John is most explicit in teaching about the deity of Christ.  John 1:1 provides the key to the correct understanding of the Lord's true state of  being.  Why is it that the Iglesia ni Cristo
does not teach these three basic doctrines, divinity, pre-existence, incarnation about Christ?

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"Divinity, pre-existence, and incarnation"

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, February 2008, p.4

AMONG THE FOUR Gospels, that of John is the most explicit in teaching about the deity of Christ.  Its very first statement (John 1:1) provides the key to the correct   understanding   of  the Lord's  true  state   of   being:   that  He is God ("and the Word was God"), and   that  He  pre-existed   with   God the Father ("in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God"). Verse 14 reveals another truth about Him:   that   God   took on  a human nature  and  became   a  real  human being   like  you   and   me  ("And   the  Word became flesh and dwelt among us"). Why is it that your  religion does not teach these three basic doctrines (divinity   pre-existence, incarnation) about Christ?

Ephraim Rifkin
Denver, Colorado, USA

Editor's reply:

We appreciate your noble intention to get our side regarding the  issues you raised in your letter.

What is spoken of in John 1:1, 14 as being with God in the beginning is the "Word." Hence, in order to understand the real message of John 1:1, 14, we should first clarify the meaning of the term "Word." Does  it  really  refer to a 'pre-existent Christ'  as others allege? No. The Holy  Scriptures prove instead that the "Word"  refers 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"   (Rom.   1:2-3, New American  Standard   Bible,  emphasis ours)

"Which    He   announced   before through  His  prophets in   holy   writings—concerning His Son,   (who   is come of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:2-3, Young's Literal Translation, emphasis ours)

Moreover, Ryrie Study Bible explains that logos, the Greek equivalent of the term    Word"  in John 1:1,   14,  means a  "thought or concept" p. 1599). These terms—promise, announcement, thought, concept—refer to things that are abstract, not yet concrete,  or not yet "made flesh" This is similar to a blueprint for a house, which is only a plan and not yet a constructed material house. Clearly, then, the term "Word in John   1:1, 14 is not Christ Himself but the  "foreknowledge'*'   or   plan   of God concerning Christ:

Foreknown,   indeed,   before the foundation of the world, he has been manifested in the last times   for your sakes." (I Pet. 1:20, Confraternity  Version, emphasis ours)

This pronouncement of Apostle Peter that Christ was "foreknown before the foundation of the world" explains   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's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, p. 717).

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

What does  the   clause   "And the Word became flesh" mean   then? The "Word" which was only a thought or plan   in  the  beginning   was   fulfilled when Mary gave birth  to Jesus (Gal. 4;4) who is "truly human"  (I Tim. 2:3 , Contemporary English Version")  or "indeed flesh" (Gen. 6:3).

4But when the time was right, God sent his Son, and a woman gave birth to him. His Son obeyed the Law, (Gal. 4:4, Contemporary English Version)

We should not forget that it was the ''Word" which became flesh and not God Himself.  John 1:1 & 14  therefore does not in any way teach that  God became man  or   that Christ is God incarnate. 

So why then did Apostle John state in John 1:1 that "the Word was 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 Moffatt and  Goodspeed, John 1:1 states: "The Word was divine"

THE Logos existed in the very beginning, the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine. (John 1:1, James Moffatt New Testament)

In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine. (John 1:1, Goodspeed New Testament)


Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.

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