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?

  • 1
    Unitarians would object to the word incarnation would they not? – Kris May 23 at 22:30

The complete biblical narrative speaks from Gen 3 of a man who would come to defeat evil. The prophets foretold, the OT practises of days and sacrifices were a type of who was to come and be a total fulfillment of all they could not accomplish under a law of sin and death.

While there are some scriptures that seem to speak of Jesus somehow pre-existing his special birth ~2000 yrs ago, they must be understood by all other texts and not taken out of context.

  1. Jesus never claimed to be God. That he was a man is stated unequivocally.
  2. There is no text speaking of God becoming a man. The 'word' in John 1 is given undue emphasis. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/47942/35842 for further info on this. No Jew would ever think John was speaking of a God apart from the Father - the one God.
  3. 1 Pet 1:20 ‘For he was foreknown before the foundation of the world’ why is he so if he already existed?
  4. Jesus is never presented as having equality with God or his Father. To focus on one text speaking of him thusly is to disregard all other scripture. Phil 2:6
  5. Phil 2:6 speaks of Jesus being in the form of God, an image, Matt 22:19 the coin showing Caesar uses the same word - is the coin Caesar? No, but a representation of, a substitute for, an authority of.
  6. No passage speaks of a 'God the son', always the son of God, as Jesus was at pains to express- that the Jews thought otherwise is irrelevant - they thought he was breaking the sabbath too - wrong on both counts! John 5:18
  7. Trinitarian theology is based wholly on inference and speculation - grasping at a few texts here and there and altering the bible to support such a teaching.
  8. No apostle, prophet, nor Jesus himself speaks of a triune God. The early church had no such belief or teaching.
  9. To have God die is to make all manner of wordy explanations that have no textual support. God is immortal and cannot be tempted or die. God gave His only son to die... Either He did or He didn't - did Jesus die or not, did he 1/2 die? That's being deceptive - God is not deceptive. It would be a total hoax to send a God/man to defeat the devil - the devil knew exactly who Jesus was and that he could be tempted. Jesus had to be a new Adam - not a hybrid, a man! God didn't need to 'stack the deck' in His favour - that's a victory that would not count! God cannot stop being God.
  10. Jesus being made like us in all things Heb 2:17 Either he is, or he isn't - pick one!
  11. Can a man die for the sins of the world? Yes. Jesus was without sin and was the ultimate sacrifice every other previous sacrifice was a type of. Jesus was born w/o sin as he didn't have Adam as his father. thereby not inheriting the sin that came from Adam to all men. Rom 5 explains this.
  12. If God is who He says He is, He would NOT spend 4000 years expressing Himself as one God, He would NOT have His son repeat the same truth. If we say God is 3 - we make Him a liar or at least disingenuous.
  13. Jesus has a God - go figure. It's stated so many times...

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

  1. Heb 5:8 …Jesus learned obedience from the things he suffered. Jesus knew exactly what awaited him - extreme suffering and death by crucifixion! He knew who he was and what God brought him into the world for. He knew who he would be, if he remained true to the course. John 17:5 is often quoted to prove Jesus’ pre-existence. ‘

Father, glorify me with yourself with the glory that I had with you before the world was’

Jesus was looking forward keenly to his mission being finished! And was fully aware of the glory that would be his, that was prophesied millennia previously. 2 Tim 1:9 advises that we are also called in Christ before the ages of time Eph 1:4. So, does that mean we pre-existed literally, or just in the plan and mind of God? What God says through His word is done! - whether is actually is yet or not. This is the vantage of John's gospel - he speaks as if Jesus' mission is accomplished, even though it has just started.

Some examples of our corrupted text;

  1. Heb 1:2 ‘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’ No, he made the ages. Most translators insist deviating from the text to support their case. How could Jesus make the world - he was only born ~2000 yrs ago. "Last days" "appointed heir" - doesn't sound very GOD or pre-existing.

  2. John 1:18 Jesus, the only begotten God, instead of correctly son.

  3. 1 John 5:7-8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. WHY did they think we needed this corruption? to advance an unbiblical theology is why.
  4. Jesus received the holy spirit from his Father at his baptism. Acts 2:33 If he was God, how does that work? Is 42:1 who does this prophecy refer to?
  5. John 16:5,28, 13:1,3, 20:17, 14:28 for examples (depending on translation) of inserting 'back' or 'returning' when Jesus ascended to the Father. Why?

'Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.’ And when he died, his spirit went back to the Father Luke 23:46 As a man, this makes perfect sense. If he was God...uh?

  1. regarding 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)

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 now be through 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 to cover all men who inherited sin from Adam.

So yes, NO ONE comes to the Father except via Jesus - no one can have their sin removed except by HIS sacrifice - not even David or Moses or Elijah. Acts 4:12

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • This does not answer the question related to John 14:6 which is the main topic here. Hence, "And what do unitarians stand regarding the belief of non-pre-existence of Jesus Christ before birth in relation to the Bible verse John 14:6" – user6120 May 23 at 4:52
  • When you say "So yes, NO ONE comes to the Father except via Jesus - no one can have their sin removed except by HIS sacrifice - not even David or Moses or Elijah." did you mean that they could not have communicated with God, the Father without Christ in the midst of them? [Because there are numerous records that man and God were able to communicate] The initial observation from your sentence would mean, Christ did pre-exist? And He is in the midst of such communications. Does your answer imply that? – user6120 May 23 at 11:27
  • NO. By 'come to the Father' the bible means stand before Him without sin. Sure they communicated, Moses did, David did through prayer or sometimes other ways as we're told. 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. Acts 4:12 – user48152 May 23 at 12:29
  • @user48152 Is this the official view of the Unitarian Universalist Church, or the Biblical Unitarians, or is it you own view? It would be helpful if you could provide links that give the official view of Unitarians. – Lesley 2 days ago
  • why has it got to be a denomination - the bible is the primary source, denominations mostly confuse and complicate it. – user48152 2 days ago

My answer to another question concludes where this one picks up.

The belief about the prehuman existence of the Son and his identification as "God" are not mutually exclusive.

I have had many long interactions with Socinian's like and including Anthony Buzzard. [a]

They follow a tradition that has long battled the Trinity doctrine along the lines of Servetus.

In my experience there is a strong tendency to reject any doctrine that might in some way be leveraged to support the Trinity like prehuman existence. Some go so far as to deny the virgin birth.

In order to deny obvious examples of the prehuman existence of the Son many even deny John's gospel was inspired or view difficult passages as metaphorical in some way.

In my experience some Trinitarians fuel the Socinian position when they dogmatically go beyond what bible writers explicitly teach. This gives Socinians justification for replying with their own arguments that defy (IMO) credibility.

Between these two polarized positions lies the truth.

That Jesus had a prehuman existence is the normative way to read John (J 1:1; 8:38; 17:5).

That someone other than Jesus, the Father, is the only true God (J 17:3) must be harmonized with the rest of scripture, not denied or with an appeal to post biblical doctrinal development.

Appealing to doctrine not taught by bible writers in context (Trinitarians) or denying clear teachings in John related to his prehuman existence (Socinians) are both not reasonable positions.

[a] In a public forum Anthony Buzzard replied to my exegesis of a passage about the prehuman existence of the Son, "Thanks but the far greater problem is that no one can prexist himself!"

Of course this is a ridiculous way to classify prehuman existence and is typical of many arguments from Biblical Unitarians.

| improve this answer | |
  • of course, you are bringing assumptions as to what the 'word' is. Do a word study of the occurrences of 'logos' and you may begin to see another view. Any God who is not clearly presented by the word of God is a form of idolatry - are we making a new god in our hubris? – user48152 May 23 at 21:41
  • @user48152 I come to that conclusion about ο λόγος directly from the text and Greek grammar. Ask the question in this forum. I have done more than a mere word study. – Thomas Pearne May 23 at 22:29
  • unfort it hasn't helped much, you are ignoring all the texts that tell us Jesus was a man. – user48152 2 days ago
  • @user48152 Make that a formal question if you want an answer – Thomas Pearne 2 days ago

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy