Article Why Jesus Did Not Literally Pre-Exist

Ray Faircloth

Oct 16, 2020
1 – 34-36

Why Jesus Did Not Literally


Holy spirit will come upon you, and

the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Precisely for this reason the child being brought into existence will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35

“The miraculous genesis of Christ in the virgin and a real preexistence are of course mutually exclusive” Adolph Harnack.


The Genuine 100% Humanity of Jesus

The teaching that a literally pre-existing person called ‘the Word’ was implanted in Mary’s womb, rather than human male genetics created miraculously by God, would mean that Jesus could not be fully human. The Scriptures make it clear that holy spirit “overshadowed” Mary to produce this second human “Son of God.” Luke says, “The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35 NASB). To be “holy, God’s Son” meant that Jesus would be the equal of the pre-sinning Adam. They were in perfect balance to show that they were equals. However, this cannot be the case if Jesus had previously existed as a being who was ‘God the Son’ instead of the fully human “Son of God.”

The Problem of Two Natures in Trinitarianism

To deal with the problem of two natures Trinitarians teach that God the Son assumed impersonal human nature so that Jesus is called “man” in the generic sense but not “a man.” A further way they have dealt with this problem is to appeal to the Doctrine of Kenosis concerning the supposed emptying out of the essence and nature of a spirit person. This doctrine is unsupportable for a number of reasons which will be explained later. Technically: A spirit person genetically combined with Mary’s egg = a hybrid. This is similar to a Nephilim which is the product of angelic/human sexual union (Gen. 6:1-4) and therefore not a genuine human. Jesus, therefore, would be neither human nor spirit and could not be the equal of the pristine Adam. Furthermore, if just the life, i.e., the personality of a spirit being could have been transferred to the embryo in Mary’s womb then Jesus would still have been a hybrid—a God/man (please see chapter 17). So, if Jesus had really been a previously existing spirit being it would seem utterly pointless for him to have divested himself of all the wisdom and knowledge inherently associated with his ability as a so-called agent of the original creation and then have to re-acquire it. The Scriptures clearly show Jesus as having to acquire (not re-acquire) wisdom from his youth onward. Luke tells us that, “Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man” (Luke 2:52 ISV). Indeed, a being that looks like a man, but has pre-conception memories and character attributes, is fundamentally different to all other men. Of course, no embryo or baby could cope with such a full knowledge and wisdom that any spirit being has. So, it seems pointless to transfer “the Son’s” life into a human womb. In such an imagined transfer “the Son” evidently would have brought nothing of himself into Mary’s womb, so there was no retaining of “the Son’s” personal identity. In reality Jesus built his entire character as the man Jesus from birth so as to establish himself in God’s favour! Such character development could not in any way connect to that of a so-called ‘God the Son’ kind of being because Jesus was developing within the human framework. Furthermore, there is no Scripture which states that Yahweh revealed to Jesus that he had previously existed before becoming human. Catholic writer Thomas Hart states:

Christ both divine and human makes genuine humanity impossible... if there are two natures in him, it is clear which will dominate and Jesus becomes immediately very different from us…what kind of temptation is this?

Professor of theology John Knox comments:

the assertion of Christ’s pre-existence, placed a strain, so to speak, upon the humanity of Jesus which it was unable to is simply incredible that a divine person should have become a fully and normal human person—that is, if he was also to continue to be, in his essential identity, the same person.


Jesus was like other humans, he was mortal—he was not a hybrid in any sense as the writer to the Hebrews shows:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil…17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect...” (Heb. 2:14, 17 ESV).

Also, in promoting the humanity of Jesus, John’s statement was to counter the false teaching of Gnostic docetism which taught that Jesus only seemed to be human and that as a spirit he came into a human body rather than coming as a human. So, John says: “Many deceivers have gone into the world who do not confess that Jesus Christ came as a human being (Gk en sarki). This kind of person is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

Jesus Was Not Transferred – He Was Begotten​

In the case of a so-called pre-existent ‘God the Son’ or other pre-existent being the human nature must have come from the human Davidic line through Mary’s chromosomes, and the second nature must have come supposedly by the transfer of something of an existing spirit being implanted in Mary’s womb by God. So clearly the teaching that Jesus was 100% human and yet had pre-existed is contradictory. More importantly, such a supposed transferring of an already existing person goes beyond the description of the origin of Jesus in Luke, Matthew or any Scripture. Nowhere do the Scriptures speak of any transfer of a life form into Mary’s womb. Rather Matthew 1:20 speaks of, “that which was begotten (generated) in her.” To generate something means to bring it into existence.

The Descendant from David

or the Person from Heaven – But Not Both​

The two natures teaching and the incarnation teaching are totally at odds with the Scriptures because Jesus is shown to be a lineal descendant of Abraham and David (Matt. 1:1) and so having genetics transmitted from them to Mary. Otherwise, Jesus would not have been a descendant of David because of not being completely from the human gene pool. Furthermore, the scriptural fact remains that Jesus has a single nature—human, partly from the female genetics of Mary and partly from male genetics provided by the “power of the Most High”—God. Only a combination of female and male human genetics can produce a human.

Although we do not have detailed information to explain how the begetting of Jesus took place, we do know that “power of the Most High will overshadow you [Mary]” (Luke 1:35). In this statement there is no mention of the transfer of another entity into Mary’s womb. However, if we imagine that it had actually been possible for the real disembodied personality or life-force of a so-called ‘God the Son’ to be transferred to Mary’s womb and to have been combined with the Davidic genetics in one of Mary’s eggs, Jesus would then have been a hybrid who was half human and half god/spirit. Such a concept is never stated in the Scriptures and does not fit with the biblical data. In fact, Jesus was the equivalent “of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Rom. 5:14 ESV). As a mortal it is impossible that Jesus had previously existed as an immortal i.e., as a spirit being (Luke 20:36).

Jesus’ Temptations

The Scriptures show that, when being tested, Jesus had no supernatural advantage over any other human; yet this is exactly what he would have had if he had previously been a spirit person. However, Jesus was: “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet with- out sin” (Heb. 4:15 ESV). So, if Jesus had any recollection of a previous life as the agent of the physical universal creation it would have rendered his temptation virtually futile. To put Jesus in such a position would dramatically detract from his superb achievement in having been tested and yet having never sinned.

The Disciples Pose No Excited Questions about

Prior Life in Heaven

If, in fact, Jesus was telling his disciples that his previous residence was heaven with God and all the angels, why do the Scriptures not record a vast array of questions from the disciples as to what it was like in heaven and what angels are really like and indeed what God is really like visually. Instead, the writers made much of the fact that, after resurrection, Jesus went to heaven to sit at God’s right hand.

NOTE: In reality the phrase ‘pre-existence of Jesus’ makes no sense because one is either human or not. This false concept is better expressed as: ‘the non-human origin of Jesus.’



The Faulty Idea of a Literally

Pre-Existent Jesus

Development of the Idea of Literal Pre-Existence

We first need to look at how the idea of a pre-existent Jesus as a so-called ‘God the Son’ originated. The first thoughts about pre-existent persons originated in the pagan world with Plato and were later developed by Xenocrates (d.314 B.C). In time, the first century Middle Platonic philosopher Numenius introduced the idea of a second transcendental entity between the Supreme Being and the universe. This entity, subordinate to the Supreme God, was called the Demiurge—meaning maker or builder. Because matter was viewed as evil, God could not have any association with it. Only the Demiurge could deal with it and so he acted as builder or agent of the material creation.

Furthermore, the concept that Jesus had existed in a different form prior to his birth from Mary has been believed by many since about A.D. 150 when the Christian philosopher Justin Martyr first used the word pre-existence with reference to Jesus. However, Justin was a believer in the idea that Socrates and Plato were inspired by God. He had been thoroughly schooled in the Greek philosophical thinking of his day, including the thoughts of Numenius whose ideas he found attractive. With his mind so receptive, Justin found it easy to apply such ideas in his interpretation of the New Testament. This was similar to the thinking of the Jewish philosopher Philo, who had earlier reinterpreted the Hebrew Scriptures in pagan Greek terms. In spite of the fact that the word demiourgos appears only in Hebrews 11:10 and refers to God, Justin applied the Demiurge concept to Jesus speaking of him as an “arithmetically second God” saying, “There is and there is said to be another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because he announces to all men whatsoever the Maker of all things.” To develop his thinking Justin inaccurately quoted and even modified Scripture. He held that Jesus only came through Mary not from her as Matthew describes. Justin also stated, “…though I should not be able to prove his pre-existence…For some of our race, who admit that he is the Christ, while holding him to be man of men; with whom I do not agree.” This is in direct contradiction of the Apostle John’s words that: “Every inspired expression that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God…” (1 John 4:2) i.e., a fully human Jesus. So, Catholic theologian Karl-Josef Kuschel shows pre-existence of Jesus to be the first major step away from biblical Christianity when he makes the comment that:

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

Earlier the Apostle Paul had foretold that, “They will ... wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3, 4 ESV). He also said that some would come, “preaching another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4). Indeed, this pagan Greek teaching of a pre-existent Jesus was further developed by the Gnostics who taught that Jesus was not a human but ‘a spirit being’ inhabiting a human body.

The idea of Literal Pre-Existence Is Illogical​

In Greek pagan philosophical ideas, the concept of the literal pre-existence of a spirit being in heaven with an intangible body who later became the human embryo, as applied to Jesus in Mary’s womb would mean any one of the following:

The whole spirit being was transferred completely and directly into the womb of Mary. Or

The whole spirit being was changed directly into a human embryo in Mary’s womb. Or

The personality of the spirit being was transferred directly into the human embryo. Or

The life or intangible life-force of the spirit being was transferred directly into the human embryo.

In analysing the above four proposals it is evident that:

#1. If the whole spirit being had been transferred completely and directly into the womb of Mary it would create a physical hybrid i.e., part spirit/part human. This is the very Gnostic mythological teaching which early Christianity slaved to keep out of the Christian Assembly; yet it reappeared in the form of the later speculations in Trinitarianism whereby a proposed ‘God the Son’ entered Mary’s womb and was born as Jesus—a being who was a God/man.

#2. If the whole spirit being had been changed completely into a human embryo in Mary’s womb then a fully human Jesus would be the result. However, such a change would:

Be a Greek philosophical speculation which has also been used by science fiction writers.

Break God’s law for there being no crossing of the barriers of the species i.e., everything as being kept “according to its kind” (Gen. 1:21, 24) and therefore no change from angel to human is possible.

Preclude any past connection with the previous life regarding character, accumulated knowledge/wisdom, and supernatural powers because Jesus would go through the stages from embryo to child etc. So, we must ask: At what point in his life would Jesus have acquired such abilities? However, the Bible provides no hint of any time when he gained these, only that God did miraculous works through him (Acts 2:22, 23; 10:38; John 5:19, 14:10b). In other words, Jesus never, at any time, intrinsically had any super-powers or abilities. So, for Yahweh God to have transferred a whole spirit person to a womb would be a pointless exercise and Yahweh may just as well have directly made a replacement Adam from the dust of the ground.

#3. If the life as the personality of the spirit person had been transferred directly into the human embryo, then a hybrid human Jesus would still be the result, because of his having the character, accumulated knowledge, wisdom, and abilities of the supernatural spirit person. But this concept would mean that:

  • Personality is something separate from body? But is one’s body only the external and the personality only the internal part of a person? Such an idea smacks of the pagan Greek concept of the inner person as being a separate soul.
  • Such a person would, in some sense, be superhuman and therefore not really a human.

#4. If the life, as the intangible life-force of the spirit person, had been transferred directly into the human embryo, then, in biblical terms, an impossible scenario arises because life or life-force is impersonal and pervades all of living creation. So, there could be no transferral of the intangible life-force of any specific spirit person, which leaves the creation of a Jesus who is fully and purely human with no connection to any past life.

One Cannot Exist Before One Exists

Because no one can exist before they exist it is proposed by some Trinitarians that ‘God the Son’ gave up who he was to become a human. However, no one can give up who they are and continue to be the same person. Therefore, the connection with the so-called ‘God the Son’ is completely lost. Again, such ideas only originate in Greek mythology.

For Jesus to have been 100% human neither the former ‘life’ nor the personality nor the complete spirit person could be part of his constitution. So, no spirit person or his former ‘life’ or personality could have been transferred to Mary’s womb; otherwise, he would indeed have been either a hybrid or entirely a spirit having taken on human form. These factors make the whole concept taught by many denominations impossible. In fact, the concept of a literal pre-existence really would require the creation of a single person having two natures—human and spirit and therefore being a hybrid as in some forms of Trinitarianism. Indeed, if one wishes to propose a Jesus who pre-existed, then either:

  1. Jesus was really a spirit creature clothed in an embryonic human body and who later, at his death, left that human body and returned to heaven. Or:

  1. Jesus was really a spirit being who had been re-formed into an embryonic human and so was a hybrid i.e., part man/part spirit but not 100% man. At his resurrection he was then re-formed back into a spirit being. Or:

  1. At his conception in Mary Jesus received the life or personality i.e., characteristics of a spirit being with supernatural power and knowledge.

Scripturally, however, Jesus is begotten (i.e., fathered—brought into existence) in Mary’s womb. The term ‘begotten’ means that a completely new life came into existence (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:32, 35; Gal 4:4), and so literal pre-existence is untenable. Jesus is always fully human both from birth and after his resurrection. Therefore, God as “Father” begot a human son and Mary ‘conceived’ a child—she did not ‘receive’ a child.

In #1 above Jesus is not human at all. It would amount to a transferring of a spirit life into Mary’s womb rather than a begetting of a new human life. He would have retained all past knowledge and qualities and so giving him a massive advantage when being tested.

In #2 Jesus would have been a hybrid who was part god/part human i.e. having two natures and being only half human. This, too, would amount to a transferring of a life into Mary’s womb rather than a begetting of a new fully human life. As the growing child’s mind developed, he would have begun to recall all past knowledge and qualities and so giving him a massive advantage when being tested and therefore he would not have been tested fairly as a human.

In #3 Jesus would also have been a hybrid by virtue of his having such supernatural characteristics of the spirit being.


As an analogy consider that if someone removes a car engine from say a Nissan Micra and has it fitted into a Rolls Royce does one still have a genuine Rolls Royce? Absolutely not!! It is a very substandard hybrid Rolls Royce/Micra. So, if a powerful spirit being existed in heaven and then was transferred to the womb of a human woman, he still carries with him the spirit equivalent of DNA code which is then hybridized with human genetics and so is sub-standard in all respects rather than his being the perfect human that is detailed in the Scriptures. It is pointless for anyone to claim that they view Jesus as 100% human because that does not fit with their presentation of a scenario in which a pre-existent person is reformed in the womb of a human. Again, please note the impossibility of transferring a personality without its body.


However, the Scriptures show that Jesus did not have two natures, therefore making it impossible for him to have pre-existed unless we say that an entire spirit being was transferred directly into Mary’s womb with no connection being made with any of her genetic material. If so, then Mary would simply have been a surrogate rather than Jesus’ real mother and Jesus would have been fully spirit but changed into human form and so have been an incarnation. Such a concept, found within the rejected Greek Gnostic teaching of the second century, smacks of paganism inasmuch as it is associated with the idea of pre-existing souls commonly found also in Buddhism and Hinduism.

The Jews Believed in Ideal and Notional Pre-Existence

Rather Than Literal Pre-Existence

The Greek word for literal pre-existence is pro-uparchon and is used in the Scriptures on only two occasions (Acts 8:9 and Luke 23:12 both times rendered “previously”), but never in relation to Jesus or any other person. So, in the Scriptures there is no word or phrase for a non-human origin i.e., a literal pre-existence of a person. However, the Jews did express the concept of ‘notional’ or ‘ideal’ pre-existence and among several definitions the term “notional” means “not existing in reality” and the term “ideal” means “existing only in the mind i.e., conceptual. So, in God’s purposes this means that He holds in mind a picture of what He intends to accomplish, how it will be accomplished, and who will be involved; none of which things actually exist until their time to come into literal existence. This means that it is a foreknowledge or fore- ordination of something or someone i.e., prophetic. So ‘notional’ or ‘ideal’ pre-existence is when, “God...calls the things that are not as though they are” (Rom. 4:17 LEB). This concept was demonstrated, for example, in the case of Jeremiah who was foreknown but did not literally pre-exist (Jeremiah 1:5 also see Romans 8:29; 9:2 3 and Ephesians 1:4). Additionally, hope and inheritance can be foreknown e.g., “…the hope that is laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5 NASB) and Christians have, “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4 NASB).


Certainly, the notion of Messiah’s future existence was in God’s mind as part of His predetermined plan or purpose. So, Messiah was, “delivered according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2:23 ESV) (other versions say: “predetermined plan” NASB, “determined purpose” NKJ, and “prearranged plan” NLT). In fact, Jesus was the Messiah:

“…who was foreknown (“predestined” in REB and Moffatt) before the foundation of the world, but has been revealed in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20 LEB).

So, James Dunn comments on this verse that: 1 Peter 1:20 the key verb (“was made manifest”) is set in antithesis with ‘predestined’. That is to say that the contrast is not between pre-existence and incarnation, but between that which was predestined and that which was revealed...In other words, Peter may well mean that what was made manifest was not so much Christ as what was predestined for Christ, God’s eternal plan. Christology in the Making, p.237.

Also, Christians are similarly foreknown, they are those: “who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:1, 2) and that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4 ESV). Yet Christians did not literally pre-exist, they notionally pre-existed i.e., in God’s mind, because to foreknow is to have the supernatural ability to know someone before they literally exist as with Jeremiah in 1:5.


In terms of the requirement for a sacrificial death that would pay the ransom because of Adam’s sin, God could foretell what He had pre-determined concerning the one who would be that sacrifice. This means that the sacrifice existed in God’s mind i.e., it notionally pre-existed as the sacrificial human “Lamb of God” who has:

“…the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

Here the word-for-word in the UBS Interlinear of this passage reads as: “book of the life of the lamb having been slain from the foundation of the world.” This is according to the syntax of the Greek text. However, the Lamb was not literally slaughtered before the foundation of the world. Rather he, as the slain lamb, was foreknown in God’s mind. This is as Bible scholar Robert Hatch has well stated:

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 Prophetic Pre-existence of the Messiah.


Although some denominations do not teach that Jesus has always literally existed as “God the Son,” but that he is a created being, nevertheless there are differences of opinion as to when Jesus came into existence. So, just when did “the Son of God” come into existence?



When Did the Son of God

Come into Existence?

Please consider the following key facts concerning Jesus in relation to literal pre-existence:

Relatively few Scriptures are used in the attempt to prove a literal pre-existence of Jesus.

The Hebrew Scriptures pointed forward to a future existence of the Son of God—Messiah.

The “Son of God” came into existence at his begetting in Mary’s womb.

The “Son of God” was literally begotten just once.

The Son was exalted to pre-eminence only after his resurrection.

The Son did not speak prior to his recorded life.

No Greek Bible text says that the Son goes back to the Father.

The second “man” did not exist until the resurrection of Jesus.

Relatively Few Scriptures Are Used in the

Attempt to prove a Literal Pre-Existence of Jesus

The vast majority of the Scriptures provide no support at all for a doctrine of a literal pre-existence of Jesus. For instance, from the entire Hebrew Scriptures only Genesis 1:26; Proverbs 8:22, 30; and Micah 5:2 have been advanced in any attempt at such proof. Yet in the New Testament Scriptures there is no hint of pre-existence in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 and 2 Peter 1, 2 and 3 John or Jude.


The primary book used for proof of a literal pre-existence of Jesus is the Gospel of John. Additionally, Philippians 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 8:6 are viewed as supporting evidence of the literal pre-existence of Jesus. Furthermore, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:10-12, and Revelation 3:14 are used in an attempt to prove Jesus’ creatorship of the material universe. However, three important questions must be asked:

Are the “pre-existence” statements literal or notional? By notional or ideal pre-existence is meant that God foreordained and promised the coming of the Messiah, and that the Messiah was earlier in God’s mind/plan.

Does the context of the “creation” statements concern the material creation or the “New” creation?

Have the texts which are supposed to teach literal pre-existence and creatorship been correctly rendered and correctly analysed?


In spite of Luke’s tracing of “all things carefully from the beginning” there is no mention throughout his Gospel of Jesus having existed in another form prior to his birth:

“…it seemed best to me also—because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning—to write them down in orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty concerning the things about which you were taught” (Luke 1:3, 4 LEB).

If the idea of literal pre-existence of Jesus were true, then from his own words, Luke could not possibly have left out this vital information for Theophilus to “know...from the beginning.” Luke firmly and plainly places the coming into existence of the Son of God at the time of his conception in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:32, 35). What Luke describes is not any transformation of an existing person into subsequent human existence. Furthermore:

The gospel of Matthew similarly gives no hint of a non-human origin for Jesus. It, too, explains Jesus’ conception as his time of coming into existence, i.e., his begetting (Matt. 1:18, 20).

The Gospel of Mark does not deal with the conception and birth of Jesus at all, but begins with the events concerning his baptism. However, a thorough examination of Mark’s entire Gospel reveals no hint of a pre-existence of Jesus.

The same applies to the entire book of Acts, Luke’s second volume where he says: “I produced the former account, O Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…” (Acts 1:1 LEB).

Indeed, Luke’s reference here back to his first account, which included the statements concerning the coming into existence of the Son of God (1:35), shows that the person Jesus only did and said things after his birth. This fact is also expressed in Hebrews 1:2, a verse which shows that Jesus could not have pre-existed himself. Also, from Acts we must ask: Why did the only official meeting of the body of Christians, namely the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15, discuss the major issue of whether or not Gentile Christians should keep the Mosaic Law, and yet make no mention of what would be a revolutionary revelation—that the Messiah had previously been “God the Son” in heaven?


Raymond Brown was America’s leading Catholic biblical theologian. In his book, Birth of the Messiah he stated that Matthew and Luke: “show no knowledge of Jesus’ pre-existence; seemingly for them the conception was the becoming (begetting) of God’s Son.” (p. 31). Also, in Church History of the First Three Centuries (p. 65.) distinguished Greek scholar F. C. Baur says: “The idea of pre-existence lies completely outside the Synoptic [Matthew, Mark and Luke] sphere of view.” Furthermore, in the Hastings Dictionary of the Bible Vol. 4, p. 576 Professor William Sanday of Oxford noted that: “…there is not a single reference in the Synoptic Gospels to Jesus having been the Son of God before his birth.”

2. The Hebrew Scriptures Pointed Forward

to a Future Existence of the Son of God as Messiah

Did any of the Hebrew Scriptures direct Jews of the first century to expect a Son of God, that is, the Messiah, to be one who was already in existence and who had to give up conscious life as a ‘God the Son,’ or an archangel or heavenly being? Please note the following Messianic prophecies:

“And I will put enmity…between your [the serpent’s] seed and her [the woman’s] seed (Gen. 3:15 NASB) (“who is Christ” Gal. 3:16).

This showed that Messiah was to be a descendant of “the woman” and by definition must be one who comes into existence after that ancestor already exists. Furthermore, enmity did not already exist between Messiah and the serpent’s seed but was to be a future hostility. So, God later said to Moses: ‘“Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.’…17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel …’” (Num. 24:14-17 ESV). This prophecy shows that Messiah comes “in the latter days” and is to be a lineal descendant of Jacob. There is no hint of him existing from any time before that as is the case in Deuteronomy 18 where God says:

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you [Moses] from among their brothers” (Deut. 18:18 ESV).

This was shown to be fulfilled in Acts 3:22, 7:37 and John 6:14. However, in none of these prophecies is there a hint of origination from the spirit world. But rather this ultimate prophet would originate from human stock as Isaiah prophesied:

“And now Yahweh says, who formed me from the womb as a servant for him, to bring Jacob back to him …” (Isaiah 49:5 LEB).

The quotation of Isaiah 49:6 by Luke (2:32) shows this to be a prophecy concerning the Messiah. Also Psalm 22 is a prophecy concerning the Messiah as proved by its quotations in the Gospels. So, this verse strongly indicates that Messiah had God as his God and Father only from his birth. He could therefore not have been “the only-begotten son” before that time. Indeed, “from my mother’s womb you have been my God” (Ps. 22:10 ISV).


Please note that in the following texts, the verb tenses are all future and so showing that “the Son of God” did not come into existence until a time later than the giving of these prophecies. So, God said: “I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me…Your [David’s] dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before me. Your throne will be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:14-16). Later Isaiah foretold that, “The virgin will conceive, have a son…” (Isa. 7:14 CSB) i.e., he becomes the Son in the future. Isaiah continues by saying, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us…” (Isa. 9:6 CSB) (Lit. “is given” but of the prophetic past tense, meaning “will be given”). Although initially applying to Solomon, this last prophecy is repeated in 1 Chronicles 17:13 and is applied in Hebrews 1:5 to Jesus. Furthermore, 2 Samuel 7:19 says it will be “in the future and the generation to come.” Indeed, proof that “the Son” did not exist from eternity but from a particular day is seen in the second Psalm saying: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” (Ps. 2:7 RSV). Lexically, the word “begotten” means “brought into existence” and because this is a prophecy, the Son of God did not exist prior to the writing of this Psalm. This passage is also quoted in Hebrews 1:5 and Acts 13:33 showing the fulfilment when “the Son” did come into existence, namely, a particular “today.”

NOTE: The translating of Acts 13:33 in the KJV wrongly makes the application of this to Jesus’ resurrection.

Furthermore, the Son of God is to be given a place as firstborn. This was to be future from the writing of the Psalms:

“He [Messiah] will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. I will also make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth’” (Ps. 89:26, 27 LEB).

So, all the above statements concern a future begetting or bringing into existence of God’s firstborn Son. The son is promised and so is not pre-existent. So, if a son is alive before he is alive as a human person, this would lead to the impossible and unscriptural idea of a passing through the womb as taught by Justin Martyr as early as A.D. 150 and would, therefore, be an incarnation, which is entirely a pagan concept.


On the basis of Jesus’ statement that he is the root…of David,” Trinitarians argue that Jesus must have pre-existed David. However, Messiah is said to sprout from David’s father Jesse when, “…a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (Isa. 11:1 CSB). The fulfilment of Isaiah 11:1 is shown in Revelation 22:16: “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” To account for this apparent discrepancy, it is important to know that as well as growing upwards a plant grows downwards to form the root. So, Jesus as the stump, root or shoot is derived from, in this case, Jesse and later David. Jesus is always the descendant (offspring) of David throughout the Scriptures. He is never called the ancestor of David (although he does become David’s “lord” Ps. 110:1). This is a case of letting the plain Scriptural language interpret the figurative language. Just as the fully human Moses had not pre-existed, so too, the Messiah would be a person who was fully human and one promised to be God’s Son at a future time. He was the seed of humans—a woman, Abraham, and David. The overshadowing of Mary by holy spirit did not change this seed from being human. If “the Son” already had existence completely independent of the genetic line of Jesse, then he would have only come through and not from the stump of Jesse. For that reason, he would then not be truly a descendant of David. So, to clarify this point the REB renders Revelation 22:16 as: “I am the offspring of David, the shoot growing from his stock...”

3. The Son of God Came into Existence at His

Begetting in Mary’s Womb​


Luke makes it very clear that “the Son of God” was brought into existence in Mary’s womb when Gabriel told her: For that reason (Gk dio kai) [the creative miracle in Mary] the Holy One who is born (aorist of gennao = “brought into existence” or “fathered”) from you will be called God’s Son (Luke 1:35 N.T. Wright). The Greek dio kai means “precisely for that reason.” It does not meanfor that reason also’ as mistakenly entered in the KJV and the NKJV. In fact, Protestant theologian Wolfhart Pannenburg states that:

In Luke the divine Sonship is established by the almighty activity of the divine Spirit upon Mary (Luke 1:35). Jesus’ divine Sonship is explicitly established by his miraculous birth…Jesus’ virgin birth stands in an irreconcilable contradiction to the christology of the incarnation of a pre-existent Son of God. Jesus God and Man (pp. 120, 143).

Also, in volume 1, (p. 105) of his History of Dogma Professor Adolf Harnack also notes that: “The miraculous genesis of Christ in the virgin and a real pre-existence of Christ are of course mutually exclusive.


Holy spirit at Jesus’ conception was the cause of his becoming the Son of God. Therefore, Jesus was never God’s Son at any time prior to his conception. Because Jesus came into existence as the Son of God when he was conceived in Mary’s womb, he could not have already been in existence as the Son of God! So, Gabriel states that: “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32 CEB). However, Matthew 5:9 and Luke 6:35 demonstrate that the phrase, “will be called sons of Godmeans exactly the same as for Christians who will be sons of the Most High.(Luke 6:35) and yet they did not pre-exist. Furthermore, this one was going to be great. This means that if he had pre-existed his birth, he certainly would not have been great. That goes completely against the idea of him having been a so-called ‘God the Son’ previously.


Marshall’s Interlinear Translation, under its Greek text of Matthew chapter one, makes it clear that Jesus’ very beginning or origin was when he was begotten by God in Mary’s womb. This is right at the beginning of Matthew’s description which introduces Jesus with the words, “The book of the generation (“origin” in the KGV—Gk geneseos from genesis) of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1) and “…the birth (“origin” in the KGV—Gk geneseos) of Jesus Christ was...Mary…was found to be pregnant by holy spirit” (Matt. 1:18). In his detailed birth narrative Matthew uses the word genesis in 1:1 and 1:18. In Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon the word “genesis” is defined as: “One’s coming into being at a specific moment, birth” as well as “state of being—existence” and “of ancestry as point of origin.” However, one’s actual origin—one’s genesis—implies the event of one’s coming into existence, and so refers to the time of one’s conception in the womb and not to the event of one’s birth. According to all Greek-English lexicons the usual Greek word for “birth” is gennesis and not genesis, although this can also mean “birth.” However, “birth” is not the right meaning in the context of Matthew 1:18 because the next thing stated in verse 18 of Matthew’s account is that, “Mary…was found to be pregnant by holy spirit.” So, the word “genesis,” as used in 1:18, does not concern Jesus’ birth but his begetting i.e., his point of coming into existence—his beginning. Indeed, because the Greek of Matthew 1:18 has the word genesis and not gennesis it should never have been translated as “…the birth of Jesus Christ was ...” but as: “The origin of Jesus Christ was…” or “The beginning of Jesus Christ was…” Also, Matthew 1:1 is best translated as “The book of the origin” of Jesus Christ…” or “The book of the beginning of Jesus Christ.” This shows that Jesus ‘originated’ in a line from Abraham, and so Darby’s translation reads: “Book of the generation of Jesus Christ.” In fact, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Bart Ehrman states that: “the earliest and best manuscripts agree in introducing the passage with the words: ‘The beginning of Jesus Christ happened this way.’ The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, p. 75. Furthermore, Dr Hagner in the Word Biblical Commentary understands that Matthew 1:18: “Picks up the genesos, ‘origin’ of 1:1 and suggests that the biblos genesos, ‘record of origin,’ now reaches its goal.” So, although Matthew 1:1 involves Jesus’ ancestry—his origin because of his line of descent from Abraham through David—yet logically it “reaches its goal” when Jesus comes into actual existence at the end of that line i.e., his begetting as stated in verse 20. Furthermore, Marshall’s Interlinear Translation makes it clear that Jesus, by his begetting by holy spirit in Mary’s womb according to Luke 1:35, did not come into existence until he was ‘fathered,’ ‘generated,’ or ‘begotten’ by God in Mary, “… for the thing in her [which has been] begotten (“generated Gk gennethen from gennao) is by holy spirit” (Matt. 1:20). This Greek word egennesen (from gennao) meaning “fathered,” “was begotten,” “generated,” or “brought into existence” is used for the more than 40 individuals in Matthew’s genealogical list of the ancestors of Jesus who were ‘fathered’ i.e., brought into existence at conception. The rather dated word “begat,” as used in the KJV etc., gives the accurate meaning of gennethen but the New Jerusalem Bible expresses it accurately in modern terms as, for instance: “Abraham fathered Isaac.” Yet none of these 40 individuals had a pre-existence. So also, with reference to Jesus, the word gennethen does not allow for any pre-existence for him i.e., he did not exist as a person prior to his begetting in Mary’s womb. Matthew’s account in chapter one alone demonstrates that Jesus was not in existence at any time prior to his begetting by holy spirit. Therefore, at no time do the Matthew or Luke accounts indicate that Jesus was only coming into existence as a human, as though he was first alive and then merely passed through Mary rather than originating in her as Matthew 1:20 states. If these two accounts given by Luke and Matthew under inspiration are taken seriously, they negate all attempts to give Jesus an origin before his conception in Mary, which is why Matthew and Luke appear early in the New Testament Scriptures. They state that God ‘fathered’ Jesus or ‘brought him into existence’ by miracle at that time and therefore that must, in all logic, be when Jesus became the Son of God as is stated by Luke. In fact, a person is what he is according to his origin and he does not change from one being to another—not from a so-called ‘God the Son’ to becoming a human.


Because Micah 5:2 speaks of the origin of the Messiah this is usually quoted by some Trinitarians in an attempt to negate the above information from Matthew 1:1, 1:18, 1:20, and Luke 1:35, and so to show that Jesus existed before his begetting or being fathered in Mary’s womb. The passage states:

“As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces, one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you. His origin (Heb. motsaah) is from remote times (Heb. mikedem), from ancient days (Heb. olahm).”

Certainly, this passage is a prophecy about the Messiah. However, the Messiah—the Son of God—does not exist until he is born as Jesus. Furthermore, when one studies the details of the Hebrew words used in this passage it becomes evident that it does not prove Messiah’s existence as being before the material creation. Firstly, it must be noted that the Hebrew word meanings are:

= “goings forth” or “origin”

mikedem = “from of old” (see Hebrew interlinear and most translations)

olahm = “ancient days” (see Hebrew interlinear, NAB, ESV, NRSV, ROTH, S&G, REB, and NIV).

In Micah 5:2 the two terms mikedem and olahm are being used in Hebrew parallelism so that the NLT renders them as one thought: “whose origins are from the distant past.” There is here no meaning of eternity. So contrary to Trinitarianism there is no ‘eternal Son’ in Micah 5:2. Also there is here no meaning of time prior to the material creation. In fact, we find in Micah 7:20 a similar phrase to that used in 5:2 which points back only as far as the Hebrew forefathers, not to a time beyond the world’s creation. This verse says of God: “You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from days long ago (Heb. mikedem)” (Mic. 7:20 CSB) and, “I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen,…and rebuild it as in the days of old (Heb. olahm)”” (Amos 9:11 NRSV). Olahm is used also with reference to Moses’ time as “days of old” (Isa. 63:11). Also, The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis Vol. 3:347 states that:

Micah 5:2 predicts the coming of a messianic king from Bethlehem, whose origin was ‘from old, from ancient times (mime olam).’ Here the nom. phrase could well refer to the pristine days of the Davidic monarchy (as the reference to Bethlehem, David’s home town, suggests). It probably expresses the hope for the “new David” who would take control of the decrepit monarchy and restore Israel’s glory (cf. Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-25). While it is tempting to see here a reference to the eternal pre-existence of the Messiah, no such an idea is found in biblical or post-biblical Jewish literature before the Similitudes of Enoch, 1st cent. BC to 1st AD (1Enoch 48:2-6)...[And even there no pre-existence prior to birth, but prior to second coming].

According to the Anchor Bible Commentary on Micah the term motsaah:

describes the place from which something goes out, the place of sunrise, going out on a journey, a military campaign or being born. The latter connotation would make “mozaot” (goings forth), like “toledot” (generations), refer to David’s ancient lineage, preserved in the old genealogies (Ruth 4). The term “moza” can also refer to what goes forth from the mouth of God. This meaning would suggest that Micah is referring to the covenant guarantees that David’s line would endure forever, interpreted now as ancient predictions of a Davidic Messiah for the end time (Luke 1:32; 2 Sam. 7 “I will be his father and he will be my son”, Psalm 89:35, which says that God will not modify that “moza” of His lips, “what has gone forth from my lips concerning David”). Ps. 2 promises David dominion to the ends of the earth. Ps. 72 represents the fullest statement.

Furthermore, the New American Bible study notes explain Micah 5:2 as a reference to the Messiah’s descent from the ancient Davidic dynasty: “The tiny city and clan of Bethlehem-Ephrathah, from which comes the ancient Davidic dynasty (whose origin is from old, from ancient times) with its messianic king, one who is to be ruler in Israel.” And finally, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says: “origins” in Micah 5:2 refers to his (the Messiah’s) descent from the ancient Davidic family. Further to the NLT rendering of Micah 5:2, Moffatt’s rendering captures the real sense here with: “whose origin is of long descent.” So “origin” in Micah 5:2 refers to Jesus’ line of descent which, for the Jewish readers of Matthew chapter one, goes back to Abraham. Variously the Messiah is described as the son of David, the seed of Abraham, but also as the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). So, the “goings forth” or “origin” of the Messiah as “the seed of the woman” refers to his lineal descent through Abraham and David. He would be a male heir to David and at the same time God’s Son (2 Sam. 7:14). Furthermore, it would include the prophecies concerning Messiah as coming through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10) and his being an Israelite (Num. 24:17-19). Nothing here indicates any pre-existent person.


If “origin” in Micah 5:2 referred to a pre-Bethlehem, real existence of the Son, it would be in contradiction of Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:32, 35 which give details of the “origin” of Jesus as his begetting or being brought into existence by holy spirit to be God’s Son, i.e., his conception in Mary. Clearly, the context of the word ‘origin’ is different in Micah 5 to that in Matthew 1:18. The first refers to Messiah’s ancestry, while the latter refers to his personal coming into existence. In fact, referring to Micah 5:2, James Dunn, professor of divinity at Durham University, comments that the Hebrew does not suggest pre-existence. Cross-referencing shows that it likely was Micah 5:2 that the first century Jews had in mind, when they said: “Didn’t the scripture say that the Christ comes from David’s family and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” (John 7:42 CEB). Therefore, the Messiah, as the final descendant of the Davidic dynasty, is part of a dynasty that is ancient. This is what makes the Messiah’s origin ancient. In context it would be incorrect to assume that this meant that the Messiah existed before the world’s creation. Similarly, in trying to assess who Jesus is the Apostle John reveals that: “When some in the crowd heard these words, they said, “This man is truly the prophet.” Others said, “He’s the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ can’t come from Galilee, can he?’” (John 7:40, 41 CEB). And when asked by Jesus: “Who do people say the Human One is?” They [the disciples] replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets” (Matt. 16:13, 14 CEB). Also, John 1:49 presents Nathaniel’s recognition of Jesus as: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are king of Israel.So, in no case does anyone suggest that Jesus was a pre-existent spirit being or a so-called ‘God the Son.’

4. The “Son of God” Was Begotten Once

Every single individual described in the Scriptures as having been literally begotten came into existence only at the time of his/her conception that is his or her being fathered. So, we are told regarding Jesus that: “…That which was begotten (‘generated’ from the Greek word gennao) in [Mary] was of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:20 YLT). The dictionary definition of gennao as rendered “to beget” is to originate, to cause to exist. So, in Christology in the Making James Dunn gives the following definition:

begetting—the coming into existence of one who will be called and will in fact be the Son of God, not the translation of a pre-existent being to become the soul of a human baby or the metamorphosis of a divine being into a human foetus, p. 5.

It is incorrect to say that it was only as a human that Jesus was begotten at his conception. It is the person—the individual—who first came into existence at that time. It is illogical to propose that anyone could be begotten in essence, that is, come into existence twice literally!


However, Christians are “born again,” that is, spiritually begotten as John shows when he says: “…everyone having been begotten (Gk gegennemenos) of God sins not, but the one begotten (Gk gennetheis) of God keeps him” (1 John 5:18 Marshall’s Interlinear). Or in plain English:

“…anyone born of God does not practice committing sin, but the One who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him…” (1 John 5:18 Amplified Bible). See also NAB, Darby, and YLT).

The phrase having been begotten” is in the perfect tense in the Greek text indicating an ongoing condition in the case of Christians i.e., spiritual begetting. However, the phrase “the One who was begotten” with reference to Jesus, is in the aorist tense in the Greek and refers to a once only and never to be repeated event of the past—a literal physical begetting. Hence the begetting of Jesus occurred according to Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:35 only on the one occasion when he was supernaturally conceived/begotten in Mary’s womb.

The phrases in the KJV and NKJV of “only-begotten of a father,” “only begotten Son,” and “only begotten Son of God” which occur in John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18 and 1 John 4:9 all refer to Jesus’ uniqueness as a son and in particular to the uniqueness of his virginal begetting in Mary and in having no human father. This means that Jesus, although fully human, is never to be viewed as a “mere man”—he is a uniquely generated human person. So, because “begotten” means “brought into existence,” the idea of a transformation from one life form to another is logically excluded.

Note: The term “beget” is also occasionally used in Bible genealogies in a legal rather than biological sense.


The apostle Paul expresses Jesus’ coming into existence in the same terms as do Matthew and Luke. As generally translated, Paul states that: “…when the fulness of time did come, God sent forth His Son, come of a woman…” (Gal. 4:4 YLT). However, because of the aorist participle in the Greek it is better rendered:

“…when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who having come to be (Gk genomenon) out of (from) a woman…”

So, in the Word Biblical Commentary Richard Longenecker comments on Galatians 4:4:

4b “born of a woman, born under the law.” The last part of v 4 consists of two parallel participial clauses that set out two features regarding the person and work of God’s sent Son. The first, “born of a woman,” emphasizes his true humanity and representative quality. The aorist middle use of ginomai (“be,” “become”) for gennaw (“beget”; in the passive “be born”) was common in Jewish circles. … as a qualitative expression “born of a woman” speaks of Jesus’ true humanity and representative quality—i.e., that he was truly one with us, who came as “the Man” to stand in our place. Furthermore, as an elaboration of the formula “God sent his Son,” it suggests that God’s sending coincides with the Son’s human birth, which is a notion comparable to the theme of God’s call, commission, and sending of his prophetic servants from their birth that appears elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Isa 49:1, 5; Jer 1:5; and Paul’s own consciousness in Gal 1:15).

The aorist participles in this verse show that the “sending” occurred at the birth of God’s Son, i.e., the time when he was brought into existence, and not before his birth. Here in Galatians 4:4 God’s son comes into existence from a woman i.e., at his birth. Indeed, the Greek word genomenon is from the form ginomai and this is defined as: “To come into existence. To come into being through process of birth (Gal. 4:4).” (Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon). This excludes the idea of one who came through Mary as would be the case with someone who had had a pre-human existence. If there was a pre-existence, then terms such as incarnation or transmigration or transmutation or transformation would be appropriate. But in the case of the Son of God, the Bible describes the beginning of a new person, exactly as prophesied in Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. So in Galatians 4:4 it quite clearly shows that Jesus was the Son of God precisely because he had a human mother and God as his Father.


“You are my Son, today I have begotten you” (Ps. 2:7 NASB) is shown to be a fulfilled prophecy in Hebrews 1:5 and Acts 13:33 when Jesus was born. However, there is a translation issue with Acts 13:33. The phrase “raised up” was mistranslated in the KJV as “raised up again.” The literal translations and the NKJV and NIV have corrected this. Also, F.F. Bruce states with reference to Acts 13:33 that: “The promise of v.23, the fulfilment of which is described in v.33, has to do with the sending of the Messiah, not his resurrection (for which see v.34). Verse 34 adds “from the dead.”” Therefore, we are obliged to differentiate the word “raise up” in verse 33 from “raise from the dead” in verse 34. So, from the Septuagint we get the prophecy concerning Messiah’s begetting when God says: From the womb before the daystar I have begotten you” (Ps. 109:3 Brenton LXX (110:3 Masoretic). However, although the Masoretic text of this verse reads differently many Hebrew manuscripts have different vowel pointing that read as above. These include the Syriac Peshitta and the Hebrew text used by Origen (early church father). These may reflect a more accurate original text and show that the promised Messiah comes into existence (begotten) in a mother’s womb.


In the Gospel of Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus runs back through David to Abraham; but the genealogical record given by Luke takes things even further back to Adam (Luke 3:38). Both Matthew and Luke had ample opportunity for mentioning a pre-existence if they had believed that this was so with Jesus, but no such thing is described in their detailed accounts. Closely linked with Matthew’s genealogical list is the statement that Jesus came into existence in Mary’s womb (Matt. 1:20). The time and location of the origin of the Son of God are made transparently clear. Luke also states that the Son of God came into existence in Mary’s womb. (Luke 1:32, 35). Certainly, throughout the synoptic Gospels, Jesus is called “Son of David,” and is never called or linked with any spirit being. A ‘God the Son’ identity for the Son of God is plainly excluded. If Jesus had really literally pre-existed, he could not by definition have been the lineal and biological descendant of David. So, to speak of such a pre-existence simply contradicts all the Scriptures which show Jesus as coming into existence only at the time of his conception in Mary! Indeed, one cannot exist before one exists. Such an idea is illogical as is existence in another form.

  1. The Son Was Exalted to Pre-Eminence Only
after His Resurrection​

In most translations of Philippians 2:8-9 it reads: “Therefore (Gk dio kai) God has highly exalted him [Jesus]…” In fact, dio kai most specifically means “for this reason precisely” he has been exalted as in Luke 1:35. Also the Greek is accurately rendered in almost all translations by the word highly and demonstrates it as showing the superlative: “to the highest place” (NIV); “elevated him to the place of highest honor” (NLT). So, Jesus attained that supreme position under God, which would have been impossible if he already had it at an earlier time.


It was the fact that Jesus offered his life as the sacrifice for Adam’s sin that God consequently resurrected him to become the pre-eminent one. There is no mention in the Scriptures of Jesus having such a position at any earlier time. So, Paul calls Jesus: “…the firstborn from the dead, in order that He Himself might come-to-be holding-first-place in all things” (Col. 1:18 DLNT). This was because of “having made purification of sins.” (verse 3). It does not say that he was being restored to some past “God the Son” position in the universe; but that he is only now worthy of such inheritance because, “He humbled Himself, having become obedient to the point of death” (Phil 2:8 DLNT) and because of “having made purification of sins.” He was given this position because: “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8 CEB). It was only after this learning process culminated in his becoming obedient as far as death that he became pre-eminent and gained his superlative position next to God (Ps. 110:1, where he is “my lord” (Heb. adoni), but certainly not a second God in a God-head.

  1. Did “the Son” Speak Prior to His Recorded Life?

Some Trinitarians teach that Jesus had pre-existed himself as the angel who directed and led Israel through the wilderness. However, the writer to the Hebrews says otherwise concerning his Son, saying: “God after He had spoken at various times and in many ways in the past, to our forefathers through the prophets, at the end of those days spoke to us through a Son. God appointed him heir of everything, and designed the ages through him” (Heb. 1:1-2). So, the Son of God became God’s spokesman only “at the end of those days” in the first century; whereas God previously had used prophets and angels as His agents (Heb. 1:1, 2:2). If Jesus had been previously an angel, he most likely would have spoken for God prior to “the end of those days.” Yet in saying “to which one of the angels did he [God] ever say: ‘You are my son…” Hebrews 1:5 shows that the Son was never an angel and therefore never an archangel.

  1. No Greek Bible Text Says the Son Goes Back
to the Father

In the following texts many versions of John’s Gospel wrongly render Jesus’ words as “going back” or “returning” to the Father and so giving the impression that Jesus had a life prior to that which is reported by Matthew, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and the writer to the Hebrews. Yet, the Greek text is very clear on this. There is no word “back” in these texts or anything that implies ‘returning.’ So, the following passages are taken from the Greek in the UBS Interlinear translation:

“from God he came forth and to God is going.” John 13:3

“I to the Father am going.” John 14:12, 28; 16:28

“to the Father I go.” John 16:10, 17

“For not yet have I ascended to the Father.” John 20:17a

“I ascend to my my God.”
John 20:17b

So, Jesus never says he will be returning to the Father, as if he had been with Him previously, and the NKJV, NRSV, Rotherham, and KJV are main versions that are correct for all these verses.

8. The Second Man Did Not Exist until

the Resurrection of Jesus

First Corinthians 15:47 states that: “The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man (Gk anthropos) is from heaven.” However, it is often wrongly used in an attempt to prove a literal pre-existence of Jesus. This is back-to-front reasoning because:

The Scriptures never teach that, in about 2 B.C, a man (anthropos) came from heaven into Mary’s womb.

Jesus is “the man out of heaven”, the “spiritual” (V. 46), because of the resurrection (vss.45-46), and therefore becomes evident much later than the time of Jesus’ conception in Mary.

Verse 47 is within a chapter that deals with Jesus’ future reign (verse 23-28) and with the resurrection of Christians (verses 35-57). Also verse 49 states that, “we shall bear the image of the heavenly one” i.e., a future event. So, these factors indicate that the event when “the second man [will be] from heaven” will occur when Jesus returns at his parousia (Dan.7:13; Matt. 24:30, 26:64) after his wait at the right hand of God (Ps. 110:1) “until the times of restoration” (Acts 3:2, 21).

These points are summed up by Professor Emeritus Gordon Fee in The New International Commentary on the New Testament p.793:

Finally, for Paul now to refer to Christ’s pre-existence and incarnation would be to contradict the very point just made in vv. 45-46, that the pneumatikos comes second.

The following are only a few brief quotes from the extensive and detailed discussions of leading theologians on the issue of a pre-existent Jesus.

Professor James Dunn: “There is no indication that Jesus thought or spoke of himself as having pre-existed with God prior to his birth...A complete discontinuity between Jesus’ own self assertions and the subsequent claims made about him would constitute a fatal flaw...” Christology in the Making, p. 254.

Karl-Josef Kuschel: “The christology of Jewish Christianity, which had been dominant for decades and knew of no pre-existence christology, was increasingly swept aside and was finally branded heretical. a christology today which heedlessly uses the dogmatic theme of ‘pre-existence’ and introduces it into the NT foists on the NT an idea which it does not contain in this form.” Born Before All Time? pp. 392-394.

Professor James Mackey asks: “what exactly, according to this term [pre-existence] pre-exists what else, and in what sense does it do so…the logical path to alleged pre-existence is a tortuous one.” The Christian Experience of God as Trinity, p. 51.


However, some with a Trinitarian background may be asking: What about the verses that state that God “sent” Jesus and therefore he must have pre-existed? What is the real meaning of this term and in what sense was Christ “the rock” in the incidents in the desert wanderings of Israel?




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Feb 26, 2021
Wow, I thought I had lots of information. Thank you Ray for further filling up my arsenal. God bless