The Issue: Interpretation.
Examination of the Evidence
This passage is often misconstrued by non-Trinitarian advocates to insinuate that Jesus is the first thing in God's creation and as such he was the "beginning", that is, the first thing which God created. The intention is to promote the idea that Jesus is the first of a series of things created.
On the flip side, Trinitarians, in reaction to the above claim, misinterpret the text to mean Jesus is the "ruler" of the creation of God.
John is not saying Jesus had a beginning; he is saying Jesus was the beginning. John is saying Jesus is the place where creation began. As such, John is not telling us Jesus was the first thing God created in time but that the Word is the point or place where God's creation began. We are being told where creation begins. It is John who emphasizes that God's creation began at his Word and in his Word not as his Word. God created all things by His spoken Word, that Word became flesh, Jesus. Hence, Jesus is that Word by which God created all things. He is that Word become flesh. Hence, God's Word, which became flesh, is the beginning of creation in a locative sense; God's Word is the PLACE where creation had its beginning.
The Greek word arche essentially means "top" and the Greeks called the beginning of something the "top" of something as if a begining starts at the "top." This is why this very same word is translated as "ruler." He is at the "top." Trinitarians often want to translate this passage as "ruler" in a knee-jerk reaction to misconceived interpretations of this passage. John does not mean Jesus is a "ruler" here in this particular passage. The idea here is that God created through His spoken Word. Therefore the beginning POINT or PLACE or creation, ground zero, is at the Word of God, which Word became flesh, Jesus. Put another way, John is saying that Jesus is the Alpha of creation, the point where creation originated, the beginning place of creation.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13).
A similar idea would be to say, "the capital city Springfield, the beginning of Interstate 99." Now we would not here assume that Springfield is the first part of the Interstate highway. Rather we would understand that Sprinfield is the place where the highway began. The city is not the highway but where the highway begins. It is the beginning of the highway. In the very same way, "the beginning of the creation of God" is where creation began and John is speaking this way because Jesus is that same Word which God spoke to create and that Word is where creation springs forth or begins.
There is no evidence for or against the doctrine of the Trinity in this passage. John's words neither support nor deny Trinitarian doctrine.
In the beginning was the Word... All things came into being through him, and apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3).