If Christ did not exist before, why did He say "before Abraham was I am" (John 1:30) and
John the Baptist said "He was before me" (John 8:58)?

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Foreknown before the foundation of the world
(John 1:30; John 8:58)

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, November 2003, p.2

I HAVE ALWAYS believed, in fact so did my parents and grandparents, that Christ is God. One of the proofs of His deity is that He already existed even before the foundation of the world. I understand that you do not believe in the pre-existence of Christ. But, if Christ did not already exist before, then why did John the Baptist say in John 1:30, "He was before me''? Moreover, in John 8:58 Christ Himself said "... before Abraham was I AM" (NKJV). How do you explain these  two verses?

James Hartnett
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Editor's reply:

The verses you quoted have been misinterpreted to mean that Christ is God because
according to those who adhere to the belief in Christ's deity, the verses teach that He existed corporeally even before creation.

 "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' ((John 1:30, NKJV)

 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." (John 8:58 , NKJV)

However, John 1:30 and John 8:58, do not in any way teach about or prove the alleged deity and "pre-existence" of Christ

Although in John 1:30, John the Baptist said that Christ was before him, he said so not because Christ had already pre-existed corporeally, but  because Christ was already foreknown or planned by God even before the foundation of the world.

"Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you"  (1 Pt. 1:2, Douay Version)

Even before the foundation of the world, Christ was already in the mind of God, Christ was the very first in God's plan of creation, though He was not the first to be created by God.  This is the same reason that Christ stated in John 8:58, "... before Abraham was, I AM." He was already in the mind of God, or  He was already planned by God even before Abraham.  The plan of God concerning the sending forth of our Lord Jesus Christ was fulfilled when He was born of a woman named Mary (Gal. 4:4; Mt. 1:18-20)

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (Galatians 4:4, NKJV)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man,] and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18-20, NKJV)

In like manner, the prophet Jeremiah was chosen by God even before he was born (Jer. 1:5). In fact, "even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be  His through  our  union   with Christ (Eph. 1:4). This however does not mean that we or prophet Jeremiah had already existed corporeally even before birth.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Ephesians 1:4, NKJV)

Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that John the Baptist was conceived and born before our lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:31-36), and Christ is the "seed" or descendant Abraham (Gal. 3:16). So Christ could not have existed corporeally before Abraham  and John the Baptist.

"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" 35 And the angel answered and said to her, "[The] Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. :36 "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. ((Luke 1:31, NKJV)

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16,   NKJV)


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