John 1: 1-14 is one of those beloved prophesy scriptures that is read every Advent season. It is also one of those problematic scriptures that embraces a light/dark binary that has been misused throughout the ages to demonize darkness.

Consider this: the Greek word PHOS can be translated to mean light, but is can also be translated to mean “to make manifest.” It could just as easily translate to illuminate, in an intellectual sense, as it can refer to light in a visual sense. Likewise, SKOTIA is the Greek word that gets translates to dark, or darkness, but it also can mean “dimness” or “obscurity” or “ignorance of divine things.” Again, this scripture could easily be a message about knowledge more than visual light, especially since it begins by calling Jesus the Word Made Flesh. It is ultimately a message about the knowledge of God, the light/dark binary is just a metaphor of expression for that. Given that throughout the ages, this scripture has been used to denote darkness as inherently bad, I would like to offer a midrash style re-write that moves away from the light/dark imaging and uses knowledge, and the illuminating effects of knowledge, as the metaphorical imagery instead. Here goes:

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 knowledge came into being through him and without him no knowledge was understood.

What has come into being was life, and the life was the true enlightenment of all people.

The enlightenment illumines in the dimness, and the ignorance and misery did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

He came as a witness to testify to the enlightenment, so that all might be illumined through him.

He himself was not the illuminator, but he came to testify to the enlightenment.

The illumined Word, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into knowledge through him; yet the world did not understand him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he enlightened to become children of God,

who were born not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have been enlightened by his glory,

that of a father’s only son, shining with grace and truth.

(c) 2020. CMK.

2 thoughts on “BLOG: Illuminating a Word, Made Flesh.

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