“How may the pre–existence of Jesus before his birth by the Virgin be proved from Scripture?”
His answer is threefold:
1. Those passages that say He is the creator of the world.––John 10:3; Col. 1:15–18. 2. Those passages that directly declare He was with the Father before the world was; that he was rich, and possessed glory.––John 1:1, 15, 30; 6:62; 8:58; 17:5; 2 Cor. 8:9.
3. Those passages that declare He “came into the world,” “came down from heaven.”––John 3:13, 31; 13:3; 16:28; 1 Cor. 15:47.
Obviously, there can be no disagreement with Hodge because he uses biblical terminology and does not, nor can he, logically appeal to such a term as person(s). Ravi Zachrias noted,
“Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was a moment preceded by eternity. His being neither originated in time nor came about by the will of humanity. The Author of time, who lived in the eternal, was made incarnate in time that we might live with the eternal in view.”
As a Oneness I find no qualms here, because the ‘eternal in view’ is, in fact, ‘the express image of His person’ according to the ancient writer of Hebrews (KJV Heb.1:3). The eternal God chose the man Christ Jesus, indeed the Son of God, as His image creature to offer upon the tables of history the ultimate redeemer: God Himself, come in the flesh.
William Barclay states: “In many ways this idea of pre-existence is very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to grasp. But it does mean one very simple, very practical, and very tremendous thing. If the word was with God before time began, if God's word is part of the eternal scheme of things, it means that God was always like Jesus.”
Jesus is God himself. When we say any other name of God, such as, Jehovah Jireh, Yahweh, or Adonai, we are appealing to the names of God. In the New Testament, the supreme, revealed name of God, which is ‘exalted’ above all others, is Jesus (Phil. 2:9). Therefore, to invoke the name of Jesus is to speak of God and His person revealed in time and space.
The conundrum of ‘persons’ will forever plague trinitarian Christendom. Webster’s Dictionary in any version will say that ‘person’ denotes a being or a human being. However, Webster does say that ‘person’ in Christian theology is “any of the three modes of being (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) in the Trinity.” Notice the phrase ‘modes of being.’ This phrase is no doubt objectionable to trinitarian apologists because of the word ‘modes’ and because it refers to a singular being.
Although it was probably a mistake, the late Bill Bright, a trinitarian, made this statement:
“There is only one Person in the universe worthy of our praise, and that is our wonderful Creator and Savior.”
When we read scripture, we naturally understand One God and One Person—Jesus Christ. Although Bright probably made a slip of the pen, it was natural for him to refer to God as uni-personal, for Jesus alone is ‘worthy of our praise.’ This is natural, for a reading of the Bible definitely draws us to that conclusion.
1. Hodge, A.A. Outlines of Theology. Index Created by Christian Classics Foundation. electronic ed. based on the 1972 Banner of Truth Trust reproduction of the 1879 ed. Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996.
2. Zacharias, Ravi - Jesus Among Other Gods, © 2000 Ravi Zacharias W. Publishing Group pg. 34
3. BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT) by William Barclay, Revised Edition (C) Copyright 1975 William Barclay. First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland. The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
4. Crosswalk - INSIGHTS from Bill Bright: Praise Him!, November 7, 2004 (Email)