Sabado, Hulyo 30, 2016

DID CHRIST HAVE PRE-EXISTENCE?



DID CHRIST HAVE PRE-EXISTENCE?
By RUBEN D. AROMIN


DESPITE CLEAR PRONOUNCEMENTS of the Bible that Jesus Christ is a man (John 8:40; I Tim.2:5; Acts 2:22), and as such he could not be the true God (Hos. 11:9; Ezek. 28:2), proponents of Christ’s alleged deity still adamantly cling to their belief that Christ is God.  For them, biblical passages stating that Christ is a man serve only to describe His nature or state of being while He was still on earth and not to disprove His deity.  They hold that Christ is God who became man, notwithstanding the Bible’s teachings to the contrary.  In teaching Christ to be the true God, they also teach that He had existed since the beginning prior to His becoming a human being.  Alleging that Christ had pre-existed, they maintain that He could not have been created but that, together with the Father, He is co-Creator of all things.

     To back up their allegation concerning Christ, they cite verses of the Bible, one of which is John 8:58 in which Christ says:

     “… Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (New King James Version)

     Using this pronouncement of Christ, adherents to the Christ-is-God doctrine conclude that He had already existed before Abraham was born.  To further prove their allegation, they cite verse 56 of this same chapter of the Gospel according to John in which Christ said to the Jews, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (Ibid.).

     They interpret these pronouncements of our Lord Jesus to mean that He had existed long before His mother Mary even gave birth to Him.  Another passage they love to cite their contention that Christ, prior to His becoming man, had pre-existed as God is Proverbs 8:22-23:

The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.  I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.” (Ibid.)

     Based on the passage, among others, they contend that even before the creation of the world, Christ already existed and was the Father’s co-Creator of everything.  We do not in any way question what are written in the aforecited verses.  What we strongly disagree with is the wrong understanding of these verses, which has led to the unwarranted conclusion that Christ had pre-existence and that He is God.

ABRAHAM EXISTED
BEFORE CHRIST

Christ  did not exist before Abraham existed; rather, IT WAS ABRAHAM WHO EXISTED BEFORE CHRIST DID as testified to by the Bible, thus:

Now to Abraham and HIS SEED were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.” (Gal. 3:16, Ibid.)

     Christ is the seed of Abraham, which is why it is WRONG to assert that He existed before Abraham did.  It is also worthy to note that NOWHERE in the aforecited pronouncement of Christ, which they use as proof of His alleged pre-existence and deity, did He say, “before Abraham was born, I am God.” Why then did our Lord Jesus Christ say, “BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM”?  Does this mean that He had pre-existence or that He had already existed even before Abraham was born?  Apostle Peter enlightens us on this regard, thus:

“FOREKNOWN indeed before the foundation of the world, he has been manifested in the last times for your sakes.” ( I Pet. 1:20, Douay-Rheims Version)

     Even before the creation of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ was already FOREKNOWN by God.  Hence, what was in the beginning with God was not Christ but GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE OF HIM.  Apostle Peter proves this further through his testimony:

     “Him [Christ], being delivered by the DETERMINED PURPOSE and FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD …” (Acts 2:23, NKJV)

     In other words, even before God created the world, HE HAD ALREADY PLANNED that would be a Messiah or Christ.  But there was no Christ yet in existence in the beginning, contrary to what the proponents of the Christ-is-God doctrine would like us to believe, for He came to exist only when he was born of His mother.  Apostle Paul testified:

     “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”  (Gal. 4:4, Ibid.)

WHAT ABRAHAM SAW

Believer of Christ’s pre-existence as God may argue that if Christ did not exist during Abraham’s time and even prior to that, He would not have said to the Jews, “YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM REJOICED TO SEE MY DAY.”  Did Christ say this to mean that He was already existing during the time of Abraham?  What was Christ referring to in John 8:56 as “My day” that Abraham “rejoiced to see”?  Apostle Peter again clarifies this to us in his epistle:

     But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the DAY OF JUDGMENT and perdition of ungodly men.  But the DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (II Pet. 3:7, 10, Ibid.)

     It is clear that the day of Judgment is also called the day of the Lord because on that day, our Lord Jesus Christ will return.  This is the day of Christ that Abraham “saw”.  The reason it is said that Abraham saw this day of Christ is explained by the inspired writer to the Hebrews, thus:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.   ...These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but HAVING SEEN THEM AFAR OFF were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”  (Heb. 11:8-10, 13-16, Ibid.)

     Through faith, Abraham, together with Isaac and Jacob, “SAW FROM AFAR” THE Promised Land or the Holy City, though they died without receiving this.  The term “afar” does not only apply to distance in space but also to distance in time.  Abraham, who is believed to have lived 1,800 years before the birth of Christ, has yet to see the promised Holy City.  God’s promise of a far better land to him and his descendants did not come to pass in his lifetime, yet he died with strong faith and hope in God’s promise that the day would come when they shall inherit the Holy City.  That day will be on Judgment Day—the DAY OF THE LORD—which was what Abraham SAW, TO WHICH HE LOOKED FORWARD and for which he GREATLY REJOICED.

THAT WHICH THE LORD POSSESSED

Although it is not stated in Proverbs 8:22-23 that Christ was referred to as being possessed by the Lord God before the world was created, adherents to the Christ-is-God doctrine use these verses to prove his alleged pre-existence.  NOWHERE in the entire cited chapter of Proverbs is there any mention of His name, nor is He unequivocally identified as the one possessed by the Lord God in the beginning.  What is categorically stated in the preceding verses of that same chapter of Proverbs as the one possessed by God in the beginning is WISDOM:

     Does not WISDOM cry out, And understanding lift up her voice?  For WISDOM is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. 

“I, WISDOM, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion.(Prov. 8:1, 11-12, NKJV)

     It was wisdom that God possessed in the beginning and not a pre-existent Christ as alleged by believers of His deity.  Wisdom must have been already existing before the creation of all things because it was wisdom that the Lord god used in creating them.  The Book of Proverbs further enlighten us on this regard:

     The Lord BY WISDOM founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens; By His knowledge the depths were broken up, And clouds drop down the dew.” (Prov. 3:19-20, Ibid.)

     However, those who believe in Christ’s pre-existence argue that He is referred to in the Bible as the wisdom of God, citing I Corinthians 1:24 as basis.  Thus, according to them, Christ is the wisdom that was already existing and which the Lord possessed in the beginning as mentioned in the verses in question.  THERE IS NO DENYING THE TRUTH THAT THE BIBLE REFERS TO CHRIST AS BEING THE WISDOM OF GOD, BUT TO CONCLUDE FROM THIS FACT THAT CHRIST IS THE WISDOM MENTIONED IN PROVERBS THAT GOD POSSESSED IN THE BEGINNING IS GROSSLY ERRONEOUS.  Why?  IN WHAT SENSE is the Lord Jesus Christ the WISDOM OF GOD?  Let us cite I Corinthians 1:24 and Apostle Paul’s clarification in verse 30 of the same chapter of his letter:

     But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the WISDOM OF GOD. ... But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us WISDOM OF GOD—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (Ibid.)

     Apostle Paul clearly states that Christ is the power and wisdom of God for us to be sanctified and be redeemed from sin, or in other words, CHRIST IS THE WISDOM OF GOD UNTO SALVATION.  Hence, He is not the wisdom referred to in the Book of Proverbs, which our Lord God used in creating all things.

INCONSISTENT WITH
BIBLICAL TEACHING

With their allegation that Christ had pre-existence comes their allegation that He was not created but was co-Creator with the Father.  But is this biblical?  How did Christ come into existence as described by the Bible?  In the Gospel according to Matthew, this is narrated:

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been CONCEIVED in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 1:20, New American Standard Bible)

     Christ was conceived in His mother’s womb.  The true God could not have been conceived by any human mother for He is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2) and therefore He was not created.  And granting, without conceding but just for the sake of argument, that Christ is also true God pre-existing with the Father it would appear then that there are two true Gods—one true God who is the Creator and another true God who was created.  That would be, to say the least, not only unbiblical, but utterly absurd as well.

     As it is, our Lord Jesus Christ is a created being.  To prove further that He was created and is not the Creator or is not co-Creator of the Father, Apostle Paul wrote:

     He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.” (Col. 1:15,  Revised Standard Version)

     The phrase “firstborn of all creation” does not mean that Christ was the first to be created or the first to be brought into being.  As explained earlier in this article, before God created the world, Christ was foreknown or was already in God’s mind because He had planned to create the Messiah or Christ.  This, God did, even before He made the world in order that all the things he created would be for Christ and be mediated by Him.  Apostle Paul explains:

     For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16-17, Ibid.)

     God had planned even before He made the world that there would be a Christ because He intended that all things He would create would be for Christ to be mediated by him.  But even then, truth remains that Christ is one among God’s creation and did not pre-exist as the Father’s co-Creator.  The Lord god said it all when He declared:

     “I am the LORD, your savior; I am the one who created you.  I am the LORD the creator of all things.  I ALONE stretched out the heavens; when I made the earth, NO ONE HELPED ME.”  (Isa. 44:24, Today’s English Version)

     Christ could not have existed in the beginning of creation as God’s co-Creator because God Himself declared that HE ALONE stretched out the heavens and that when He made the earth, NO ONE HELPED HIM.  Therefore, the belief that Christ pre-existed as God and co-Creator of the Father is CONTRARY to the teaching of the Bible.  To those who adhere to such an erroneous doctrine, the following statement of our Lord Jesus Christ applies:

     “… YOU ARE MISTAKEN, NOT UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES, OR THE POWER OF GOD.”  (Matt. 22:29, NASB) *

Copied from:  PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE | NOVEMBER 2005 | VOLUME 57 | NUMBER 11 | PAGES 10-13

Emphasis:  Admin.


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