The first line of the Book of John in the King James Bible was, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. The Word of God is interpreted as being Jesus Christ, who delivered God’s message to the people. Closely looking at the claims that John 1:1 makes, many questions can be raised about the true meaning of the quote. Replacing “the word” with Jesus we get the quote, “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God”. Though the concept of Jesus being separate, yet one with God is reflected in the idea of the Trinity, it’s still strange for John to start by saying “In the beginning was Jesus”. One possible theory that’s a little more rational is the interpretation of “the word” in a literal sense, that the spoken word existed in the beginning, the word was with God, and the word was God.
The power of the spoken word is a theme that pervades all Christian teachings. The word of God is said to be channeled through the various saints and priests throughout time. The individual practitioner is left to channel God themselves at home through prayer to assist them in their spiritual development. Even the books of the Bible are comprised of people’s teachings that God channeled through them, including the ten commandments that were channeled to Moses. The importance of the spoken word in Christian tradition clearly shows how the word can be with God and be God, but that still doesn’t explain the first claim of John 1:1; In the beginning, was the word.
Hinduism, the oldest religion still practiced, holds the belief that certain words existed before humanity which reinforces the idea that in the beginning there was the word; These words, called Mantras, act as a medium between humanity and the divine. Much like Christians recite prayers on the rosary, eastern traditions recite mantras on mala beads. Mantras are sacred Sanskrit words or phrases that are repeated in meditation to induce altered states of consciousness. Though chanting is prevalent in most spiritual practices, the mantra separates itself from other chants because the vibrations emitted from mantras align the practitioner with the specific spiritual energy attached to the mantra. Different mantras are used to invoke different spiritual energies who can help guide various aspects of life.
The Catholic mass is a verbal ritual that invokes the spirit of God into the sacramental bread and wine, without the verbal parts of the mass, transubstantiation wouldn’t occur. Christians also preach to the importance of prayer, which at its essence is directing words towards a higher spiritual power. The third commandment revealed to Moses was “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain”, a testament to the power of words; When all other commandments are rooted in serious offenses like stealing, killing, and adultery, why is a verbal denunciation of God considered just as heinous? One theory is that God doesn’t want humanity to direct its energy towards lower spiritual beings pushed by false prophets, He makes it clear that the only route to salvation is through him. Could Christianity be utilizing the power of words in the same ways that eastern traditions do? Could the rituals of prayer and mass actually be verbal invocations of the Abrahamic God?