2. In interpreting this Word and everything
else that follows my intention is the same as in all my works,
to explain what the holy Christian faith and the two
Testaments maintain through the help of the natural arguments of the
philosophers. "God's invisible attributes are seen and understood from the
creation of the world in the things that he has made, as well as his
everlasting power (that is, the Son), and his divinity (that is, the Holy
Spirit)," as the Gloss on Romans, chapter one, says. In the seventh book of
the Confessions Augustine says that he read "In the beginning was the
Word" and a large part of this first chapter of John in the works of Plato. In
the tenth boοk of the City
of God he speaks of a Platonist who used to say that the beginning of this
chapter as far as the words "There was a man sent from God" should be written
in golden letters and displayed in key locations.
3. Moreover, it is the intention of this
work to show how the truths of natural principles, conclusions and properties
are well intimated for him "who has ears to hear" (Mt.
13:43) in the very words of sacred scripture, which are interpreted
through these natural truths. Now and then some moral interpretations will
also be advanced.
4. The interpretation of "In the beginning
was the Word" should be in accord with this intention. First note that "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God," as well as much that
follows, are contained in the words: "And God said, 'Let
there be light,' and light was made; and God saw the light was good, and he
divided the light from the darkness" (Gn. 1:3-4). To clarify the text "In the
beginning was the Word" down to "There was a man sent from God," mark first of
all that what is produced or proceeds from anything is precontained in it.
This is universally and naturally true, both in the Godhead (the topic here)
and in natural and artificial things. A fig could as easily come from a vine
or a pear tree as a fig tree, if it were not precontained and preexistent in
the fig tree.