About the Author(s)

Daniel Sakitey Email symbol
Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Ernest van Eck symbol
Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Department of New Testament, Knox College, Toronto, Canada


Sakitey, D. & Van Eck, E., 2023, ‘The logos Christology in the fourth gospel (Jn 1:1–5, 14): A soteriological response to an Ewe cosmic prayer’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 79(4), a8946. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i4.8946

Research Project Registration:

Project Leader: Ernest van Eck symbol

Project Number: 2400030

Description: The authors are participating in the research project ‘Africa Platform for NT Scholars’, directed by Prof. Dr Ernest van Eck, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria.

Note: Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars, sub-edited by Ernest van Eck (University of Toronto, Canada).

Original Research

The logos Christology in the fourth gospel (Jn 1:1–5, 14): A soteriological response to an Ewe cosmic prayer

Daniel Sakitey, Ernest van Eck

Received: 03 May 2023; Accepted: 07 July 2023; Published: 22 Dec. 2023

Copyright: © 2023. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This article interprets the logos Christology in the fourth gospel within Ewe-Ghanaian cosmic setting. The article employs a combination of the exegetical and mother tongue biblical hermeneutics as its methodologies. The article compares the concept of the logos in John 1:1–5, 14 with a similar concept in Ewe cosmology with the aim of finding their points of convergence and divergence. The article also identifies linguistic and theological gaps in the Ewe rendition of John 1:1–5, 14 and proposes a new translation that addresses it. A translation of the logos in Ewe cosmic perspective renders the term nyagbe, the intelligible word which dwells with the female pair of Sogbe-Lisa and manifests itself from the absolute state of existence [logo] to the embodied state [logosu]. When nyagbe journeyed from the eternal state of existence to the embodied state of existence, it manifests itself at five different levels of existence until it reaches the final state where humans exist. Although believed to be the epitome of all creation, human beings are at the same time described as being at the shore of ignorance and therefore must continually climb the ladder of knowledge in order to free themselves from it. It is for this reason that humans constantly petition the cosmic forces for their salvation. The article therefore, identifies a soteriological gap created in the Ewe soteriology and concludes that the only soteriological response to the Ewe cosmic cry for deliverance from the state of ignorance is the logos incarnate in John 1:14.

Contribution: The article contributes to the academic knowledge on the logos Christology in the prologue of the fourth gospel (John 1:1–5, 14), specifically in the use of mother tongue in biblical hermeneutics in Africa.

Key words: Logos, Christology, incarnation, soteriology, gospel of John, Ewe cosmology, cosmic prayer.


The gospel of John presents us with the interpretation of the Christian message within the context of what appears to be a sophisticated and philosophical recipient community. The evangelist’s innovative logos Christology sharply contrasts with the incarnation theologies in Matthew and Luke (Mt 1:18–25, Lk 1:26–38, 2:1–7), and reiterates the case for contextualisation of the gospel message. The encounter between Western Christianity and Ewe indigenous religion in the mid-19th century places the Ewe-Ghanaian Christian in the midst of two religious worldviews – Judeo-Christian and Ewe indigenous religious worldviews, and its attendant cultic practices. An investigation into the Yewe cult, a sect in Ewe religion, reveals a cosmic concept similar to the logos concept in the prologue to the gospel of John.

This article seeks to interpret John’s logos Christology (Jn 1:1–5, 14) which he developed from Greek religion and philosophy, and concepts prevalent in Palestinian Judaism, within the context of Ewe-Ghanaian cosmology, and assess the implication it brings to bear on Ewe-Ghanaian primal religion (Harris 2002:208–220). The article employs the exegetical and mother tongue hermeneutical approaches as its methodologies (Ekem 2007:77; Fee & Strauss 2003:23–31; Porter & Clarke 2007:3–18; Kuwornu-Adjaottor 2012:11–15). The exegetical and hermeneutical methods were applied in the article as follows:

  1. A lexical inquiry into John 1:1–5, 14, focusing on the pre-existence of the logos, its cosmic authority, and incarnation.

  2. A comparative analysis between John 1:1–5, 14 and its parallel in Ewe cosmic setting with the aim of finding points of convergence and divergence.

  3. An assessment of the soteriological implication of the logos incarnate for the Ewe-Ghanaian primal religion.

The concept of the logos in the world of the fourth gospel

The logos Christology is viewed hypothetically as a hymn ascribed to Jesus Christ in the fourth gospel (Boring 2012:678; Brown 1997:337; Card 2014:30; Conzelmann 1968:335; Harris 2002:219; Heil 2015:5–15; Kieffer 2001:188; Spivey, Smith & Black 2007:155).1 John employs the concept to interpret the incarnation to what appears to be a highly sophisticated Johannine community said to be influenced by a uniquely high Christology, including belief in Jesus’ pre-human existence as cosmic wisdom (Harris 2002:208, 209, 2012). The term in the Greek world is rendered, ‘word, speech, utterance, revelation’, in the sense of things that are ‘displayed, clarified, recognized, and understood as against words that are proclaimed by one person and heard by another’ (Card 2014:18; ed. Kittel 1973: Lightfoot 2015:81). ‘It is the content of a thing in terms of its law, meaning, basis, and structure’ (Bromiley 1985:506). The concept in Stoicism ‘denote the principle of cosmic reason, the intelligent force that orders and sustains the universe, making it accessible and intelligent to the human mind’ (Card 2014:31; Cullmann 1959:251; Dodd 1985:263; Harris 2003:465; ed. Kittel 1973:84; Lincoln 2005:95; Morris 1986:225). The logos in Greek philosophy is viewed as the creative power that brought the cosmos out of chaos. Thus, the wisdom behind the creation of the world and everything in it is what is known in Greek philosophy as logos (ed. Kittel 1973:85). Thus, logos is ‘common for reason as well as speech’; it either denotes ‘the principle which controls the universe, the soul of the world’, or ‘the generative principle in nature’ (Robertson 1960:3; see also Wiles 1966:25). In Greek mystery religions, for instance, the deities were referred to as ‘personifications of the logos or the sons of God’ who served as mediators or heralds of ‘the divine will and great force of conception…a creative potency, the guide and agent of knowledge’, and were described in speculative philosophy as ‘the son of God’ (demiurge) (Bromiley 1985:507). In the area of prayer, the logos was believed to be the only means by which one could commune with the divine. Its parallel in Jewish Wisdom literature is the personification of Wisdom as a young lady who described herself as the first born of God’s creation, the craftsman of creation and a witness of the creation of heaven and earth (Harris 2003:465; Lincoln 2005:96; Robertson 1960:3; Pr 8:30–31; Wisdom of Solomon 6:12–9:18; Ecclus 24). The term, when viewed from the perspective of Old Testament revelation, is the word God used to create the cosmos (Bromiley 1985:507–509). As Lightfoot (2015:82) summarises it, ‘it is a Hebrew expression comprising of any revelation of God’s will and a man’s heart or understanding whether by direct speech or otherwise’. In his attempt to harmonise Judaism and Greek philosophy, Philo of Alexandria describes the logos as:

[A] mediating figure which comes from God, forms a link between the transcendent God and the world, and represents humanity as a high priest and advocate before God…the sum and locus of God’s creative power, and as such it orders and governs the visible world. (Bromiley 1985:507)

One may conclude by stating that the logos is a complex concept that has evolved from its ordinary meaning in both Jewish and Greek context, to a more technical use in magical practice for incantation, through to becoming a ‘metaphysical reality’, and a ‘cosmological hypostasis’ (Bromiley 1985:506).

Christology of the logos in the prologue of the fourth gospel

The logos, according to John, does not only exists with God, but God himself. John theologised that God created the cosmos through the logos and is the source of life and light which dispels darkness (Espin 2007:786; Harris 2003:461; Ngewa 2006:1252–1253). He then concludes by interpreting the logos in the light of the Christ event, that is, the logos became incarnated in the person of Jesus and made his dwelling among humans. Although John does not explain how the incarnation of the logos did occur, one can infer that it was through the virgin birth as recorded in Matthean and Lukan’s accounts of the incarnation. His omission of the virgin birth in the incarnation process, as Harris posits, may be because of its relatively lower Christology (Harris 2003:458). John’s use of en archei (in the beginning) to introduce his logos Christology draws one’s attention to the creation narrative in Genesis 1:1 (Card 2014:31–32; Lincoln 2005:18). Thus, the creative principle that brought the cosmos into being existed eternally, were equal, intimate, and in ‘perfect fellowship with God’ (pros ton theon), a point he re-emphasised in John 1:2. His use of kai theos en ho logos (and the word was God) instead of kai ho theos ēn ho logos (and God was the word), it is argued, is an indication that the logos was God and not vice versa (Robertson 1960:3–5; see also Harris 2015:19–20; Lincoln 2005:97). Harris (2015) paraphrased it as follows:

[A]t the very beginning of creation and time, the Word as the perfect expression of God the Father had already always existed, and this Word was in active communion with God, and this Word inherently shared the same nature as God. (p. 20)

John then continues with the cosmic role the logos played in creation, panta di ‘autou egeneto (all things were made through him) kai chōris autou egeneto oide en ho gegonen (and without him was not anything made that was made), ‘the intermediate agent in the work of creation’, a point which he again re-emphasised in John 1:3 (Harris 2015:22–23; Lincoln 2005:98–99; Robertson 1960:5–6). In other words, the power to create life and sustain it is contained in the logos. In the words of John, zoe (life) is the creative force that emanates from the logos which lighten (phōs) the path of humans (en autō zoe ēn kai he zoe ēn to phōs tōn anthrōpōn) (in him was life and the life was the light of men). His use of zoe to render life makes it unlimited, that is, it includes all life except biographical life; it is ‘…the very principle or essence of life’ which has the power to dispel darkness (Harris 2015:23; Lincoln 2005:99; Robertson 1960:6–7).2 It is this logos which in John’s interpretation existed before creation and endowed with creative ability, that assumed flesh (kai ho logos sarx egeneto kai eskēnōsen en hēmin) (and the word became flesh and dwelt among us) and whose glory John and his colleague disciples beheld and proclaimed (Harris 2015:35; Lincoln 2005:104; Robertson 1960:12–13). It appears the logos concept is a very familiar concept in the Johannine community, hence its use in theologising about the Christ event. The introduction of Christ as the incarnation of the logos makes the difference between John’s theology and what pertained in the worldview of the Greeks. It has brought finality to all the speculations surrounding the logos in Greek philosophy and gives clarity to its theological significance – the salvation of the entire human race.

The idea of the logos in Ewe cosmology

John’s logos Christology John 1:1–5, 14 depicts how the logos journeyed from its absolute or eternal state of existence to the embodied or incarnated state. Cosmic terminologies prevalent in Ewe cosmology reveal a unique concept that parallels that of the logos. Sakitey & Van Eck (2022:4) have argued that, the SupremeBeing, in Ewe cosmology, exists in three persons, namely, the dualistic pair of Sogbe-Lisa, the male and female pair surrounded by Chi, the awakener and consciousness behind Sogbe-Lisa, constituting the Supreme trinity (Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4). They also argued that the whole universe in both physical and metaphysical forms is intrinsically linked to the Supreme Being (Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4). Thus, the Supreme trinity in Ewe cosmic sense is made up of father, mother, and spirit, dwelling in the absolute or eternal state of existence referred to in Ewe cosmology as logo,3 from lo (mystery) and go (container or source). Thus, logo, which coincidentally sounds like the Greek word logos, is the source of the mystery of all things; the unknowable, unnameable, undifferentiated, unfathomable state of existence (D. Kumordzi, interview, pers. comm., 08 May 2019). The state in which the Sogbe-Lisa, the Supreme Being, manifests himself is known in Ewe cosmology as logosu4 – the world in which all things can be known, named, differentiated, and fathomed. It is the state where the pantheon of deities called Trͻwo, Voduwo and every living creature including human beings exist. It is believed that Sogbe-Lisa manifests himself in five different states within the logosu. In the first which is also the fourth in the cosmic hierarchy, Sogbe-Lisa manifests himself in the form of three cosmic creatures, namely, Sovi-Da, Sovi-Agbade, and Sovi-Agbeku, who are clothed with the powers to create, preserve, and destroy life5 respectively (Awoonor 2006:380–381; Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4). In the second level which is the fifth in the cosmic order, Sogbe-Lisa is known as Xebieso, the god of light and sound (thunder), and is believed to control about 256 deities known in Ewe as Trͻwo who are the embodiment of cosmic law and order. The deities in the third level within logosu and sixth in the cosmic hierarchy are Voduwo, while in the fourth and final level of existence, Sogbe-Lisa manifests the self in visible form – sun, moon and galaxy of stars, plants, animals, the earth, rocks, mountains, rivers and the ocean, with humans as the epitome of all creation.

Apparently, there exists a cosmic hierarchy of a sort in Ewe cosmology with the Supreme Being occupying the absolute position in the hierarchy in a trinitarian relationship and delegating his cosmic powers to create, preserve, and destroy life to the three cosmic creatures of Sovi-Da, Sovi-Agbade, and Sovi-Agbeku in their respective order. Thus, the Supreme trinity and cosmic trinity are the two trinitarian concepts found in Ewe cosmology. The cosmic trinity are creatures of the Supreme trinity who perform cosmic functions on their behalf. The material world is the lowest of the cosmic hierarchy and final state of the manifestation of Sogbe Lisa. Human being (Amegbetͻ in Ewe) is the epitome of creation because it is believed that they are the embodiment of Sogbe-Lisa, the embodiment of all the laws of creation, the embodiment of all mysteries, and the only creature who is endowed with the power of speech (Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4).

Ewe translation and theologies of the divine logos

Translators who worked on all four existing Ewe translations of the Bible (Agbenya La 2006; Biblia 1931, 2010; Nubabla Yeye La 1990) opted for nya to render logos in John 1:1–5, 14. The choice of nya, according to one of the consultants who worked on the Ewe Bible translation project, is its consistency with John’s theology of the logos as God’s word used to create the universe (G. Ansre [University of Ghana] interview, pers. comm., 13 February 2023). The term is rendered, word, or know, depending on the context in which it is used. In Ewe cultic language, logos is rendered nyagbe. The elision of gbe from nyagbe in translating logos or word in the Ewe Bible and spoken Ewe may be because of the convenient use of the language. The same reason may be assigned to words such as kadigbe (light) which is also elided to kadi. But amagbe, which is the Ewe name for colour is without elision. Nyagbe is therefore conceptualised in Ewe as the intelligible word which has the power to create, preserve, and ‘destroy life’. This concept resonates with both the logos concept in Stoicism and Greek philosophy than it does with Old Testament revelation.

The pre-existence of the logos (Jn 1:1–2)

The prologue of John’s gospel opens with en archē ēn ho logos, kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon, kai theos ēn ho logos (in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God). This is translated, Le gͻmedzedzea me la, Nya la li, eye Nya la li kple Mawu, eye Nya lae nye Mawu (Agbenya La 2006; Biblia 1931), and Do ŋgͻ na nuwo kata fe gͻmedzedze la Nya la li. Nya la kple Mawue li eye eyae nye Mawu (Biblia 2010; Nubabla Yeye La 1990) in Ewe. All four translations used nya la to translate logos except Biblia (2010) and Nubabla Yeye La (1990) which paraphrased it. A translation of the logos in Ewe cosmic context would renders it, nyagbe, the intelligible word which dwells with the female pair of Sogbe-Lisa and manifests itself from the absolute state of existence to the embodied state. This concept resonates with the young wise lady in Proverbs 8 who is described as first in the order of creation and clothed with creative power, as alluded to in the works of Harris (2003:465), Robertson (1960:3), and Lincoln (2005:96). It also resonates with Justin Martyr’s assertion that the logos is ‘the very principle of the intelligibility of the created world’, incarnated in the person of Jesus (McGrath 2007:283; Ryan 2007:785; Wiles 1966:28; ANF02:177). The relationship between the logos and the Supreme Being is what the Evangelist expressed in the last phrase of verse 1, kai theos ēn ho logos (and the Word was God). As Erasmus opines in his work, ‘… the Word is a sharer in the divine essence, or…homoousion tó patri (of one substance with the Father)’ (eds. Craig & Farmer 2014:15). Similar idea is expressed in the work of Ignatius of Antioch (1994) who argues that:

[T]here is one God, the Almighty, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His Word [logos], not spoken, but essential. For He is not the voice of an articulate utterance, but a substance begotten by divine power, who has in all things pleased Him that sent Him. (p. 62)

Ignatius strongly emphasised the divinity of the logos and clarifies that although the logos became flesh through Jesus Christ, it did not lose either the divine nature nor its essence. Although Origen asserts that ‘the logos was generated from the Father and thus begotten by God’, he was certain, unlike Justin Martyr, about its subordination to the Father (McGrath 2007:283; Ryan 2007:785; Wiles 1966:28, 36). Since it has been well established that the intelligible word (nyagbe) dwells with the female pair of Sogbe-Lisa, its eternal existence and hypostatic relationship with the Supreme trinity is therefore unambiguous.

Cosmic authority of the logos (Jn 1:3–5)

John continues by establishing the cosmic authority of the logos in verse 3 of his prologue with the phrase, panta di ‘autou egeneto, kai chōris autou egeneto oude en. ho gegonen (all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made) rendered in Ewe as, wowͻ nuwo katã to eyama dzi, eye eya manͻme la womewoa naneke, si wowͻna o. His description of the logos as agent of God’s creation, brings us back to the fourth state of existence in the cosmic hierarchy where the three cosmic beings – Sovi-Da, Sovi-Agbade, and Sovi-Agbeku, are believed to exist. As already indicated, these cosmic trio constitute the cosmic trinity and are responsible for creation, preservation, and destruction of life respectively (see also Awoonor 2006:380–381; Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4). The cosmic trinity are the controllers of life, creating, preserving, and taking life back in due time. The life created by John’s logos is expressed in the phrase, en autō zōe ēn, kai hē zōe ēn to phōs tōn anthrōpōn (in him was life, and the life was the light of men). The phrase reads, eya me agbe le, eye agbe la nye amewo fe kekeli, in Ewe. Situating this life in the context of Genesis 1, one may argue that the light in question is none other than the one that came to drive out darkness from the face of the earth; the light without which life, although created, cannot be lived well. Although it is not clear in John’s prologue, a spiritual interpretation of the life inherent in the logos is implied in John’s gospel and Johannine corpus as a whole (Jn 8:12, 14:6; 1 Jn 1:1–2). John Calvin observed:

[T]herefore, understand life in this text very simply not as that life which is in all creatures, whether rational or irrational, but understand that life which believers are restored to their former life, such that freed from death and hell due to their sins, they have eternal life. (eds. Craig & Farmer 2014:19)

This life, when viewed from Ewe cosmic perspective, however, is the one that is manifested in the sixth and final level of existence with human life as its epitome (Sakitey & Van Eck 2022:4). Whereas this life precedes light in John’s logos Christology, the opposite is the case in Ewe cosmic order. Everything that would become life under the sun exists in the region of light under the control of Xebieso, the god of light and sound. Mawugã, the Supreme Being, just like Elohim the Creator of the universe in Genesis 1, manifested the self in the form of light before life appeared. A change in this cosmic arrangement may result in cosmic chaos.

Incarnation of the logos (Jn 1:14)

The incarnation of the logos concludes the prologue in John’s logos Christology, kai ho logos sarx egeneto kai eskēnōsen en hēmin … (and the word became flesh and dwelt among us…) The first half of the verse 14 is rendered eye nya la trͻ zu ŋutilã, eye wonͻ anyi le mía dome… (Biblia 1931), nya la va zu amegbetͻ henͻ mía dome… (Biblia 2010; Nubabla Yeye La 1990), nya la trͻ zu ame va nͻ mía dome le anyigba sia dzi…(Agbenya La 2006). All four translations touched on the fact of the logos assuming flesh, nya la…zu ŋutilã/amegbetͻ/ame. The word egeneto, the aorist mid. indicative of 3rd person singular of ginomai, which translates zu in Ewe, conveys the idea of uniting oneself with something; dissolving something into another, as in salt dissolving in water to become salt solution. The idea, in relation to the logos, suggests that the logos assumes human nature but without necessarily losing its divine nature (eds. Craig & Farmer 2014:28; ed. Pelikan 1957:102, 110). All the arguments to establish the fact of two natures in a single person are difficult to comprehend. Unfortunately, John himself does not give his readers any clue to that effect but concludes that ‘we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). The question of how the logos became flesh has also remained a mystery. The Old Testament equivalent of the logos is the word that God used to create the cosmos and nyagbe in Ewe cosmology. The place of the logos, in Ewe cosmic hierarchy, is the ‘bosom’ of the female pair of the Supreme trinity, that is, nyala li kple gbe (the logos dwells with gbe of Sogbe-Lisa). Thus, the incarnation, from a broader Ewe cosmic perspective, can be viewed in terms of everything that is existing in logo, the metaphysical state of existence manifesting itself in logosu, the physical state.

The logos Christology as soteriological response to Ewe cosmic prayer

In Ewe cosmic prayers, there is recognition that the human being is at the shore of the sea of ignorance and thus must continually climb the ladder of knowledge to free the self from the state of ignorance which creates fear, confusion, superstition, disease, sickness, squalor, culminating in death and destruction (Van Eck & Sakitey 2019a:179, 2019b:4). The prayer that is constantly offered to the cosmic forces to be freed from these predicaments is, ‘ahe ne to dzi, evͻ ne to dzi, edͻ ne ƒo mia nu, eku ne ƒo mia ta’, that is:

[M]ay we not be caught in the state of darkness and ignorance; may we not be caught in the state of fear, confusion and superstition; may we not be caught in sickness, disease and squalor; may death and destruction depart from us. (Van Eck & Sakitey 2019a:179)

The prayer highlights the four cardinal predicaments of life, namely, ignorance, fear, disease, and death, being the consequence of human’s interaction with the pleasures of this life and subsequent loss of godly consciousness. Thus, the fall of man, from Ewe cosmic perspective, is a fall from consciousness of God. This fall ‘creates a new order in man that is always in conflict with [his] godly nature’ and creating a ‘God-devil/good-evil’ dualism in him (Van Eck & Sakitey 2019a:179–180). It is, therefore, human’s sole responsibility to free themselves from their predicament in order to restore their godly consciousness. The encounter between Christianity and Ewe indigenous religion in the mid-19th century (1847), coupled with the translation of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures into Ewe, exposed the Ewe-Ghanaian to a soteriology that is higher than what is prevalent in their indigenous religious worldview. Whereas their salvation depends on their effort, the logos Christology portrays Jesus as the agent of that liberation. In other words, Christ is the appropriate response to the Ewe-Ghanaian cosmic cry for deliverance from the power of darkness, ignorance, fear of the unknown, sickness, death and destruction. Among all his faces that have been portrayed in African Christologies, Jesus’ life-giving face (Jn 1:3–5; Col 1:15–20) perfectly fits into his soteriological role and resonates with Ewe quest and aspiration for fullness of life (Adams 2010:190–193; Stinton 2004:56–58; see also ed. Bediako 2000; Schreiter 1991). In the Ewe cosmic hierarchy, Jesus combines the cosmic trio that is clothed with the power to create, preserve and destroys life, and that of Xebieso, the controller of life and all forces within the cosmic hierarchy. Above all, he is the intelligible word (nyagbe) that dwells with Sogbe-Lisa, and shares both eternal and hypostatic relationship with the Supreme trinity. The cosmic supremacy he commands over Ewe indigenous religion, therefore, raises the level of godly consciousness of the Ewe-Ghanaian and settles the cosmic war between the biblical worldview and Ewe metaphysical reality.


Arguably, the logos concept is the most complex and controversial Christological concept in Christian theology. Although the church has put its stamp of authority on the controversies surrounding the divine-human dualism of the incarnate logos, speculations around it have since continued. This may be because of lack of clarity in John’s Christological interpretation. However, the theological significance that John brings to bear on his interpretation – the salvation of humanity – should bring finality to any form of speculation because of its supremacy over them. The translation of the logos in Ewe cosmic perspective which renders it nyagbe, the intelligible word, broadens its meaning to the manifestation of everything that exists in logo, the metaphysical state of existence to logosu, the physical state of existence. The place of nyagbe in the Ewe cosmic hierarchy, is gbe, the female pair of Sogbe-Lisa, which is contrary to the translation in the existing Ewe Bibles which suggests that the logos dwells with Mawu, the generic name for the Supreme Being. Therefore, in translating logos in Ewe, annotation in the revised versions of John 1:1–5, 14 is noteworthy. Since incarnation from Ewe cosmic perspective is understood to mean the manifestation of the Supreme Being from logo, the absolute and eternal state of existence to logosu, the embodied state of existence, the human being (amegbetͻ), though not perfect because of his fall from his godly consciousness, is perceived as the epitome of creation and embodiment of the Supreme Being. And because of his inability to free himself from the predicaments of life, he must continually offer supplications to the cosmic forces for his salvation. The incarnation of the divine logos, coupled with his ability to save humanity from sin and death, positions him as the soteriological response to the Ewe cosmic cry for deliverance from ignorance, fear, disease and death, and the restoration of humanity’s godly consciousness.


Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions

D.S. and E.v.E. contributed equally to this work.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards for research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors, and the publisher.


Adams, F.K., 2010, Odwira and the gospel, Regnum Books International, Oxford.

Agbenya la, 2006, International Bible Society, Nairobi.

Awoonor, K., 2006, The African predicament: Collected essays, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Legon.

Bediako, K., 2000, Jesus in Africa; the Christian gospel in African history and experience, Editions Clé and Regnum Africa, Akropong-Akuapem/Yaoundé.

Biblia alo Ŋͻŋlͻ Kͻkͻe la le Eʋegbe me, 1931, The Bible Society of Ghana, Accra.

Biblia, 2010, The Bible Society of Ghana, Accra.

Boring, M.E., 2012, An introduction of the New Testament: History, literature, theology, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.

Bromiley, G.W., 1985, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Brown, R.E., 1997, An introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, New York, NY.

Card, M., 2014, John: The gospel of wisdom, IVP Books, Downers Grove, IL.

Conzelmann, H., 1968, An outline of the theology of the New Testmant, transl. J. Bowden, Harpers & Row Publishers, New York, NY.

Craig, S. & Farmer, C.S. (eds.), 2014, Reformation commentary on scripture: New Testament, vol. IV, John 1–12, IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL.

Cullmann, O., 1959, The Christology of the New Testament, SCM Press, Limited, London.

Dodd, C.H., 1985, The interpretation of the fourth gospel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ekem, J.D.K., 2007, ‘A dialogical exegesis of Romans 3:25a’, in L.J. Mkole & N.H. Taylor (eds.), Journal of the New Testament Society of South Africa, vol. 30.1, pp. 75–93, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, CA.

Espin, O.O., 2007, ‘Logos’, in O.O. Espin & J.B. Nckoloff (eds.), An introductory Dictionary of theology and religious studies, p. 1488, Liturgical Press, Collegeville.

Fee, G.D. & Stuart, D., 2003, How to read the Bible for all its worth, 3rd edn., Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.

Harris, M.J., 2015, ‘John’, in A.J. Köstenberger & R.W. Yarbrough (gen. eds.), Exegetical guide to the Greek New Testament, pp. 1–366, B&H Publishing Group, Nashvile, TN.

Harris, S.L., 2002, The New Testament, 4th edn., McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

Harris, S.L., 2003, Understanding the Bible, 6th edn., McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

Heil, J.P., 2015, The gospel of John: Worship for divine life eternal, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR.

Ignatius of Antioch, 1994, ‘The epistle to the Magnesians, chapter VIII, caution against false Doctrines’, in A. Roberts & J. Donaldson (eds.), vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 10, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.

Kieffer, R., 2001, ‘John’, in J. Muddman & J. Barton (eds.), The Oxford Bible commentary: The gospels, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kittel, G. (ed.), 1973, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. IV, WM. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI.

Kuwornu-Adjaottor, J.E.T., 2012, ‘Doing African biblical studies with the mother tongue Biblical hermeneutic approach’, PhD thesis, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Department of Religious Studies, Kumasi.

Lightfoot, J.B., 2015, The gospel of John: A newly discovered commentary, vol. 2, IVP Academic, Downers Grove, IL.

Lincoln, A.T., 2005, ‘The gospel according to St. John’, in M.D. Hooker (gen. ed.), Black’s New Testament commentary, pp. 94–106, Continuum, London.

Martyr, J., The second apology, chapter VI, names of God and of Christ, their meaning and power, In vol. 1 of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. 1885. 10 vols. Repr. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994.

McGrath, A.E., 2007, Christian theology, 4th edn., Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Morris, L., 1986, New Testament theology, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.

Ngewa, S., 2006, ‘John’, in T. Adeyemo (gen. ed.), Africa Bible commentary, pp. 1252–1296, WordAlive Publishers, Nairobi.

NIV Archaeological study Bible, 2005, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.

Nubabla Yeye la, 1990, The Bible Society of Ghana, Accra.

Pelikan, J. (ed.), 1957, Luther’s works: Sermon on the Gospel of St. John 1–4, transl. M.H. Bertram, vol. 22, Concordia Publishing house, Saint Louis, MO.

Porter, S.E. & Clarke, K.D., 2007, ‘What is exegesis? An analysis of various definitions’, in S.E. Porter (ed.), A handbook to the exegesis of the New Testament, pp. 3–21, Brill, Leiden.

Robertson, A.T., 1960, Word pictures in the New Testament, vol. V, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN.

Ryan, H.J., 2007, ‘Logos’, in O.O. Espin & J.B. Nckoloff (eds.), An introductory Dictionary of theology and religious studies, pp. 784–785, Liturgical Press, MN.

Sakitey, D. & Van Eck, E., 2022, ‘Πάτερ, ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Matt. 6:9a): Reading the lord’s prayer with insight from Ewe cosmology’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 78(3), a7559. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i3.7559

Schreiter, R.J. (ed.), 1991, Faces of Jesus in Africa, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, NY.

Spivey, R.A., Smith, D.M. & Black, C.C., 2007, Anatomy of the New Testament: A guide to its structure and meaning, 6th edn., Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, NJ.

Stinton, D.B., 2004, Jesus of Africa: Voices of contemporary African Christology, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, NY.

The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition, 1993, Deutche Bibelgesellschaft, D-Stuttgart.

Van Eck, E. & Sakitey, D., 2019a, ‘Ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμãς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ (Mat. 6:13b): Reading the Lord’s Prayer through Ewe-Ghanaian demonological lens’, Acta Theologica 39(2), 172–186. https://doi.org/10.18820/23099089/act.v39i2.10

Van Eck, E. & Sakitey, D., 2019b, ‘ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου: Interpreting the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:10a) in the light of Ewe-Ghanaian eschatological vision’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 75(3), a5207. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i3.5207

Wiles, M., 1966, The Christian fathers, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.


1. See similar hymns in Philippians 2:6–11; Colossians 1:15–20; 1 Timothy 3:16.

2. Harris (2015:23), however, argues that the life is physical, spiritual, and eternal.

3. Ewe people name their children Logo and Logosu.

4. The mustard seed in the gospels is rendered logosu in the Ewe Bible (Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 13:31-32, 17:20; Luke 13:18-19, 17:5-6).

5. The destruction of life must be understood as taking life back to its cosmic origin.

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.