The Nature of Preexistence in the New Testament

“Within the Christian tradition, the New Testament has long been read through the prism of the later conciliar creeds...Speaking of Jesus as the Son of God had a very different connotation in the first century from that which it has had ever since the Council of Nicea (325 AD). Talk of his preexistence ought probably in most, perhaps in all, cases to be understood on the analogy of the pre-existence of the Torah, to indicate the eternal divine purpose being achieved through him, rather than pre-existence of a fully personal kind” (Maurice Wiles, The Remaking of Christian Doctrine, The Hulsean Lectures, 1973, London: SCM Press, 1974).

“The mainstream churches are committed to a certain doctrine about Jesus, but specialists in early Christian thought are questioning the arguments by which that doctrine was reached. New Testament scholars ask if the New Testament teaches it at all, and historians wonder at the gulf between Jesus himself and fully-developed Christianity. These questions are very unsettling, for they imply that Christianity may be in worse condition that was thought. It is perhaps not a basically sound structure that needs only to be modernized, but may be in need of radical reconstruction...The New Testament never suggests that the phrase ‘Son of God’ just means ‘God’” (Don Cupitt, The Debate About Christ, London: SCM Press, 1979, p. vii, 4).

Yet evangelicalism insists on that equation if one is to be considered a Christian!

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Author: Anthony Buzzard

Keywords: Trinity, Triunity, Three in one, God the Son, Preexistence, Pre-existence, Jesus preexisted, Jesus' preexistence, Jesus's preexistence, Jesus pre-existed, Preexistence of Jesus, Preexist, Pre exist, Jesus was the Word, The Word was Jesus, Word was God, Jesus existed before his birth

Bible reference(s): John 1:1-2, John 3:13, John 6:33, John 6:38, John 6:58, John 8:58, John 17:5

Source: Anthony Buzzard & Charles F. Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity (Lanham, Md.: International Scholars Publications, 1998), pp. 159-178.

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