The Divine Logos

The Greek word logos is used to talk about reason or rational thought. Hence we now use the word logic that has its roots in the former. Philosophers such as Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics used it in unique ways I think are interesting to study. In their works, we see the small pieces of common grace shadowing the true Divine Logos of God who the Bible calls in English, the Word of God.

According to Romans 1:20, God has been showing Himself throughout history. Not only by intervention of His hand in history, but in academic and rational thought. This means the concept of logos for the Ancient Greek philosophers contained elements of God's nature, but alas ended in error. As it says:

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. -Romans 1:22

Human reason became their god even if after the had found common grace in their thoughts. On that note I want to show how their philosophy reveals that Jesus is the Logos and some of the divine attributes that they stumbled across.

Logos of Heraclitus

In his attempt to understand the arche or foundational root of all that is, Heraclitus had to define what guides the process of this creative root. It is here that he enters the concept of logos; an impersonal force inherent in the foundational fire. Fire is chaos and is always being releasing and being fed at the same time. It is the logos that provides order and harmony to this chaos. He goes as far as saying that the logos is in all things; creating a kind of pantheism.

Logos of Plato and Aristotle

Plato's use of logos doesn't shift far from Aristotle. It is defined as human reason and one of the avenues of argumentation alongside the ethos and pathos. But even though Plato used the word in the same way as his student, he used a powerful allegorical illustration where the logos was a living being in some of his dialogues! The logos was the wisdom of humans that can be expressed and imparted into another's mind by dialogue, akin to when we know a person.

Logos of Stoicism

The logos for the Stoics ends up moving backwards in history towards Heraclitus. They decided to define the logos as a kind of fire specifically called the "logos spermatikoi". It is the spark of the divine that exists in all and explains it's inner workings. It is the rationality behind human behavior or the process of a flower blooming. The logos spermatikoi is the cause and explanation for things and their being.


Jesus is revealed to us as the Divine Logos or the Word of God. And in that revelation we see some powerful correlations with the philosophy. Heraclitus understood the chaos of the universe as it was in the beginning:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" -Genesis 1:2

And the Word of God is what brought about order and creation. If we look at Plato's allegory of the logos being a real being, we see a shadow of how the Word would become flesh and dwell amongst men. The logos is not just an abstraction! In the book of 1 John the disciple reminds us he has seen and touched that Word from the beginning. The logos is someone to know and can be imparted into another person through dialogue. This is why the mysteries of knowledge and even the impartation of the gospel is through the spoken Word.

The Logos of God also carries some of the other attributes the Stoics and Heraclitus thought. He does govern the universe and all there is. And He did blow a piece of Himself into humans:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. -Genesis 2:7

He gives telos or purpose to the universe and all that is in it. Even in the inanimate things such as water or a seed, a part of Him is revealed. It's not that He exists in all things as He exists in humans. This is what the pagans thought. It is that all things exist and find their meaning in the Logos of God.  

for in Him we live and move and have our being Acts 17:28