Question & Answer Forum: The Son of God, The Spirit of God

Was the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God in heaven prior to His incarnation?

We must approach this question with an important caution: “no man knows the Son, but the Father” (Matt 11:27). The Scriptures are unequivocal in that the Lord Jesus existed before His incarnation. He declared His pre-existent eternal being in John 8:54. “Before Abraham was (became, came into being), I AM.” John 1:1-3 also clearly declares the eternal being, and equality of the Word with God, as Creator of all things. There are both timeless and historical declarations relating to Christ as Son of God that help us to discern that His sonship is eternal, but was manifested in history to reveal God in fulness. John 1:14-18 expresses both elements: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth … no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” “Who is,” is literally “the (One) being,” and expresses a timeless relationship. The apostle is not simply referring to Christ being, at that time, in such close fellowship. “In the bosom of the Father” conveys the closest possible intimacy and fellowship, the sharer of His secrets, the object of His love. What competency and qualification He possesses as the Father’s beloved One. This verse strongly indicates the eternal sonship of the Lord Jesus Who always was, and is, in the bosom of the Father.

Hebrews 1, likewise, carefully intertwines timeless and historical elements in expressing the relationship of the Son to God, and to angels, and to all creation. He is God’s final messenger to us today, eclipsing and fulfilling the prophets of old; not simply another man sent from God, but the Son Who is the Eternal Himself revealed in manhood as Redeemer and appointed Heir. It is in this significant relationship that a quick glimpse is given back to the beginning of creation itself: “by Whom (His Son) also He (God) made the worlds.” It is again the Son, in contrast to angelic beings, Who is addressed: “Thy throne, O God is forever and ever,” and “Thou, Jehovah in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth” and in contrast to a fading creation, “Thou art the same” (vv8-12). If He was already the Son as the beginner of creation itself, the relationship must be eternal. The manifestation of this relationship in history is identified with His incarnation, as expressed in Hebrews 1:5, “Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” This is a quotation from Psalm 2, an amazing prophetic glimpse of God’s chosen Messiah and King identified as “My Son,” and of the promised universal dominion and inheritance.

In Hebrews 7:1-3, we are given an explanatory sketch of Melchisedec as a type of the Lord Jesus, with a designed absence of certain historical details in the Old Testament record: “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God.” This presents an undeniable proof of the Hebrew writer’s conviction that the Lord Jesus is the eternal Son of God, for it is obvious that he knew that Jesus was born, had a mother, and died at the cross. I believe we are safe in holding the same conviction.

Bruce Rodgers

Is the Spirit of God a person since He does not have a body?

While it may be more difficult for us to comprehend a “person” without a physical body, in reality, personhood belongs primarily to the spirit realm rather than the physical realm. God and all the angels are personal beings without physical bodies. Some important features of personhood are: capacities of will, wisdom, reasoning, emotion, and com­munication; also, qualities of love, kind­ness, faithfulness, honesty, holiness, righteousness, and a sense of justice.

A number of Scriptures point clearly to both the deity and personality of the Spirit of God. As the Lord Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure back to the Father’s presence in heaven, He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to indwell them, as “another Comforter” like Himself, to counsel, lead, and “guide them into all truth” (John 14:16-26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15). The Lord repeatedly used the personal pronoun “He” when referring to the Spirit, instead of “It” as would normally be required with a neuter noun (spirit). Other Scriptures referring to the Spirit of God use many of the attributes listed above in describing His ministry within us. The Spirit “bears witness with our spirits, that we are children of God,” giving us inner consciousness of our relationship with God as our Father (Rom 8:16). The Spirit also helps to overcome our present infirmity and intercedes for us, groaning as He yearns over us with intense longing to bring us to our final perfection. God listens to the Spirit’s intercession for us, because “the mind of the Spirit” is in harmony with His will, character, and purposes for us (Rom 8:26-27). The beautiful spiritual qualities of “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17), and “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (or faithfulness), meekness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23), are all derived from the Spirit of God. We are warned that bitter, angry, or malicious attitudes towards fellow Christians will “grieve the holy Spirit of God” Who indwells us and is fully committed to our eternal perfection as members of the body of Christ (Eph 4:30-31). Spiritual gifts for ministry and building up of the saints are distributed to individual believers according to the power and will of the Spirit (1Cor 12:4,11). These evidences bring us to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is divine and personal in being, and interacts with us on the deepest level of our being. He is the divine pledge of eternal salvation and inheritance as sons of God, and as the Bride of Christ.

Bruce Rodgers