951753

This Site Is No Longer Active

Check out RESTITUTIO.org for new blog entries and podcasts. Feel free to browse through our content here, but we are no longer adding new posts.


  

by William M. Wachtel

From Anthony Buzzard’s web site; can be viewed here.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1:13-20).

In standard evangelical commentary, two texts from Paul’s writings are constantly used to teach the personal preexistence of Christ: Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:15-20. These texts are considered to be bulwarks of Trinitarian theology, expressing in some sense Christ’s status as Deity. At the time of the Nicene Council, both Arians and Athanasians were fond of using them to prove that Christ existed as a personal being before his birth or “Incarnation.” The difference, of course, was that the Arians thought he had a beginning and was the first creature whom God made; while the Athanasians thought he had no beginning and was himself “co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial” with the Father. The result of such terms was the claim, still insisted on by Trinitarians today, that Jesus must be seen to be God just as the Father is seen to be God.

This writer questions seriously, however, whether any such ideas were in Paul’s mind or in God’s inspiration through the Spirit upon Paul’s writing of Scripture. In Philippians 2:5, for instance, Paul declares he is holding forth the historical example of the man Christ Jesus (as in 1 Tim. 2:5), not some prehistoric example into which can be read ideas of personal preexistence. Can the same be said to be true of Colossians 1:15-20? Let us take a careful look at the text and its implications.

Christ, the Image of God

Verse 15 tells us that God’s “beloved Son” (v. 13, NASB) is the “image” of the unseen God. An image, of course, is a visual representation, the copy of an original. The very fact of using a word such as “image” suggests necessarily that there is a difference in identity between the copy and the original. When one looks in the mirror, he sees an “image” of himself. He does not consider himself to be the person who is “behind the glass” but the person who is “in front of the glass.” The only reason to labor this point is that many foolish things have been said about the word “image” in this and other verses, seeking to prove that Christ, “the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4), is God himself![1] The word “image” establishes, by its very meaning, that Christ is not God. The image is not the same as the original, and in this case the original is God.

      When Jesus told his disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), he was not claiming to be the Father (a claim that would prove too much, if Trinitarianism were correct), but rather that he is like the Father. The writer of Hebrews (1:3) says that he is the “express image” (KJV) — “exact representation” (NIV, NASB) — of God’s being, or God’s nature. Again, our two words “exact representation” and the single Greek word carakter,[2] from which those two words are translated, imply that a copy is being set forth, based on an original. The writer of Hebrews is telling us that God has spoken to us by a Son who is just like God. But to say this Son is “just like” God is to recognize that he is not, in fact, himself God, i.e., the One to whom he is now being “likened.” The writer goes on to say that this person who is like God, after purging our sins by his death, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, a further differentiation between the Man who is “just like” God, and the Being who is God, himself![3]

Christ, the Firstborn

Verse 15 continues by calling Christ the Firstborn of “every creature” (KJV) or “all creation” (NIV, NASB). If “first” in the word Firstborn means only precedence in time, and if “creation” means the original creation of Genesis 1, then the case for Christ’s personal preexistence must stand. The Arians and Athanasians would have to be right in their claim that Christ existed as a person before his birth and that this person in fact abandoned his previous mode of existence in order to become a human being. This, precisely, is what any views of personal preexistence must find in the texts in Philippians 2 and Colossians 1. What we are questioning here is whether several crucial terms mean, in their context and in Scripture as a whole, what they are popularly interpreted to mean!

Let us begin by examining the word translated “firstborn”- prototokos. This word is used a number of times in Scripture, often to designate the child born first in a family. When Esau came to his father Isaac to receive the blessing that was due him, he pleaded the fact that he was Isaac’s firstborn — his prototokos (Gen. 27:32 LXX). Jacob, the second born son, had already deceived his father and received the blessing intended for Esau. The custom of conferring special privileges or a major inheritance on the firstborn son is not only seen in the Bible, but also in the later laws of “primogeniture” in England and other countries, awarding the family inheritance to the eldest son.

There is, however, in Scripture a further meaning to the term prototokos. Since the Greek word protos can mean either first in time or first in rank, the “firstborn” may be used to designate one who is honored with first or chief position, regardless of time of birth. This idea is seen in Exodus 4:22, where God commands Moses to tell Pharaoh, “This is what YHWH says: Israel is my firstborn son. . . . Let my son go, so he may worship me.” Clearly, here the word prototokos (LXX) has nothing to do with precedence in time, but rather precedence in rank among the nations, as God views their relative importance.[4] The same is true in Jeremiah 31:9 (38:9 LXX), where God calls Ephraim his prototokos (even though Ephraim’s brother, Manasseh, was the elder of the two). Again, it is precedence in rank, or importance, that is in view. The classic example of this usage is found in Psalm 89:27 (88:27 LXX), where God describes in glowing words the promised Davidic king, the Messiah: “I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” This foremost position as King of kings is a matter of appointment, not time of birth![5] These facts and this usage as to the word “firstborn” may well have much significance in helping us to understand how and why Christ can be called “the Firstborn of all creation” in Colossians 1:15. “If prototokos is selected in Col. 1:15 and then again in 1:18 to express this supremacy, this is because of the great importance which the term ‘firstborn’ took on as a word for rank in the OT and then retained in later Judaism.”[6]

Over All Creation

The NIV calls Christ “the firstborn over all creation,” while NASB has “firstborn of all creation,” reflecting a literal translation of the genitive case. KJV also translates the genitive literally: “the firstborn of every creature.” The NASB and KJV renderings could be interpreted to imply that Christ was the first created being, just as the Arians believed. They understood “first” to refer to precedence in time. That is why Arius declared that “there was a time when he wasnot,” i.e., before his being created. It was this that the Athanasians rejected so vehemently, insisting that he was eternal, “begotten in eternity, before all time.”[7] To them this meant he was “co-eternal” with the Father and therefore himself God.

It is necessary at this point to consider whether Paul uses the word “creation” here in reference to the original creation of Genesis 1, or whether he may have in mind what may be called the “new creation.” Paul goes on to define this creation as comprising all things “in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Certainly, it was Christ himself who described the original creation as being God’s work (Mark 13:19; cp. Heb. 4:4, where God not Jesus rested from the work of creation) — suggesting that Christ did not see himself as creator of the “all things” mentioned in Genesis 1:31.[8] Paul, in fact, seems to give an exact description of what he means by the “all things” created — namely, “thrones, powers, rulers, authorities.” If this is what he means, then we must ask in what sense Christ can be called the creator of such.

Just before his ascension, Christ said that “all authority in heaven and on earth” had now been given to him (Matt. 28:18). With that authority he commissioned his apostles to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations and to teach them all his commands. Moses had foretold that Messiah would be a prophet like Moses himself, whose word would have the force of law, demanding obedience (Deut. 18:15, 18, 19; Acts 3:22, 23). But what about his authority “in heaven”? Paul says that when Christ was raised from the dead and was set at God’s right hand in the “heavenlies,” his new position brought him to a status “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21). Not only that, but “God placed all things under his feet” (v. 22). Colossians 1:17 echoes this, in saying that “in him all things hold together.” Col. 2:10 describes him as “the head over every power and authority.” God rewarded Jesus’ “obedience unto death” by highly exalting him and giving him the name which is above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee is required to bow, “in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11).

These ascriptions of supreme authority to Christ, under God, suggest that when Christ came to be seated at the right hand of God, he — in turn — set up, or created, a new system of rulerships among the angelic beings as well as preparing a place of honor and service within his Father’s household for all his faithful people, both in this age and in the age to come (John 14:2,3). All of this is then part of “the new creation.” It is this new creation that the present writer understands to be the subject of Colossians 1:15-17. If this view is correct, the personal preexistence of Christ is not at all the subject of our text, contrary to popular interpretation!

Before All Things

Verse 17 declares that Christ is “before all things” — pro panton. This phrase has been seized upon as proof of his personal preexistence. But care must be taken to notice that the verb here is in the present tense — “is” — not “was”! Paul does not tell us that Christ “was” before all things, evidence for preexistence. But what does “before” mean? The Greek word used here — pro — has three common uses: before, in the sense of place = “in front of”; before, in the sense of time = “prior to”; and before, in the sense of preeminence, rank, advantage.[9] The latter usage is seen in 1 Peter 4:8 — pro panton, “before all things” or “above all things” = “most important of all.” Here, pro has nothing to do with time or place, but rather stresses how Christian love is preeminent above all other virtues. James 5:12 provides another example of the same usage and of the phrase pro panton.

To say, therefore, that Christ is pro panton is to say that he is, under God, the Preeminent One, the Most Important One! This is underscored by the last statement of the next verse, describing him as having, in everything, “the preeminence” (KJV), “the supremacy” (NIV), “the first place” (NASB). To emphasize this preeminence even more, Paul adds the personal pronoun autos to the verb proteuo, meaning that HE, Christ himself, is being given first place in all God’s universe! This reminds the writer of Pharaoh’s exalting Joseph to first place in Egypt. He told him, “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you. . . . I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt. . . . I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt” (Gen. 41:40, 41, 44). This is the kind of preeminence and rulership that God has granted to his Son — to be over all other beings — typified only dimly by the history of Joseph’s own exaltation!

Paul piles on superlatives to declare that in Christ “all things hold together.” The Greek verb translated “hold together” — sunistemi — is given various definitions by the lexicographers. One suggestive definition is “cohere.” All things cohere in Christ and provide a coherent meaning to the universe. He is the reason for it all, because he is God’s only-begotten Son, the perfect image of the Father himself! Another definition is “to have one’s proper place.” All things in the universe have their own proper place, designed by the Creator, YHWH, to be in perfect relationship and harmony with “the Son whom God loves” (v. 13).

Christ’s headship over the church is a frequent theme in Paul’s writings. Verse 18 declares that headship, and goes on to call him arche, “beginning” (KJV, NIV, NASB). This word also means “ruler, authority.”[10] It gives further emphasis to Paul’s theme of Christ’s preeminence and supreme authority under God. In that now conferred authority, all things begin and end in Christ. As the beginning of the New Creation, he is the “firstborn from among the dead,” the first human being to rise immortal from the grave and to become thereby a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). As prototokos he is also “chiefborn” from among the dead, because he in turn is the Lifegiver, the Prince of Life whose voice will awaken and call forth the sleeping dead from their graves (John 5:21-29; Acts 3:15). And it is by resurrection from the dead that he achieves his supreme position (v. 18: “in order that”). This means that he did not already have that position.

The Fullness of God

“God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (v. 19). The past tense here, combined with the immediate mention of Christ’s reconciling work in his death on the cross (v.20), seems to indicate that Paul has in mind the period of Christ’s mortal lifetime. It was then that Christ was already filled with God’s fullness, just as believers are called upon to seek that fullness for their own lives today (Eph. 3:19).[11] In Christ’s case, however, there was no limit to the Spirit working in him — he was totally filled with God’s Spirit and power throughout his earthly ministry.[12] His initial preeminence is seen in his walking the earth as though he were God himself.[13]

Later, in Colossians 2:9, Paul speaks of God’s “fullness” again, but describes it in a special way and in the present tense. “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Since his resurrection to bodily immortality and his being granted “all authority in heaven and earth” Christ is exalted by his Father to the highest place in the universe, next to God himself, and is given the highest name (Phil. 2:9). He can be described, therefore, as possessing the fullness of the Deity. How could his preeminence be emphasized more powerfully than this? But all of this is short-circuited and spoiled by Trinitarian notions and the teaching of Christ’s personal preexistence! If those ideas were true, he already possessed — in person — total preeminence long before he was born, before he had been obedient unto death. But, as Paul insists, it was this very obedience — and the humility from which it sprang — that was the reason for, and the cause of, that exaltation and that preeminence!


[1] See, for example, The Living Bible on 2 Cor. 4:4.

[2] This word may be transliterated as “character,” but the modern English word has come a rather long way from its original Greek meaning.

[3] “Majesty” is probably used here as an equivalent for the divine name, YHWH.

[4] “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance” (Deut. 32:8,9 NIV).

[5] See the excellent discussion of prototokos in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, VI, 871-881.

[6] Ibid., VI, 879.

[7] Stated in the Nicene Creed as “begotten of the Father before all the ages” — my translation from the Greek text found in Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom, II, 57. Also see article “Eternal generation,” p. 194, in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology.

[8] “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

[9] Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, article pro.

[10] Ibid., article arche.

[11] “To know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

[12] “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God; to him God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34).

[13] Philippians 2:6, speaking of the historical person Christ Jesus, tells us that—as a man— he was in the morphe of God. This word, usually translated “form,” in this context has the other Koiné Greek meaning of “status, position, rank.” This is proved by the use of the same word in verse 7, where Christ is shown to have taken the “status” or “position” of a servant. Cf. morphe in Moulton and Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament; and Kenneth S. Wuest, The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament, p. 84.

140 Responses to “Colossians 1:15-20 – Preexistence or Preeminence?”

  1. on 27 Sep 2010 at 2:18 pmMichael

    Mark writes-. I used to believe that the seed mentioned here was a “new birth seed” which included God’s nature, which was implanted in me and was now a part of me.

    Mark quotes- NASB has (Jesus) “firstborn of all creation,”

    Response…Because you reject seed in the new birth you do not see it as literal birth and in doing so you deny the Creator procreation. If you still believed that there was a seed in the new birth then you would see the resurrection of Jesus for what it was, the new birth of Jesus, the firstborn of creation, a new creature.

    Quote- Philippians 2:6, speaking of the historical person Christ Jesus, tells us that—as a man— he was in the morphe of God. This word, usually translated “form,”

    Response…Just as a seed of corn is the morphe of the corn plant so to was the seed from God that made Jesus the morphe of God that was made manifest by the resurrection.

  2. on 27 Sep 2010 at 10:14 pmMark C.

    I can only assume this comment was addressing the New Birth thread, which can be found here:
    http://kingdomready.org/blog/2010/03/29/the-new-birth-part-1/

  3. on 27 Sep 2010 at 10:33 pmRay

    Christ is dominant over all things. He was in the beginning with God being as God is, being his very image. By Christ all things were made. He was one with God, being joined in the spirit. He was joined with God in one spirit, being one being with God. As one they created all that is.

  4. on 27 Sep 2010 at 10:55 pmMichael

    Mark writes- I can only assume this comment was addressing the New Birth thread, which can be found here:

    Response…Every thread you start and every post you make is inherently connected Jesus and how he is the Son of God and the Biblical Unitarian belief that God with a betrothed virgin human female partnered by each giving something of themselves in the conception of Jesus is abhorrent at best.

    BU’s endlessly debate the Trinity while hiding the truth of what they really believe, it’s like pulling nails to get a BU to admit how they believe Jesus is the Son of God. Instead of debating the Trinity why not just teach people how God partnered with a betrothed human female so that God could have an only begotten Son? Why? Because then your belief system would be under the microscope and people would start asking questions that cannot be answered.

    So you can try to control how information is disseminated by pointing to this or that thread but the truth is they all carry the burden of your Son of God and no matter how many threads you create to disperse and disguise your truth the burden of it does not get any lighter.

  5. on 28 Sep 2010 at 7:21 amDoubting Thomas

    Michael,
    You said, “the Biblical Unitarian belief that God with a betrothed virgin human female partnered be each giving something of themselves in the conception of Jesus is abhorrent at best.”

    Like I have said at least a half a dozen times now, “How do you think God beget Jesus?” Just saying Yeshua/Jesus is the ontological son of God, but not God, doesn’t cut it. Give us some details!!

    You also said, “BU’s endlessly debate the Trinity while hiding the truth of what they really believe, it’s like pulling nails to get a BU to admit how they believe Jesus is the Son of God.”

    That is simply not true. About a dozen different people on this site (including me) have explained to you, in detail, how they believe Jesus is the Son of God. The truth is, it’s like ‘pulling teeth’ to get you to tell us how you believe Jesus is the Son of God. The fact that you are so secretive about your beliefs leads me to believe that you actually ‘don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God at all’.

    Like I have said before. If I were playing the devil’s advocate, I would say that you are just an angry Trinitarian who knows he cannot debate us, pitting your Trinitarian beliefs, against our Unitarian beliefs. So you pretend to be semi-Unitarian, claiming Yeshua/Jesus is the ontological son of God (whatever that’s suppose to mean) but not God, and at the same time you repeatedly refuse to give us any further details about how God actually beget Jesus.

    You’re are the one who refuses to give a straight answer to a straight question. At least a dozen people on this site have asked you if you are a Trinitarian or not, and you always manage to avoid answering the question directly. I will repeat the question that I have asked you before, and that is;

    “If your not an angry Trinitarian trying to stir up trouble on this site, then why don’t you just come straight out and say so???”

  6. on 28 Sep 2010 at 8:27 amXavier

    William Wachtel – Colossians 1:15-20: Pre-existence or Pre-eminence?

    http://www.21stcr.org/multimedia/william_wachtel_Col_1-15/william_wachtel_Col_1-15.html

  7. on 28 Sep 2010 at 9:12 amMark C.

    Thanks, Xavier. I didn’t know he had done a video presentation on this.

  8. on 28 Sep 2010 at 2:10 pmMichael

    Thomas writes-You said,” the Biblical Unitarian belief that God with a betrothed virgin human female partnered by each giving something of themselves in the conception of Jesus is abhorrent at best.” That is simply not true.

    Response…Go to any BU website on the planet and you will never find this belief period….But they would all agree. Go to any BU website and you will learn about the Trinity in great detail as if debunking the Trinity makes BU belief correct. So why can you go on any BU website and learn about a false teaching “the Trinity” and not learn about the BU teaching “that God with a betrothed virgin human female partnered by each giving something of themselves in the conception of Jesus”?

    Thomas writes- If I were playing the devil’s advocate, I would say that you are just an angry Trinitarian who knows he cannot debate us, pitting your Trinitarian beliefs, against our Unitarian beliefs.

    Response…I ask Brian on his “John the Baptist” thread ….Do you see the birth of the spiritual body as literal or symbolic and do you see the use of seed in this spiritual birth and does not this birth come about by resurrection?

    He does not answer the question.

    Mark’s present thread on preexistence I write to him among other things “Just as a seed of corn is the morphe of the corn plant so to was the seed from God that made Jesus the morphe of God that was made manifest by the resurrection.”

    He ignores the statement and directs me to another one of his threads on new birth where he has also not answered my statements. It’s like saying don’t come on this thread where I will not answer you , go back to this old thread where I did not answer you.

    You may want to rethink your statement.

  9. on 28 Sep 2010 at 3:26 pmMark C.

    Michael,

    Please review the guidelines in the Communication Policy (the link is at the top of this page). If you genuinely want to discuss and exchange ideas, please observe the guidelines. So far most of your posts have come across as trolling and attempts to stir up fights and derail the threads, with little to no actual contribution. This is why they are so frequently ignored.

  10. on 28 Sep 2010 at 4:50 pmRay

    When I think of the firstborn, I think of priority, favor, blessing of the first over the others born. Not only is Jesus the one of priority, favor, blessing, dominance, and preeminance over all of the people who have been included into God’s family by him, but Colossians 1:14 in my KJV includes “every creature”.

    Is there a creature in heaven? If so, then Jesus is the firstborn to it.
    That’s the relationship.

    I do believe there are creatures in heaven.

    Not only is Jesus presently before all things (preeminance) but he was also before all things.

    He was one with God when God’s spirit moved upon the face of the waters. As one with God he spoke and what he spoke came to be by the power of God who was with him. That’s what it looks like to me. It also seems to me that the spirit of God moved at the same time the word was spoken. It could be that the spirit of God moved first and not long after, the word and the spirit worked in conjunction at the same time. That’s what it looks like to me.

  11. on 28 Sep 2010 at 5:35 pmMichael

    Mark writes-If you genuinely want to discuss and exchange ideas, please observe the guidelines. So far most of your posts have come across as trolling and attempts to stir up fights and derail the threads, with little to no actual contribution.

    Response…Name one.

  12. on 28 Sep 2010 at 6:05 pmMark C.

    Response…Name one.

    This one. And if you continue with this attitude you will be blocked. Consider this a warning.

  13. on 28 Sep 2010 at 6:32 pmDoubting Thomas

    Micheal,
    At the beginning of msg. #8 above you misquoted me. I did not say, “That is simply not true” to the statement that you quoted. I said, “That is simply not true” to your statement that, “BU’s endlessly debate the Trinity while hiding the truth of what they really believe, it’s like pulling nails to get a BU to admit how the believe Jesus is Son of God.”

    Like I pointed out in msg. #5 above, “About a dozen different people on this site (including me) have explained to you, in detail, how they believe Jesus is the Son of God.” You mistakenly imply we are evasive when you are the one who repeatedly gives evasive answers, and refuses to give anyone a direct and straight answer to any of our questions.

    Like I pointed out, about a dozen people have asked you if you are a Trinitarian or not, I personally have asked you twice now, “If your not an angry Trinitarian trying to stir up trouble on this site, then why don’t you just come straight out and say so???” You repeatedly refuse to give us a direct answer and will talk in circles about seed or whatever.

    I don’t know how to make my questions any more direct or explicit. Why can’t you just type out the six simple words, “No, I am not a Trinitarian.” Is it really so hard to give us a direct answer when we ask about you a question. If you continue to refuse to give us direct answers to our direct questions, then we will have no choice but to continue to speculate about what your beliefs are, and why it is you are so secretive about them.

    You also said in msg. #8, “You may want to rethink your statement.”

    You given me no reason to rethink anything. I explained very clearly in msg. #5, the only logical reason, that I can think of, to explain your strange behavior. And you do not deny the explanation that I gave as not being true. You accuse us of “hiding the truth of what we really believe” when the reality is that you are the one that is trying to hide the truth of what it is you really believe…

  14. on 28 Sep 2010 at 6:42 pmMichael

    Thomas writes- If your not an angry Trinitarian trying to stir up trouble on this site, then why don’t you just come straight out and say so???”

    Response…Post #8 on this thread…” go on any BU website and learn about a false teaching “the Trinity”

    If I call the teaching of the Trinity false then why would you assume that I believe in the Trinity?

    Mark writes- And if you continue with this attitude you will be blocked. Consider this a warning.

    Response…Then do your duty before God…I have done nothing wrong.

  15. on 28 Sep 2010 at 7:22 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael,
    You could have been implying that we believe that it is a false teaching. Like I said about a dozen people have asked you this question and you always manage to find a way to not directly answer it. Like I said, is it really so hard to type the six simple words, “No I am not a Trinitarian.”

    You repeatedly accuse us of not explaining how God could possibly beget his son Yeshua/Jesus, even though many people have tried, repeatedly, to explain this to you. You just ignore our explanations and at the same time, ignore repeated questions from us, about how ‘You Think’ God beget Yeshua/Jesus.

    Like I said, the only reason I can think of for you to not answer our repeated questions on this, is that you don’t actually believe that God beget Yeshua/Jesus at all. If there is another explanation, then I am ready to listen…

  16. on 28 Sep 2010 at 10:16 pmMichael

    Thomas, I am not nor have ever been a Trinitarian and yours and all BU’s obsession with them makes me uncomfortable as if it’s some form of McCarthyism.

    Thomas writes- how ‘You Think’ God beget Yeshua/Jesus.

    Response…The short answer is that God begets everyone in the same way, by seed.

    1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

    After receiving seed from God you are born again and no longer a natural man.

    1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Unlike the first and second Adam when we sin we do not lose the seed from God which if one did they would be rendered dead unable to be born of the resurrection.

    1John 3:9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

    You are born again from God and have lived your life and face death, what happens to your body and the seed from God?

    1Corinthians 15:35-38 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
    Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
    And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
    But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

    The seed is sown by death and contains the new body everything you will be.

    Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary.

    Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

    Jesus was also begotten by God in the womb of Mary and this was a different event.

    Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost.

    When Jesus died the seed was sown and he was begotten by the resurrection and he had been changed and god declared “thou art My Son, this day I have begotten thee”

    But the seed Jesus received from God was of God making him God’s only begotten Son, all others will be by adoption.

    After his resurrection Jesus went to his disciples and this life from God was manifested to them.

    1John 1-2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;

    I know this is how God begat Jesus.

  17. on 28 Sep 2010 at 11:06 pmDoubting Thomas

    Michael,
    You said, “I am not nor have ever been a Trinitarian and yours and all BU’s obsession with them makes me uncomfortable as if it’s some form of McCarthyism.”

    I have no problems with Trinitarians, all of my family and friends are Trinitarians. I have problems with people that are evasive and secretive. From my experience these type of people are usually up to no good.

    I have been on this site for about 8 months or so now. I don’t know why it has taken you all this time to finally open up and be honest about your beliefs, but I’m glad that you did. I still don’t understand why you savagely attack our Unitarian beliefs. You seem to have some kind of hatred toward Unitarians.

    The only difference I can see between our beliefs is this thing about whether God’s seed was used in the conception of Jesus. The differences seem minor. What I don’t understand is why you spend all your time and energy going on to Unitarian sites attacking their beliefs. Why don’t you spend this time and energy going on to Trinitarian attacking their beliefs???

    Your behavior doesn’t seem to fit with what you say your beliefs are…

  18. on 29 Sep 2010 at 12:02 amMichael

    Thomas writes- The only difference I can see between our beliefs is this thing about whether God’s seed was used in the conception of Jesus. The differences seem minor.

    Response… I am absolutely speechless.

  19. on 29 Sep 2010 at 8:58 amDavid

    Such a GREAT article. *Applause*

  20. on 17 Nov 2010 at 6:46 pmXavier

    Anyone wana get in on this?

    http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/2010/09/15/the-preexistence-of-the-son/comment-page-7/#comment-31521

  21. on 13 Aug 2013 at 3:33 pmScott

    Firstborn of all creation, when interpreted according to its most obvious, literal sense, obviously means the first created being. Only once in the Bible is the word firstborn used figuratively, and that is in the Psalms where David is described as “firstborn over the kings of the earth.” Notice it is “firstborn over” and not “firstborn of” as in Col. 1:15. And unlike in Colossians, the context makes clear that David is only figuratively being called the firstborn. You should always take the word firstborn literally unless the context makes it impossible. The context in Colossians makes clear that Jesus is the literal firstborn creature because it says he is the one through whom God made all things. Numerous other scriptures speak of Christ’s pre-existence. The only reason anybody would deny Christ’s pre existence is because of theological presuppositions.

  22. on 13 Aug 2013 at 6:07 pmSarah

    Hi Scott,

    I haven’t seen you on this blog before. If you’re new, welcome to KR!

    The context in Colossians makes clear that Jesus is the literal firstborn creature because it says he is the one through whom God made all things.

    I disagree. The context here, as in every case where Jesus is said to be the agent of creation, is the atonement (vss. 13-14, 20-22). This is how we know Paul was referring to the new creation rather than the original Genesis creation. The atonement is presented as the foundational act of Christ through which all things are made new.

    Consider also that vs. 15 says Jesus is the “visible image of the invisible God” before adding that he is the “firstborn of all creation.” How can this be referring to pre-existence when Paul specifically says Jesus is visible, i.e., corporeal? This difficulty disappears when the verse is understood to be speaking of the resurrected Christ, the firstborn of the NEW creation.

  23. on 14 Aug 2013 at 12:16 pmMatthew

    Hi Scott,

    I disagree as well. However I do have a different interpretation slightly than Sheryl above me and some of the BU. Col 1 has been a favorite verse and I think it should definitely be understood as first in rank. At the end of verse 18 it indicates this by saying

    “so that he might come to have first place in everything.”

    So Jesus is firstborn because he is the greatest in all of creation. Israel was regarded as God’s firstborn, but it did not mean the literal first nation in existence. It was a way of saying that Israel had the place of headship among the nations just as a firstborn son had the status of the leader (greatest) of the children. Jesus is now regarded in the same way as the firstborn of all creation in that He has supremacy over all of creation. (Which is why it explains all of this in those few sentences such as head of church). However I think the very fact that this means first in rank still should actually go against the “Jesus is God” claim. This is because God as the creator is never taught as a firstborn anything. (Who’s dad would say legitimately that they are a firstborn son? Would anyone say of their father, “This is my dad the firstborn son.”) So if Jesus is the un-created creator, then then how can he be a Son of creation?

    No he is a brother of us as created beings as the writer of Hebrews writes

    “For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,

    ‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’” Heb 2:11-12

    However the context of saying why all creation was created “in” and “through” Him should be understood as Paul mentioned in Eph 1:9-10

    “he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

    Notice all things in heaven and earth were in Christ because it was all in the plan of God. So I think the “all things” in Col 1 is the same “all things” in Eph 1. The plan was pre-existentent, however the man was not. I think this verse goes back to the “Word” being the expression/plan of God; in which Jesus then is the fulfillment of.

    I would like to make a note that if Jesus is pre-existent then all the trouble then follows. Because if He is pre-existent, then who/what is He? An angel? A spirit being? Jesus is never referred to (explicitly) as anything other than a man in scripture, so I would definitely like to see something substantial to take a leap out into that ball of confusion.

  24. on 14 Aug 2013 at 12:35 pmMatthew

    Or maybe I don’t disagree with the other BU. Since they already wrote that greatness was their understanding as well. I must just be rushing

  25. on 15 Aug 2013 at 11:35 amJas

    Scott
    In Col. 1:15 “of” is inserted by the translator of the version of bible you are using. Netbible, NIV, NKJV and many translate “over” as the context so according to your own admission Jesus is only figuratively being called the firstborn. Sarah is probably right about the context of this passage.

  26. on 17 Aug 2013 at 12:41 amScott

    Sarah,

    “Paul was referring to the new creation rather than the original Genesis creation.” I disagree. Through the use of the figure of speech known as epanadiplosis or inclusio (“encircling”), Paul defines all things as everything “in heaven and on earth, seen and unseen,” that is, all things in existence. Because the new creation does not literally extend to all humans and spiritual powers (unless you are a universalist), Paul cannot be describing the new creation.

    “How can this be referring to pre-existence when Paul specifically says Jesus is visible, i.e., corporeal?” The Greek word “eikon” can mean a likeness or a resemblance. It need not necessarily be taken to refer to a corporeal image.

    Matthew,

    Have you ever considered that “firstborn” meant that Jesus had the rights of the firstborn according to the law of primogeniture because he literally was the firstborn of God’s creation, in the temporal sense? Thus, he was first in rank because he was the firstborn.
    Paul said that one of the reasons that Jesus “came to be first place in everything” is that he was the intermediate agent by means of whom all things in heaven and earth were made, so I don’t see how this quote supports your position.
    The passage in Ephesians is not a genuine parallel because it does not use the word “create.”

    Jas,

    “Prototokos pas ktisis” has to be interpreted as “firstborn of all creation” instead of “firstborn over all creation” because it is linguistically parallel to the phrase “firstborn of the dead” in Colossians 1:18. Surely that does not mean that Jesus is “firstborn OVER the dead.”

    In Colossians 1, Paul is combating Gnosticism. In verses 15 through 18, Paul contradicts the Gnostic view of creation and the structure of the Godhead. According to Gnosticism, between God and matter lie a host of spiritual powers, collectively termed the fullness (pleroma) of God. From its lowest rank comes the creator, a demiurge identified with the Old Testament Yahweh. Fallen spiritual powers, often linked with astral referents, now rule the world. The Gnostics believed that angels were emanations from the Most High God. They were all imperfect, with the highest and most ancient of them being more ethereal and inviolate than those in the next level down, and so on through the ranks. To discredit this Gnostic teaching on the”fullness of the Godhead,” Paul specifically states in verse 15 that Christ is the “firstborn of every creature,” thereby establishing his preeminence in the order of creation.

    By calling Jesus the beginning (“arkhe”), he is referring to the LLX translation of Psalms 8:22 onward, where Wisdom, whom the church fathers took to refer to the pre-existent Christ, proclaims “The LORD created me at the beginning of his way, the first of his works of old.”

  27. on 17 Aug 2013 at 10:56 amJas

    Scott
    I was just pointing out that is was the translator who chose to use “of” when “over was a better translation to show your conclusion was flawed. It makes no difference to me which word they used because the context of the passage is defined by “firstborn of(over) the dead” which is speaking of the resurrection not preexisting since the Genesis creation which again by your own admission is parallel to firstborn of creation.
    Do you mean Proverbs 8 which was definitely a SHE by every word used to describe her in the bible including Jesus himself..

  28. on 17 Aug 2013 at 3:46 pmSarah

    Scott,

    Through the use of the figure of speech known as epanadiplosis or inclusio (“encircling”), Paul defines all things as everything “in heaven and on earth, seen and unseen,” that is, all things in existence. Because the new creation does not literally extend to all humans and spiritual powers (unless you are a universalist), Paul cannot be describing the new creation.

    You left out a critical part of that verse, though.

    “For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.”

    The part of the verse you omitted is where Paul defined what he meant by “all things” in this instance – thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities. This is corroborated by a passage Paul wrote in Ephesians:

    “that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:20-21)

    And again in 1 Cor 15:

    “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1Cor 15:24-25)

    He consistently drove home the point that Christ, through the atonement, has established a new order. The old powers, dominions, and authorities have been overthrown and new ones are established through him alone (by means of the holy spirit).

    The Greek word “eikon” can mean a likeness or a resemblance. It need not necessarily be taken to refer to a corporeal image.

    Paul said that Jesus is the “eikon” of the invisible God. In other words, God is invisible, but he can be seen in the visible man Jesus. This draws a parallel between Jesus the Last Adam, and the first Adam who was likewise made in the “image of God.”

  29. on 17 Aug 2013 at 6:52 pmScott

    Jas,

    “Over” is not a better translation. It is a partitive genitive. Jesus is the firstborn of the class creation. It most easily means firstborn in time, but that explanation is usually rejected by Trinitarians because it does not inherently give godhood to Jesus. Hence, some Trinitarians try to translate it as “firstborn over all creation,” and interpret that to mean “firstborn Son, superior to all created things” in order to make Colossians 1:15 consistent with their viewpoint that Jesus is the uncreated creator.

    Wisdom is only described with feminine pronouns because it is a feminine word in both Hebrew and Greek, similar to how Jesus describes the holy spirit as a “he” because parakletos is a masculine word in Greek.

    Sarah,

    I was quoting the verse by memory, so forgive me for my mistake in leaving that out.

    “For in [or, by means of] him ALL THINGS were created, in heaven and on earth, seen and unseen, including thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–ALL THINGS were created through him and for him.”

    Paul clearly defines “ta panta” as the totality of everything in existence that was created (minus Christ himself of course, which is clear from the context). The totality of existence (“ta panta”) certainly includes the angels and aeons that the Gnostic heretics taught existed prior to Christ (“thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities”).

    In context, Paul is not distinguishing between older and newer orders of angelic powers or between benevolent and malignant angelic powers like you are doing; his purpose is to assert that Jesus is the means through whom God created ALL angelic powers (and that, by definition, includes Satan as well). He repeats “all things” for emphasis.

    In his Christological hymn, Paul first describes how Jesus is preeminent in the original creation in verses 15-17 and does not transition to speak of the new creation until verse 18.

    Eph 1:20-21 is about Christ’s exaltation, not about his role in creation. The passage you cited in 1 Corinthians is about the consummation of angelic powers, not about their creation. Hence, the passages are not truly parallel.

    “In other words, God is invisible, but he can be seen in the visible man Jesus.” You keep on assuming that the word “image” can only refer to Jesus’ earthly state and cannot refer to the glory that he shared with the father before the world was (John 17:5) or to the fact that he shared the same glorious visible form as God before taking on the form of a servant and being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2). Not only men, but spirits also, can have images.

  30. on 17 Aug 2013 at 8:10 pmJas

    Scott
    Like I said it really doesn’t matter which word it is its context is set by firstborn of the dead which is the new creation not the genesis creation. Twisting it to mean genesis creation is without cause other than doctrine. If Jesus was THE WISDOM from the beginning then WISDOM Would have been a masc word in Hebrew. So either Jesus was a SHE or you are sadly mistaken.Actually if The Wisdom ,The Holy Spirit was just God then it would have ben a masc noun. I am not concerned with the doctrines of the scribes of the 3rd and 4th centuries who had doctrinal bias in copying the greek text we now have but in most cases the gender is not actually provided in descibing the Advocate who was said to be ANOTHER Advocate then the one that indwelled Jesus which was a SHE.

  31. on 18 Aug 2013 at 1:29 amScott

    Jas,

    I think that you are seriously confused. Syntactic parallelism between “firstborn of all creation” and “firstborn of the dead” do not at all indicate that the two phrases share the same meaning. The parallelism indicates that just as Jesus was the first to be created, so too he was first to be resurrected.

    “Twisting it to mean Genesis creation is without cause other than doctrine.”

    Twisting it? Look, I do not have an agenda. I am just trying to let the text speak for itself. Paul clearly says that by Christ all things were created in the past, all things are sustained in the present, and all things will be reconciled in the future.
    If Paul is speaking about the continuous process of new creation in verse 16, please explain why Paul writes in the past tense.

    “If Jesus was the Wisdom from the beginning, then Wisdom would have been a masculine word in Hebrew.”

    *Face-palm.* My retort: using the same logic, if the Logos (“Word”) of John 1:1 is an impersonal gender-less, pre-existent plan rather than a masculine person, then Logos would have been a neuter word in Greek.

  32. on 18 Aug 2013 at 11:18 amJas

    Scott
    I think that maybe twisting was too strong of word so let’s revise that to reading doctrine into.. It is very clear the Firstborn who has been GIVEN all authority in heaven and earth (like a CEO has over a company he does not own or has not founded) is Called the Firstborn because he is the Firstborn from,of the dead.
    Maybe it would be helpful for you to put a comma between Firstborn and over,of all creation.
    Paul is writing in past tense because Jesus became Firstborn,over all creation. otherwise was given firstborn status by the resurrection from the dead which was several years in the past
    Whoever wrote John1 was a disciple of Plato and Philo probably Justin Martyr so they followed the gender lines of their mentor .

  33. on 18 Aug 2013 at 3:23 pmJas

    Scott
    Sarah gave a very good example which if Jesus was preexisting from the beginning with all things subjected to him from the beginning why should he have to return to God what was subjected to him at the end. Jacob was given first born status over Esau ,Ephraim over Manasseh, Israel over other nations and David over his brothers. David was also given firstborn status as God’s son while he was king
    Now Jesus was given firstborn STATUS over all creation and just like the examples above it was not because he came first in time. God chose Jesus to execute the authority of firstborn in the inheritance .
    I have very serious issues with Jesus preexisting as the son or as God because that means the ability to redeem all mankind was there at the beginning so why wait. I see the plan of God as to bring about true love for the Creator which if was just created by God would not be true love but only a program put forth into a robot creation. It took almost 4000 years for a human to completely have true love for the Creator. God set aside 6000 years for this and made many promises along the way which still are valid till the 6000 years are complete at which time he will fulfill these promises to all that took hold of them. Then comes the end where on account of the true love of Jesus God will give all a shot at receiving eternal life at Judgement with Jesus as mediator.

  34. on 19 Aug 2013 at 6:59 pmMatthew

    Scott,

    I see that you take the Arian view. So I would like to ask, what was Jesus before he was born? I’m not making a point, I really would like to know what you think Jesus was before he was born.

    Do you believe that Jesus is the creator of the world? Because you know the two texts in Mk 13:19 & Mk 10:6-9. Jesus never said to create the world; He said that was the Father. And also Mat and Luke never say anything about a pre-existent person in their stories about the birth of the Lord. About the wisdom thing in Proverbs, yes I agree that wisdom was in the beginning. But why do you take that as a literal person when in the Proverbs it is a personification?

    And about the logos in John 1; there is nothing wrong with the masculine noun. It is just masculine because the word happens to be masculine in gender. So the determination of whether or not the logos is a “he” or “it” is in interpretation.

    As to Col 1 I still think that the through “Christ” shouldn’t be understood as “by” Christ. Another passage that is alike is in Heb 1.
    In Heb 1 it states

    “in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages;”

    However later on in Heb 11 he speaks again about the creation

    “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”

    So once again you have Jesus and the Word of God being connected at the creation. I just don’t think that Jesus is one to one the Word/Wisdom of God. Because the texts always say that God created the world by speaking it into existence. Everyone seems to be in agreement on this one in that they attribute the creative act to God and not Jesus.

    The Father:

    “I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who by myself spread out the earth;” Is 44:24

    And again

    “I made the earth,
    and created humankind upon it;
    it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.” Is 45:12

    Jesus Christ:

    “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’– Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6,9

    And again

    “For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be.” Mark 13:19

    Paul:

    “and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;” Eph 3:9

    And again

    “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things” Acts 17:24-25

    Prophets & teachers

    “Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?” Mal 2:10

    “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding he established the heavens;” Ps 33:6

    Angels:

    “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honour and power,
    for you created all things,
    and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:11

    So I think we should stick with the clear statements before getting into all the of the interpretation of Paul’s letters and their intent.

  35. on 20 Aug 2013 at 5:28 pmSarah

    Scott,

    In post #31 you wrote:

    If Paul is speaking about the continuous process of new creation in verse 16, please explain why Paul writes in the past tense.

    I know you addressed this to Jas, but I just wanted to add a few thoughts. Paul wrote Col 1:16 in the past tense for the same reason that he wrote Eph 2:5-6 in the past tense:

    “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”

    This passage anticipates the resurrection of the dead, which is something that hasn’t happened yet. The past tense is the Hebraic way of expressing the certainty that it will happen.

    I believe Col 1:16 is also eschatological. It prophetically anticipates the final outcome of the atonement. Keep in mind, the word “created” sometimes implicitly means “renewed” in scripture, as seen in Ps 104:29-30:

    “When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. “

  36. on 20 Aug 2013 at 5:33 pmSarah

    Matthew,

    All good points in post #34.

  37. on 20 Aug 2013 at 6:07 pmJas

    Sarah
    The context is the First of the new creation not the firstfruits who would receive renewal from the dead in the future. so I see Paul using the proper tense as past in referring to Jesus’ resurrection.
    But you are correct that Paul uses the past tense to show some have already been accounted the resurrection from the dead when it is manifested .

  38. on 21 Aug 2013 at 12:45 amScott

    Matthew,

    Jesus is not the creator par excellence but the one in whom, through whom, and for whom God created all things. It is fitting for Jesus to credit God with creation because he was merely God’s agent. God was “by himself” at creation only in the sense that he was without the help of any foreign deities, which is what Isaiah is talking about. In the same way, Solomon could be credited with building the temple by himself in the sense that he designed it and arranged for its construction himself, even though he had it built through others.
    My comment to Jas about the masculine word Logos was a tounge in check response to his argument that Wisdom in Proverbs 8 could not be Jesus because of the female pronouns. I agree that the masculine pronouns in John 1 do not in and of themselves indicate personhood, but I was just citing that example to show Jas’s inconsistent reasoning.

    Sarah,

    Creation does not mean redemption. Paul says that Jesus was the agent of God’s creation of all (other) things without exception. If creation = redemption in this context, then that means that all (other) things will be redeemed without exception, which is universalism.

    Jas,

    You have not dealt with the fact that Colossians 1 is a polemic against Gnostic teachings on creation. Firstborn of all creation = first to be created, just as firstborn of the dead = first to rise from the dead. It’s very simple. Paul exhausts he language by saying EVERYTHING (else) has been created through Christ.

  39. on 21 Aug 2013 at 9:40 amJas

    Scott
    First thing is the writer of Proverbs 8 is Quoting Wisdom not describing Her . So your example of John1 is not even relevent to the gender of Wisdom. Unitarians must just claim its a personification and trinitarians need it to show Jesus preexited.
    I Have not dealt with that issue because it is not relevent to the context. Jesus was appointed Firstborn,over all Creation by the resurrection from the dead there he was accounted All authority over it like if he had been actually the Firstborn as all examples of someone being accounted Firstborn status.

  40. on 21 Aug 2013 at 10:44 amXavier

    I found this helpful:

    The Prophetic Pre-existence of the Messiah
    By Robert Hach

    The question of the so-called “pre-existence” of the Messiah is not settled by a biblically-informed rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity. That the Messiah existed before his birth is clear from many NT texts. In what sense, or form, he existed remains a question insofar as it continues to be a matter of debate among those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, while refusing to embrace the extra-biblical identification of Jesus as the Trinitarian “God the Son.” Regarding the “preexistence” of the Messiah, the options can be termed personal pre-existence, that is, that prior to his birth, the Son existed in some other-than-human form, and prophetic pre-existence (the option for which I argue in this paper).

    Undeniable, I think, is the fact that the very term preexistence is a product of the post-apostolic debate that gave birth to Trinitarian theology. While it is possible to reject the Trinity as a non-biblical formulation and a post-apostolic invention while, at the same time, retaining the doctrine of the personal pre-existence of the Messiah, it is not possible to trace any term that might be translated as pre-existence back to apostolic times.

    The Athanasian-Arian debate that was decided at the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E. seems to have been the cradle out of which emerged the terminology of pre-existence, which only afterward became enshrined in Christian theology.

    The term that, in my view, serves as the biblical equivalent of pre-existence is foreknowledge. The NT claim that the Messiah “was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times” (1 Pet. 1:20) is sufficient, in my view, to explain every NT text in which the concept of pre-existence is found.

    To say that God the Father foreknew the Son “before the foundation of the world” is to say that the Son existed in the purpose of the Father from “the beginning” in the form of “the word” (John 1:1, ‘and the word was God’ in the sense not that “the word” was part of God’s being but that “the word” was, thereafter, the revelatory form which God used to mediate his presence and purpose to his people and to the world).

    No textual necessity for interpreting “the word” (Greek, ho logos) as a person (or a Person) exists in the prologue of John’s Gospel. (The Greek pronoun, autos, is susceptible to either the neuter [“it”] or the masculine [“he”] rendering, depending on what the context makes the more likely.) The NT writers uniformly use “the word” to refer to the gospel, that is, the message spoken by and about Jesus. For the NT writers, “the word” is the message about the fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah of the biblical God’s purpose in Adam and promise to Abraham.

    When “the word became flesh” (John 1:14), God’s Adamic purpose and Abrahamic promise became God’s Messianic person. That is to say, the Son existed in the form, first, of God’s purpose and, then, of God’s promise before he existed in the form of the person of Jesus.

    The biblical concept of foreknowledge is not compatible with the concept of personal pre-existence. If the Son existed as a person from “the beginning,” how was his existence a matter of God’s foreknowledge? That God foreknew the Messiah would seem to preclude the possibility that God also knew him in some pre-existent other-than-human form. Rather than God having both foreknown the coming Messiah and known the pre-existent Son at the same time (though in presumably two radically different personal forms), God’s foreknowledge and his knowledge of his Messiah-Son were one and the same. This is the case in the sense that, from a biblical standpoint, what (or whom) God foreknew is what God knew as a foreordained reality before it came to pass in human history. (This has nothing in common with Calvinistic predestination, which asserts that God has foreknown and foreordained all that has ever happened or will ever happen; by comparison, biblical predestination is confined to what God purposed in Adam and, subsequently, promised to Abraham and, therefore, has fulfilled and will fulfill in his Son and Messiah Jesus.)

    God’s foreknowledge of the Messiah, then, is the biblical alternative to the doctrine of personal pre-existence. Biblical foreknowledge is, in the terminology of pre-existence, best represented in terms of prophetic pre-existence. That is to say, the existence of the Messiah was, prior to his birth, a matter of prophecy. And, from a biblical standpoint, to believe that God had made a promise, conveyed by the words of the prophets (that is, in the form of prophecy), was to believe that what God had promised (and, therefore, previously purposed) had been an inevitable reality from the instant God purposed it. (The literary rhetorical term for this figure of speech is prolepsis: to speak of a future event as a present reality; in the case of “the word,” however, prolepsis becomes far more than a mere figure of speech in that it is a matter of God’s righteousness—that is, faithfulness—that what he has promised will inevitably come to pass and, therefore, can be spoken of as a present reality.)

    This is consistent with the NT definition of faith: “Now faith is the reality [Greek, hupostasis] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The existence of the Messiah was a reality of faith—a reality in the eyes of God, that is to say, a prophetic reality—from its “beginning” as “the word” (John 1:1). The Messiah’s existence passed from a reality of faith (“the reality of things hoped for”) to a reality of fact when “the word became flesh” (John 1:14) in the person of Jesus.

    Nothing about this idea is alien to the biblical testimony; in fact, the idea of foreknowledge-as-prophetic-pre-existence is rooted in the Hebrew prophetic tradition. When God promised to make Abraham “the father of many nations” (Gen. 17:5), Paul pointed out that God spoke as if the promise had created a present reality—“as it is written, ‘I have made [not ‘will make’] you the father of many nations’”—and then calls God the one who “calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17). Literally rendered, Paul wrote that God calls things not being as being. Which is to say that what the biblical God spoke in the form of a promise—having already been foreknown and, therefore, foreordained (that is, predestined) according to his purpose (see Rom. 8:29)—was a prophetic reality long before the promise was fulfilled, from the instant that the promise was made. Accordingly, Abraham was “the father of many nations” in faith, that is, prophetically, long before he became so in fact. Likewise, the Son existed—and, further, was crucified and resurrected and exalted—in faith, that is, prophetically, long before he existed in fact, that is, personally.

    Accordingly, when John’s Jesus asks the Father to “glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5), he speaks of “the glory” that God had purposed in “the beginning” to manifest in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. This is clear in that Jesus asks the Father to “glorify me . . . with the glory that I had with you”: the very same “glory” that the Father and the Son shared “before the world existed” would now be manifested in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Not a “glory” that was manifested then (to whom?) and another “glory” that would be manifested now in his crucifixion and resurrection. Rather, the Son asks the Father to “glorify” him now in fact and in person “with the glory that I had with you” in faith and in prophecy from “the beginning” (John 1:1). Which is to say that Jesus’ prayer to the Father was a prayer of faith, arising out of what Jesus believed the Father to have purposed and promised regarding his Messiah.

    Only if the Messiah is understood to have been (as he is invariably and consistently affirmed to have been by the NT writers) a fully human being—one whose person originated in his mother’s womb—can his proclamation of the word and his crucifixion by the world be understood as the manifestation of his faith in the promise of God. Otherwise, when John’s Jesus speaks of his “glory” with the Father, he speaks not out of his faith in “the word” (John 1:1; 3:31-34), through which God revealed his destiny to him, but out of a god-like memory of an extra-human pre-existence.

    (Noteworthy in this regard is the fact that precisely the same construction in the original language for “the faith of Abraham” [Rom. 4:16] appears in multiple Pauline texts regarding faith and Jesus: Rom. 3:22, 26; Gal. 2:16, 20; 3:22; Phil. 3:9. Each of these texts is best understood as contrasting “works of law” with the “faith of” Jesus as the condition of his followers’ righteousness, just as “the faith of Abraham” [Rom. 4:16] rather than his works was the condition of Abraham’s righteousness. The fact that English NT versions almost invariably render these texts in terms of “faith in” rather than the “faith of” Jesus may be indicative of their Trinitarian bias. A Trinitarian “God the Son” would have had no need for faith. Neither, however, would a Son who could recall a pre-existence as a god like spirit being.)

    The NT writers’ insistence on Jesus’ humanity, and their testimony to his faith in the promise of God, must call into question any interpretation of so-called pre-existence texts that would cast doubt on either his exclusive humanity or his faith. The concept of personal pre-existence requires that, prior to his conception (laying aside the question of how a pre-existent being could be said to have been conceived) and birth, the Son must have been some-other-than-human-kind-of-being who would not have fit into any biblical category of being—neither God nor human nor angel (at least according to Hebrews 1) nor nonhuman animal. Such a god-like spirit being that the Son is believed to have been prior to his birth (?) in the person of Jesus, if he existed, did not begin as a human being but somehow “morphed” into humanity in the process of transitioning through the womb of Mary. (The question here is not whether or not God could have created such a being but whether or not the NT writers are best understood as testifying that God did so.)

    If this is the case, the NT writers seem to have seen no need to name or explain this unique kind of being. Instead, they were content to repeatedly claim and affirm that he was a fully human being. For the NT writers, the Messiah’s uniqueness was not that he was a one-of-a-kind other-than-human being before he was human. To the contrary, for them, the uniqueness of the Messiah was that he was a one-of-a-kind human being (whose resurrection, according to the NT writers, makes him the prototype for the new humanity of the coming age).

    That he was “the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15) identifies Jesus not as a pre-existent person but as the one who was purposed from the beginning to inherit (according to Hebrew tradition, the right of the firstborn son) all things from the Father (see Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:22; Phil. 2:9-11; etc.). That God created “all things . . . in [Greek, en, in other texts not usually rendered ‘by’] him” and “through him and for him” (Col. 1:16) does not make him the co-Creator but, rather, means that “the word” that purposed and later promised his coming was the blueprint and the instrument and the rationale for God’s creation (which, after all, agrees with the testimony of Genesis 1 that the biblical God spoke his creation into existence).

    When Jesus was created in the womb of his mother by the power of God, “the word became flesh” (John 1:14) in that God’s promise to send his Messiah to deliver God’s people from sin and death through his proclamation of the kingdom, crucifixion for sins, resurrection from the dead, and exaltation to God’s side (that is, “the word”) was fulfilled (that is, “became flesh”).

    The biblical concept of foreknowledge establishes the prophetic pre-existence of the Son in the Adamic purpose and, subsequently, in the Abrahamic promise of God. Moreover, biblical foreknowledge provides a reasonable and sufficient biblical paradigm for interpreting each of the NT texts that are used by both Trinitarian and some non-Trinitarian believers to support the personal pre existence of the Son. Given that this is the case, the burden of proof would seem to rest with those who insist that the Son existed as some-other-than-human-kind-of being in heaven before he existed as a human being on earth.

  41. on 21 Aug 2013 at 11:34 amJas

    1:8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify 18 about the light. 1:9 The true light, who gives light to everyone, 19 was coming into the world.

    Xavier
    Just when did John testify the light was coming into the world ?

    1:32 Then 80 John testified, 81 “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove 82 from heaven, 83 and it remained on him. 84 1:33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining – this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

    This was when the Word,HS, Wisdom came back into the World to dwell in the Temple of Jesus’ body. John is not concerned with Jesus’ life before he was chosen as the Lamb because he kept himself spotless. After the indwelling what could be said about the Spirit could be applied to Jesus and most of Jesus’ words were the Spirit speaking through Jesus. Jesus was not the Anointed Lamb till he was anointed by the Anointer The Christ . He was the Rightful King because of his lineage through his Father which made him the Son of God at birth

  42. on 21 Aug 2013 at 11:43 amScott

    Xavier,

    When Peter wrote that Jesus was foreknown from the founding of the world, he simply meant that his human life and incarnation was foreknown by God – how this can be turned into an argument against pre existence I do not know.
    Obviously if Jesus was not God but had a previous existence as a god-like spirit being, he still would have needed faith in One higher than himself.
    The burden of proof is on the Socinians because of the facts that Scripture, if interpreted literally, naturally lends itself to the notion that Jesus pre-existed, the fact that he majority if not all of the writers of the early church believed in it, and the fact that even among non-Trinitarians almost nobody before the Enlightenment rejected the pre existence of Christ. believed that Jesus did not preexist his birth

    Jas,
    The New Testament says that Jesus down from heaven and will ascend to where he was before, existed before Abraham, had glory with the one true God from before the creation of the world, is the firstborn of all creation and the beginning of God’s creation, the one through whom God made all things, the Son through whom God made the eons, and the one whose hands laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning — if all of this will not convince you of pre existence, then nothing ever could.

  43. on 21 Aug 2013 at 12:10 pmJas

    Scott
    The I Am (Yah) existed before Abraham and he was the one that revealed to Jesus the reaction of Abraham when he found out that his seed would redeem All mankind,every man,woman and child that ever lived from the sin of Adam. All other things are being accounted to Jesus because he was given Firstborn status over all creation because he was the First born of the dead by the resurrection. As far as being sent into the world You will find Jesus sent his disciples into the world the same way God sent Jesus into the world. Does that make the disciples preexisting their birth?
    You are confusing the revealers with who it was revealed to.
    You are right that there is nothing there to convince me.

  44. on 21 Aug 2013 at 10:08 pmtimothy

    To ALL, FYI, “AGORA” movie is streaming again on Netflix:

    http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=70115886&trkid=13630398&t=Agora&tctx=0%2C2%2C62f0105a-3669-4b0f-82c2-3c3ecb0faa71-16547155

  45. on 21 Aug 2013 at 11:59 pmMatthew

    Scott,

    Here is another point I would like to make. I don’t think Jesus pre-existed as the creator of the world because Jesus didn’t display that he had authority over it during his life and ministry. The easiest example I can give to this is during the temptation

    “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; 9 and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ 10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

    “Worship the Lord your God,
    and serve only him.”’ Mat 4:8-10

    I think the temptation is to give in to the enemy so as to take the reign as king without having to go through the suffering. Because Jesus didn’t have the authority to rule yet. However if Jesus was the creator of all creation, he would own it by virtue and the devil couldn’t tempt Him to take what already belonged to Him. And we know that God the Father own His creation, He sure isn’t shy about letting us know

    “For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
    11 I know all the birds of the air,[a]
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
    12 ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and all that is in it is mine.” Ps 50:10-12

    Clearly the Father owns everything and decides who can have authority. And the Father owns it because He created it. However Jesus had to overcome just as He himself remarks:

    “To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. ” Rev 3:21

    Therefore Jesus is an heir just as we ourselves will be one day

    “it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17

    Therefore Christ is the heir of all of God’s creation. If he were the creator he could not be the heir of his own creation!

    For myself I have three reasons that seem to strongly indicate that the Father alone created creation. Therefore we should understand that “through” and “in” Christ shouldn’t be understood as “by”

    1. The Father, the Son, Prophets, Apostles and Teachers all agree that the Father is the creator

    2. Christ is the heir of all of God’s creation. If Christ is an heir then He didn’t inherit what already belonged to Him as the creator

    3. Making Jesus pre-existent brings confusion as to what exactly is Jesus. Who/what/where was Jesus before His birth? And who was the creator and spoke it into existence?

    These are my main reasons for thinking that the Father is alone the creator so if you disagree we might just fundamentally disagree. I did see your answer about God being the principle creator, but I still do want to know about what you think Jesus was before the birth in Bethlehem.

    Once again it seems that the one who spoke the world into existence is the Father And therefore the “Word” should be taken as God’s word. In the beginning God said

    “Let there be light” Gen 1:3

    Paul writes that that was the Father

    “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor 4:4

    So I still think the Father is alone the creator through His wisdom and word.

  46. on 22 Aug 2013 at 12:17 pmMatthew

    Hello Scott,

    So since I have already gone through my other two points I thought I might as well finish up. As to the confusion and pre-existence part, I think the idea of pre-existence is the hardest to defeat. Because it is never really talked about in detail and is never be asked by anyone. So to postulate it seems almost outside of scripture by definition. Much like other Trinitarian friends who want us to find a passage were Jesus says “I am NOT God”, I think this is a basic understanding of man. The question about pre-existence seems the same because it would be hard to find anyone saying, “Jesus did NOT pre-exist”. That is so fundamental that no one would ask the question. Who asks anyone if they pre-exist?

    First as soon as we start believing that Jesus pre-existed, the huge immediate problem arises, “Who/what/where was Jesus before his birth in Bethlehem?” This is what has led us to think that maybe He is an angel or spirit being. The problem is that Jesus was an “X” before he became a “man”. Now he is an “X-man” (I know that construction I just made is ridiculous!) But seriously, then to explain this requires all of the “dual-natures” and whatever else to explain it. (Jesus was an “X”, but then veiled or gave up being an “X” and lost all of his “X abilities”???) And I could see myself asking questions that really go off into la la-land about this. I think this is why we needed continual counsels in the early church; because our explanations never really end it, they just bring forth new questions.

    Unfortunately no author in the Bible ever explains what Jesus was before His birth. The stories of His birth mention nothing about a pre-existent person. And surely someone would have asked Paul or the other Apostles to explain exactly who is our Lord Jesus. if He really is a pre-existing “X”, where was Jesus in the Old Testament? And who was it that created the world and how did they do it? Because if Jesus is also a co-creator then who was the one who spoke in Genesis? All questions I think without any direct answers.

    So I think we should stick to what we know once again. Biblical Unitarianism’s assertion that Jesus did not pre-exist works the best as correct biblical understanding because

    1. Direct passages refer to the one God as the Father (John 17:3, Mk 12:28-34)
    2. We can find easy direct passages that relate to Jesus as a man (1 Tim 2:5)
    3. God’s wisdom and plan can be understood by several texts (1 Pe 1:20, Eph 3:9, Eph 1:9-11, Acts 2:23)
    4. It all makes sense!

    All other assertions lack the explanations from Biblical authors and bring confusion as to who our Messiah is. I had a short time where I tried to understand if Jesus was not God but was pre-existent. However I find that position to be a logical limbo. If we leave the door open for pre-existence, I can definitely see us spinning around and around for a very long time.

  47. on 22 Aug 2013 at 4:16 pmSarah

    Scott,

    From post #38:

    Creation does not mean redemption. Paul says that Jesus was the agent of God’s creation of all (other) things without exception. If creation = redemption in this context, then that means that all (other) things will be redeemed without exception, which is universalism.

    No, universalism is not the necessary implication. The phrase “all things” is rarely used in a strictly literal sense in scripture. Often it is “all things” pertaining to the subject under discussion (e.g. Mark 13:23, Luke 1:3, Acts 2:44). In Colossians 1:16, Paul specifically narrowed the scope to thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities.

    Thus inanimate objects are not in view here, but rather living beings in positions of authority. His point here is the same as in Ephesians, where he says those who are “created in Christ” (Eph 2:10) will be “seated with him in the heavenly places” in positions of authority (Eph 1:20). Thematically Col 1:16 also lines up with 2 Cor 5:17:

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    Col 1:16 has to harmonize with the rest of scripture. So what about other scriptural evidence that disagrees with your position? Matthew listed several points in posts #34 and #45. In addition to those, what do you do with OT and NT passages that plainly distinguish the Creator from his anointed servant Jesus?

    “Thus says God, the LORD [YHWH], who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD [YHWH]; I have called you (messiah) in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations…”
    (Isa 42:5-6)

    “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them….truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed…” (Acts 4:24, 27)

  48. on 22 Aug 2013 at 9:56 pmScott

    Matthew,

    You wrote: “However if Jesus was the creator of all creation, he would own it by right . . .”
    Why are you assuming that if Jesus was the means through which God created all things, Jesus would automatically have owned everything?
    If I hired you to physically build my dream house using a blue-print that I designed, would you own the house by virtue of building it?

    My responses to your three arguments:
    1. Yes, but they never once explicitly say that the Father created all things without the Son?
    2. Again, that is a false assumption. If I built a mansion for my father, even though I constructed it, I would have to wait for my father’s death in order to inherit it.
    3. Confusion or ambiguity need not be indicative of error, and truth is often exceedingly complex.

    The solution to the speculations you cite is to go no farther than the Scriptures themselves.

    I find the idea of a dual nature theoretically possible as long as the two natures in question do not possess contradictory or mutually exclusive attributes, i.e., being both mortal and immortal, as per Trinitarianism.

    You’re assuming that if Jesus is not documented interacting with humans in the OT text, that proves that he did not exist in OT times. The conclusion does not logically follow, so I do not need to respond to that argument.

    “Because if Jesus is also a co-creator then who was the one who spoke in Genesis?” Good question. Perhaps God spoke and Christ carried out God’s command?

    “The stories of His birth mention nothing about a pre-existent person.” So what? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Are we to base our entire doctrine of Christ on the birth narratives?

    “Who asks anyone if they pre-exist?” The Jews wondered if Jesus was claiming preexistence in John 6:42 and explicitly asked Jesus if he existed before his birth in John 8:57.

    Please do not give Socinianism the label “Biblical Unitarianism.” That label belongs most properly to Arianism.

    My responses:
    1) Yes, the Father is the only true God, but we mustn’t let John 17:3 contradict Jesus’ statement that he shared glory alongside the one God before creation two verses later.
    2) Seeing as I never denied that Jesus is fully human, this is irrelevant. Disproving Docetism does not disprove Arianism.
    3) Again, God having wisdom and a plan does not disprove preexistence. Does preexistence imply that God is somehow unwise?

    Sarah,

    “Often it is “all things” pertaining to the subject under discussion (e.g. Mark 13:23, Luke 1:3, Acts 2:44).”

    And the subject under discussion in Colossians 1:16 is everything visible, everything invisible, everything in heaven, everything on earth, and every rank of angel.

    “In Colossians 1:16, Paul specifically narrowed the scope to thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities.”

    That’s a laughable interpretation. Saying that “all things” *includes* the aforementioned angelic powers does not mean that “all things” is *limited* to them. And even if only angelic powers were in view, Jesus would still have had to have preexisted to have created all of those principalities and powers.

    None of the Scripture verses you cited are parallel to the passage in question. Scripture passages that distinguish the Creator from Christ are not problematic because Christ played an entirely passive role in creation, i.e., he was only executing the commands of the Father, who is the creator par excellence.

  49. on 23 Aug 2013 at 12:21 amJas

    If I hired you to physically build my dream house using a blue-print that I designed, would you own the house by virtue of building it?”

    Scott
    Yes when a builder builds you a house until it is paid for it is still owned by the builder. If this was not so a lean could not be levied against the land. What was Jesus’ payment?
    But its really not relevent because Jesus was accounted for building it as a honor of being given Firstborn status like Jacob, David Solomon and Israel.

    Actually Sarah’s interpretation or better said her understanding is pretty logical. If God decided today to elevate you to firstborn status over all creation you could be said to preexist all creation a a honor

  50. on 23 Aug 2013 at 11:37 amMatthew

    Scott,

    1. You said that it doesn’t say that without the Son. Well the Father says that he did it “alone — by myself” in Is 44:24. That includes everyone, even the Son. And Jesus” agreement definitely makes it more compelling.

    2. If Jesus was already glorified as king of all things at the right hand of God; then yes he would certainly have authority over it. It seems that this is what we are saying when we remark that He had the same glory with the Father. If he had glory literally as a pre-existent “something”, then he had some kind of power, majesty, standing before God. So he had to overcome to regain his position?

    3. This is what I am talking about. Once we go into this “abscence of evidence doesn’t equal evidence of abscence” we can take the text anywhere we want. Very few people, almost no one ever says that they are not God or pre-existent. (I can’t think of any biblical author off the top of my head)

    I see that we are already ending up in the black hole where we can’t see anything. See now we have to say, “Can the dual natures be real?” “How did God and Jesus create back in Genesis 1?” “Did Jesus do the work after God spoke?” I mean now we have to go into “Disproving Docetism does not disprove Arianism.” This is much like when we hear, “proving monotheism doesn’t prove Unitarianism”.

    Once again, the door open to pre-existence leaves us with no way to say anything about the pre-existence of Christ with any biblical certainty. This is going to have us chase that carrot in front of the horse forever. So yes I do want to stay within biblical parameters as you mentioned, but these questions can’t be answered from direct scripture. (Which I think are the best parameters) I think the confusion isn’t from God, maybe we might just have to disagree now, because I think this is really confusing.

    If I said “That shark is ‘X'”. And you said, “no that is a shark”. Then I say, “See “X” chose to give up his attributes and become a shark, therefore he’s the X-shark”. You reply, “No one has ever said that there is a X-shark”. I retort, “No one ever said that there is NOT an X-shark!” Would you buy that? (I’m not trying to be mean but that’s where this takes us.) I think that we have to use our God given sense in interpreting scripture. Jesus rebuked his disciples & Nicodemus for not doing so. So I wouldn’t want to base our theology too seriously on the Jews who themselves were constantly misunderstanding our Lord. (Being born twice wasn’t a good time to take things literally! Nor was cannibalism a good idea!) I think these ultimate complexities lead to “mystery”, arguments, and other kinds of things that have not been good fruit to us as believers.

    At the end I do think a simple clear interpretation that can be attested to in scripture is far more likely the truth that God has given than a confusing, non-attested, unexplained interpretation. If you could explain your position further so that I can see where I’m wrong I would be fine to hear it.

    So the way I see it you either have

    A. Biblical Unitarianism
    or
    B. non-explicit, confusing theology which breeds bad fruit

    I guess we just disagree

    Sarah, Jas, Xavier – you rock!

  51. on 23 Aug 2013 at 12:07 pmScott

    Matthew,

    1.) Isaiah 44:24 reads: “Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, and your former from the womb: “I, Yahweh, am Maker of all, Who stretched out the heavens alone. When stamping out the earth, who was with Me?””
    There is no contradiction between Isaiah saying Yahweh alone was the Creator and Colossians saying Jesus was the agent for the Creator. In Isaiah 44:24 Yahweh is spoken of in an active sense—the Creator. But in Colossians, and everywhere else, Christ is only the passive agent of the only Creator. God is the *only one* who creates, but he uses his son as a “master worker.”
    Yahweh many times says he does something “alone” and yet we find that he used humans and angels to actually do the work.
    Isa.63:3 where Yahweh indicates that he “alone” acted when He exacted retribution upon Edom; however, Yahweh did not personally punish these people but rather used men as agents to exact retribution against Edom
    De.32:12 says: “Yahweh alone kept leading him.” Was Yahweh the “only one” leading Israel? Ex.32:32-34 says that Yahweh used Moses and an angel to lead Israel! (cf. 1Sam.9:16; 13:13-14; 2Sam;5:1-2). Again, there is no contradiction here. Yahweh used his representatives to lead his people, but He “alone” was the source of direction!
    At Ezek 36:33, 36 Yahweh says “I myself” will build the cities of Israel after the exile. Did He personally rebuild them or did His people do the work at His direction?
    So, the use of the term, “alone” and “by myself” do not necessarily mean that Yahweh did not use some representative to actually perform the action.
    The context of Isaiah is on Yahweh being the “author” or “originator” of the creation, in contrast with the false idol gods the nation of Israel were getting involved with. Yahweh is the true source of all life and all things. He alone deserves the honor and worship of his creation, and not the false idol gods.

    2.) Although Jesus had the same visible form as God, he had to empty himself by being made in the likeness of men and humble himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross in order to be exalted to a superior position as Lord over all creation. See Philippians 2. He did not merely regain his former position.

    So basically preexistence confuses you, so you reject it.

  52. on 23 Aug 2013 at 1:37 pmSarah

    Scott,

    That’s a laughable interpretation.

    Insults are poor substitutes for sound argumentation. Neither do they win anyone to your point of view.

  53. on 23 Aug 2013 at 2:36 pmScott

    Sarah

    I was not trying to insult you, and I apologize if I did. You seem like a bright person overall and a devout Christian. I just do not think that your interpretation of this particular verse has any merit in this instance.

  54. on 23 Aug 2013 at 3:29 pmSarah

    Scott,

    No offense taken. I have no problem agreeing to disagree on the meaning of Col 1:16. But if you’ll allow me just one more thought, I also believe Paul listed the thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities in reference to a specific eschatological prophecy in Dan 7:

    (13) “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (14) And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. … (27) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

    (Dan 7:13-14, 27 ESV)

    I imagine you’ll disagree on this too, and that’s fine. Just wanted to put it out there for consideration.

  55. on 23 Aug 2013 at 11:53 pmScott

    Sarah,

    While Paul definitely has that passage in Daniel in mind at other places in his letters, I think that it would be a stretch to cite it as a parallel to the hymn of Colossians 1 because the key phrases of each (such as Ancient of Days, Son of Man, all things, created, ect.) do not appear in the other.

    I think it is important to realize that Paul begins his hymn with Cosmology and ends it with Eschatology. I don’t see any reference to the new creation until verse 18.

    One last question: do you agree that Paul was trying to attack the beliefs of an incipient form of proto-Gnosticism?

  56. on 24 Aug 2013 at 11:57 amJas

    “While Paul definitely has that passage in Daniel in mind at other places in his letters,”

    Scott
    How can anyone have this passage in mind without understanding the person or individual of the Son of Man had not been created or even presented yet to the Most High God. Whe know from the earliest mss that Jesus was told ‘ Today I have Begotten You” at his baptism and Again in Hebrews by his resurrection. This baptism account was equal to David’s acounted which was simply used to denote adoption but the resurrection was a new creation therefore denoting rebirth. There is no way Jesus pre-existed all humanity to be in need of any authority to be given over them, he would have aquired it on first breath and would have maintained it as long as he was worthy.

  57. on 24 Aug 2013 at 4:52 pmJas

    (27) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

    Sarah
    Btw the above is an impossible translation ,it is the Saints who will be given the kingdom and the rule over the nations during the millennium therefore shoud be read “their kingdom” and “all dominions shall serve and obey them”

    While Jesus will still be the King of Kings, the Saints will have delagated authority given them.

  58. on 24 Aug 2013 at 7:30 pmScott Sherrell

    Jas,

    The passage in Daniel does not say that the Son of Man was not yet created. It says nothing pertaining to the Son of Man’s creation. You are reading that into the text

  59. on 24 Aug 2013 at 7:48 pmJas

    Scott
    Nobody said that it said that. I said how can anyone have this passage in mind without understanding the person or individual of the Son of Man had not been created or even presented yet to the Most High God.
    This was a future reality even for the Most High . I am sure the Most High had a time in mind when this offspring of Eve would be born and would be presented to him as the one who resisted Satan completely but other than that because of freewill was not sure if it could have been Joseph Jesus’ Father or perhaps the offspring of firstborn of Joseph ,Jesus’ son.

  60. on 24 Aug 2013 at 8:16 pmSarah

    Scott,

    One last question: do you agree that Paul was trying to attack the beliefs of an incipient form of proto-Gnosticism?

    I’ve never heard this idea before, but at first glance it sounds plausible, pending further investigation.

    The biggest issue I have with pre-existence is that it is fundamentally a Platonic idea. While Gnosticism was successfully defeated, Plato’s doctrines nonetheless crept into the church via men like Justin, who attempted to synthesize Plato’s Timaeus with the Bible.

    Jas,

    Btw the above is an impossible translation ,it is the Saints who will be given the kingdom and the rule over the nations during the millennium therefore shoud be read “their kingdom” and “all dominions shall serve and obey them”

    What translation are you referring to? All the ones I’ve looked at (including the LXX) render it as quoted.

    While Jesus will still be the King of Kings, the Saints will have delagated authority given them.

    I completely agree.

  61. on 24 Aug 2013 at 8:24 pmJas

    Sarah
    The ESV itself for one, plus a few others. plus the hebrew and the LXx

  62. on 24 Aug 2013 at 9:08 pmJas

    http://biblehub.com/esv/daniel/7.htm

    Sarah you must have 2001 edition which was revised last in 2007.
    It almost requires an act of God for a translation to revise a verse, otherwise some very powerful evidence.

  63. on 25 Aug 2013 at 10:02 amRay

    Let’s look again at what the Lord said in John 6.

    John 6:38
    For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

    Two things I notice here. One is that there is no man I know of who came down from Chicago that hadn’t first been there and existed there, and secondly, that Jesus came to do the Father’s will.

    Are men who are presently teaching something contrary to the truth, doing their own will, or following Jesus?

    I suppose we could say that a man who claimed to have come down
    (traveled to New Orleans for example) from Chicago, but never actually lived there, could claim that he says so because he’s “all about Chicago”, knowing everything about Chicago, Chicago being his interest above everything else,….but that reminds me of an episode on the TV series Dragnet, where a man claimed to be a Forest Ranger named Barney Regal, but was in fact a con man named Clifford Owens, who went around the country giving lectures on Forestry, and would make his way from town to town absconding credit cards and such from those to whom he lectured.

    I like Dragnet…real police work.

    I suppose though, a man could be from New Orleans for example and say he is at Mardigras, even while he is in Chicago, talking to some friends who are at Mardigras, by telephone, saying he and his friends there in Chicago are “on Burban (spelling?) street”, while they are there in Chicago partying and playing loud Jazz music.

    Then there’s things Jesus said about the glory he had with the Father, how no man has seen God at any time, except for he who is of God… (John 6:46).

    Jesus said he is the living bread (John 6:51) which came down from heaven.

    Now can bread come from anywhere where it had not first been?

    Can bread come from a bakery if it had not first been in the bakery?

    Or can bread be living and at the same time not be existing?

    Maybe it’s time that we learn to grow up and do the math.

  64. on 25 Aug 2013 at 9:18 pmSheryl

    Hi Ray,

    I remember that episode! I love Dragnet too.

    I don’t believe that Jesus the Son of Man (ie: human being) was pre-existent. For a being to have existed before his genesis makes him un-human and not like man in every way.

    But that verse definitely does say in the Greek “came down from Heaven.” Just when I was beginning to think that I better rethink what I believe I decided to check out the context. A few verses earlier Jesus said, “I am the bread of life…” And he says he is the manna come down from Heaven…so he “came down from Heaven.” To my understanding and keeping with the rest of the scripture I believe Jesus compared himself to the life-sustaining manna God provided to Israel during their 40 years of wandering. Now we are those “wanderers” who can ONLY find sustaining life (in the age to come) by way of Jesus. In that sense, he IS our sustenance, our very bread if you will. And Jesus “came down” (like manna) from his Father, the same way every human comes from their father. In other words, I don’t think Jesus meant “came down” literally, just like he was not literally the manna from Heaven to Israel, nor is he literally a slice of bread from a bakery. 🙂

    You notice that Jesus quite often says he was “sent” from God or from Heaven. I don’t think that necessarily means he was in Heaven before he was sent. If you were the president of a company headquartered in Omaha and decided that your sales manager in Detroit needed to help out an office in Minneapolis, you would “send” the sales manager. So the mgr would say “Ray in Omaha sent me here to help you guys.” But the mgr didn’t come from Omaha, even though he was sent by Omaha.

    By the way, Jesus also said that we have glory with our father too…and I believe that is a glory we will receive at our own resurrection, a glory we have with our Father in Heaven right now waiting for us. In John 17:24 (Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world) I believe Jesus is speaking about the time when he, and later the saints, will be resurrected and be in the glory of the Father. There is a Hebrew idiom about stating future facts as if they have already taken place and I think this is an example of that.

  65. on 25 Aug 2013 at 11:26 pmRay

    Matthew 1:1
    The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David….

    I notice that here it speaks of Christ as being the son of David.

    As the son of David, his beginning (speaking here of his flesh) began with his conception in the womb of Mary his mother, and as pertaining to the flesh, his generation began with Abraham, who received the promise by faith.

  66. on 25 Aug 2013 at 11:55 pmSheryl

    “Generation” is a translation of the Greek geneseos, which according to biblos.com interlinear, occurs 3 times in the Bible. I think a good translation is “ancestry” or genealogy, since the other two times it is used it has a meaning more of natural life. It was vital for the Messiah to come from the House of King David, and the gospels set out to document that lineage. I think we are in agreement here.

    However I believe we differ on Jesus coming “in the flesh.” I believe he was the promised Messiah in the flesh. I don’t believe Jesus was a pre-existent being before taking on flesh. Having said that, I do believe the plan of our omniscient God: already knowing this one would be born and live a life according to His Father’s will to become the worthy anointed one, became the Messiah in the flesh as was prophesied. Thus, the prophecy, the promise, became a real living person in the flesh of Jesus. The promise existed before the creation of the world.

  67. on 26 Aug 2013 at 3:35 pmXavier

    Scott

    he simply meant that his human life and incarnation was foreknown by God – how this can be turned into an argument against pre existence I do not know.

    How? By READING INTO IT everything you just wrote. 😛

  68. on 26 Aug 2013 at 9:18 pmJas

    “Sarah you must have 2001 edition which was revised last in 2007.
    It almost requires an act of God for a translation to revise a verse, otherwise some very powerful evidence.”

    Sarah
    I was wrong it was originally “Their and them” but was revised in 2011 edition to “His and him”.
    I would be interested in why they chose to change verse whether it was very powerful evidence or was it to sell new edition to christians who do not believe in an earthly kingdom for Israel during the millennium .
    But there are many other translations that have “Their and them” . You also said LXX translates but it is only the translator choice to assign to keep it singular.

  69. on 28 Aug 2013 at 9:36 amSarah

    Jas,

    I don’t see either translation as a problem. If it should read “he/him,” then it’s referring to the “Most High.” We know that all dominions are ultimately serving and obeying God when they serve God’s people. However, as you pointed out, if it should read “they/them,” then it’s referring directly to delegated authority of God’s people. Either way works for me.

  70. on 28 Aug 2013 at 7:07 pmJas

    Your right it doesnt no effect my belief either way but I am always concerned with proper translation of the intended context. How many people would it help them understand they are being misled by their church about the earthly kingdom if it was always translated properly without doctrinal bias.

  71. on 30 Aug 2013 at 1:45 pmSheryl

    An excellent book to help understand translation bias is “Truth in Translation” by Jason BeDuhn. I believe we are truly blessed to live in this time period where so much information is so easily available… as long as you pray hard for discernment, and are willing to accept the truth even if it shifts your entire theological paradigm.

  72. on 01 Sep 2013 at 7:15 amRay

    I assume that when the Father showed Jesus the galaxies before they were made, the Son of God was not hindered by any worries about how light so far away might shine upon the earth the same day, though the speed of light the way God made it serves his purposes well.

    I believe God foreknew this even as Jesus existed with him.

  73. on 01 Sep 2013 at 12:42 pmJas

    Ray
    In the Genesis 1 creation account a day just represents order not a day as we know it. We know man and beast are extremely older than 4000bc. Also before something was made it did not exist to be shown. As far as your belief that Jesus was there it is your choice to believe but for me it seriously jeopardizes him as the prophesied Messiah if I am to accept the prophecies as they were given.

  74. on 01 Sep 2013 at 10:15 pmRay

    By the word of God everything was made and it is quick, sharp, and powerful.

  75. on 01 Sep 2013 at 10:34 pmJas

    Ray
    Just because Jesus was considered the prophet like Moses of His day he is called the Word but as with ALL PROPHETS the word was given him to speak. Of course God spoke everything into creation plus everything after that even Jesus at conception as also every man and woman every conceived.

  76. on 02 Sep 2013 at 4:29 pmRay

    In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. By him God was manifest to us. In seeing Jesus walk, a man can see God walk among men. He who had no beginning, who is eternal, and is life, came into this world he had made by the power of God who worked in, by, and through him, for as the scripture teaches, all things were made by him, and without him, nothing was made that has been made. (Col 1:14-17)

    This is according to the gospel of Paul, and John as well.

  77. on 02 Sep 2013 at 4:42 pmJas

    Ray
    Peter warned us that Paul writings were very hard to understand and the spiritual nature of the indwelling of Jesus of John makes it very hard to understand or discern the Holy Spirit from the creature it,he,she indwelled bodily
    Thank God we have ALSO the rest of the bible to lead us in the truth.

  78. on 04 Sep 2013 at 11:42 pmSheryl

    Ray, let me try to figure out what you’re saying… “In the beginning was the son/Jesus/logos/word … and the son/Jesus/logos/word was with Yahweh/Almighty/Father/God, and the son/Jesus/logos/word WAS Yahweh/Almighty/Father/God.” Jesus calls himself The Son and he calls God: The Father. How can The Son BE The Father?

    All things were made “by” him….be careful how you understand that little word “by.” By, in this instance is also “through” or “because of.” Check out various bible translations. Because I don’t believe the bible teaches that Jesus pre-existed his genesis in the womb of Mary, I can’t reconcile creation as being made by the hands of Jesus, especially when God says in Isaiah that He ALONE made the heavens and earth. So if Jesus is mentioned in relation to creating…I have to figure out what that verse means. A very rudimentary example could be … Prince Charles is creating a new dynasty by (or because of, or through) his newborn grandson, Prince George. That doesn’t mean George created the dynasty he will someday inherit. But the dynasty’s creation was instigated at the hand of Charles for, or by, George. …anyway, that makes sense to me and it makes everything else make sense as well.

    Also, notice the verse specifically noted: “whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” I wonder why those terms were chosen…that must mean something. I do believe that God, when all things were created in this age, and in the age to come, had Jesus the savior in mind to be the final ruler over His people so that at last God can receive the heavenly kingdom from his son and God will be all in all.

  79. on 05 Sep 2013 at 10:44 amSarah

    Sheryl,

    “whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” I wonder why those terms were chosen…that must mean something.

    I agree with you that these terms were intentionally chosen. This section of Colossians 1, as well as similar passages in Ephesians 1 and 1 Corinthians 15, aligns in theme and word choice with the Dan 7 prophecy regarding the establishment of Christ’s kingdom.

  80. on 05 Sep 2013 at 12:33 pmSheryl

    Thank you Sarah. I think we all would have been well served if translators used “life in the age to come” instead of eternal life. Although Christ is my king in this current age, he will be the obvious recognized king over all creation in the age to come. Those terms cited previously make more sense when one recognizes a clear difference between this age and the age to come. Also, thinking about the second coming and the resurrection of the dead makes a “new” creation more powerful and vivid. If individuals depart this life (age) and go straight to heaven, as most people assume, that blurs the line between the ages and makes scripture confusing and contradictory.

  81. on 06 Sep 2013 at 9:43 amXavier

    Context strongly favors the second option, “Record of the Origins” (so Blomberg). Greek gives us the range of possibilities; context makes the determination. – See more at: http://www.koinoniablog.net/2013/07/%CE%B3%CE%AD%CE%BD%CE%B5%CF%83%CE%B9%CF%82-and-the-title-of-matthews-gospel-monday-with-mounce-194.html#more

  82. on 06 Sep 2013 at 6:10 pmSheryl

    Thank you, Xavier, for referring this concise article. After reading that only two other occurrences of the reference to genealogy used in Matt is in the Gen account of creation, and then of creation of man (Adam), this specific terminology precludes any existence of Jesus before his “origin” imho. This note left in the comments section was interesting as well:

    The Greek phrase is Βίβλος γενέσεως; this phrase is only found in Gen 2.4 and 5.1 in the LXX (cp also v18). The refs in Genesis are the two toledots that introduce what happened to ‘the heavens and the earth’ and to ‘Adam/man.’ However, the word ‘book’ (Heb. sepher) only occurs in 5.1 in the MT—so, Gen 5.1ff gives the record of what happened with the first man and Mt 1.1ff gives the record of what happened with the second man. (Alford notes the connection to Gen 2.4 and 5.1.)

  83. on 07 Sep 2013 at 9:04 amXavier

    Sheryl

    …this specific terminology precludes any existence of Jesus before his “origin” imho

    Unless, as many belief, Jesus had 2 origins. 😛

  84. on 07 Sep 2013 at 11:09 amJas

    Just how many origins did the man possessed by Legion have?

  85. on 07 Sep 2013 at 4:29 pmSheryl

    Interesting question, Jas! The man himself had only one origin: his natural conception via his parents. When he was possessed by several spirits it didn’t change the man’s origin, he was still a man possessed by separate entities. The Legion of demons had their own origins.

    I can’t even fathom anything having two origins…that’s like saying I began my trip from Denver and from St. Louis.

    Humor me please, while I think this through…. I was just thinking of when Jesus told Nicodemus he must be “born again.” Is that two origins for the same person? Do I have two origins…a fleshly one and a spiritual one? Regardless, my spiritual origin necessarily came after my physical origin, because I had to have a mind and will to choose to accept the grace offered by God through his son, and to consciously receive the spiritual gift of life. That is, life in the age to come. Or….does that gift come upon resurrection..at the end of my fleshly existence as a result of choices made of my own will during my life in this age? Still….nothing here means that I pre-existed myself.

  86. on 07 Sep 2013 at 5:51 pmRay

    Do you remember the parable about the Lord who had sent servants, but they all were beaten by those to whom they were sent, so he said to himself, “I don’t yet have a son, but according to my plan of old, I think I will create something that will produce one in whom I will choose…”?

  87. on 07 Sep 2013 at 6:37 pmSheryl

    Hi Ray,

    Do you mean the parable of the tenants? I never heard it the way you expressed it…do you mean this:

    42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

    “ ‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
    the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?
    43“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

    I take you to mean that because the scripture doesn’t actually say “I don’t yet have a son” that you are assuming God is speaking of the son he “already has.” Well…. I don’t see this pointing to pre-existence either. The OT “cornerstone” verse Jesus refers to in Psalm 118 “becomes” the cornerstone of the foundation. How do you understand this OT reference to mean pre-existence, if I am even understanding your meaning? The stone the builders rejected (or the son the priests rejected) has become the base of our foundation of faith.

    God certainly did have a son alive on earth who preached that very parable. Jesus was sent to preach the message of the coming Kingdom…just like Jonah was sent to Ninevah. It doesn’t mean Jonah was waiting in Heaven to be sent, likewise it doesn’t mean Jesus was waiting either. That’s my take anyway. If I didn’t catch your drift, Ray, please forgive me.

  88. on 07 Sep 2013 at 8:47 pmJas

    Ray
    Are you saying the landowner did not have a son, that he was not beaten and killed. That parable is about the Edomite Jews who had taken possession of Judea ,the Temple worship and the Synagogues who even after they converted killed the Prophets and were Going to kill the rightful human heir of Israel, the Son of David. So even though they were in possession, sometime in the future they were going to be judged. The sign of Jonah is also refering to same Judgement which came in about 70ad.

  89. on 08 Sep 2013 at 7:49 amMichael

    Sheryl writes- Humor me please, while I think this through…. I was just thinking of when Jesus told Nicodemus he must be “born again.” Is that two origins for the same person?

    Response…Yes

  90. on 08 Sep 2013 at 9:46 amJas

    Michael
    Actually “born again” is regeneration . So if you completely cease to exist in body, mind and soul could you even be the same person with another origin much less have an origin other than the ORIGINal generation .

  91. on 08 Sep 2013 at 12:36 pmSheryl

    Even if you count one person as having two origins (born in flesh, then born in spirit) the flesh always comes first. When does it ever say a person is born in spirit, THEN in flesh…then in spirit again? And if a person already exists in spirit, why would one need a spiritual birth? Reading through John 3 when Jesus was conversing with Nicodemus, I think Jesus was trying to explain that a person is born of flesh which is physical and obvious. But when a person is subsequently born of spirit, it is the spiritual fruit-bearing life that testifies of the spiritual birth. The spirit, like wind or breath, is invisible. It is only the effect of that power on an object that makes the spirit known.

    It is this chapter in John when Jesus tells Nicodemus that, even being Israel’s teacher, he does not understand spiritual things — “because no one has ascended into heaven if not the one who came out of heaven, the son of man, who is in heaven” Jesus must have been talking about his life in the spirit because he also testified in Luke 17 that the kingdom is invisible and “in your midst.” In that sense, Jesus WAS in heaven, right then when he was speaking to Nicodemus. Jesus “came out of heaven” when God’s holy spirit came down to create the son of man within Mary’s womb. This makes more sense to me than the erroneous teaching that we are all immortal. In fact, if any verse in the bible puts the hammer down on that, it is the verse: no one has ascended into heaven.

  92. on 08 Sep 2013 at 12:47 pmSheryl

    Jas — I agree with you and I’ve been thinking about: how could the same person BE the same person after being born spiritually, because after accepting holy spirit I am still the same person to people around me, even if I have changed my ways. At the risk of thinking off the deep end…. could it be that in our fleshly life we receive the seed of life in the age to come and our true “birth” of a new person occurs at resurrection? Perhaps in this present age we are spiritually “gestating” until Jesus returns. “You must be born again” meaning born spiritually. But you can’t be “born” if not first conceived. Ergo, if there is no conception how can there be a birth? Which maybe explains why the dead in Christ will rise first.

  93. on 08 Sep 2013 at 2:10 pmJas

    Sheryl
    You can be accounted of the regeneration(born again) which is the adoption by being baptized in water but you are not regenerated till the resurrection which is literally becoming the sons and daughters. Till this you can fall away to loose your adoption. Jesus became the adopted son at his baptism and finalized the adoption of the OT Saints on the Tree. At their regeneration (resurrection) they will become true offsprings who share in the nature of God as Jesus did.

  94. on 09 Sep 2013 at 1:38 amSheryl

    In other words, Jas, faith without works is dead…that makes a lot of sense. If one just accepts that Jesus died for us all and considers himself “saved” and goes on living in complacency… his faith is dead and so is his spiritual life. This brings to mind the parable of the sower as well. Why else would Jesus give us this important teaching if not for a reminder that we need to grow and nurture our faith through living a Godly life? I wonder how different the world would be if all churches started preaching that “once saved always saved” is error and true salvation comes from actually following the lessons Jesus gave us….

  95. on 09 Sep 2013 at 6:14 amMichael

    Sheryl writes-Even if you count one person as having two origins (born in flesh, then born in spirit) the flesh always comes first. When does it ever say a person is born in spirit, THEN in flesh…then in spirit again? And if a person already exists in spirit, why would one need a spiritual birth?

    Response…That’s right.

    Sheryl writes- could it be that in our fleshly life we receive the seed of life in the age to come and our true “birth” of a new person occurs at resurrection? Perhaps in this present age we are spiritually “gestating” until Jesus returns. “You must be born again” meaning born spiritually. But you can’t be “born” if not first conceived. Ergo, if there is no conception how can there be a birth?

    Response…Again, this is correct so now apply it to Jesus. The conception in Mary is not what made Jesus the Son of God as Jesus stated, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus, as any man born of God became a son by receiving a seed from God. No man from Adam to Jesus was or could be born of God.

  96. on 09 Sep 2013 at 8:07 amJas

    ” If one just accepts that Jesus died for us all and considers himself “saved” and goes on living in complacency… his faith is dead and so is his spiritual life”

    Sheryl
    Jesus makes it very clear that faith alone is worthless when speaking of a future time he sends away many who had confessed him lord,who had done many miracles in his name but did not follow the Commandments of God. He go as far as to say to them the he NEVER knew them. Do you mean his part of the resurrection by spiritual life?

  97. on 10 Sep 2013 at 2:29 amSheryl

    Like Jesus illustrated in the parable of the sower, a person who accepts the gospel as truth (“saved” in our modern vernacular) but allows distractions of the world to take him away from following God, will not produce fruit; likewise the person who accepts the gospel and sticks with it will produce fruit. I just re-read the parable and I didn’t find where Jesus tells us the consequences of not bearing fruit in this example…but he does say ‘those who have nothing even what they have will be taken away.’ In context I guess this could mean salvation…? If the 1st resurrection is reserved for the dead in Christ, then only true believers and followers of our Lord will be raised, and not those whom Jesus doesn’t recognize. The 2nd resurrection will be the judgment for the rest of dead.

    I think what you are talking about, Jas, are the false prophets, or priests. I would liken those who Jesus never knew to people who preach for selfish gain. I think these will face 2nd resurrection judgment and they’ll be weeping and angry.

  98. on 10 Sep 2013 at 9:00 amJas

    “If the 1st resurrection is reserved for the dead in Christ, then only true believers and followers of our Lord will be raised, and not those whom Jesus doesn’t recognize. The 2nd resurrection will be the judgment for the rest of dead. ”

    Sheryl
    The dead in Christ are those who the Anointed One Purchased Back by paying the penalty of Adam’s sin AKA Grace. These people will not be a part of 1st resurrection unless they had taken hold of the Covenant of Israel during their Life. Paul under vision says He will be alive when Jesus comes to gather all for judgement.

    “I think what you are talking about, Jas, are the false prophets, or priests. I would liken those who Jesus never knew to people who preach for selfish gain. I think these will face 2nd resurrection judgment and they’ll be weeping and angry.”

    No these are people who have let false prophets rob them of their reward by telling them the eternal Covenant of Israel was done away with.

  99. on 10 Sep 2013 at 7:52 pmSheryl

    How do you define the Covenant of Israel … is Jesus not the overriding eternal covenant?

  100. on 10 Sep 2013 at 8:04 pmJas

    Sheryl
    The Covenant of Israel is a personal covenant between God and anyone who wants to take hold of it by separating themselves from the ways of the pagans
    Jesus only overrode the Aaronic Covenant which he became the sacrifice,High priset. How could Jesus override the eternal covenant of Israel especially since he said not one stroke or letter of it would change till ALL THINGS ARE FULFILLED. God also said as long as their is a heaven and earth his Covenant with Israel will stand.

  101. on 10 Sep 2013 at 9:14 pmSheryl

    Ahhh! I was confusing the Aaronic with Israel Covenant. Great! Learning all the time! Just like in Heb 5:9 — And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

  102. on 12 Sep 2013 at 8:28 pmJas

    Sheryl
    Yes Hebrews goes into details of the change in the priesthood which resulted in a change in the Pattern shown to Moses. While the Aaronic Covenant was on the behalf of Aarons zeal to mediate for Israel ,the pattern to setup up the Priesthood was given to Moses along with the Laws,Ordinances and Statutes so Hebrews explains it to Hebrew Christians because faith in the Priesthood is required for atonement and to learn in the OT just the same as faith in the new Priesthood covenant is required for atonement and to learn from the personal HS that comes to those who enter their own Covenant Relationship with God,
    The Promise and the means of receiving it are still valid to those MARKED by the Signs God gave to identify them as a separate people .

  103. on 14 Sep 2013 at 10:29 amRay

    Concerning the existence of Christ prior to his coming into this world in the flesh through the conception by the holy Spirit, here’s how I learned to do the math pertaining to Deut 6:4:

    Deut 6:4
    Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

    Gen 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth….

    Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

    How does this all add up?

    Who was with God in the beginning who was in his likeness and image?

    Did God have a double?
    Did he have a twin?
    How about a brother?
    ……….But what if he had a Son?

    I believe I now exist, prior to the time which is yet future, when I will be with the Lord in heaven, along with his entire family, forever.

    That’s how it adds up to me. And there is more. Isn’t there always more with God?, for God is fulfilling his promises all the time.

  104. on 14 Sep 2013 at 11:38 amJas

    Ray
    Did the demon called Legion who spoke through the man he and them possess exist before the conception of that man.
    The OT has many references that Lady Wisdom was the first created by the Most High. She is the other half of Us, the feminine of the hebrew word Elohim, the Holiest Spirit next to the Most High. According to John 1 this Spirit was with God and was a god . She came to dwell in the man Jesus bodily .John the baptist was sent by God to officiate over his cleansing and anointing. He was to witness the light coming back into the world ,the same light the Israelites rejected prior to the first temple being destroyed. If Jesus was this light then he could not have been on earth 30 years prior to John witnessing the coming of that Light back into. The other 3 gospels also mention this light decending upon Jesus as he came out of the water. It was This Spirit that did miracles and spoke through the man Jesus .
    So while you may be right about Gen 1 and Deut 6:4 you are witnessed against by John 1 when you claim Jesus was this light that existed with God at the beginning even though some of the things can be accounted to the person named Jesus because he was possessed and is currently still possessed according to Rev 5 by the Holy Spirit.

  105. on 15 Sep 2013 at 2:06 pmRay

    According to John, Jesus was with God in the beginning, who is called the Word of God.

  106. on 15 Sep 2013 at 2:32 pmJas

    Ray
    Actually the light was with God not Jesus, John was sent by God to witness the light coming back into the world which decended upon Jesus bodily to live among mankind again after being rejected by the Israelites of 1st temple period. Jesus just received the title as the Word just as all prophets but since Jesus was resurrected it will remain .
    Either Jesus came into the world at his birth or if he was the light he came at his baptism. You can not have it both ways!

  107. on 16 Sep 2013 at 7:08 pmRay

    Unto us, Christ is the wisdom of God.

    Proverbs 8…strange coincidence, nothing more….or sure word of prophecy?

  108. on 16 Sep 2013 at 8:11 pmJas

    Ray
    Paul is speaking of a post possessed Jesus or more possible he was speaking of the ANOINTER( Holiest Spirit Wisdom ) as Christ.
    Christos(Christ) can be the ANOINTER or ANOINTED which Paul uses interchangeably . So I whole heartily agree with Paul

  109. on 17 Sep 2013 at 8:08 amXavier

    “‘Genesis’ or origin is a repetition of the word that appears in the superscription of 1:1. Some ancient scribes substituted gennesis, a word that is similar in sound but is spelled differently and means ‘birth.’ Although ‘genesis’ is the textual reading preferred by most authorities, the word ‘birth’ is nevertheless used in many English translations of 1:18. But Matthew is interested in Jesus’ origin, not his birth…Without reluctance or uncertainty Matthew ascribes Jesus’ origin to the generating activity of the holy Spirit…

    Such a divine origin by the creative activity of the Spirit is attributed to Jesus by the evangelist Matthew…It is entirely the work of the Spirit who generates Jesus by a direct act of creation.

    By reason of this unusual genesis Jesus is a second Adam who like his prototype is thoroughly human but who, in view of his divine generation, may also be called ‘the Son of God’… the epithet that conveys the identity of Jesus in terms of his ‘having been generated in her (Mary) from the holy Spirit’ as a new human being is the one that appears consistently on his lips as a self-designation: ‘the Son of Man’.” The Origin of Jesus Christ: Matthew 1:1-25 by Herman C. Waetjen.

  110. on 17 Sep 2013 at 1:53 pmSarah

    Great quote, Xavier. Thanks for sharing. I hunted down the article, and found it absolutely fascinating. For anyone interested, it can be read here.

  111. on 17 Sep 2013 at 5:07 pmMichael

    Herman C. Waetjen writes-In John 3:5 John tells Nicodemus that one must be “generated from water and Spirit.” The Spirit is an inexplicable reality which “blows where it wills and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes to. So is everyone who has been generated from the Spirit.”
    Such a divine origin by the creative activity of the Spirit is attributed to Jesus by the evangelist Matthew. Mary has no husband.

    Response…Here the contradiction of every Monotheist belief on how Jesus is the Son of God is illustrated. Mr. Waetjen correctly points out that “The Spirit is an inexplicable reality which “blows where it wills and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes to. So is everyone who has been generated from the Spirit.”

    His “everyone” generated from the Spirit not only excludes the human Jesus but he then contradicts the very writer he is quoting by stating that in the case of Jesus Spirit begat flesh.

    “Everyone” born of the Spirit is not describing being born according to the flesh including Jesus, Spirit does not beget flesh.

    John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

  112. on 17 Sep 2013 at 6:37 pmSarah

    Michael, you make an interesting point. Do you then reject the virgin birth narratives in Matthew and Luke? If not, how do you understand them to be saying Jesus was conceived?

  113. on 17 Sep 2013 at 7:07 pmMichael

    Sarah writes- Do you then reject the virgin birth narratives in Matthew and Luke? If not, how do you understand them to be saying Jesus was conceived?

    Response…How one is conceived or brought into existence according to the flesh can vary and has nothing to do with being born of the Spirit. Human beings have originated from dirt, a rib, from the barren and the elderly, from test tubes, surrogates and from a virgin and none of these methods makes one born of the Spirit. There are many doctors that cause the conception of children and this does not make them their fathers and so it is with Jesus.

    The Spirit caused the conception of Jesus but the Spirit did not beget the conception of Jesus, Spirit does not beget flesh.

    Jesus is the Son of God the same way anyone becomes a child of God by receiving a seed from God and not the kind of seed that a woman conceives.

    1Peter 1:23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

  114. on 17 Sep 2013 at 9:41 pmXavier

    Michael

    Are you Muslim?

    Luke 1.35 tells you how Jesus is the Son of God.

  115. on 17 Sep 2013 at 11:20 pmJas

    “Jesus is the Son of God the same way anyone becomes a child of God by receiving a seed from God and not the kind of seed that a woman conceives.”

    Michael
    Yes but in a figurative sense as we become a seed which is born in the 1st resurrection. Jesus is the Son of God in many ways,He was a prophet, he was in the kingly succession , he was officially adopted by ceremony ,he became the High Priest and literally became the Son of God by the resurrection as the FIRSTBORN OF THE DEAD.

    Xavier
    You might try researching religions, Muslims believe in the virgin birth

  116. on 18 Sep 2013 at 5:32 amMichael

    Xavier writes-Are you Muslim?

    Response…Monotheist

    Xavier writes- Luke 1.35 tells you how Jesus is the Son of God.

    Response…Anthony would agree with you but when he expounds on the matter he writes “if you were sitting around a table back then and asked Jesus who his father was then he would answer that his father was God. In a secondary sense we can call God our Father but Jesus can call him in the literal sense his biological Father”

    This summary states that Spirit begat flesh, is that what you think Luke 1:35 is teaching?

  117. on 18 Sep 2013 at 5:35 amMichael

    Jas writes-Yes but in a figurative sense as we become a seed which is born in the 1st resurrection.

    Response…A seed that creates a human child is literal and the seed that creates a child of God is figurative?

    Jas writes- literally became the Son of God by the resurrection

    Response…God is not a human being, how can he have a literal Son that is?

  118. on 18 Sep 2013 at 6:04 amMichael

    In Luke the angel speaks to Mary and tells her two things, first that she will conceive in her womb and bring forth a son and call him Jesus. The angel does not call him the Son of God in this verse because human women do not conceive children of God.

    Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

    Secondly he tells her he will be called the Son of the Highest.

    Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

    Mary then asks the angel how this can be since she has not known a man and the angel addresses the two statements.

    Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

    The Holy Ghost coming upon her caused the conception of the human child and the power of the Highest overshadowing her caused the child she had conceived to become the Son of the Highest.

    When a human being is born of God this event is between God and the person being born of Him.

    Spirit does not beget flesh.

  119. on 18 Sep 2013 at 9:01 amJas

    God is not a human being, how can he have a literal Son that is?

    Michael
    He is the literal son of Jesus because of the New Creation as the First Born of the dead. So yes Spirit can generate flesh but so far it has happened only once but will happen many more times at the 1st resurrection.
    The one thing you are overlooking is Spirit does not beget Spirit either but yet God Beget the Host of Heaven and All thing created which all exist literally.

  120. on 18 Sep 2013 at 9:27 amMichael

    Jas writes- Spirit can generate flesh

    Response…Don’t use sleight of hand with the words you choose, the topic is whether Spirit “begets” flesh and John writes that Spirit does not beget flesh.

    John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh;

    Jas writes-The one thing you are overlooking is Spirit does not beget Spirit either

    Response…Again you ignore the writing of John
    John 3:6 and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

  121. on 18 Sep 2013 at 10:14 amXavier

    Jas

    You might try researching religions, Muslims believe in the virgin birth

    I have and they don’t:

    Sura 9:30: The Jews said, “Ezra is the son of GOD,” while the Christians said, “Jesus is the son of GOD!” These are blasphemies uttered by their mouths. They thus match the blasphemies of those who have disbelieved in the past. GOD condemns them. They have surely deviated.

    Sura 10:68: They said, “GOD has begotten a son!”…You have no proof to support such a blasphemy. Are you saying about GOD what you do not know?

    Sura 17:110-111: You shall not utter your Contact Prayers (Salat) too loudly, nor secretly; use a moderate tone. And proclaim: “Praise be to GOD, who has never begotten a son, nor does He have a partner in His kingship, nor does He need any ally out of weakness,” and magnify Him constantly.

    Sura 19:88-92: They said, “The Most Gracious has begotten a son!” You have uttered a gross blasphemy. The heavens are about to shatter, the earth is about to tear asunder, and the mountains are about to crumble. Because they claim that the Most Gracious has begotten a son. It is not befitting the Most Gracious that He should beget a son.

  122. on 18 Sep 2013 at 10:17 amXavier

    Michael

    This summary states that Spirit begat flesh, is that what you think Luke 1:35 is teaching?

    No, I read it as God creating a human being through the power of His Spirit. I don’t know why you seem to be hung up on sexual overtones. Why not just look at it as a miraculous event?

    And everyone knows that the believer is “born again” in a spiritual sense from the “seed” that is the Gospel message about the soon-to-come KOG.

  123. on 18 Sep 2013 at 3:51 pmMichael

    So when I ask you if you agree with Anthony expounding on Luke 1:35 you answer no? He is one the foremost teachers on this subject that you are disagreeing with him? Why is he wrong and why don’t you correct his quote and saying that Jesus is the Son of God because it was a “miraculous event” doesn’t quite cut it.

    Xavier writes- I don’t know why you seem to be hung up on sexual overtones.

    Response…Is this level of your of maturity or your frustration showing?

    Xavier writes- And everyone knows that the believer is “born again” in a spiritual sense from the “seed”

    Response…There it is again, a seed conceived to produce a human being is literal and the seed that produces a child of God is not. You have excluded yourself from seeing the truth before you even begin.

  124. on 18 Sep 2013 at 5:04 pmSarah

    Michael,

    There it is again, a seed conceived to produce a human being is literal and the seed that produces a child of God is not.

    I’m still trying to understand your position. Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God from the time he was conceived? And was the Holy Spirit responsible for Jesus’ conception?

  125. on 18 Sep 2013 at 5:12 pmXavier

    Michael

    So when I ask you if you agree with Anthony expounding on Luke 1:35 you answer no?

    I don’t exactly know what you’re referring to. If you can provide the source it would help.

    …a seed conceived to produce a human being is literal and the seed that produces a child of God is not. You have excluded yourself from seeing the truth before you even begin.

    Yes, in the case of Jesus it was a literal begetting/procreation, hence no human father; in the case of us believers it is obviously spiritual since we are begotten by a human father.

  126. on 18 Sep 2013 at 9:05 pmJas

    Xavier
    Just how does the verses you quoted say they do not believe in the virgin birth, I personally know they do. Maybe they dont by into the Myth that God begat or maybe they dont understand how a feminine spirit can impregnate a human woman. But for a fact Muslims believe in virgin birth.

    Michael
    No “sleight of hand with the words” here . Even after the resurrection Jesus was flesh, he made it clear he was not some bodiless spirit. So yes Spirit begat flesh at least once so far and will again at the first resurrection

  127. on 18 Sep 2013 at 11:30 pmRay

    I’ve been thinking of the term “cast off” as pertaining to God and his people, Psalm 43:2 for example.

    So did God put on his people as a garment? If so, then is it that David was on the outside, and God on the inside? Was God on the inside of David?

    And what of Christ, who was in the world at that time? (John 1:10)

    Was Christ in David as part of the hidden mystery of God?

    When we see Christ he will be clothed in righteousness.

  128. on 19 Sep 2013 at 7:24 amXavier

    Jas

    According to the Koran, to believe Jesus is the begotten Son of God is blasphemy. This is clearly stated in some of the surahs I posted. Or ask any practicing Muslim.

  129. on 19 Sep 2013 at 7:57 amMichael

    Sarah writes-I’m still trying to understand your position. Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God from the time he was conceived? And was the Holy Spirit responsible for Jesus’ conception?

    Response…The Spirit caused two actions within Mary; first she conceived a human seed that eventually produced a human being. Secondly the conceived child received a seed from God and became the Son of God, two actions.

    The irony for Monotheists is that they champion Jesus as a human being yet from his beginning, his very conception they don’t treat him as a human being and this initial error infects everything that comes after it.

    John 3:2-6 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is from God and Jesus tells him how this is, you must be born of God. Nicodemus theorizes that his birth mother would be necessary and Jesus tells him your birth from God is separate from ones human birth and reiterates the point by saying that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    Fairly simple and straight up right? Not if you believe that the conception in Mary is what made Jesus the Son of God so look where it leads.

    You have Jas writing “So yes Spirit begat flesh”

    You have Anthony saying “if you were sitting around a table back then and asked Jesus who his father was then he would answer that his father was God. In a secondary sense we can call God our Father but Jesus can call him in the literal sense his biological Father”

    You have Sean saying -“God himself is going to father the child through the Holy Spirit miraculously, so the child is biologically, if we can use that word, the son of God. If you drew a family tree of Jesus on the mother’s side it would go back and back, on his dad’s side there would just be one, God.”

    You have Kent Ross writing “I think the Scripture is quite ambiguous on the subject. Unless I am missing Scripture that denies the regular way, I prefer to think God impregnated Mary to bear His only Begotten Son. There is nothing sexual intended, though again the Scriptures appear silent on this issue. But there is no evidence God acted unnaturally either. Why the deep discomfort with the term “sperm” from God? From what I’ve seen here, you have virtually no Scriptural evidence to decry this.

    These are all quotes from teachers and leaders and they all believe that together God and Mary are the parents of Jesus and it all begins by rejecting John 3:6.

    They believe Spirit begets flesh.

  130. on 19 Sep 2013 at 8:27 amJas

    Xavier
    So what does that have to do with virgin birth myth which most Muslims believe. They however do not believe that God begets with human women plus do not believe in the resurrection by which Jesus became the FIRSTBORN of the dead, actually regenerated as God’s first begotten Son.
    Actually there are many groups who do not buy into the virgin birth myth so why would you ask Michael if he was a Muslim when they actually believe it

  131. on 19 Sep 2013 at 8:49 amJas

    Michael
    Was not Jesus Flesh post resurrection or was he just lying to the disciples?
    If he was flesh than Spirit beget flesh.

  132. on 19 Sep 2013 at 11:11 amMichael

    John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth

    You believe that Spirit begat flesh which taints every scripture you read and becomes the prism you see through. John 1:14 is a post resurrection scripture and the word translated as dwelt is the word skenoo which is to fix ones tent or live in a tent. The human body is a tent but you cannot enter and exit it. If your in it then you are alive and if you’re out of it then you are dead. You cannot skenoo with your tent but the resurrected Jesus did as God also will do to be with his people.

    Mark 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

    Jesus was begotten by a seed from God and it was sown in death and quickened by the resurrection, Paul received his gospel from the risen

    Jesus and certifies that he did not receive it from a human being.

    Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, not of men (human beings), neither by man (human being), but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;

    Galatians 1: 11-12 But I certify you, brethren, which the gospel which was preached of me is not after man (human being). For I neither received it of man (human being), neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  133. on 19 Sep 2013 at 1:35 pmSarah

    Michael,

    Paul was certainly not a Gnostic dualist, which means Gal 1:1 and Gal 1:11-12 aren’t drawing a dichotomy between humans and spirits. They are instead contrasting mortal men with Jesus the immortal man.

    Ezekiel 37 confirms that at the resurrection a physical body is raised, renewed, and inhabited by the Spirit. This contradicts the claim that the resurrected Jesus is no longer human, an idea that John vehemently refuted in his epistles.

  134. on 19 Sep 2013 at 5:34 pmMichael

    Sarah writes-Ezekiel 37 confirms that at the resurrection a physical body.

    Response…Ezekiel in captivity had prophesied that Israel restored to the land, that is the message.

    Ezekiel 37: Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

    Sarah writes-Gal 1:1 and Gal 1:11-12 aren’t drawing a dichotomy between humans and spirits. They are instead contrasting mortal men with Jesus the immortal man.

    Response…Really, then why does a Monotheist not make the same supposed distention while promoting the man Jesus? Author and teacher Robert Hach calls the resurrected Jesus the “super agent of the new humanity”, is that what Paul was thinking when he penned Galatians?

    Whatever, welcome to the world of God as the biological father of Jesus using god sperm with his chosen betrothed virgin female. Welcome to the world where Spirit does not beget flesh until it does.

    Your anthropomorphism will serve you well here.

  135. on 19 Sep 2013 at 6:52 pmJas

    “John 1:14 is a post resurrection scripture”

    Michael
    It is a post baptism reference, the SPIRIT DECENDED UPON JESUS AND REMAINED ,which means the Spirit took up residence amongst mankind in the temple of Jesus’ body.
    Was Jesus flesh or not after his resurrection ? Was Jesus the First begotten of the dead or not?
    I believe it was an angel who spoke to Paul, an agent for Jesus who was at the right hand of God at that precise moment.

  136. on 19 Sep 2013 at 8:20 pmJas

    NASB ©
    John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.

    NASB ©
    “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’

    Michael
    To the matter of fact God himself revealed to John B that was how he would identify his successor who was prophesied before him and preferred over him. The word translated remained means Resides while the word translated dwelt means took up Residence .
    Plus for all you personification of the HS people ,John ACTUALLY saw the Spirit come down from heaven and reside upon Jesus.

  137. on 19 Sep 2013 at 10:22 pmXavier

    Jas

    So what does that have to do with virgin birth myth which most Muslims believe.

    The virgin birth IS about the begetting of the Son. And Christians don’t look at it as a “myth”.

  138. on 19 Sep 2013 at 10:42 pmJas

    Xavier
    Yes Millions of Christians see it as a “Myth” or do you say they are not Christians.
    Btw most of those Christians are unitarian who trinitarians say are not Christians.

  139. on 22 Sep 2013 at 9:58 amRay

    I believe God is Spirit and he begat Jesus Christ his Son.

    When I pictured in my mind the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary, and
    the mystery of heaven coming out from God and into the body of Mary, I perceived this as a “spiritual birth”, for this came out from God. I saw it as a “being born of the spirit”.

    And I believe this being existed with the Father from before the beginning of the world.

  140. on 14 Feb 2017 at 10:19 pmLourdes de la Vega

    Hi!

    I am beginning to study Unitarianism as I have come to realize that in order to Jesus work to defeat sin and pay ‘the ransom” requires that he be a human second Adam which could have failed like the first but did not, unlike a God or THE God who could not sin by nature and who thus would not be able to truly be the opposite of the first Adam. I was I was looking forward to your explanation of the Unitarian position on Jesus Pre-existence and eternal nature. However I am a bit confused . I understand the question of the image not being the same as the real thing and I understand the issue of protokos and the issue with Firstborn that also means foremost or superior or above, etc.

    However when it comes to pro panton and sunistemi you lost me, I could not understand your explanations and, basically, I could not see how they would change the translation.

    Also I would like to know what is your recommendation for a Bible translation or translation that is neutral as far as the trinity or even pro-Unitarian Giving your alternative translation opposed to the Trinitarian ones would also be of help.

    Blessings!
    Yours in Christ
    Lourdes

  

Leave a Reply