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Did the Son of God exist, distinct from the Father, prior to the Incarnation?

Yes. In the first chapter of John it is clear that when "the Word" is mentioned, it is speaking of Jesus as being distinct from the Father. Oneness Pentecostals affirm here that "the Word" (logos) is not "a person," but a "thought, plan, or mind of God."1 Yet how can a "thought, plan, or mind" create the world (1:3) or be the life and light of all men (1:4-5)? It is the Word who came FROM the Father (not as the Father) and became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Then in John 6:62 we find that "the Son of Man" is to "ascend to where He was before."

Therefore, it was the Son who, in the beginning, was WITH God and He was God. John the Baptist speaks of Jesus as "the Lamb of God" and the "Son of God" as being "BEFORE" him (John 1:15, 29-30, 34). The Old Testament also has reference to this where Proverbs 30:4 asks concerning God, "What is his name, and the name of his son?"

Even God Himself implies an internal relationality within Him in the Old Testament. In Genesis 1:26 God declares "Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness...(emphasis added)." Oneness proponents would have you believe that God was speaking to angels or anyone else except the Son and Holy Spirit.2 However, this cannot be the case for the next verse states "So God created man in his OWN image, in the IMAGE OF GOD he created him...(emphasis added)." He did not create man in the image of angels or any other created being, but in his "own image" alone. Furthermore, Isaiah 40:13-14 clearly shows that the Lord did not consult with others.You'll also find God in triune consultation in Gen. 11:7 and Isa. 6:8.

It is also why Jesus, in John 17:5, can ask "And now, Father, glorify me ... with the glory I had with you before the world began." Oneness Pentecostals view this verse to mean that the Father had a pre-existent plan in mind for His Son on earth.3 So this would mean that Jesus was an idea in God's mind. But can a thought be a God? I think not!

Moreover, John 17:5 cannot be compared to scriptures which speak of the ideal pre-existence of the crucifixion (1 Peter 1:19-20) and of the church (Eph. 1:4-5; 2 Tim. 1:9) in the mind of God. These simply describe God's intention for the crucifixion and the church as they did not occur at the beginning. On the other hand, Jesus is said to exist from the beginning with God and as God (John 1:1). As stated earlier, John the Baptist testifies to this truth. Jesus Himself refers to this with the divine name (8:58). He is repeatedly said to have been sent by the Father and to have descended from heaven (3:13, 31; 6:33, 38, 41, 46, 51, 57-58; 8:42). He repeatedly talks of ascending back to where He was before (6:62; 13:3; 16:28). So, when He now speaks of a glory he had with the Father before creation, it seems most natural to surmise that the same actual state of pre-existence is in mind.

1. David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Word Aflame Press, 1983), chapter 4.

2. David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Word Aflame Press, 1983), chapter 7.; Daniel Jauhall, Jesus Christ Emmanuel God with Us, (November, 1989), 46.

3. Daniel Jauhall, Jesus Christ Emmanuel God with Us, (November, 1989), 45.

Is Jesus the Father?

No. Jesus is referred to as "the Son" over TWO HUNDRED times in the New Testament. Also, over TWO HUNDRED times, "the Father" is referred to by Jesus, or someone else, as being distinct from Jesus. In fact, over FIFTY times, the Father and Jesus the Son are mentioned side by side. For instance, 1 Peter 1:2 reads "who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood..." (see also 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 John 1:3; 2:1; 2 John 3 among many others). By contrast, nowhere in Scripture will you find verses that JUST AS CLEARLY state that Jesus is identical to the Father such as, "...Jesus is the Father..." Yet Oneness adherents would STILL have you believe that "He is the Father."

If Jesus is both the Father and the Son, why does Scripture always limit his identity to the Son? If, as Oneness Pentecostals imply, Jesus can't be God (divine) when the Father is called God beside him (it's only his humanity) then the Father can't be Lord when Jesus is called Lord. Yet it can be seen in many verses that both the Father and Jesus are mentioned not only side by side but that both are the one God such as Rom. 1:7 - "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ..." (see also Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:3; 8:6; 2 Cor. 11:31; Gal. 1:1,3; Eph. 1:2-3; Phil. 2:11; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 3:11 among many others).

There are also verses that speak of a distinction between the Father and the Son with both being called God. For instance, 2 John 1:3 says; "Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (see also Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:9). So you see, Oneness Pentecostals would have to, and do, ignore these passages because they clearly make no distinction between "Spirit and flesh". Below are some refutations of passages Oneness Pentecostals use to "support" their view that Jesus is the Father.

In Isaiah 9:6, Oneness Pentecostals apparently don't take note that it says "his NAME shall be called..." That is why they make a big to-do about Jesus having the title of Father, thus declaring that Jesus is the Father. Though they are not names in the modern sense, these four names are an extension of the name "Immanuel" and are rather attributes of the coming Messiah. Clearly this is just another example of Oneness adherents reading into the text what is not there.

R.C. Sproul points out that no where in the Old Testament or in any Jewish writings before the 10th century A.D. will you find a Jewish person addressing God DIRECTLY in the first person as Father. He further states that Jesus is the first Jewish rabbi to directly address God as Father.

Oneness Pentecostals would then point out verses such as 63:16, 64:8 and Jer. 3:19. However, it is clear in light of a balanced view of Scripture, that "father" in these and other verses in the Old Testament, is not used as a standard (typical, ordinary) title for God, but in a parental sense. In fact, the only name of God is composed of four letters YHWH. Lord (Jehovah) is used in addressing God DIRECTLY over 6000 times in the Old Testament. Even IF "father" in these verses were used in directly addressing God, which would you say is the standard title used?

Instead, "everlasting Father" is better interpreted in one of two ways. Some believe the phrase is used here in accordance with the Hebrew mindset that says that he who possesses a thing is called the father of it. For example, the father of knowledge means intelligent, and the father of glory means glorious. This comes from the concept of how the Hebrew word for father (ab) is used in proper names as "the father of it." For example, Abishalom (1 Ki. 15:2) means "father of peace" (cf. 2 Sam. 23:31; Ex. 6:24; 1 Chro. 2:16). According to this common usage, the meaning of "everlasting Father" is that because Christ is God, His nature is such that He is eternal.

A second interpretation suggests that it mean "father for all time" in which father is meant in a relational sense. The coming Messiah would have an eternal reign of paternal love and care (cf. John 13:33; 1 John 3:1-2). The list of titles by which He is called expresses His relationship to His people. He is to us the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Father of Eternity, the Prince of Peace.

Therefore, in this sense of the word "Father," Jesus is a provider of eternal life. By His death, burial, and resurrection, He has brought life and immortality to light (2 Tim. 1:10). Truly, He is the Father or provider of eternity for His people. Likewise, "Father of Eternity" indicates that as a loving father, Jesus provides for His children.

In John 14:7-10 Jesus begins by asserting in verse 6, "No one comes to the Father except through me." The natural sense of these words is that Jesus is not the Father, but a mediator between us and the Father. He then states, "If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well." (v. 7a). This is because those who know Jesus are led by Him to know the Father as they see Him imaged perfectly in Jesus - not because Jesus is the Father. Existing with the Father as the one indivisible Divine being, Jesus can say, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (v. 9). Nevertheless, Jesus does not say, "I am the Father," but rather, "I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?" (v.10).

The portion of verse 10 that states "the Father is in me," does not mean that the deity ("Father") dwells in the humanity ("Son") of Jesus. This view fails to explain the first part of the sentence, "I am in the Father," which in Oneness terms would have to mean that the human nature of Jesus dwells in the deity - the opposite of what they believe. Moreover, it fails to account for the fact that in this same context, as well as elsewhere, Jesus uses this sort of expression to denote His unity with believers: "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (v.20; cf.17:21). Does this mean I am Jesus? I think not!

John 10:30 does not mean that Jesus is identical to the Father. You would think here would be a great opportunity for Jesus to say once and for all "I am the Father." But He doesn't here or anywhere else in Scripture! Instead, this verse signifies unity in nature. Otherwise, why does Jesus distinguish himself from the Father in verses preceding and following verse 30 (see vv. 25, 29, 36, 38)? Furthermore, Oneness exponents again would be contradicting themselves if they use the same rule of interpretation for verse 38: "...and I in the Father." Here the Son (human nature in their view) would be the Father.

If Jesus is the Father, then He couldn't have said to the Pharisees "I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." (John 8:13-18). He was in line with Old Testament legal proceedings which required two distinct persons as witnesses for a judgment to be binding (cf. Num. 35:30; Duet. 17:6; Matt. 18:16; John 5:31-32). A person can't go into any court of law and say "I am two witnesses to the crime - my body testifies and my soul testifies."

Therefore, it's senseless for Oneness Pentecostals to say that it was his divine Spirit and human nature which both testified. For if Jesus is one person (as Oneness admit) then only "one person" testified, not two, as the law and Jesus require. And another thing, why would the Apostle John then write in 8:27: "They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father."? Why didn't he just write "They did not understand that he was telling them about Himself."? The answer is obvious.

At any rate, the same is said of believers being "one" with Christ and the Father (John 14:20; 17:20-21). This doesn't make us identical to Jesus but the "oneness" refers to a unity of love, joy, and purpose. Furthermore, the same phrase "are one" (KJV) is used of Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:6-8). Are we to believe that they are the same person?

In John 8:58, Jesus is not speaking as the Father. If so, why would He be speaking as the Son in verses 54-55, then, WITHOUT alerting his listeners, speak as the Father in verse 58? Since Jesus is fully God, He can absolutely call Himself the great "I Am" which simply stresses God's transcendent self-existence.

1 Tim. 3:16 (KJV) is frequently used by Oneness Pentecostals to bolster their view that Jesus is the Father. They would not deny the fact that for God to have been "manifested," He had to already be in existence, and not an idea, prior to being "manifested." However, there are two other passages in which they either fail to use this same interpretation (or ignore) or have never read them. These passages in 1 John state that the "life" (1:1-2) and "Son" (3:8) was manifested. Therefore, the Son was already in existence as God and it was He that was manifested in flesh. In fact, nowhere in Scripture will you find any reference to the Father or Holy Spirit being manifested in flesh.

In the many salutations, Oneness Pentecostals use their "knowledge" of original Greek to say that in New Testament salutations, "and" (Greek kai) has the meaning of "even" or "who is." While it is true that "kai" can mean "even" as in Gal. 1:4 ("according to the will of God and our Father"), the majority of uses for "kai" carry the meaning of "and."

The meaning can easily be determined by use of Granville Sharp's rule which, basically, states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), which are describing a person, and the two nouns are connected by the word "and," and the first noun has the article ("the") while the second does not, both nouns are referring to the same person. Therefore, with a literal translation in hand, one can see that in Gal. 1:4, the Greek reads "tou theos kai pater". Notice the definite article "tou" before "theos" which indicates its speaking of the same person.

On the other hand, the salutation of Romans 1:7 in the Greek reads "apo (from) theos pater hemon (our) kai kurios". Notice there is NO definite article before "theos" and so it is speaking of two distinct persons. This is further confirmed as Paul sets up the context a few verses earlier when he referes to "the gospel of God ... regarding his Son ... Jesus Christ our Lord" (1:1-4). And in the two verses immediately following he thanks "God through Jesus Christ" and refers to "God" whom he serves "in preaching the gospel of his Son" (1:8-9).

The bottom line is that if we believe Jesus, the man, was talking with someone dwelling inside Himself - namely, Jesus the God - that would mean that either there are two "Christs" or that Jesus was talking to Himself!

Is Jesus the Holy Spirit?

No. God is spirit in the qualitive sense meaning what sort of thing He is (spirit as opposed to matter) and so since there is one God, there is one spirit. There is also Spirit or Holy Spirit when used as a proper name and therein lies the third person of the Trinity.

In Matthew 12:28 Jesus by Himself does NOT drive out demons but "by the Spirit of God."

Matthew 12:32 states that "anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven..." This speaks of a distinction because the phrase "Son of Man" is not just speaking of Jesus' human nature but his divine nature for elsewhere in Scripture the Son of Man is said to forgive sins (Matt. 9:6), which only God can do (Mark 2:7).

In John 15:26 and 16:7, it's Jesus who SENDS the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Himself refers to the Holy Spirit as "He" or another person (e.g. John 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:13-15). Elsewhere, Scripture clearly states the personal distinction of the Holy Spirit from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2).

Is Jesus literally the Father's name?

No. In John 5:43 Jesus is not the Father's name.1 It is clear that Jesus' name is NOT the Father's name for the CONTEXT obviously reveals that "name" means "in the authority of." Jesus warns of a person who would come "in his own name" and how foolish it would be for someone to receive such a person who makes his own claim. For Jesus to make his own claim that He is His own Father would be foolish as well. Instead He is saying that He came "in the authority of" His Father.

In addition, Oneness adherents ignore verses like John 17:11-12 (KJV) where twice the disciples are referred to by Jesus as in the Father's name also. Does this make the disciples the Father? I think not! Furthermore, Mark 11:10 in the KJV states that David came in the name of the Lord. Does that mean David is God? Again I think not!

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1. David K. Bernard, The Oneness of God (Word Aflame Press, 1983), chapter 6.