Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Before Adam Was, Jesus Is! Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We resume our discussion of Jesus’ prehuman existence in heaven.

John 17:5, 8, and 24 are not the only places where the Lord Jesus affirms his heavenly descent to the earth from the Father’s own glorious presence, just as the following texts amply testify:

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:13

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me… The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?... Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father… What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” John 6:38, 41-42, 46, 62

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” John 7:16-18

“Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am FROM HIM, and he hath sent me.” John 7:28-29

“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am FROM ABOVE: ye are of this world; I AM NOT OF THIS WORLD. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he (ego eimi), ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:23-24

“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” John 8:42

“say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” John 10:36

These repeated references to Jesus’ descent from the Father in heaven refute the claim that Christ was merely claiming to have preexisted in the mind and decree of God. Jesus couldn’t have been any clearer that he personally existed alongside the Father before entering into the world to become a flesh and blood human being (cf. John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14).

This next one is quite interesting:

“‘These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.’ His disciples said to Him, ‘See, now YOU ARE SPEAKING PLAINLY, AND USING NO FIGURE OF SPEECH! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?’” John 16:25-31 Ne King James Version (NKJV)

In this example, the disciples could not only see that Jesus was plainly speaking of having actually come down from the Father and that he was going to personally return back to him, they were even able to discern from all this that the Lord truly knows everything!

What makes this all the more amazing is that, instead of rebuking them for ascribing such knowledge to him, Jesus actually reprimands them for taking so long to come to this realization! 

This isn’t the only time where the disciples made such a startling confession:  

“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17

Peter acknowledges that Christ is the Lord who knows all things, which is a characteristic that God alone possesses:

“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 3:20

Moreover, Christ wasn’t alone in bearing witness to his prehuman existence with the Father and subsequent descent from heaven. Both the Baptist and the Apostle John who wrote this Gospel did so as well:

He that cometh FROM ABOVE is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh FROM HEAVEN is above all.” John 3:31

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;” John 13:3

Since Christ comes out of God and is from heaven, he is sovereign and supreme over all.

Finally, in the very same chapter where he claims to have already been in existence long before Abraham came into being, the Lord refers to himself as the Light of the world who grants illumination to everyone that chooses to follow him:

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12 – cf. 1:4-9; 9:4-5; 12:35-36, 46

Lord Jesus willing, we shall see why this is such a significant and astonishing assertion in the next part of our discussion.