John 1:1 (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
It is impossible to truly grasp the meaning of John 1:1 without first understanding the concept of “abstract,” for this is what the “Word” truly is within the confines of Biblical Theology.
Three basic meanings of Abstract are as follows:
1- not concrete: not relating to concrete objects but expressing something that can only be appreciated intellectually
2- difficult to understand
3- thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances: an abstract idea
Thus, abstract deals in the realm of thought and its only true expression is revealed through ideas, and theory, and is given to subjective interpretation. This is what makes “theory” so “thought-provoking” because it allows the mind to expand to the “infinite.” In many ways, the abstract is never restrained through physical limitations of the finite world. Abstract is like the vacuum of space; the outer limits of the universe where one galaxy bleeds off into another galaxy, and on and on space truly goes.
The abstract world of idea, while truth may exist in the abstract, is never proven unless that abstract somehow becomes implemented in the material, finite world. For example, the Wright brothers had an abstract idea that man could create a powered machine that could allow men to fly great distances. This abstract idea was considered preposterous and perhaps bordering the insane.
However, once the Wright brothers took that abstract idea and began to “create” by building what is now known as an “powered airplane,” the abstract became a reality and thus it enabled men to first accept the “possibility” before they could ever improve upon the idea.
This holds true even Biblically in the arena of faith. In order to believe that “all things are possible with God” one must first believe in a God. If God is POSSIBLE (may be or could be) then “all things” can then become PROBABLE (likely to occur or to prove true). This is the transition from the abstract into the compressed realm of material reality.
Therefore, if I am sitting across from a man that does not believe in God then nothing I project of God is even probable. I have an “idea” to the individual I speak to and the idea may have, in his opinion, great concepts and wishful thinking. However, if I can cause that individual to transition into the “possibility of God,” then I can hopefully begin the further transition into the probabilities of that possibility.
Herein is where faith begins its minute stretch in the world of finite limitations. Faith at this point is a glimmer of the eternal, a bleeding into from the world of the infinite. Declaring something “impossible” in the world of ethereal hopes such as miracles, signs, and healings is to deny God.
At that moment in time the individual relegates and compresses God back into the dynamic of abstract. They believe in the IDEA of God. They believe in the concept of God. However, this is but an agnostic view of God (maybe or maybe not). God becomes a good theory and this is how so many people live. They serve a theory. They live for the abstract but the abstract has no impact in their lives. Nothing is changed and God lives only in the cognitive realm of abstract conclusion. Therefore, God does not exist (to have actual being or reality) to those that keep God compressed in the world of abstract.
Just look at the children of Israel as they stood at the border of future inheritance that God had promised them. When the people rejected promise and did not “mix faith” (Heb. 4:12) with the word they had heard they were rejecting the “actual being and reality” of God. If God exists and one believes that God exists as scripture declares then faith becomes the vehicle that drags abstract into the concrete reality of the present world that we live in.
“The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Ps. 53:1). What then does this make those that profess there is a God and yet they do not believe in what essentially makes God what He is? How can one profess to know and believe in God and reject miracles? How could one profess to believe in God and yet deny His interventions, power, and provisions? Simply, it cannot be. Those that come to God must “believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Herein faith is expressed as the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1); without it, “it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Therefore, as stated prior, faith becomes the vehicle which brings the abstract into the concrete reality of now. Faith is the foundation upon which the abstract is built, brick upon brick, until the unseen things are made visible.
Bring back to the forefront the example of the Wright brothers and the invention of the powered airplane. The origin of their success was engaged upon in the realm of the abstract. It was developed from an idea and yet that abstract idea had to be thought “possible” by the brothers. Man will not spend time attempting to develop what they claim to be “impossible.”
Thus, the brothers began their inventive journey with a faith in the abstract. No one else believed in that abstract and yet as they drew up the plans, made various attempts, with small success, and eventually they convinced others of the probability to indeed create airplanes that were heavy and yet powered by engines which could go great distances.
All that the Wright brothers had to begin with was a working knowledge of aerodynamics, bicycling, and a rudimentary understanding of mechanics. This is the power of all great inventors. It is the ability of men, regardless of much failure, to believe in an abstract idea and work tirelessly to bring it into the concrete reality of the present.
One only needs to look at the sketches of Leonardo Da’Vinci in relation to his “war machines and flying machines” to recognize the brilliance of the abstract. Da’Vinci, in his time, was simply ahead of his generation. Many of his abstract drawings reveal ideas which are known today as “scuba gear, armored cars, helicopters, large-bolt crossbows, and etc.”
This indeed is the power of those termed “visionaries.” One definition declares that a visionary is one that is “given to impractical or speculative ideas.” Often is the nature of a visionary. He dreams of things that most men scoff at until the framework of the abstract has been erected in the tangible world of present reality. Another definition given to visionary is as follows: “a person given to fanciful speculations and enthusiasms with little regard for what is actually possible.”
The question which should follow is this; “Who determines what is possible?” Herein rests the dilemma of the abstract. Hundreds of years ago men would have declared that travel at speeds in excess of 50 mph was not possible. This declaration is based upon one or two things; first, man plain refuses to theorize the possibility, or second, this assumption is made based upon the limited scope of knowledge and understanding at the time.
The latter would seem to be the reason in most instances. Science, simply put, was limited in its conceptual knowledge and thus man was controlled by what he did not know. However, man continues to defy what each passing generation has considered “impossible.” With each new generation come new discovery and the constant realization of the abstract once shoved aside and forgotten or, at the very least, labeled “fanciful daydreams.”