After my last blog I was faced in a comment "debate" on someone else's blog with this good,tough question from Dave Barron from scripturaltruths.com,who is,along with Patrick Navas,one of the best apologists for the view of a preexisting Christ.(not for a trinity.)Thought I would address it some here.If you haven't already read my previous blog,it should be read to make sense of this one.
He asked after my assertion that Hebrews 2:5 is the context that must be heeded for Hebrews 1:10:
"Now I'll ask you on Hebrews 1, if 2:5 is to be read back into 1:10, when will the earth to come "perish" and be "changed"? "
E-sword(easily downloadable online) says that aion for "worlds" in Heb. 1:2 can mean specifically "a Jewish MESSIANIC period present or future."And the fact is that when Christ became the "beginning of God's creation"(Rev. 3:14),which was when he became the "firstborn from the dead"(Colossians 1:18),"the firstborn of many brothers"(Rom. 8:29),a new aion,or age,was inaugurated.So even though by his accomplishments and resurrection Christ has already metaphorically "laid the foundations of the earth(the new one)" by becoming the "chief cornerstone"(Eph. 2:20) and by being the "foundation already laid"(1 Cor. 3:11),what has been accomplished and laid thus far is changeable and perishable(Heb. 1:11-12) in that ,to quote Anthony Buzzard "Even the millennial age of the future will be replaced by a further renewed heaven and earth (Rev. 20:11; 21:1)."So we have a taste of the kingdom to come and Christ has laid the foundation of the new kingdom,but it won't be perfected or fully realized till after the millennium when all evil and wickedness will have been utterly destroyed so that peace may reign without hindrance.Hebrews 1:10-12 is contrasting the imperishability and immutability of the resurrected "clothed in immortal glory" Jesus the Messiah to the perishable and mutable "age" he's inaugurated but that hasn't yet been perfected(and won't be till the kingdom at last eventually becomes “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ"(Rev 11:15)..
To quote a webpage:
"This Millennial new creation “perishes rolled up like an old garment…they will be changed” as God’s plans move on to the next ‘New Heavens and New Earth’ (Revelation 20:11; 21:1, 2) as part of the developing ages noted in Hebrews 1:2 NJB, Rotherham, and Young’s Literal. Please see the ‘New International Commentary on Hebrews’ by F.F. Bruce for further explanation of Hebrews 1:10."
Ephesians 1:21 notes that Yeshua has been seated:far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in THIS AGE but also in the ONE TO COME. (Heb. 9:8-9 also speaks of changing ages.)
So to isolate Hebrews 2:5 as the sole context for Hebrews 1:10-12 I personally think would be a mistake as Christ "creates" (currently) changeable "ages",(figuratively since all is made new IN him),which goes beyond *just* the perfected world to come.He has also laid the foundation for this current kingdom age which ISN'T precisely in totality the "world to come" and so will be changed.Hebrews 1 is current and looking ahead and isn't commenting on the Genesis ch. 1 narrative.Every single creation passage as relates to Christ has the context of our current time and the future.Though I don't discount that because Jesus perfectly represents what was there from the beginning with God(his purposes,plans,word,wisdom,and spirit) and that because Jesus was slain and foreordained before the world was even made(Rev 13:8,1 Peter 1:20) that Yahweh created the Genesis creation "in Christ" in that respect as the one He knew He would inhabit to reconcile the world unto Himself.As the one he foreknew would redeem mankind,hold all things together in his body,and make the survival and thriving of creation not only possible but assured by means of his obedience and subsequent inimitable extolling,gifted privileges,mediatorship,and high priesthood.
Because the Hebrews had positively no problem with bringing God's "wisdom" to life poetically with vivid personification,I suppose even if the NT authors had passages like Proverbs 8:22-31 in mind in Colossians ch. 1 and Hebrews ch. 1 then they were simply recognizing how Christ has become that same wisdom that God created the world in.Yahweh gave fruition to a plan known as the Messiah before he even made the world,again.(1 Pet. 1:20,Rev. 13:8)And this plan was his "wisdom" for the reconciliation of the world unto himself.(2 Corinthians 5:19) Christ at last became that *wisdom* in these last times(1 Cor. 1:30,1 Cor. 2:6,7),and so,again,represents ( & actually fulfills to perfection and completion)what was there from the beginning.I don't think this conjecture is necessary however given the kingdom(as opposed to the Genesis)contexts of Colossians and Hebrews.Just something to ponder though considering the Hebraic poeticism and personification,and subsequent fulfillment in Christ,of Yahweh's *word* and *wisdom.*
"What at first reads as a straightforward assertion of Christ's preexistent activity in creation becomes on closer analysis an assertion which is rather more profound--not of Christ as such present with God in the beginning,nor of Christ as identified with a preexistent hypostasis or divine being(Wisdom) beside God,but of Christ as embodying and expressing (and defining) that power of God which is the manifestation of God in and to his creation."-James Dunn "Christology in the Making" p.194
I've used this quote a lot because of how,well,"true blue" it rings:
"The "memra"(word) performs the same function as other technical terms like "glory,""Holy spirit",and "Shekinah" which emphasized the distinction between God's presence in the world and the incomprehensible reality of God itself.Like the divine Wisdom,the "Word" symbolized God's original plan for creation.When Paul and John speak about Jesus as though he had some kind of preexistent life,they were not suggesting he was a second divine "person" in the later trinitarian sense.They were indicating that Jesus transcended temporal and individual modes of existence.Because the "power and "wisdom" he REPRESENTED(emphasis mine) were activities that derived from God,he had in some way expressed "what was there from the beginning."These ideas were comprehensible in a strictly Jewish context,though later Christians with a Greek background would interpret them differently."-Karen Armstrong..(from A History of God:From Abraham to the present:the 4000 year quest for God,p.106)
There's no point in saying the bible doesn't give us context and scriptural precedent throughout the NT to understand the creation in the NT is a "forward thinking" one as opposed to a nostalgic one.
Here's just a sampling of some texts to place our minds in the proper focus,time,and position.
“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
“…in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body” ( Col. 1:17).
· “…to head up all things in Christ things upon the heavens and things upon the earth; in him, in whom also we were assigned” (Eph. 1:10, 11KIT).
“For in Christ Jesus...a new creation” (Gal. 6:15).
“For we are the product of His work and were created in Christ Jesus ”(Eph. 2:10).
And who wants to argue with this one?:
“I Jehovah am doing everything, stretching out the heavens by myself, laying out the earth. Who was with me?” (Isa. 44:24).
The context of Colossians 1:16:
kingdom of beloved son(verses 12-13),redemption and forgiveness(verse 14) the church(verse 18) & reconciliation(verse 20)
To quote Ray Faircloth,who has written some great studies available on http://www.biblicaltruthseekers.co.uk/
" The parallel letter of Ephesians (Eph.1:9-23 and 2:10) speaks only of the New Creation and gives a precise doctrinal correlation with Colossians 1. This further demonstrates that Colossians 1 applies to the New Creation consisting of “the Congregation of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23) and the newly created angelic thrones, lordships, governments and authorities. (a new administration in 1 Peter 3:22). Nothing here applies to the inception of the Genesis creation. (Please also note the parallel phrases: Col.1:12/Eph.1:11; Col.1:16, 17, 20/Eph. 1:10, 21, 22).
Verse 16: “Because in (KIT) him all things were created , in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him.”
The creating of an authority is not the physical creating of people.
‘In him’: Meaning ‘in union (or connection) with’, ‘in association with’, or ‘by reason of’ Bauer’s lexicon. In context this verse does not mean ‘by’ or ‘by means of’ "
The context of Hebrews 1:10:
First of all,it's a quote from Psalm 102 in the LXX where the context is “the generation to come” (v. 18).Then in Hebrews we have the "last days"(1:2),the inhabited earth to come(2:5) and..
Hebrews 1 mentions a kingdom,a throne and a scepter.(verse 8)This is forward thinking not Genesis narrative nostalgia.
Hebrews 9:11: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)
So we have the present age or "new creation" he's inaugurated then the one to come that will perfect this one entirely.That will swallow it in unfathomable glory,making it so new,enticing,and pure that we can't grasp the thought of it in it's totality with our wee pea brains.And it is when we pray for this kingdom wholeheartedly to come,while seeking to understand what it actually is while possibly discarding years of erroneous Hellenistically influenced indoctrination,that God's spirit can fill us with the purity & sincerity of his truth in it's Hebrew context & reality.Jesus was a Jew.No Jew of true faith thought an angel or God would become the Messiah.Why so readily discard their wisdom that God gave them?"Progressive revelation" only counts if what "progressed" wasn't the entire truth.NO indication whatsoever that Abraham,Isaac,Jacob,and the like didn't know who Yahweh REALLY was.That they didn't know the Messiah would be a man.(with the personality of a perfect man born from above as opposed to a millenniums old spirit creature's disposition inhabiting the vessel of what appears to be a man)No inference,speculation,councils,or anything but the bible needed for these basic fundamental truths.One question I haven't heard an Arian satisfactorily answer:How did Jesus the Messiah grow in wisdom and knowledge daily if he had the wisdom and knowledge of a millenniums old spirit creature?Could I claim to be a GENUINE 30 some yr. old "woman" if I had Gabriel's personality,disposition,knowledge and centuries of age?(except perhaps "vessel wise" ONLY)Could I expect my followers to follow my footsteps closely by walking by faith and not by sight if I walked by millenniums of "sight?"Could the LAST ADAM be the Last Adam absolutely purely if he was also "something else" before,during,or after his time on earth?