Edgar Foster questioning1 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 28 10:30:38 EST 1998

---dd-1 at juno.com wrote:

>Tony,  Denny Diehl here

>It just occurred to me to ask: is John's use of the word Logos to
describe Christ as God, his own invention? Is there any previous
pagan, or  septuagint, usage of logos as god? 

>I believe the first philosophical use of the term LOGOS was in the
mid sixth-century BC by Heraclitus who lived in Ephesus.  He saw the
world as an ever-changing phenomenon, yet as much as it was
continually changing, the more it remained the same.  What kept the
world orderly and from complete chaos, he described as the
LOGOS (reason) of God.<

With all repect, Denny, I don't know if I would say that Heraclitus
described hO LOGOS as "the LOGOS (reason) of God." Looking at the
Heraclitean fragments makes me inclined to seriously doubt such an
interpretation of the Ephesian philosopher.

"Though this Word [LOGOS] is true evermore, yet men are as unable to
understand it when they hear it for the first time as before they
heard it at all. For though all things come to pass in accordance with
this Word [LOGOS], men seem as if they had no experience of it, when
they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth" (Heraclitus).

According to the words expressed in this Heraclitean fragment, the
LOGOS seems to be a divine principle WITHIN man. The LOGOS resides in
every human. As a prophet, however, Heraclitus exercises his capacity
of reason and urges others to do the same. Thus, it can safely be said
that epistemologically--Heraclitus identifies hO LOGOS with the
immanent principle of reason in man. While one could view the
Heraclitean LOGOS as a divine principle, this does not mean that the
LOGOS is The Reason of God. 

"We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet,
although the LOGOS is common to all, most men live as if each of them
had a private intelligence of his own."

I would therefore sum up the thought of Heraclitus by identifying it
as "the immutable law of necessity"; the universal law of reason that
orders the cosmos; "the omnipresent wisdom by which all things are
steered." At any rate, the cosmic principle called LOGOS by Heraclitus
does not appear to be identified _per se_ with the Reason of God. I am
open to debate about this, but this is the position I now present
based on my current research.  

Edgar Foster

Lenoir-Rhyne College

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