Series in Christology Part 3: The Preincarnate Son of God -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 104:415 (Jul 1947)
Article: Series in Christology Part 3: The Preincarnate Son of God
Author: John F. Walvoord


Series in Christology
Part 3: The Preincarnate Son of God

John F. Walvoord

[Author’s note: The previous articles have presented the Person of the preincarnate Son of God. In this article we begin the study of the work of the Son of God before the incarnation.]

{Editor’s note: Footnotes in the original printed edition numbered from 14–18, but in this electronic edition are numbered 1–5, respectively.}

II. The Work of the Preincarnate Son of God

One of the most commonly neglected aspects of Christology is His work in the preincarnate state. It can be granted that this is not as important as His work after the incarnation, but it is important in establishing and presenting His full-orbed deity before He became incarnate. The study is vast in its larger dimensions as it involves the statement and proof of such important doctrines as the decree of God, creation, providence, preservation, salvation, and revelation in the Old Testament. Clearly, a comprehensive treatment is impossible in the scope of these studies. Taking as premises, however, the inspiration of Scripture and the Reformed position in regard to the decree of God and His sovereignty over events in creation, it will enhance the study of Christology to consider the bearing of the work of the preincarnate Son of God on the total doctrine of Christ.

The Son of God in the Eternal Decree

The Scriptural revelation of the work of the Son of God begins with His part in the eternal decree of God. As a working basis, we may accept the concise definition of the decree given by the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”1 It is clear, if the Reformed concept of the decree of God is correct, that Christ had an important part as the Second Person in this eternal decree, and that therefore He is involved in all aspects of the total work of God.

Theologians who have touched upon the relation of Christ to the eternal will of God have usually given most attention to the part of the Son of God in the work of God in salvation. This is done not to exclude the other but to give attention to the aspect of the decree which is of vital importance to man. The explicit statements of Scripture do not specify very much detail on this doctrine, and with a basis of general revelation on the eternity of the will of God and His promises a system of doctrine is developed mostly by inference.

As far as the decree of God is concerned, it is clear that Christ is related to all of it, n...

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