Part 8 Jesus Pre-existence
8.1 Verses supporting pre-existence
- John 17:5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
- John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
- 1 Jn 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.
- 1 Pe 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
- 1 Cor 10:3-4 ” they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.”
- Col 1:15-17 “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 by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
- Jn 6:41 The Jews therefore were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”
- Jn 6:46 “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.
- Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law
- Jn 1:15-19,29 He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”
- Jn 8:54 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews therefore said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
- Jn 3:31,34 He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all…. 34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God
- Jn 8:42 “If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
- Jn 7:28-29 You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 “I know Him; because I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
- Acts 2:25 “For David says of Him, ‘I was always beholding the Lord in my presence; For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
- Jn 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”
- Jn 8:23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.
- Phil 2:6 although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
- 2 Cor 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich.”
- Jn 6:62 “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?
- Micah 5:2 His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
- Jn 3:13 “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.
- Heb 1:9 “Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands
- Heb 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
- Jn 1:1-2,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth
- 1 John 1:1-2 What was from the beginning … which was with the Father
- 1 Tim 3:16 And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
- John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God, and was going back to God
- Mt 1:23 “behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
- Mt 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
- Jn 8:42 “If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.”
- Jn 7:28-29 You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 “I know Him; because I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
- Acts 2:25 “For David says of Him, ‘I was always beholding the Lord in my presence; For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
- “So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:45–49)
- Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.’
- 1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
- 1 Corinthians 15:47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
- Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
8.2 Incarnation trilogy passages (Contain all three elements)
|Jn 16:28||I came forth from the Father,||and have come into the world||I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”|
|Jn 8:22-23||23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.||Where I am going, you cannot come’?”|
|Rev 1:17-18||“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last||and the living One; and I was dead,||and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.|
|Titus 2:13||our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus||who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people||looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of|
|Phil 2:6||although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,||7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9||Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.|
|2 Cor 8:9||“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich,||yet for your sake He became poor||that you through His poverty might become rich.”|
|Eph 4:8-10||what does it mean except that He also had descended||into the lower parts of the earth?||Now this expression, “He ascended,” … He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.|
|Jn 16:5||who sent Me||“But now I am going to Him … and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’|
|Jn 6:60-62||62 “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?||Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble?||62 “What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before?|
|Jn 8:14||“Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true; for I know where I came from,||but you do not know where I come from, or where I am going.||and where I am going;|
|Micah 5:2||His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”||Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me||to be ruler in Israel|
|Heb 1:1-5||through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.||When He had made purification of sins||, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they|
|Jn 3:13-15||but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.||“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.||And no one has ascended into heaven|
|Hebrews is a detailed story of the incarnation||1:8 Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever
1:9 “Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands
|1:6 And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”
Heb 2:14 14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
Heb 4:14-15 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are”
|2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.|
|Heb 2:9||But we do see Him||who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death
Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same… Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things … For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
|crowned with glory and honor|
|Jn 1:1-5,14||In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”||And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth|
|1 John 1:1-2||What was from the beginning … which was with the Father||what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life- and the life was manifested … and was manifested to us (note warnings to Gnostics)|
|1 Tim 3:16||And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness:||He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world,||Taken up in glory.|
|Jn 17:5||with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.||And now||glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father|
|Acts 2||v25 ‘I was always beholding the Lord in my presence;
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.”
|v30 to seat one of his descendants upon his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ||33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God|
8.3 Arguments for pre-existence
1. Jesus’ Long History with Jerusalem
Both Matthew and Luke report Jesus saying the following:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34 NKJV)
At first glance this saying might not seem to imply Jesus’ pre-existence, but in context it does.
The statement that the people of Jerusalem “were not willing” refers to the times in the past when, instead of accepting the divine protection they were offered, they killed the prophets sent to warn them of impending judgment.
In other words, Jesus is saying that he often tried in the past to protect them from judgment by sending them prophets, but they rejected the offer of help.
The only alternative view with any plausibility is that Jesus is referring to several previous visits to Jerusalem during his human man life. But the saying appears to refer to past historical occasions however, when the city’s refusal resulted in its judgment-something that occurred repeatedly in Jerusalem’s long history and importantly not in the three or four years prior to Jesus’ death.
Furthermore, although the Gospel of John indicates that Jesus had visited Jerusalem three times previously during his human ministry (John 2:13; 5:1; 7:10), Matthew says nothing about such previous visits.
As Gathercole points out, “Within the narrative of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has neither been to Jerusalem, nor expressed any feeling about the city in his ministry up to this point.”‘ That Jesus is claiming to be the one who sent prophets and other emissaries is confirmed in his earlier statement in the same passage in Matthew:
“I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town” (Matt. 23:34).
Jesus is here referring to the messengers from among his disciples who will later suffer for their testimony to him, but when read together with verse 37, it appears that Jesus is claiming to be the one who also sent such messengers in the past.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing” Matt. 23:37
In the Old Testament and in other ancient Jewish literature it was, of course, God who sent prophets. Jesus’ lament that the Jews would not heed his repeated warnings through prophets and other messengers especially recalls the judgment expressed at the end of the books of Chronicles:
The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. (2 Chron. 36:15-16 NIV)
Furthermore, the metaphor that Jesus uses, comparing himself to a mother hen seeking to shelter her chicks under her wings, is familiar from the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish sources as descriptive of God’s offer of protection to his people (Dent. 32:11; Ruth 2:12; Ps. 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4)
We have good reason, then, to understand Jesus to be making a divine claim here. He is claiming not only to have been around during Old Testament times but also to have been the one who protected Israel when they were faithful and sent them prophets and other messengers whom they all too often rejected.
2. Christs example of Humility.
One of the most important biblical passages for our understanding of the person of Jesus Christ is Philippians 2:6-11:
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
In these six verses, Paul taught that Christ was a pre-existent person who was fully God and yet humbled himself by becoming human and dying on a cross (vv. 6-8).
Then, in Christ’s resurrection, God the Father exalted him in order that he might be honoured by all creation as their divine Lord (vv. 9-11).
In verse 6, Paul says that Christ, “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.” The natural way of understanding this statement-and the way that the vast majority of Christian interpreters historically have understood it-is that Christ existed “in the form of God” in heaven before he became a man.
Thus, Paul goes on immediately to say that Christ “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness,” and that he was “found in human form” (v. 7).
This is like saying that when an average guy on the street admits he is not equal to the President of the United States, that he should be praised for his humility. If Jesus was a creature then his unwillingness to claim equality with God is not an act of humility, it is reality and a simple recognition of fact.
When a slave stands before a king and admits he is not equal to the King, the slave is not praised for being humble. A slave who claims to be equal with the king commits treason. Slaves who are unwilling to commit such treason by claiming equality, are not praised as humble.
In fact, such a slave who actually expects commendation for “being humble”, by not claiming equality, would be seen as delusional at best, mentally ill at worst. A slave who says to a King, “Your Majesty, I just wanted you to know how humble I am because I don’t think I am equal to you”, is sent away for a psychiatric examination.
Paul: The Israelites and Christ in the Wilderness
Paul’s rather enigmatic statement about the Israelites in the wilderness probably refers to Christ as having been involved in its earliest history: “For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4).
This statement appears to be a reference to Christ’s real pre-existence, although some interpreters think Paul meant that the “rock” is a type of Christ. The latter view, however, does not easily fit Paul’s statement that “the rock was Christ.”‘
A few sentences later, Paul warns the Corinthian Christians, “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents” (v. 9). Here, Paul states that some of the Israelites in the wilderness “put Christ to the test,” and he warns the Corinthians not to make the same mistake.
Although some ancient Greek manuscripts have the reading “Lord,” the NRSV is almost certainly correct here in following the reading “Christ”. Therefore, we should understand Paul to have been affirming firming that Christ existed during the time of the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness.
Moreover, what Paul says here about Christ is what the Old Testament said about the Lord God: that the Israelites had put him to the test (Num. 14:22; 21:5-6; Ps. 78:18-20; 95:9). Once again, the New Testament affirms not only Christ’s pre-existence but also his divine pre-existence.
John: Jesus, Abraham, and Isaiah
In two passages in the Gospel of John in contexts that equate him with God, Jesus claims to have been around in the days of the Old Testament.
In the first of these passages, Jesus claims to have predated Abraham in a way that connotes eternal, divine pre-existence:
“Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” (John 8:56-59)
At a bare minimum, and beyond any reasonable doubt, Jesus here claims to have existed before Abraham was born.
English versions that are designed to give smooth, highly readable English renderings often translate Jesus’ statement in verse 58 to express this undeniable point very clearly: “The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!” (NLT).
K. L. McKay, a Greek grammarian, has asserted that the most natural translation is “I have been in existence since before Abraham was born.” McKay rightly notes that “the claim to have been in existence for so long is in itself a staggering one”‘
Most biblical scholars agree and go farther: Jesus’ statement in John 8:58 expresses not only existence prior to Abraham but also existence of a different order than that of Abraham. That is, they understand Jesus to be affirming that his existence antecedent to that of Abraham was the eternal pre-existence of deity.
John 8:58 contrasts Abraham, who “came into being” (genesthai, translated “was” in the NRSV), with Jesus, who simply is (which Jesus states in the first person, “I am,” ego eimi).
The statement recalls a classic affirmation of the eternal being of God in the Old Testament: “Before the mountains came into being [genethenai, the passive form of genesthai] and the earth and the world were formed, even from age to age, you are [su ei, the second-person equivalent of ego eimi]” (Ps. 90:2 [89:2 in LXX] ).
The Greek sentence here reflects the same grammatical structure as John 8:58 and uses the same verbs to make the same contrast between that which is created and temporal and the one who is uncreated and eternal. The reaction of Jesus’ critics to his statement-attempting to stone him (John 8:59) confirms that they thought he was making a divine claim.
Had Jesus stated only that he had been alive longer than Abraham, they might have regarded such a claim as crazy (as they apparently did with regard to his earlier comments, vv. 48-57), but not as an offense meriting stoning.
Of the offenses for which Jews practiced stoning, the only one that seems to fit the context here is blasphemy. Claiming to be older than Abraham might have been judged crazy, but it would not have been judged as blasphemy.
Speaking as if one were Abraham’s eternal God, on the other hand, would be quickly deemed blasphemous by Jesus’ critics, who of course did not recognize his divine claims as valid. In another passage in his Gospel, John comments on the failure of many of the people to believe in Jesus despite the many miracles they had witnessed him perform.
Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him…. And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-and I would heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. (John 2:37, 39-41)
The quotation in this passage is from Isaiah 6:10, part of the passage in which Isaiah recounts his call to the prophetic ministry. When John says that Isaiah “saw his glory,” he means the glory of Jesus as the context makes clear (vv.36-38; see also John 1:14).
But in the context of Isaiah 6, the glory that Isaiah saw was the glory of the Lord. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:1-3,)
Here again, John speaks of Jesus not only as having existed during Old Testament times but also as having been the glorious Lord who spoke to and through the prophets. Thus, this passage is another affirmation in the New Testament of the divine pre-existence of Jesus
Christ. Jude: Jesus Saved Israel and Destroyed the Unbelievers
Jude warns his readers about those “who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
Immediately after that warning, he starts giving examples from Jewish history, beginning with the Israelites’ apostasy in the wilderness.
“Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward ward destroyed those who did not believe.” (v. 5)
After speaking of Jesus Christ as “our only Master and Lord,” Jude could hardly have proceeded in the very next sentence to refer to someone other than Jesus as “the Lord.” The Lord who delivered his people out of Egypt, then, must be the Lord Jesus.
In fact, this is probably what the original text of Jude explicitly said. Many of the earliest manuscripts actually say “Jesus” instead of “the Lord” in verse 5, and this is most likely the original reading.”
According to Jude, the Lord Jesus not only existed during the time of the Exodus but was the one who both delivered Israel from Egypt and then destroyed the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness.
Son of Man Title
The use of the title “the Son of Man” suggests a heavenly origin for the one whom God sent. The Old Testament source of this title is Daniel 7:13-14, where “one like a son of man” (NIV) is a heavenly figure to whom God gives universal dominion and all peoples will one day serve.
Keying off the passage in Daniel, Jesus states that as that heavenly Son of Man he “came” not to be “served” but to serve by giving “his life” for many (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). Jesus first comes to serve us, after which we are to serve him (cf. Matt. 28:16-20).
Jesus: Older Than Dirt
The New Testament pushes the existence of the Son of God back long before the days of Israel. It teaches that Christ was around-and involved-in the creation of the world!
Paul wrote that “in him [God’s Son] all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-all things have been created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16).
Paul’s statement here clearly means that the Son existed before all things were created. What Paul says, of course, also distinguishes God’s Son from the entire realm of all creation. The apostle John agreed:
“All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being…. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him” (John 1:3, 10).
The book of Hebrews says that God “has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).
The logic is simple enough: “If indeed everything came into being through Christ, then there is no option other than that he existed before that creation.”
In all three of these passages, the authors make other statements that confirm their meaning-the person known as Jesus Christ pre-existed creation.
After saying that all things were created in, through, and for the Son, Paul adds, “He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Paul here states emphatically that the Son exists prior to all creation.”.
Since the creation of the universe is also the beginning of time (Heb. 1:2) to say that Christ exists “before” creation is to say in effect that he has always existed-that his existence had no beginning.
Paul’s statement in an earlier epistle that Christians believe in “one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor. 8:6) should likewise be understood to entail his existence before creation.
Just before John states that all things came into existence through Christ-whom he calls the “Word” (logos)-John says, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Here, John asserts that the Word already existed “in the beginning,” hearkening back to the beginning of creation (cf. Gen. 1:1).
That “the Word” was a person, and not some abstraction, is made clear by John’s next statement, “and the Word was with God” (pros ton theon,1:1).
The word pros (here translated “with”) in this context denotes personal association with someone else.
This is confirmed later in the same Gospel when John says that Jesus was going “to depart from this world and go to the Father [pros ton patera]” and that he “had come from God and was going to God [pros ton theon]” (John 13:1, 3; see also John 7:33; 14:12, 28; 16:5, 10, 17, 28; 20:17).
The one who was close to God the Father in the very beginning had come from him and was about to depart and go back to be close to him again.
The Gospel of John also reports that Jesus referred to his pre-existence before creation in his majestic prayer to the Father: “So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed” (John 17:5).
It is difficult to imagine a more explicit affirmation of Christ’s existence before creation. To these statements we may add Jesus’ statement, “Before Abraham came into being, I am” (John 8:58, literal translation), which we discussed earlier.
The book of Hebrews accentuates and confirms the pre-existence of the Son in another way. In backing up his opening statements about the Son from Old Testament Scriptures, the writer quotes Psalm 102:25-27, which in its original context is speaking about the Lord God, and applies it to the Son.
“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end. “
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12 like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
Here once again we see that the New Testament is not content with affirming that Jesus merely pre-existed; it affirms his pre-existence in a way that equates him with the Lord God himself.
8.4 Arguments against pre-existence
1 Peter 1:20 – Foreknown
At 1 Peter 1:1,2 certain Christians are said to be foreknown and not exist millions of years ago and therefore the mention of Jesus in verse 20 being foreknown means that Jesus also didn’t exist millions of years ago.
“Most significantly, the view that Jesus existed prior to his birth only in the counsels of God is the one expressed by Peter in his first epistle. At the end of his career he has not changed the view expressed in his early speeches in Acts: ‘[Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but manifested in the last days for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:20). E. G. Selwyn notes correctly: ‘Nor are we entitled to say that [Peter] was familiar with the idea of Christ’s pre-existence … For this idea is not necessarily implied in his description of Christ as “foreknown before the foundation of the world,” since Christians also are objects of God’s foreknowledge.’ All of the faithful were similarly ‘foreknown’ (1 Pet. 1:2), but this obviously does not mean that they pre-existed. …” (Buzzard, Anthony F., The Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 186)
This would appear to be a false dilemma fallacy which can arise simply by accidental omission of additional options rather than by deliberate deception. For example, “Stacey spoke out against socialism, therefore she must be a fascist” (she may be neither socialist nor fascist or a socialist who disagrees with portions of socialism).
God sits outside of the time and space he created for us to live within, so just because humans didn’t exist millions of years ago when God was able to foreknow them and his plan for salvation no way tells us whether Jesus did or did not exist then.
The context and purpose to verse 20 is to explain the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was not improvised.
God didn’t make it up in response to the unfolding events of history. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and return to the Father were always God’s plan to save us. Jesus was always the answer to the questions asked by the prophets and the angels investigating what the Holy Spirit’s Old Testament prophecies were pointing to (1 Peter 1:10–12).
Dunn, who denies that Paul taught the pre-existence of Christ, admits that it is “almost inevitable” that the passage should be understood as speaking of the pre-existent Christ choosing to become a man. According to Dunn, though, what Paul meant was that “pre-existent” Wisdom became embodied in the human person of Christ.’ The problem, of course, is that Paul says that Christ “existed in God’s form” and that it was Christ who took a slave’s form, was born in human likeness, and found himself to be a human being.