Edgar: Contrary to popular belief, EN ARXH (John 1:1a) does not necessarily mean that the LOGOS is eternal. The complexities of understanding the Greek words in the opening verse of the Johannine Prologue are demonstrated by Origen in his notable Commentary on John. If the apostle John had in mind Genesis 1:1 (LXX) when using this construction, then it is almost certain that John 1:1a is not saying that the LOGOS is eternal or co-eternal with God. Rather, as articulated by Origen and the Shepherd of Hermas, the Word is "the most ancient of all creation" (Contra Celsum 5.37). The Greek there in Contra Celsum is PRESBUTATON PANTWN TWN DHMIOURGHMATWN. See Proverbs 8:22; Revelation 3:14.
Interlocutor Quoting Chrysostom: "for that you may not, when you hear 'In the beginning was the Word,' suppose Him to be Eternal, and yet imagine the life of the Father to differ from His by some interval and longer duration, and so assign a beginning to the Only-Begotten, he adds, 'was in the beginning with God'; so eternally even as the Father Himself, for the Father was never without the Word, but He was always God with God, yet Each in His proper Person.(1)"
MY RESPONSE: Chrysostom (like other Trinitarians) goes beyond Scripture when asserting that God has always been Father and Son. Psalm 90:2 states that YHWH is God (not Father) from eternity to eternity. Tertullian makes a similar point in Adversus Hermogenem 3.4 Waszink Latin text) by arguing that there was a time when God was neither Father nor Judge. And even though Novatian writes that God is always "Father," he feels the need to contend that the Father is "prior" to the Son in some sense or to some degree (De Trinitate 31). It is possible that Novatian has in mind causal or even temporal priority when discussing the relationship between God and his Word:
"He, then, when the Father willed it, proceeded from the Father, and He who was in the Father came forth from the Father; and He who was in the Father because He was of the Father, was subsequently with the Father, because He came forth from the Father, that is to say, that divine substance whose name is the Word, whereby all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. For all things are after Him, because they are by Him. And reasonably, He is before all things, but after the Father, since all things were made by Him, and He proceeded from Him of whose will all things were made" (De Trinitate 21).
Interlocutor Still Quoting Chrysostom: "how then, one says, does John assert, that He was in the world, if He was with God? Because He was both(2) with God and in the world also. For neither Father nor Son are limited in any way. Since, if 'there is no end of His greatness' (Ps. cxlv. 3), and if 'of His wisdom there is no number' (Ps. cxlvii. 5), it is clear that there cannot be any beginning in time(3) to His Essence. Thou hast heard, that 'In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth' (Gen. i. 1); what dost thou understand from this 'beginning'? clearly, that they were created before all visible things. So, respecting the Only-Begotten, when you hear that He was 'in the beginning,' conceive of him as before all intelligible things,(4) and before the ages."
MY RESPONSE: There are two problematic assertions that Chrysostom makes here. The first is that the LOGOS was both in the world and with God at the same time. Athanasius makes a similar argument in his work on the Incarnation. Yet, where does the Bible say that Christ simultaneously was with God and on earth? Where are we even led to believe that Christ was infinite or limitless while he dwelled on earth and in the flesh? Second, the belief that God is timeless has been seriously challenged on biblical and logical grounds. The biblical text certainly does not suggest that God is timeless.