth of God. He does not merely come with a message from God or a message about God: he himself is God. In Jesus we have direct access to the depth and reality of God in fullness. It is only from this vantage point that we can know God and subsequently know the truth about ourselves and all creation as well. Sounds kind of important.
Even more amazingly Jesus does more than let us know God from a distance: he gives us access to God up close and personal. As John puts it, “Yet to all who did receive him he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). In other words we are given an inside view of the relationship between the Father and the Son as members of the family. The Advent story is not just a sweet sentimental story about shepherds, wisemen and fluffy lambs. Rather it is the foundation upon which all other knowledge is built and through it we get the first inkling of the ground and grammar of all truth.