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The theological formula that lies at the heart of describing the church as the "creature of the word" appears in The Gospel of John, where, at the very beginning of this gospel, Jesus is described in terms that are more metaphysical and highly symbolic than real:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
If Jesus is described as "the Word," the church can therefore be viewed as his "creature," because it was he who created the early church thanks to his selection and appointing of various individuals who witnessed Jesus' life and miracles, and his death and resurrection, and were therefore able to spread the word and fulfil his Great Commission to "make disciples... from every nation." The church, therefore, was birthed by Jesus, or the Word, through his life, death and resurrection, and therefore it is his "creature." Interestingly, in a book that bears the same title as this phrase, the author talks of the link between church and Jesus and how vital that link should be:
A church is alive and full when she is sustained by the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ and is drawn back to that precious reality again and again, every time she gathers.
The church therefore is so much a "creature of the Word" that it only truly fulfils its mandate when it is focused fully on the "sacrifice and resurrection of Christ" and never loses its focus on this act of Jesus. This is the theological formula that lies behind the description of the church as "the creature of the word."
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