The Godhead – Jesus Christ

 

 

Before the Incarnation, the Son of God did not exist

 

 

 

Oneness Pentecostals teach the following things about Jesus Christ: “Jesus pre-existed the Incarnation, not as the eternal Son but as the eternal Spirit of God. The Son was sent from the Father, but this terminology simply indicates that the Father enacted His pre-existing plan at a certain point in time and that the Son was divinely appointed to accomplish a certain task. In the same way, John the Baptist was a man sent from God, but he did not pre-exist his arrival into this world” (David K. Bernard, Essentials of Oneness Theology, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, USA, 1995, pages 21-22). In other words, according to Oneness theology, Jesus, prior to His conception, was not a separate Person from God the Father. He could not exist as Son because for them ‘the Son had a beginning, namely, at the Incarnation’ (J. L. Hall and David K. Bernard, editors, Doctrines of the Bible, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, U.S.A., 1998, page 21), thus ‘the term Son always has reference to the Incarnation, to the humanity in which God dwelt and revealed Himself’ (Ibid., page 143).

The Way International also teaches that Jesus Christ did not exist before the Incarnation: Victor Paul Wierwille said: ‘God is eternal whereas Jesus was born.. .Jesus Christ's existence began when he was conceived by God's creating the soul-life of Jesus in Mary. God created, brought into existence, this life in an ovum in Mary's womb’ (Victor Paul Wierwille, The Word's Way, Vol. 3, pages 26, 37); ‘Jesus Christ was not literally with God in the beginning’ (Jesus Christ is not God, New Knoxville, OH: American Christian Press, 1975, page 5), ‘Where was Jesus Christ before he was born to Mary? Jesus Christ was with God in His foreknowledge’ (Ibid., page 28).

Christadelphians also hold that Christ did not pre-exist His conception: ‘Jesus had no existence prior to his birth in Bethlehem 1900 years ago’ (Herald of the Coming Age, vol. 21, no 1, ‘Why We Proclaim Jesus Did Not Pre-Exist!’ page 2), ‘We reject the doctrine – that the Son of God was co-eternal with the Father’ (The Constitution of the Glendale Christadelphian Ecclesia, page 18).

 

 

Confutation

 

The Scripture teaches that the Son of God, before the incarnation, existed as a Person separate from God the Father.

● John said: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father [or the Only Begotten from the Father], full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 – NIV).

● Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM” (John 8:58 – NKJV); “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” (John 6:62 – NKJV); “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38 – NKJV); “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5 – NKJV); “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24 – NKJV).

● Paul says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7 - NKJV).

As you can see, Jesus Christ, as Son existed even before His arrival into this world; He was with the Father, He was in the form of God, that is to say, He was equal with God. Therefore, He pre-existed as a Person, for the Scripture says that He was sent by the Father, He was given by the Father, and Jesus Himself clearly said that He came down from heaven.

To confirm what I have just said, I want to comment briefly upon the following words of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made ….The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.1-3, 14 - NIV). First of all, note that John says that the Word was with God, and then that the Word was God; however, pay attention to this, when John says that the Word was God he does not mean that the Word was God the Father (for the Greek has ‘kai Theos en ho Logos’, that is, ‘and God was the Word’, and not ‘kai ho Theos en ho Logos’, that is, ‘and the God was the Word’) because if the apostle had said such a thing he would have denied the pre-existence of the Son as a Person separate from God the Father. Notice also the following thing: John says that all things were made through the Word, that is to say, through the Son; and this is confirmed by the apostle Paul who wrote to the Colossians: “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 – NKJV), and by the author of the epistle to the Hebrews who wrote that God “made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2 – NKJV) through His Son. So we infer that since God created the heavens and the earth through His Son, this means that the Son of God was in heaven with the Father before the world was made. And to conclude my comment upon the above mentioned words of John, I say this: if the Word was God (but not God the Father) and at a certain point in time the Word was made flesh, that means that when the Word took the form of a bondservant and came in the likeness of men, God who was in heaven remained for a certain period of time without the Word who had been with Him from all eternity. In other words, God did not have His Son with Him in heaven for a certain period of time. That’s why Jesus, before His death, said to His disciples: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father” (John 16:28 – NKJV). He left heaven to come into this world, and when He finished the work the Father had given Him to do, He left the earth and returned to heaven.

In the light of the above mentioned Scriptures, therefore, you must beware of all those who deny the pre-existent state of Jesus, for they lie against the truth.

 

 

 

Back