God in the Garden of Eden Pt. 1

Another OT Appearance of the Prehuman Christ

As promised https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/the-trinity-in-genesis-35-and-22/, in this post I am going to show that the Lord God who appeared to Adam and Eve in the garden was actually the preincarnate Christ.

According to the NT writings, the Lord Jesus is the eternal Word of God who makes God known to mankind. The God-breathed Scriptures are equally clear that no person can know God apart from the revelation of the Son, i.e., God’s Son must reveal God to man otherwise no one can ever know who and what God is truly like:

“Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. Only the Father knows the Son, and the Father is known only by the Son and by those to whom the Son reveals him.” Matthew 11:27 Living Bible (TLB)

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people… The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light… The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth… No one has EVER seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made God known.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14, 18 Common English Bible (CEB)

“No one can come to me unless they are drawn to me by the Father who sent me, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets, And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes TO ME. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.” John 6:44-46 CEB

I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word… I made you known to them, and I will continue to do so, in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and so that I also may be in them.” John 17:6, 26 Good News Translation (GNT)

Since no one can know God apart from the Son’s revelation of him, this means that the Son must have been the One making God known even to the OT saints. This is a fact confirmed by the following NT texts, all of which affirm that Christ was actively present all throughout the OT period:

“They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me… Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’ The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God,” though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” John 8:39-42, 49-59 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Here, Jesus plainly says that Abraham did not try to kill him when he saw Christ, unlike the Jews who tried to do so. Rather, Israel’s patriarch was quite elated when he and the Lord Jesus personally saw each other. This is a strong and explicit witness to Christ’s personal prehuman existence.

There’s more:

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock WAS CHRIST… And let us not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by snakes.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 9

6 tc Χριστόν (Criston, “Christ”) is attested in the majority of mss, including many important witnesses of the Alexandrian (Ì46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) texttypes, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the important Alexandrian witnesses have κύριον (kurion, “Lord”; א B C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81 pc) have θεόν (qeon, “God”). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (cMn, kMn, and qMn respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term “Christ” with the less specific terms “Lord” and “God” because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been “Lord,” it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific “Christ.” Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word “Christ” to “Lord” in conformity with Deut 6:16 or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of “Christ.” Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel, because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, {Marcion} read a text with “Christ.” Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word “Christ,” including {Clement of Alexandria} and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading “Christ” as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126-27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, “The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9,” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201-11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205-6.) Since “Christ” is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly original. In addition, “Christ” is consistent with Paul’s style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which {Marcion} also reads “Christ”). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading “Christ” makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more important Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81 pc] and the Vulgate read “Jesus” in place of “Lord.” Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have “Christ” instead of “God” in 1 Cor 10:9. See the tc notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, “Christ” has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the original reading. New English Bible (NET Bible https://net.bible.org/#!bible/1+Corinthians+10; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And:

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake OF CHRIST as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” Hebrews 11:24-28 New International Version (NIV)

Finally:

 For certain men have secretly slipped in among you—men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe—ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that JESUS, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 1:4-5

24 tc ‡ The reading ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsous, “Jesus”) is deemed too hard by several scholars, since it involves the notion of Jesus acting in the early history of the nation Israel. However, not only does this reading enjoy the strongest support from a variety of early witnesses (e.g., A B 33 81 1241 1739 1881 2344 pc vg co Or1739mg), but the plethora of variants demonstrate that scribes were uncomfortable with it, for they seemed to exchange κύριος (kurios, “Lord”) or θεός (qeos, “God”) for ᾿Ιησοῦς (though Ì72 has the intriguing reading θεὸς Χριστός [qeos Cristos, “God Christ”] for ᾿Ιησοῦς). In addition to the evidence supplied in NA27 for this reading, note also {88 322 323 424c 665 915 2298 eth Cyr Hier Bede}. As difficult as the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is, in light of v. 4 and in light of the progress of revelation (Jude being one of the last books in the NT to be composed), it is wholly appropriate.

sn The construction our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ in v. 4 follows Granville Sharp’s rule (see note on Lord). The construction strongly implies the deity of Christ. This is followed by a statement that Jesus was involved in the salvation (and later judgment) of the Hebrews. HE IS THUS TO BE IDENTIFIED WITH THE LORD GOD, YAHWEH. Verse 5, then, simply fleshes out what is implicit in v. 4. (NET Bible https://net.bible.org/#!bible/Jude+1; capital and underline emphasis ours)

The foregoing texts plainly teach that the Lord Jesus was personally there at the time of Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, and was the Being who subsequently punished them in the desert for their rebellion. This, therefore, indicates that we should be able to find appearances of the prehuman Christ in the OT scriptures.

With this in mind we are ready to proceed to the next segment of our discussion where we will provide evidence that the God who appeared to Adam and Eve in the Garden after their fall was none other than their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/10/god-in-the-garden-of-eden-pt-2/.

6 thoughts on “God in the Garden of Eden Pt. 1

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