I have written several times on this blog about the above beautiful and famous verses which form a preamble to the Fourth Gospel "John").
I have always been impressed by these words, but never confident about what they meant.
Indeed, I am unsure that they were composed by the same hand as the bulk of the Gospel, and I doubt that 1-5 formed a part of the original Gospel - which probably runs from 1:6 to the end of Chapter 20.
But I now feel that, whatever its provenance; in terms of meaning John 1:1-5 is much more of a poem - and much less of a theology - than I had previously suspected.
I would now regard John 1:1-5 as an example of poetic parallelism - which was apparently the characteristic verse form of Hebrew poetry - but also found in English verse*. Parallelism consists in saying the same thing more than once, but in different words; it is a kind of 'decoration' of the meaning.
So, verses 1 and 2 refer to God the Father with a 'double parallelism' - using different terms to mean The Same Thing. Thus 'in the beginning', 'the Word', 'with God' and 'God' are all intended to be the same entity. These are poetic ways of saying the same thing four times.
Indeed, there seems to be an element of the variant of parallelism called 'chiasmus' about verses 1-2 taken together: in the way the phrase in the beginning is 'reflected' at both ends of the passage, around God/ Word in the middle.
The point of relevance here, is that when a meaning is repeated in different words - the repeat should be regarded as saying The Same Thing - and not as expanding the meaning given in the first usage.
In other words, verses 1-2 are not a logical argument, a syllogism.
And not a passage explaining the nature of God.
Nor is 1-2 engaged in contrasting God (the Father) with another entity called the Word (Jesus).
Verses 1-2 are instead 'just' a poetic 'set-up' stating that what follows is about God.
Verses 3-4 are again a double-parallelism, 'simply' telling us (in several ways) that the God of verses 1-2 was the creator of our world; in verse 4 explicitly clarifying that creation includes 'men'.
Giving men life/light is to create men, restated as God making men live with God's own life/light.
In other words, verses 3-4 'merely' express the truism that the God of the Jews (from verses 1-2) was a creator god. The passage is not making detailed, new or controversial substantive claims about God.
Verse 5 continues the theme of God as the creator, by saying (something like) that God's creation is not 'comprehended' by the chaos/ darkness from which it came.
I take this to be a 'picture' of how the author 'saw' reality - God's creation as being like a light in the void of un-meaning; and a way of asserting that all possibility of knowledge (comprehension) is within creation.
So, this passage is not about Jesus's rejection by The World - it is not about Jesus at all.
Then the Fourth Gospel proper begins its account of Jesus's person, teachings and work with: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
*As parodied by AA Milne:
O Timothy Tim
Has ten pink toes,
And ten pink toes
Has Timothy Tim.
They go with him
Wherever he goes,
And wherever he goes
They go with him.