Christ is not God because He was only "foreknown"?

Hi,

I just encountered a person who denies the divinity of Christ (not a Witness) and he argues that Christ did not existed prior to his birth, because 1 Peter 1:20 says:

“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake.” (New English Translation)

“For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (New American Standard Bible)

And the word “foreknowledge” (foreknown), according to the dictionary, means “knowledge of a thing before it happens or exists.” (Webster new universal unabridged dictionary

Thus he says:

“If Christ had already been existing before the foundation of the world, then there would not any need to “foreknow” him. Therefore the fact that Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world disproves his so-called pre-existence.”

I’ve checked on other translations (such as NIV and NLT, net.bible.org/verse.php?book=1Pe&chapter=1&verse=20 ), and the word “chosen” is used.

But what are your thoughts about the word “foreknown”? That Christ was “foreknown”, that God simply had “a knowledge of Christ before his birth”, but prior to that, He did not existed?

How does he explain John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It is clear from John 1:14 that John 1:1 refers to Christ. Why do we need to argue about the proper translation and understanding of 1 Peter when John is so clear on the point?

Gospel of John 1:1 - 4

Do you mind if I just post here what he exactly said? As much as possible I do not want to misquote him, so here exactly is what he said:

His analysis of John 1:1:

In the beginning was the Word

Lets read again Romans 1:2-3 to find that the holy scriptures prove that the “Word” is referring to God’s “promise” to send his Son, which he “announced” before:

“which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh”

The term “Word” in John 1:1 is not Christ himself but the “foreknowledge” or plan of god concerning Christ, lets read it again, in I Pet. 1:20 that says,

“foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, he has been manifested in the last times for your sakes.”

This pronouncement of apostle peter that Christ was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” explain the statement in the gospel according to john “in the beginning was the word”. Hence, what was there in the beginning was not Christ himself but God’s “Word” or foreknowledge of him.

“foreknowledge” is defined by the dictionary as “knowledge of a thing before it happens or exists.”(Webster new universal unabridged dictionary)

If Christ had already been existing before the foundation of the world, then there would not any need to “foreknow” him. Therefore the fact that Christ was foreknown before the foundation of the world disproves his so-called pre-existence.

The word was with God

The clause “the word was with God” only approves that God and the Word are different from each other—that God is not the Word and vice versa, being with God in the beginning. The Word cannot be God in state of being because then it would appear that there are two Gods—the God with whom the Word was and the Word itself. Lets read john 17:1,3 to prove these, that says,

“…Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your son also may glorify you,… And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true god and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

Christ taught that the Father is the only true God. Clearly, the True God, from whom the plan or thought to create Christ originated, is different from his plan.

And the word was God

So why then did apostle John state in john 1:1 that “the Word was God”? This is to describe the quality of the Word, which belonged to God. It is because God is almighty or powerful (gen. 35:11) and so are his words (Luke 1:37). thus, the “Word was God” indeed, but not in the sense that the “Word” is another divine being aside from God, but that it possesses the qualities and attributes of God. In John 1:1 the word “God” in the clause “the word was God” is used not as a noun but as an adjective. That is why in other renditions of the bible, such as Moffat and Godspeed, John 1:1 states: “the Word was divine”…

(That’s just two-thirds of his post, I may also post it here if you wanted to, just let me know.

So now, what are your rebuttals about that?)

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know of any serious biblical scholar that believes the “Word” of John 1:1 is not Christ. I don’t know how anyone can read the first Chapter of John in good faith and not take away that the Word is Jesus. It makes no sense that the “Word” is some plan or thought or other such thing when the Gospel says very explicitly that the Word is Jesus, the Son of God. Can’t win an argument about semantics when the other guy feels free to choose whatever definition of words he pleases to make his point.

What the person you have encountered is presuming is that orthodox Christians believe that Jesus, God and Man, existed prior to His birth as Jesus, the Christ. IOW, he isn’t taking into account the Incarnation of the Word (obviously, from his further attempt at understanding Who the Word IS). The Incarnation of the Word as the Man Jesus is what the Father FOREknew, not the Word Himself.

I would ask him what he is smoking. Seriously, these person is jumping through hoops to say what he is his whole thing about the the apearrance of two gods had been address by the theology of thre Trinity. Does he belive that god is Triniterian? He is sounding like JW. Or even a Mormon. or soem hybrid of them.

You can also point to Genisis that states God said let “US” make man in “OUR” image. Now unless god just happend to be useing the royal US and OUR ( which he is intitled to do, but really is pointless at the point.) this is the Father and Son, speaking hear.

In my opinion, Nothing does not exist and you cannot know something about Nothing. It was known that He (Jesus) exists even before we experienced Him. Jesus is eternal and has always been there with the Father and He (Jesus) is one with the Father.

These poor protestant denominations, how can their faith survive in this ignorance of Christ.

Denying the divinity of Christ was an Early Church heresey.

Here they are, 2,000 years later, back to square one.

I didn’t realize that this heresy ever went away…

My hunch is that the person is a Muslim. Certain Muslims rebut the Trinity this way especially to deny that the Word in John 1 is the Second Person of the Trinity but rather God’s word (small letter).

Why not ask the OP himself?

Anyway, it is good to argue this convincingly as it is our Bible and it is canonized to support the belief of the Church and not the other way round.

God bless.

The person is an Iglesia ni Cristo. Catholic Answers have articles about them in the library, maybe you can check it here and here. I tell you, they hate “Jesus is God” big time.

No, he does not believe that God is Trinitarian, in fact, he denies it.

So what you’re saying here is that the Father knew that His Son, the Word, will be called Jesus the Christ after His birth?

But in the beginning, before the foundation of the world, the Word is not equal to Jesus the Christ?

Just to clarify my understanding.

Yes, the Father (and the Son and the Holy Spirit) foreknew that the Incarnation would take place at a specific time in the history of the world and that the Incarnate Son would be called Jesus. Before the foundation of the world the Word, God the Son, was not Incarnate; the Divine Person took on flesh and in that flesh was/is known as Jesus, our Crucified and Resurrected Lord.

Those who disagree with Jesus Christ’s divinity could easily respond that “in the beginning” refers to the beginning of time, creation, and so on. Sure, they could claim, Jesus Christ existed then…but not before time, as only God can. Just a thought. This is exactly what the first ecumenical council struggled with in Nicea in 325 A.D. in refuting the Arian heresy.

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