Let's begin with a recent exchange between Dale Tuggy and me:
Tuggy: In brief, John never says that the eternal Logos is Jesus, and 1:14 doesn't say or imply that they are the same person. The Word is something like God's plan or wisdom, by which, the OT says in a couple of places, God created. It was "with" him then.
Hays: In Jn 1, the Logos is a personal agent, not a plan. And it says the same Logos in 1:1-4 becomes flesh in 1:14. That refers to Jesus. It doesn't merely say the Logos was "with" God. It goes onto say the Logos was God (not to mention the Son's preexistence in 17:5). And this line of argument is capped in 1:18, where there are two divine subjects: Father and Son. And the Son reveals the Father because like reveals like. They are two of a kind.
"In Jn 1, the Logos is a personal agent, not a plan. And it says the same Logos in 1:1-4 becomes flesh in 1:14. That refers to Jesus. It doesn't merely say the Logos was "with" God. It goes onto say the Logos was God."
Tuggy: Total question-begging, unfortunately, and a failure to appreciate the biblical reasons which motivate the view.
Let's compare Tuggy's claim to the text:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn 1:1-14).
In Jn 1, the same X is called the word, life, light, and son. Notice the use of "light" as a leitwort connecting the coeternal Word that was with God, and was God, with the light to which John the Baptist bore witness. The same word and light made the world. The light that came into the world, parallels the word that became flesh and dwelt among them. Two descriptions of the same event. Likewise, the very Word which the narrator saw.
By the same token, "light" and "life" are titles for Jesus in the Gospel. These terms are links in a chain connecting the Word in 1:1-3 with the "light" which John the Baptist witnessed, as well as the embodied Word which the narrator witnessed. Those are coreferential terms. They all denote the same X.
In addition, we can use 1 Jn 1 as a commentary on Jn 1. Given common authorship and very similar vocabulary, is it not unmistakable that this is referring to the same X as Jn 1?
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:1-3).
Did the author of 1 Jn "see" with his own "eyes" an abstract, impersonal "plan"? Did the author "touch" with his own "hands" an abstract, impersonal plan?
No. This descriptive language has reference to a personal, empirically discernible agent.
Notice, too, the allusion to the post-Resurrection appearance of Christ in the Upper Room (see below).
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:24-29).