John 1:1-2 is both mistranslated and misunderstood. “With God” is incorrect and the correct reading word-for-word is “towards the God.” This is the same Greek word “towards” (“pros”) used in John 1:29 [King James] “The next day, John sees Jesus coming towards [i.e., unto] him.” Of the 99 uses of “pros” in John’s Gospel, it is translated “unto” or “to” 86 times, but not again one time as “with.”
What does “towards God” mean?
“Towards God” is an idiom that means “pertaining to God,” or, “in the service of God.” The identical idiom used in John 1:1 again is used in Hebrews 2:17 (NASB),“Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Again, we find the identical idiom now translated as “with God” Romans 5:1 (NASB) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God [i.e., in things pertaining to God] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Certainly, no one understands Romans 5:1 to mean that we are “with” or in the presence of God. Even less that we are “with” or part of God!
[A scholarly discussion on this idiomatic phrase appears in Steven Mason, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees, Brill Academic Publishers (2001) page 87]
What does “was God” mean?
Word-for-word John 1:1 reads “the Word was towards the God and a god was the Word.”
While Jesus as “the Word” served his heavenly Father, “the God,” he was lower in rank “a god.” As the “Word,” he was a “god” or “mighty one” of the angelic order. The same Greek word, god, is used for mighty people in power in John 10:34-35. Jesus states the judges of Israel were called “gods” (see also Psalm 82:6). Additionally, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is called the “god of this world.”
Thus correctly translated and understood, Jesus was the “Word” of God before he was made flesh (John 1:14). He was a mighty one (a god) serving in the things pertaining to (the) God and he has had this privilege since the very beginning of time.