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Greetings everyone! Sorry I’ve been so busy lately (selling a house – buying a new one). I haven’t had much of a chance to write or post anything here on KR.

I did read this article by Ray Faircloth the other day and really liked it. There’s been a paper of his and one or two others referenced here on KR before, so the name may seem familiar. Though I believe Sean may have met him in person at a conference or two in the past.

Enjoy and may Yahweh bless you!


JESUS WAS NOT THE AGENT OF THE GENESIS CREATION

By Raymond C. Faircloth

THE IDEA OF AN AGENT OF CREATION

The idea of pre-existence originated with PLATO and was later developed by XENOCRATES (d.314 BC). In time, the first century Middle Platonic philosopher NUMENIUS introduced the idea of a 2nd transcendental entity between the Supreme Being and the universe. This entity, subordinate to the Supreme God, was called the Demiurge – meaning maker or builder. Because matter was viewed as evil God could not have any association with it. Only the Demiurge could deal with it and so he acted as builder or agent of creation.
The concept that Jesus had acted as agent of creation because he had existed in a different form prior to birth has been believed by many since the Christian philosopher Justin Martyr first used the word pre-existence with reference to Jesus in about 150 AD. However, Justin was a believer in the idea that Socrates and Plato were inspired by God. He had been thoroughly schooled in the Greek philosophical thinking of his day, including the thoughts of Numenius whose ideas he found attractive. With his mind so receptive, Justin found it easy to apply such ideas in his interpretation of the Christian Scriptures. This was similar to the thinking of the Jewish philosopher PHILO, who had earlier reinterpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in pagan Greek terms. In spite of the fact that the word demiourgos appears only in Hebrews 11:10 and refers to God, JUSTIN applied the Demiurge concept to Jesus speaking of him as an “arithmetically second God” saying:

There is and there is said to be another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because he announces to all men whatsoever the Maker of all things.

To develop his thinking Justin inaccurately quoted and even modified Scripture. He held that Jesus only came through Mary not from her as Matthew describes. Justin also stated:

…though I should not be able to prove his pre-existence…For some of our race, who admit that he is the Christ, while holding him to be man of men; with whom I do not agree.

This is in direct contradiction of the Apostle John’s words that:

“Every inspired expression that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God…” (1 John 4:2) i.e. a fully human Jesus.

Catholic theologian Karl-Josef Kuschel shows this to be the first major step away from biblical Christianity when he makes the comment that:

The Christology of Jewish Christianity which had been dominant for decades and knew of no pre-existence Christology was increasingly swept aside and was finally branded heretical.

Earlier the Apostle Paul had foretold that:

  • “They will … wander off into myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3, 4 ESV). He also said at 2 Corinthians 11:4 that some would come “preaching another Jesus.”

This pagan Greek teaching of a pre-existent Jesus was further developed by the Gnostics who taught that Jesus was not a human but ‘a spirit being’ inhabiting a human body.

WITH NO PERSONAL AGENT MENTIONED
JEHOVAH ALONE PRODUCED THE GENESIS CREATION

ACCORDING TO JEHOVAH HIMSELF

  • “I Jehovah am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?” (Isa. 44:24). “all alone” – NASB, ESV, NKJ, REB.

According to the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges this means: “there was none to help me.”

  • I myself have made the earth and have created man upon it. I – my own hands have stretched out the heavens” (Isa. 45:12).
  • “…my own hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my own right hand extended out the heavens” (Isa. 48:13).
  • “…when I founded the earth” (Job 38:4).
  • “Now all these things my own hand has made” (Isa. 66:2).
  • My hands made all these things” (Acts 7:50).

Clearly, Jehovah is saying that He did not use a personal agent for the making of the universe.

ACCORDING TO HEBREW SCRIPTURE WRITERS

  • “And God proceeded to make the expanse, the two great luminaries, the great sea monsters, the wild beast…” etc… “And God proceeded to create the man” (Gen. 1:7, 16, 21, 25, 27).
  • “Jehovah the Creator of the heavens … the Former of the earth and the Maker of it” (Isa. 45:18).
  • “When as yet he had not made the earth…When he prepared (“established”) the heavens. When he decreed (“inscribed”) a circle on the face of the watery deep. He made firm the cloud masses. He decreed (“marked out”) the foundations of the earth” (Prov. 8:26-29).
  • “God…has been resting from all his work that God has created” (Gen. 2:3).
  • “Stretching out the heavens by himself” (Job 9:8).
  • “…Jehovah, he has made the very heavens” (Ps. 96:5).
  • He is the Maker of the earth” (Jer. 10:12).
  • “You are Jehovah alone. You yourself have made the heavens” (Neh. 9:6).

All these inspired writers attest to the fact that God used no personal agent for creating the universe or for preparing the earth or for making the first humans.

ACCORDING TO JESUS, PAUL AND HEAVENLY BEINGS

  • “…He who created them from the beginning” (Matt. 19:4).
  • “…the creation which God created” (Mark 13:19).

If Jesus had been the agent of the Genesis creation he gave no hint of this in spite of having many opportunities to do so. Furthermore, Paul and the heavenly beings also acknowledge that God was the constructor of the universe by His own hands:

  • God made the heaven and the earth…and all things” (Acts 14:15).
  • “…the God that made the world and all the things in it” (Acts 17:24-26).
  • “…appointed him [Jesus] over the works of Your [God’s] hands” (Heb. 2:7b).
  • The One through whom all things are” (Heb. 2:10).
  • “He that constructed all things is God” (Heb. 3:4).
  • God rested from all His work” (Heb. 4:3, 4).
  • The One…who created the heaven…and earth and the things in it” (Rev. 10:6).
  • “Fear God…the One who made the heaven and the earth…” (Rev. 14:17).
  • “From Him and through (not ‘by’ KIT) Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36).
  • You created all things, because of your will they were created and existed” (Rev. 4:11).

Because all these statements are completely personal to Jehovah it is impossible to imply that He is only the architect and that a personal agent did all the actual work, especially in view of the statement that “God rested” after the creation work, rather than anyone else.

GOD USED HIS WORD / WISDOM / POWER / SPIRIT

  • “God proceeded to say: Let light…” (Gen. 1: 3).
  • “By the word of Jehovah the heavens were made” (Ps. 33:6).
  • “So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be” (Isa. 55:11).
  • “…the earth was formed…by the word of God” (2 Peter 3:5).
  • “God’s own spirit made me” (Job 33:4).
  • “He is the maker of the earth by his power, by his wisdom” (Jer. 10:12).

Although Jesus is the agent of the new creation there is no mention in the Scriptures of God’s use of another person as agent for creating the things described in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Jehovah did it all by His own power/spirit.

TEXTS MISAPPLIED TO JESUS

GENESIS 1:26 “LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE”

In the Genesis account these words were most likely spoken to the angels who had been on hand to observe at least parts of God’s creative activity:

  • “…when I [God] founded the earth…the morning stars cried out joyfully” (Job 38:4, 7).

The New International Bible Commentary notes:

The rabbinic interpretation that God is speaking to the angels is more attractive for man’s creation affects them (Ps. 8:5; 1 C. 6:3), cf. Job 38:7. But there is no suggestion of angelic cooperation. p. 115

The Notes to the NIV give the same understanding:

Us…our…God speaks as creator-king, announcing his crowning work to the members of his heavenly court (see 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8; see also 1 Ki. 22:19, 23; Job 15:8; Jer. 23:18).

GOD’S HEAVENLY ASSEMBLY OF ANGELS

  • “God is stationing himself in the assembly of the Divine One (“in the divine council” ESV); in the middle of the gods [“angels” Syriac Peshitta] he judges” (Ps. 82:1). (See also note Daniel 7:9-10).

If the words of Genesis 1:26 were spoken to the assembly of angels, then Michael would have been included; but that does not in any way mean that Jehovah was speaking only to Michael or to someone who supposedly was later to become Jesus. The Scriptures clearly show that Jesus came into existence in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35).
Note 47sn of the NET Bible explains that:

The plural form of the verb has been the subject of much discussion through the years, and not surprisingly several suggestions have been put forward. Many Christian theologians interpret it as an early hint of plurality within the Godhead, but this view imposes later trinitarian concepts on the ancient text. Some have suggested the plural verb indicates majesty, but the plural of majesty is not used with verbs. C. Westermann (Genesis, 1:145) argues for a plural of “deliberation” here, but his proposed examples of this use (2 Sam 24:14; Isa 6:8) do not actually support his theory. In 2 Sam 24:14 David uses the plural as representative of all Israel, and in Isa 6:8 the Lord speaks on behalf of his heavenly court. In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court (see 1 Kgs 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Isa 6:1-8). (The most well-known members of this court are God’s messengers, or angels. In Gen 3:5 the serpent may refer to this group as “gods/divine beings.” See the note on the word “evil” in 3:5.) If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (v. 27). Of course, this view does assume that the members of the heavenly court possess the divine “image” in some way. Since the image is closely associated with rulership, perhaps they share the divine image in that they, together with God and under his royal authority, are the executive authority over the world.

In fact, Genesis 1:26 is a reference only to the creation of Man on Day 6 and not to the earlier creative activity. It therefore harmonizes with the statement in Isaiah 44:24 that Jehovah created the heavens and the earth by himself and asking rhetorically: “Who was with me?” as implying that no one else participated in that creative work. The proof that only God was the creator of the first humans comes in the next verse:

  • “And God proceeded to create (‘bara’) the man in His image” (Gen. 1:27).

Because the Hebrew word bara – meaning “he created” is never used of any created being, angel or man, but is exclusively applicable to God (BDB. p. 135) it is not possible that a supposedly pre-human Jesus (a created being) could have been used to perform the actual creation in Genesis.

THE THREE OTHER OCCURENCES OF GOD’S REFERENCE TO “US

  • “…the man has become like one of us, knowing good and bad” (Gen. 3:22).
  • “Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language” (Gen. 11:7).Yet in Genesis 18:21 God says “I will go down.”
  • “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us” (Isa. 6:8).

It is evident from 1 Kings 22:19 that Jehovah encourages the angels to get involved in the decision-making process. Therefore it appears that in each of the above cases Jehovah is speaking to His assembly of angels and not to a single angel.

PROVERBS 8:22, 23, 24 and 30

In these texts God’s wisdom is wrongly taken as an actual person who acted as agent of creation rather than correctly viewed as personification (prosopopoeia). Personification is a figure of speech whereby something such as an inanimate object or an abstract idea e.g. a quality, is given animated (human or animal) characteristics. Personification never involves a literal person.

The Adam Clarke Commentary on Proverbs 8 says:

Nor has it any other meaning in this whole chapter, whatever some of the fathers may have dreamed, who find allegorical meanings everywhere.

NOTE: The feminine gender of “wisdom” (Heb. hokma and Gk. Sophia) does not bear on our study.

NOT AN ACTUAL PERSON

  • “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth” (Verses 22, 23).

Word for word from the Hebrew is:

“he-possessed-me….from-eternity” (‘oh.lam = antiquity, ancient time, days of old. Brown, Driver and Briggs, p. 761 1a).

Proverbs 1:20,21; 2: 2-4; 3:13-18; 8:1-21; 8:22-36; 9:1-5 all personify wisdom by using the pronouns she and her in all Bible translations, the Hebrew interlinear and the Septuagint. However, the NWT translates these pronouns as it and its; yet the personification is still obvious throughout these chapters because of the use of the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘me’. Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2 on the subject of SPIRIT on p. 1019 under the subheading Personification does not prove personality, says:

However, it is not unusual in the Scriptures for something that is not actually a person to be personalized or personified. Wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs (1:20-33; 8:1-36); and feminine pronominal forms are used of it in the original Hebrew.

Professor James Dunn states that:

there is no clear indication that the wisdom language of these writings has gone beyond vivid personification.

GOD’S WISDOM HAS ALWAYS EXISTED

  • God’s wisdom was: “…brought forth as with labour pains” (Verse 24).

Because we are dealing with personification, Lady Wisdom, as the figure of speech, would have been born at a point in time. This in no way implies that Jehovah’s actual wisdom came into existence. It was always with Him. However, the specific wisdom that is God’s purpose and plan i.e. His “word” was produced at a particular point in ancient time. Nevertheless, Jesus was not “brought forth as with labour pains” until his birth from Mary. Therefore, Jesus is not in this Proverbs 8 picture of wisdom.

IS A PRE-HUMAN JESUS THE MASTER WORKER OF THE GENESIS CREATION?

  • “…then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was especially fond of day by day” (Verse 30).

See NWT footnote fosterling.

There is no disconnection between Proverbs 8:21 and 8:22. The word me connects both verses. So it is still Lady Wisdom speaking and therefore, the master worker of verse 30 is also her. However, this text is obscure. The Hebrew interlinear reads:

  • “Then I was beside him craftsman and I was delights day day one rejoicing in presences of him at all of time.”

Young’s Literal renders it: “Then I am near Him a workman.”
NJB renders it: “I was beside the master craftsman, delighting him day after day.” These show God to be the master craftsman.

The Complete Jewish Bible renders: “I was with him as someone he could trust.”
The JPS renders: “Then I was by Him as a nursling.”
Others have “nursling” or footnote “little child.”

Catholic theologian Karl-Josef Kuschel states:

Nor is there any tradition that Lady Wisdom was ever misunderstood in Israel as a ‘real’
goddess appearing alongside Yahweh … If we look at the texts closely, wisdom in
Proverbs 8, as through-out the Hebrew Canon, is not an intermediate or middle being…

GOD’S WISDOM IS NEVER SEPARATE FROM HIM

The synoptic parallel accounts Luke11:49/Matthew 23:34 show God’s wisdom is not
a second person:

  • “…the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send forth to them prophets’” (Luke 11:49).
  • “…here I [God] am sending forth to you prophets…” (Matt. 23:34). (Quoted from 2 Chron. 36:15).

Yet, Jesus does become the embodiment of God’s wisdom at a later time (1 Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3) because “Jesus went on progressing in wisdom” (Luke 1:52) so that it is:

  • “…Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification…” (1 Cor.1:30).

Because Jesus also becomes “righteousness and sanctification” we are hardly expected to come to the conclusion that whenever we see these words in the rest of the Scriptures that it is speaking of Jesus. This, too, must be true of the word wisdom.

JEHOVAH IS THE CREATOR IN PROVERBS 8

Right within the Proverbs 8 passage are contained statements that Jehovah was the actual maker of the Genesis creation:

  • “When as yet He had not made the earth. When He established the heavens. When He inscribed (not “decreed”) a circle on the face of the watery deep. He made firm the cloud masses. He marked out (not “decreed”) the foundations of the earth” (Prov. 8:26, 29).

It is the context and the proper understanding of the type of language used that help one to properly understand this section of Proverbs which is evidently not speaking of a literal person.

Confusion arises over this subject because of four passages in the Christian Greek Scriptures. These are Colossians 1:15-18, Revelation 3:14, Hebrews 1:10-12, and 1 Corinthians 8:6. It is by a thorough examination of the contexts of these passages that it can be seen that the writers’ intentions were to speak of Jesus’ role as the agent of the new creation.

10 Responses to “Jesus was NOT the agent of the Genesis creation”

  1. on 09 Aug 2010 at 8:20 amSean

    Ray Faircloth is a devout and serious Bible student. Anyone looking for solid articles on biblical subjects (especially from an ex-JW perspective) should go to Ray’s website biblicaltruthseekers.co.uk. Also, you can listen to the Truth Matters radio show I did with Ray where he talks about leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses here.

  2. on 09 Aug 2010 at 10:02 amJaco

    Ron, perfect timing

    Over at http://www.scripturaltruths.com/articles/ology/socinianism/, David Barron, a JW apologist, discusses few texts as evidence for Jesus’ personal pre-existence. Other than many JW apologists, Barron is commendable and respectful in his demeanor.

    The interview on Truth Matters Radio has also recently seen some revival with my engaging a few JW defenders. Be sure to check these websites out. Unfortunately Barron’s article cannot be commented on. Maybe we can do it here. There are, nevertheless, a few articles on his blog worth reading. I commented on 2 or 3 of them. (See esp. the one, “Recognizing an Error, But Going Too Far”)

    Thanks,

    Jaco

    P.S. I get the feeling that we’re pushing the right buttons…we’re showing JWs that there’s Truth and freedom outside the Watchtower!

  3. on 09 Aug 2010 at 12:45 pmrobert

    Revelation 4
    5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

    First thing is The Spirit Of God stands alone
    —————————————————-
    Revelation 5
    6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

    Here we see that Jesus is indwelled by that same Spirit Because GOD sent it forth into all the earth
    ——————————————————-
    12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

    Isaiah 11:2
    And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

    In theses verses we find Wisdom Is the Same HOLY SPIRIT that INDWELLED JESUS therefor could not be Jesus himself But spoke through Jesus in the first person many many times.

    So we know Wisdom AkA Holy Spirit was the first thing created By God and is spoken of as begotten, we also know She is said to be beside God during creation meaning She is separate from God. She is spoken of as a person by many in the OT and is also spoken of By Jesus as a Mother of children.

    There is only ONE SUPREME GOD and what he has created will stay created till God himself either absorbes it back or spreads HER existance amongst all Her children.
    BTW she still exist in Revelation 22 Just as she did in the garden with Adam. She (Menorah) is one of the only symbols God authorized to be made and gave very detailed instructions to Moses how it was to be made and where it was to be put in the Temple

    2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    But you can ignore it if you want because knowing this does not pertain to you if salvation is all you seek

  4. on 09 Aug 2010 at 1:19 pmrobert

    Jaco your link didnt work

    http://www.scripturaltruths.com/articles/ology/socinianism/

    BTW after reading this article i would like to make the statement that Jesus was Only called the Christ because he was anointed with the Holy spirit which we all know was the indwelling power that allowed for him to do the things written of Him except the things he did before being indwelled at his baptism which was done out of pure love for his God which was the reason he was chosen as the Lamb
    As with all the other christ spoken of thru out the bible you will see it was the presence of the Holy spirit that made them the christ.
    So seeing the word Christ is limited to Jesus , it is actually being spoke of the Holy spirit

  5. on 09 Aug 2010 at 2:26 pmJaco

    Ok, just go to http://www.scripturaltruths.com and click on the latest article listed. It’s on Socinianism. I hope it works.

    J

  6. on 09 Aug 2010 at 2:55 pmrobert

    Jaco
    I corrected your link and posted it above.
    you had a comma in it that didnt belong

  7. on 09 Aug 2010 at 9:29 pmRay

    It seems to me that when God said to his people Israel that he created things by himself, that he was using the word as a quasi-noun meaning “my real, true, or actual self” and that this real, true and actual self of God was Jesus whom he at times did not reveal many things about, but did reveal more about him in his time, when the fullness of time had come.

    God revealed his divine power and godhead (See Romans 1:20)
    and although some men received some of this there was very much about Jesus (God’s divine power and godhead to us) that
    was not revealed to them at that time.

    It shouldn’t seem strange to me if some did receive some of this information of God but not having yet perfect understanding of these things, they may have added something of their own to it, and what they then had was somewhat corrupted.

    For those who are interested, you may find more about the meaning of quasi-nouns in a dictionary after the word quasi.

    You may also want to look up the word myself to see how it may be used.

    At the time of creation, do you suppose there was anything other than God himself alone in Jesus? That’s something to think about isn’t it?

  8. on 08 Aug 2013 at 2:33 pmTheophil

    Commenting on Hebrews 1.10-12 for the new creation is forced and not from the context. Much more coherent interpretation of this passage is as ἀποστροφή to the Father. Just as in Psalm 109.21 [108.21 LXX]. Such interpretations of this site can be found in A Sequel to the Apology. Theophil Lindsey pag. 488-494 or Eniedino Georgio (Superintendent Ecclesiarum in Transyluania) Explicationes Locorum Veteris Et Novi Testamenti, Ex Quibus Trinitatis Dogma Stabilari Solet ed. 1598 pages 389-394. Thomas Aquinas for the possibility of relating these words to the Father “And Thou, Lord …” like Sebastian Castellio

    Sorry for my english, but this is not my native language.

  9. on 05 May 2014 at 1:54 pmYahisgood

    Ray said:

    “It seems to me that when God said to his people Israel that he created things by himself, that he was using the word as a quasi-noun meaning ‘my real, true, or actual self’ and that this real, true and actual self of God was Jesus whom he at times did not reveal many things about, but did reveal more about him in his time, when the fullness of time had come. ”

    Other than how it “seems” to you, what evidence is there that personal pronouns such as “myself” are used by God as “quasi nouns” as you call it. Quasi means “having some resemblance usually by possession of certain attributes,” so a quasi noun would be something resembling a noun. What is it that resembles, but is not truly a noun? How would the personal pronoun “myself” as a supposed “quasi-noun” come to have the enhanced meaning of “my real, true, or actual self” as if the word “myself” does not already imply such. Why would “myself ever imply something other than ones real self? And why would such an inane over analysis of a simple word lead to the conclusion that, as applied to God, it was referring to Jesus in some cryptic sense? What is the logical process here?

  10. on 08 Sep 2015 at 8:10 amTia

    Thank you for this article and the extended research. Amazing.

  

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