What does John mean when he writes: In him [The Word] was life? I’m glad you
didn’t asked. This is where it helps to either have a language commentary around or know a little bit of the Greek language. John uses two words that are [unfortunately] translated life in the English language. There is the word bios which is used to refer to earthly life or biological life [thus the name biology for the science of living things]. 1 John 2.16 is a good example where bios is translated life. It reads: For all that is in the world —the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life [bios]—is not from the Father but is from the world. This is not the word that John uses when he says that in the Word was life.
John uses the word zoe which is also translated life in English. Zoe is a favorite word of John’s; he uses it 36 times in his Gospel and it never means natural or biological life. It means real life or true life, something fundamentally different from biological life. It’s the word that he uses when he tells Martha: I am the resurrection and the life [zoe]. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, so he obviously does not mean biological life. John uses the same word when he lays out the great purpose of the whole book: These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life [zoe] in his name. So when John uses zoe, he means resurrection life or eternal life.
What John means when he writes: In him was life is that in Christ the Eternal Word was resurrection life. In order that we don’t miss this point, John emphasizes the word life in vs. 4. Oh…and in case you really don’t get the point, zoe is the word that John uses in John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life [zoe].
Do you want eternal life? You’re not going to get it by living [biossing] forever. You’re going to get it by running to the source of eternal zoe. Christ the Eternal Word was not shy at all about saying that he alone of all men who have ever lived was the source of eternal life.