|I was raised in the Pentecostal Oneness Church but got out of it by studying with you in Psalm 2 and Romans 1. Your drive-time theology has really helped me. Thank you for everything, Dr. Couch, and bless you. By the way, it's impossible for me to find a good teaching church. They seem hard to find! I really appreciate your biography on Dr. John F. Walvoord. – Former student|
Thank you for your kind words. The material you sent from the Pentecostal Oneness people shows that they do not understand the issue of Christ's eternality and His preexistence. The verses they use have to do with His incarnation and not the fact of His eternal existence.
When discussing the issue of Christ's eternality one must also discuss the doctrine of His preexistence. There are passages that show God addressing the person of the Son before His incarnation.
Psalm 40:6-8 is an important passage. There the Son is speaking to the Father before He takes on His earthly body. In these verses the Son is speaking as One fully grown, as or just before, He was taking on His body for a sacrifice. This Psalm 40 passage is quoted in Hebrews 10:5-8. In Psalm 2:7 the same thing happens. On the day of Christ's incarnation, the Father speaks to Him before He comes to earth. "You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten (given birth) You."
The Son's eternality is clearly stated in Hebrews 1:8-9. "But of the Son He says, 'Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, …'" The Son's providential throne (not His earthly messianic throne) is eternal, and here also, He is called "God." God is an eternal Being, the Son here is called "God." "Eternal" in Greek is "eis ton aiwna tou aiwnos." Or, "Into the eternal of the eternal," "Into the age of the age!"
In verse 6 the word "first-born" in Greek is "prwtotokon." This does not mean simply One born first but instead, "The preeminent born One." "First" is "prwtos." That is, the preeminent One born into time when receiving His human body. He existed in the past as the Son of God.
In Hebrews 1:2 we read that when God made all things (this was long before the Son took upon Himself human flesh), He also "through, by means of the Son," made the world. Christ then was a co-Creator with God the Father! This is repeated in John 1:10: "Through Him the world was made." The Son was always a separate person from the Father (John 1:1-3). The "was" used in these verses are in the Past Tense with continual action. "The Word (the second person) always existed in the past with God, and the Word was always God. He was always in the beginning with God."
The great Hebrew scholar, Dr. Merrill F. Unger, points out that the Messiah is called "the Eternal Father," but better from the Hebrew text, "the Father of Eternity" (Isa. 9:6). On this Unger notes: "According to the Semitic idiom, 'Where he who possesses a thing, etc. is called the father of it." The expression means "the eternally existing One," "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" (Rev. 1:8; 21:6). The Son of God, even before He came to earth in flesh, was the Author of the eternal state! All creation belongs to Him. The last part of Revelation 1:8 reads: "Who exists continually and who always existed in the past and who exists as the Coming One, the Almighty." This is applied to Christ. These verbs are from the eimi verb ("the to be verb"). What a description of the eternality of the Son of God!
God described Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14 as "I AM WHO I AM." And, "I AM." This is the common "To be" verb in Hebrew, the One who just ever EXISTS! Christ takes this name on and applies it to Himself. He was the One speaking to Moses in the burning bush (John 8:24, 28, 58). "I am the everexisting One." The Jews realized that He claimed deity and eternality because "they picked up stones to throw at Him; …" (v. 59). He had claimed to be the eternal, everlasting God (10:33).
Every believer needs two books in order to defend themselves against error. THE TRINITY, by Edward Bickersteth (Kregel), and THE FORGOTTEN TRINITY, by James White (Bethany).
Thank you for asking about this.
Dr. Mal Couch