PRE-EXISTENCE OF THE SON OF GOD
The Onenites quickly dismisses the sonship prior to the incarnation by saying it all is prophetic. Instead of letting the Bible express what it means they like J.W.s and other anti-Trinitarians use their cultic interpretation and rules for Biblical hermeneutics.
Heb.1:2 states that God... has in these last days spoken to us by his Son whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom he made the worlds." his agrees with Jn. 1:3 " all things were made through him and without him nothing was made that was made."
The same Son who is speaking to us now was present at creation. This is the same Son that was in the bosom of the Father, which means a place of blessedness and relationship. It is here where we expose their presumptions for their theology. Bernard emphatically denies this "There was a time when the Son did not exist; God prophesied about the Sons future existence." (p.105) Bernard clarifies his view: "What does creation by the Son mean, since the Son did not have a substantial pre-existence before the incarnation." "Of course, we know that Jesus as God pre-existed the incarnation, since the deity of Jesus is none other than the Father himself. We recognize that Jesus (the divine Spirit of Jesus) is indeed the creator." (p.115) I'm not sure that we are reading the same Bible but if he, Jesus the Son, was there before Creation as the Son, creating as the Scriptures state, which certainly dismisses a view of prophecy. Bernard goes further to claim "the Sonship had a beginning and will have an ending,"(p.122) that the Son will cease. "When the millennium is completed, the Sonship ministry will be finished." (Is Jesus in the Godhead, Magee p.25) Yet not all Oneness adherents agree with Bernard that the sonship role will cease. Others say, "The Son is the permanent body of the Father" (Norris p.6) "God became a man, and he will be a man forever more". (R. Sabin VI, p.3)
If the Son is not pre-existent in the Old Testament passages then why should we believe the Father is? If we apply the same rules of interpretation to both, this is the only conclusion we can come to. But of course the truth is that they are both existing eternally, so the word of truth should disperse the clouds of confusion surrounding this false view.
Heb. 7:3 The author of Hebrews certainly has a different opinion from Oneness. His is rooted in truth. He describes Melchezidek as one without Father or mother, without genealogy; having neither beginning or end of life, like the Son of God, he remains a priest forever." Here he is giving the comparison of Melchezidek as a type of Christ, in that he always existed. He also parallels the eternal priesthood and the Son as an eternal being without beginning of days or end of life. According to Oneness, the Son who is human is no different than any other man. He had an origin and will have an ending. The writer of Hebrews discusses the three most important subjects to the Jews, the angels, the sacrifices and the high priest, and we find the Son who is compared to them all is superior. Why? Because as the Son, he is the eternal God.
Hebrews 1:2 tells us that God made the worlds through the Son. The Son had to have existed before anything was created, to create anything that exists so does the Father. This is exactly what it says in Jn. 1:18.
Ps.33:6 By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth
vs.9 For he spake, and it was done, he commanded, and it stood fast." Ps.148:1-6 "For he commanded and they were created." Col. 1:16-17 Speaking of the Son, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. All things means all things ,by whom? Him meaning the Son !
Here we find the consistency of the N.T. of his preexistence as the creator yet as Heb.1:2 says it was through him all was created. Not as a future plan, he existed before all things just as Jn.1:1 says, "he was there in the beginning with God. If he was not there then he is not the creator.T here denial of the sons eternality and preexistence is not any different in outcome than Arius who called the son a created being.
Bernard really stretches credulity by trying to interpret this through Oneness hermeneutics. "How could this be, seeing that the Son did not come into existence until a point in time much later that creation? To paraphrase John Miller... God used the Sonship to make the world. That is, he hinged everything on the future arrival of Christ." Arguing with foreknowledge and Gods plan in his mind he states, "So, even though God knew man would sin, he also knew that through the Son of God man could be restored and fulfill God's original purpose. It is apparent, then, that when God created man he had the future arrival of the Son in mind. It is in this sense that God created the worlds through the Son or by using the Son, for without the Son, Gods whole purpose in creating man would have failed." (The Oneness of God, p.151) .
This is just double-talk. Either the Son is the word, and he created all, or he did not. The Bible says the word was there before the beginning, which means eternality. Gods thoughts are not eternal persons; only he is. The word is God! Is not God A PERSON? Of course he is.
If the Son is the creator, then the Son both pre-existed being eternal, God is the creator of all things. To make Col.1:16 say that God created all things for the Son who was yet to exist; is hardly realistic. The text is revealing that it was "in Him" that all things were created (Greek- en as the instrumental of agency).
"There was a time when the Son did not exist; God prophesied about the Sons future existence."(p.105) Lets see what the Bible has to say In Micah 5:2" But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler (shepherd) in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Here is God speaking of another who is from eternity past and will be the ruler in Israel, we know this is the Lord Jesus himself, the Son. To deny this is to refuse the word of Gods clear teaching of the shepherd Being the Lord of Ps.23. Notice that he will come forth to God and yet he too is eternal making the Son and the Father two different individuals.
Bernard attributes Jn.16:28 I came forth from the Father as "the plan that existed in the mind of God becoming flesh and being sent into the world". In like manner on Jn17:5 he states, it means "the glory the Son had in the plan and mind of God. Obviously words dont carry much weight in their original intent of the scripture !
Jn.17:5 "And now Father glorify me together with , yourself, with the glory that I had with you before the world began." (Greek para alongside) By the side of thyself. Jesus prays for full restoration to the pre-incarnate glory and fellowship (cf. 1:1) enjoyed before the Incarnation (John 1:14). This is not just ideal pre-existence, but actual and conscious existence at the Fathers side (para soi, with thee) "which I had" (heôi eichon, imperfect active of echoô, I used to have, with attraction of case of heôn to heôi because of doxeôi), "before the world was" (pro tou ton kosmon einai) (A.T. Robertsons Word Pictures of the NT.)
Heb.2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the Angels..." How was he made lower, by nature? NO, by humility, he took a temporary position as a servant. It is speaking of the position he took as a man; he is one person with two natures, he did not lower himself to only one nature. His ministry was exemplified by his servanthood. He could not be a servant in his body without his spirit being united in agreement, at least not without sinning. The will is related to the inner man that must first act before the body can express the activity. In other words, his whole being was involved.
Heb.1:4 "having become so much better than the angels." How? By nature? NO, by exaltation at the resurrection returning to his former position. He already was better in nature before his incarnation, being deity, the very one who created all the angels.
Heb.1:5 "For to which of the angels did he ever say you are my Son today I have begotten you? Here the writer is proclaiming the Son as superior to angels. Angels are the greatest of Gods creation, and the Son is better v.4 How? Because as the Son he shares the same nature with his Father.
Heb.1:6 The Father tells all the angels to worship the Son. According to Oneness, they are worshipping his humanity. How is this possible unless he the Son is God?
Heb.1:8 God the Father says to the Son, "your throne OGod is forever and ever. Does a human have a throne that is forever? Or does this passage settle the Trinitarian position that the Son is God alongside the Father?
V.10 the Father still speaking to the Son "and you Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the Earth and the heavens are the work of your hands..." The Father calls the Son Lord (Yahweh ) and says he was present as the architect, not as a plan. Someone is confused here, how is this possible when they say the Son is not really there, yet he is attributed to be the creator by the Father?
Someone is confused here, how is this possible when the Son is not really there he is attributed to be the creator ? Or that he is called Lord by the Father. If Jesus is the same Son of all these scriptures in Heb.1 maybe its just as the Trinitarians have been stating the Son is eternal. They can do the Chubby Checker dance of twist and shout but they will never remove the Eternal Son from the book of Hebrews or the rest of scripture," thy word is settled in the heavens forever".
So if the Son was already there he belongs to the order of eternity. This is exactly what is in Jn.1:18 the Son is in the bosom of the Father. He was i eternity and he was when he was on earth. The early churchs theologians and apologists had clear teachings in defense of the Son existing prior to creation. Irenaeus Stated, "Now it has been clearly demonstrated that the word which exists from the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, who was also present with the race of men at all times, this word has in these last times, according to the time appointed by the Father, been united to his own workmanship and has been made passable man. Therefor we can set aside the objection of them that say, If he was born at the time it follows that Christ did not exist before then. For we have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist since he existed with the Father always: But when he was incarnate and made man, he recapitulated (or summed up) in himself the long line of the human race, procuring for us salvation thus summarily, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, the being in the image and likeness of God, that we should regain in Christ Jesus". (Irenaeus The Recapitulation in Christ :Adv. Haer. III xviii)
John the Baptizer certainly thought of Jesus as eternal, remember he was born 6 months before his cousin. Yet in Jn.1:15 he cried out" this was he of whom I said he who comes after me is preferred before me for he was (existed) before me .V. 30 "This is he of whom I said after me comes a man who is preferred before me." John the Baptist was actually older than Jesus so this is a clear reference to preexistence. John says I did not know him, yet he is hearing from God the Father who he already knows He then testifies him to be the Son of God.
Isa.9:6 says he is the everlasting Father. Oneness uses this to prove he is the Father and not the Son. But it is speaking of the Son who is called Wonderful (Hebrew- Pele), this is exclusively used of God alone; it means unable to comprehend. The son is called the Mighty God (Heb.El Gibbor). The correct pronunciation in Hebrew is the Father of eternity in Hebrew =Abi-Ad . Among the ancient Hebrews the term " Father of ", was always used to indicate he who possessed the thing that followed. God the Father is called the Father of Spirits (Heb.12:9) and the Father of lights James.1:17 this again does not mean a literal begetting of light nor Spirits. It shows Gods ownership and being the source of life as the Father of Spirits. The Father of lights is a term interpreted in Judaism to mean he is the source of the moon, the sun and stars.
For example in the Hebrew understanding the "Father of" strength -means strong; the Father of" knowledge -means intelligent, the Father of" peace -means peaceful, the "Father of" glory -means glorious. So the Son is called the Father of eternity meaning he is eternal, he is the source of eternity. This does not indicate he is the person who is the Father, Prince of Peace is a term never used of the Father, since it is a Son who is a prince.
Bernard denies a literal pre-existence, saying "If the Son was present in the beginning who was his mother ? If the Son be a Spirit being, who was his Spirit mother?" (p. 149) With logic like this he can be their own worst enemy. We can ask the same question of the Father. If God is a Father who was his wife and did he have a father and a grandfather? Oneness interprets almost everything by looking at the human interpretation with human reasoning, not the interpretation from the Biblical languages. This is not a literal Father nor a literal Son but terms of a relationship, a relationship by nature not by origination.
Rom.1:3 "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead." According to his flesh he is called the "son of David" According to his person of deity he is declared to be the "Son of God."
Rom.8:3 God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, so the Son already existed and took on humanity. What it does not say is that he made the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. We also see a distinction between who is sent and the one sending. It should seem obvious that if the Son was sent and the Father is in him, then he too is sent. By whom? Himself! Where does it say the Father was sent?
We can see the Sons role was not a secondary one but primary that creation was from the Father- through the Son- and by the Spirit. The Father created through the Son who is the agent and the Spirit was the power.
The concept of pre-existence is axiomatic to understanding the relationship of The Father and the Son. Without this concept comprehended one is removed further away in understanding the scriptures and Gods revelation of his son to believers.
These are exerpts from the book Who is Jesus ? Answering Oneness Pentecostals attacks on the Trinity. spiral book by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries HI 96786