“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
So begins the Gospel of John, which, like the Book of Genesis, contemplates the beginnings of all Creation. A close consideration reveals that, not only was the Word “in” the beginning, it must also have been even “before” the beginning, the prime creative principle of all creation, but awaiting to be called forth into expression.
In the very opening chapter of the Book of Genesis, that expression of the Word was: “Let there be light.” Spoken by Elohim, let there be light is an affirmative declaration to bring illumination into all of this creative potential, so that the possibilities may be seen. Even down through today, let there be light serves as the beginning thought, idea or expression for any and all manifestations of creative possibility. Whether it be for creative possibility, or healing, or prosperity, or problem solving of any nature, expressing the divine energy of let there be light is always the first act of creative expression.
What’s Logos Got To Do With It?
The Greeks called this divine energy, “logos.” The word logos itself is a rich, dynamic word in the Greek traditions with many meanings and connotations. Among these are plea, opinion, discourse, speech, and word. Beginning with Heraclitus, logos came to be associated with the principle of order and knowledge, which encompasses another of the popular connotations for logos: reason.
Aristotle used logos to refer to “reasoned discourse,” and considered it to be one of the three principal modes of persuasion, ethos and pathos being the other two. For their part, the Stoics referred to the logos spermatikos, which they considered to the “generative principle of the Universe.” By the time of Philo of Alexandria, a Greek Jewish philosopher in the half century before Jesus lived, there was already a discernible impetus to harmonize Jewish scripture with Greek traditions, and logos was a foundational part of that process.
The Word Within The Word
Among his contributions to Western philosophy, Philo made a distinction between the “uttered word” (logos prophorikos) and the “word remaining within” (logos endiathetos). By the time the Book of John is written, logos is associated as a name or title of Jesus Christ, and he is closely identified as the Word of God.
Jesus was the “Word made flesh,” and even after he was crucified, down unto even this day, he is seen as the embodiment of the “Word,” pointing to the underlying creative principle that activates and animates all creative expressions in life. Even as Jesus is the “Word,” he points to the foundational “Word within”: It is not I, but the Christ within that does the work.
Be Impeccable With Your Word
It is not just Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions that speak to the creative power of the Word. The Hindu creation story has Brahma uttering a spoken word, actually the sound of a vowel, that resonated off the inner walls of the golden embryo from which we was birthed, with the resultant vibrations creating the water and the wind. Once again, the creative power of the Word in expression.
In Don Miguel Ruiz’ book, The Four Agreements, he speaks to the power of the spoken word in creating our experience. Based on Toltec teachings, one of the four agreements is: “Be impeccable with your word.” To be “impeccable” is literally to be without sin, or error, in the use of our word. Like the other “agreements,” being impeccable with our word is a life strategy for avoiding “needless suffering,” or pointlessly disturbing our peace. However, it also points to the incredible creative power of the “spoken word” and advises us to be responsible to and for the use of our word.
There’s Magic In Them Words
In the Toltec tradition, words have creative power. Words can hurt. Words can heal. Words can create. Words can destroy. Words have energy and creative power and they can be used for good or ill. The Toltecs spoke of words as being “magic,” and possessing great power. They understood the potential of this power to be used as either “white magic” or “black magic.”
In terms of their creative power, words are magic itself. For the Toltecs, words should only be used for good, in which case they spin a “white magic.” Words that express love, impart wisdom, demonstrate strength, or create peace are considered “white magic.” By contrast, words that spew hate, spread lies, undermine others or sow discord would fall into the “black magic” category. Students of A Course In Miracles will instantly recognize the correlation between “love” (white magic) and “fear” (black magic).
Although many religious and spiritual traditions would bristle at the use of the word “magic,” the truth is, in their own way, each of them speaks to the same mysteriously divine, creative energy underlying the power of the Word, whether spoken or unspoken. In creating a world of love, unity and peace, it is imperative that each one of us takes charge of, and responsibility for, the words we choose to use to express ourselves. Being diligently impeccable with our own word is the only real power we have in creating the world we wish to see.