I want to ask this again but in a different context. In the context of unitarianism.

  1. Why Unitarians do not believe that Jesus Christ is God
  2. And why Unitarians do not believe in the pre-existence of Jesus prior to the incarnation.
  3. And where do Unitarians stand regarding the belief of non-pre-existence of Jesus Christ before birth in relation to the Bible verse John 14:6 which states:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV)

If Christ did not pre-exist before the incarnation, how did the people before the incarnation (Adam and Eve, the prophets, the patriarchs and just about anyone before Jesus' birth) who where all considered holy and have communicated to God in one way or another, were able to do so, when John 14:6 clearly states no one can come to the Father (God) except through Jesus Christ?

Furthermore, Matthew 22:43-44 states (which is a direct reference to Psalm 110:1)

He[Jesus] said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."'

In the non-unitarian context this is a clear evidence that Jesus pre-existed and an answer in the referred question linked on the top of this question, suggests:

All of Scripture (the written Word) testifies of Jesus (the Living Word) and there has never been access to God the Father except through Him:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. - John 5:39-40

Although this needs more explaination from the author [Mike Borden]

So, what is the view of a Unitarian about this?


2 Answers 2


The difficulty in trying to answer the question WHY is that only a Unitarian could possibly know. There is no problem in explaining WHAT they believe with regard to the person of Jesus, but as to why they deny that Jesus pre-existed before coming to earth, then any explanation given by a Trinitarian, for example, would be denied by a Unitarian. Let’s start with WHAT they believe and from that we may discover the WHY part:

Unitarianism teaches that God is simply one (unity). Unitarianism rejects the doctrines of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. Unitarians teach that Jesus was an inspired man, a great teacher, and an example to follow but he certainly is not God.

Today there are a number of Unitarian groups throughout the United States and the world; probably the most well-known and influential group is the Unitarian Universalist Church. Unitarianism is usually accompanied by (or perhaps inspired by) rationalism and anti-supernaturalism. In the final analysis, Unitarians reject the specific teaching of Scripture regarding the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Beyond that, they usually reject the Bible as divine revelation in favor of human reason. Horizontal relationships between human beings are considered more important than the vertical relationship between a holy God and sinful man. https://www.gotquestions.org/unitarianism.html

To the Unitarian Universalist, Jesus was a good moral teacher, but nothing more. He is not considered to be divine, and every miracle associated with Him is rejected as being outside of human reason. Most sayings of Jesus recorded in the Bible are regarded as embellishments on the part of the authors. Among the Universalist beliefs: Jesus did not die to save mankind from sin, as man is not a fallen sinner; emphasis is placed on humankind’s capacity for goodness; sin is completely relative, and the term itself is rarely used; man saves himself through personal improvement, salvation being a purely worldly experience, a "waking up" to the world around oneself. This is very important, for death is final. Most Unitarian Universalists deny the existence of an afterlife, so all we have on earth is all we’ll ever get. https://www.gotquestions.org/unitarian-universalism.html

From this we can deduce that Unitarian Universalists place their own reasoning above the teachings of the Bible. Since they reject the Bible as God’s inspired word, then they are unlikely to grasp who the biblical Jesus really is. Their Jesus appears to be a man-made concept, designed to fit in with their own ideas.

Then we have Biblical Unitarians who believe that the Bible is the source of truth. They represent the more “conservative” branch of Unitarianism and many beliefs of Biblical Unitarians are in keeping with orthodox Christian beliefs. However, they depart from orthodoxy on one major point in regards to their doctrine of God.

Biblical Unitarians deny the Trinity, teaching that God is one being (hence the word Unitarian in their name). Jesus, according to Biblical Unitarianism, is not the eternal Son of God; rather, He was created by God in the womb of Mary. Jesus was later exalted by God and given authority over creation, making Him like God, but He remains a finite, separate being with a beginning. https://www.gotquestions.org/Biblical-Unitarianism.html

WHY do they reject what the Bible tells us about Jesus being the eternal Son of God? It all boils down to their view that the One Being of God must exclude the eternal co-existence of Jesus.

Jesus said this to the religious leaders who refused to acknowledge who he REALLY was:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5:39-40).

It would be interesting to get an answer from a Unitarian that defended their position with regard to Jesus being created, because I would really like to know WHY they hold that view. I have my own opinion, but I'm keeping that to myself!


To the primary question -

Why don’t Unitarians believe that Jesus Christ pre-existed before the incarnation?

Short answer. Because there is no scripture speaking of an incarnation that he could precede. If our understanding begins with scripture and not tradition, we will not begin with a false premise of either an unbiblical ’God becoming man’ or Jesus’ pre-existence.


There is no verse that states Jesus pre-existed his conception and birth through Mary. Nor is there any verse that speaks of an 'incarnation' or, 'God became a man'. Many think there is, but this is based on a traditional view of scripture which does not align with scripture. If the alleged incarnation was so important to reveal the beginning of Jesus, we would be reading about it in the bible - but we do not. The Gospels DO tell us all the facts we need to know.

From Gen 3 on, we're told of a man who would come to defeat evil. He did come ~2000 yrs ago when the 'logos' become flesh - a man who could be tempted and die. God is incapable of being tempted or dying! God cannot become a man and die - else he would not be God anymore. How does God stop being God to the point that he could die? This makes no sense and no scripture expresses this idea Phil 2:6-7 included.

Certainly the NT is consistent about Jesus being a man only. If he is a man only, as we are repeatedly told, a sinless man, how could he actually pre-exist? Only traditional dogma has an explanation which contradicts scripture with further unbiblical ideas as ‘God the Son’, ‘eternally begotten’, dual-nature, etc.

The idea that the logos IS God and therefore a 'person' from which Jesus originated in a misreading of the text and is addressed here. No Jew would ever think John was speaking of a God apart from the Father - the one God. 1John 1 refutes any poor interpretation of John 1 showing the logos is not a ‘person’ or entity at all.

1 Pet 1:20 For he was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

Jesus was 'foreknown' by God before the world was made - why is he so if he already existed?

There are texts that might be read to show a pre-existing identity that became Jesus, but they are not Jesus yet - not before his birth. If we allow scripture to be self-interpretive, we remove contradictions imposed by a traditional view.

(Biblical) Unitarians believe in the God revealed in the bible as one God, who alone created through His word, His command, wisdom, plan... logos. They believe in His son, who is NOT God, but the result of God's interaction with Mary by His spirit to miraculously conceive a male child.

Heb 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets... in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world’ (ages).

No, he didn't make the 'world', he made the 'ages'. Translators who insist on 'world' or worse, 'universe', are deviating from the text to justify their theology. How could Jesus make the world - he was only born ~2000 yrs ago. "Last days" "appointed heir" - doesn't sound very pre-existing... certainly not as Jesus!

Jesus always has a God - even once ascended Rev 3. It's stated so many times... How can Jesus be God if he has a God - just like we do, just like Mary did?

John 20:17… I am ascending to your Father and my Father, to my God and your God’

Regarding John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV)

During OT no one comes to the Father at all unless He calls them for a task and they then represent others in their office as leader (Moses, Aaron) or King or prophet, priest. The OT was not a time of being with God in the way that we may through His spirit and Christ as high priest. Sacrifices needed to made all the time, as the people were 'ceremonially' unclean. In Jesus, we are clean, sanctified, justified etc. through one perfect sacrifice for all people for all time. Heb 2:9-11, Heb 5:7-10, especially Heb 10

Jesus sacrifice occurred ~2000 yrs ago, but it reaches back through time (as intended from the beginning) to cover all sin inherited from Adam.

So yes, NO ONE comes to the Father except via Jesus - no one can have their sin removed except by Jesus’ sacrifice - not David or Moses or Elijah. They had an understanding of the 'one to come' which they wrote about but did not fully grasp the magnitude of who Jesus would be and what he would do.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

We should not confuse a prophecy - a promise of something or someone to come at a later date, with a present reality in that day of prophecy. David looked forward, as did Abraham, to the day when Jesus would come. John 8:56


Jesus did not pre-exist the incarnation for three main reasons;

  1. There is no incarnation in the bible - nothing about 'God becoming man'.
  2. There is no verse that speaks of Jesus literally pre-existing his conception in Mary - except in prophecy, but this is not existing as a person until the prophecy is fulfilled.
  3. Jesus is always shown to be a man only - holy and sinless, but a man. A man cannot pre-exist himself. If he did pre-exist, he would not be a man. If he is not a man, then he cannot be tempted or die.

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