An Answer

by A.E. Knoch

Practically every discussion of this subject we have heard or seen reasons from certain passages to a position which other scriptures deny.

One side puts this syllogism—

  • Man is not a pre-existing being;
  • Christ is a Man,
  • Therefore, He is not a pre-existing being.

The other side reasons—

  • God is a pre-existing Being;
  • Christ is God,
  • Therefore, He is a pre-existing Being.

The reasoning is as correct in one case as in the other, but the major premise in each case is faulty. There is no scripture which states that "man is not a pre-existing being," though that is doubtless true of the first man and all his descendants. But we are distinctly told that the second Man is the Lord out of heaven (1 Cor.15:47).

Neither is it absolutely true that all who are called by the same name as the deity are pre-existing beings. He called them gods to whom the word of God came (Prov.82). Satan himself is given this title. It is even applied to men (Ex.21 and 22, judges). These certainly were not pre-existent.

Consequently these reasonings are false. Christ is both God and Man and any reasoning which denies one or the other is wrong. Knowing that God is not a man our only course is to consider how the Scriptures themselves modify His humanity and define His deity.

The term "first born" has the secondary meaning of preeminence, but its primary meaning is always first in time. This is the only sense in its first two occurrences (Matt.1;25; Luke 2:7). Indeed, the secondary sense is not at all essential, for Esau was first born, yet was not pre-eminent (Heb.12:6). Christ is not only first in place but also in time, in creation, and vivification. How creation can be ascribed to Christ and He Himself not even be present is inexplicable and meaningless.

Philippians 2:6-8 distinctly states that He subsisted in the form of God and came to be in the likeness of humanity. The form of a slave is explained as a human form.

We know that our Lord was very poor. He did not have a denarius with Him on one occasion. How then was He rich unless He had a previous existence? He is identified with all of the previous manifestation of God—Jehovah, Elohim, El, Adonai, etc.

The CONCORDANT VERSION refers to the Logos as "It." It is a figure of speech. If the Word could not be a person before incarnation, neither could it be after.

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