Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – The Eternal Yahweh Who Became Flesh

Revisiting the Issue of Jesus Receiving the Divine Name According to Philippians 2:9

Sam Shamoun

In one of our replies to some of the common questions and objections raised by Muslims, we sought to explain what Paul meant in Philippians 2:9 that at his exaltation Jesus was given the Name above all names, with that Name being Yahweh. We set out to prove that Paul wasn’t denying that Jesus always existed as Yahweh, and tried to show that Paul’s point was that Christ was given the status and authority that he had possessed as Yahweh but which he voluntarily set aside.

In other words, we argued that Jesus didn’t receive a Name which he did not eternally possess but rather regained a position which he had set aside in order to become a man. As such, the use of Name in this particular context refers to authority and status, not to essence and nature.

We want to pursue the discussion further and provide additional evidence to support our contention that Paul wasn’t denying that Jesus eternally existed as Yahweh God. We will quote extensively from the inspired writings of Paul so as to prove that the blessed Apostle believed and affirmed that Christ has always possessed the Divine Name since he has always been God. In doing so we will be providing further substantiation for the exegesis that we presented in our article.

Paul on Christ becoming a slave and its implication on Jesus’ Divine preexistence

According to the blessed Apostle Paul the Lord Jesus existed in the form of God and chose to humble himself by taking on the form of a slave:

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, though existing in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be exploited/to be used for his advantage. Instead he emptied himself/ made himself nothing by taking the form of a servant, by being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

Paul wasn’t the only inspired author to assert that Jesus became a slave since the Lord himself said that he had come to serve:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 – cf. Matthew 20:28

“For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” Luke 22:27

Paul’s statement that Jesus took on the form and status of a slave at the moment he became a man implies that he didn’t always have this form/status. In other words, since Jesus only became a slave when he became human he couldn’t have been one in heaven prior to his incarnation. This, therefore, rules out the possibility of Jesus being a created spirit messenger prior to his becoming a man since angels are servants by nature:

“Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’ … And to which of the angels has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:7, 14

If Jesus had been a created angel he would have already possessed the form of a slave which, however, he did not possess until he became flesh. Thus, Jesus could not have been a mere angel whom God created to serve.

This also means that Jesus cannot be a created spirit being since creatures by definition are slaves whom God created to serve and accomplish his sovereign purposes.

What, then, was the mode in which Jesus existed? The Apostle Paul told us already, namely, Jesus existed in God’s form and was(is) therefore God in nature. This makes perfect sense since if Jesus was not a creature in heaven then he must have been God since only God is uncreated.

This is further brought out by the parallel expressions that Paul used, namely, “form of God (morphe theou)” and “form of a slave/servant (morphen doulou).” No one denies that by taking on the form of a slave Jesus actually became a slave. By the same token, there can be no denying that Jesus must be God if he possesses the form of God. The following translations help bring out the meaning and implication of these parallel phrases:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” NIV

“and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.” CEV

Thus, since Jesus possessed the very nature of God before he became a man (as well as afterwards) he must be Yahweh since only Yahweh is God by nature just as the Holy Scriptures emphatically testify:

“You were shown these things so that you might know that Yahweh is God; besides him there is no other… Acknowledge and take to heart this day that Yahweh is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:35, 39

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39

“Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.’ The prophet answered, ‘As surely as Yahweh lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.’ And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. ‘If you will not,’ said Naaman, ‘please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but Yahweh. But may Yahweh forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may Yahweh forgive your servant for this.’ ‘Go in peace,’ Elisha said.” 2 Kings 5:15-19

“Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of Yahweh and spread it out before Yahweh. And Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh: ‘O Yahweh of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O Yahweh, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. It is true, O Yahweh, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, O Yahweh our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you ALONE, O Yahweh, are God.’” Isaiah 37:14-20

“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am Yahweh, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares Yahweh, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’” Isaiah 43:10-13 – cf. 44:6-8; 45:5-6, 21-22; 46:8-11

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” Galatians 4:8 – cf. Jeremiah 2:11; 5:7; 16:20

Jesus as the preincarnate Lord of all creation

Moreover, both the prophetic Scriptures and the inter-Testamental literature attest that Yahweh rules over all creation as the Most High and that he owns everything:

Behold, to Yahweh your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet Yahweh set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For Yahweh your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:14-19

“Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” Job 41:11

“The earth is Yahweh’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” Psalm 24:1-2

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.” Psalm 50:7-12

“Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Yahweh, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the heavenly beings is like Yahweh, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? O Yahweh God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Yahweh, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” Psalm 89:5-11

“For Yahweh is a great God And a great King above all gods, Psalm 95:3

“For you, O Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.” Psalm 97:9

“Then the high priest Simon, facing the sanctuary, bending his knees and extending his hands with calm dignity, prayed as follows: ‘Lord, Lord, king of the heavens, and sovereign of all creation, holy among the holy ones, the only ruler, almighty, give attention to us who are suffering grievously from an impious and profane man, puffed up in his audacity and power. For you, the creator of all things and the governor of all, are a just Ruler, and you judge those who have done anything in insolence and arrogance.’” 3 Maccabees 2:1-3

As such, Jesus must have been the exalted Lord of all creation since he is Yahweh (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

The unsearchable riches of the preincarnate Christ

This is further confirmed by the following passage:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

Paul believed that Jesus went from a position of being rich to a state of poverty, which can only be referring to his heavenly preexistence since at no time was Jesus rich on earth.

Noted Second Temple Judaism and NT scholar Larry Hurtado responds to the attempts of liberal critical scholar James G. D. Dunn to read Philippians 2:6-8 in light of his proposed “Adam-Christology,” e.g., the assertion that Paul is portraying Jesus as the second Adam who, unlike the first Adam, did not consider being equal with God but chose to humble himself to the point of dying a shameful death. Dunn is trying to prove that this passage doesn’t refer to Christ’s Divine preexistence at all. As such, Hurtado’s comments are worth quoting at length since he also mentions 2 Corinthians 8:9:

“It is true that, when they are suggested by scholars, we can see contrasts between Jesus’ self-humbling in verses 6-8 of this passage and the serpent’s claim that if they eat of the forbidden tree Adam (and Eve) will be ‘like gods’ (LXX: hos theoi) in Genesis 3:1-7. But Dunn’s claim that Philippians 2:6-8 is a clear and direct allusion to the Genesis account and is thus intended to be read simply as ‘Adam Christology’ greatly exceeds the warrants of the passage. To cite a crucial matter, with a good many others Dunn asserts that en morphe theou (in the form of God) in 2:6 is simply a variant way of saying ‘image of God’ (eikon theou), basing his assertion entirely on the partial overlap of the lexical range of meanings of the two words morphe (form, outward appearance, shape) and eikon (image, likeness, form, appearance). But, as modern linguistics has demonstrated, words acquire their specific meanings and denotations when used in phrases and sentences with other words. So the question is not whether the general meanings of morphe and eikon have resemblances, but whether the specific expression en morphe theou is actually used interchangeably with eikon theou in the Greek texts.

The answer is CLEARLY NEGATIVE. In the Genesis passage eikon theou is used to express the status and significance of the human creature (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6), and when subsequent writers wish to make allusions to this idea, they consistently use the eikon theou phrase (Wisd. of Sol. 2:23; 7:26; Sir. 17:3; and as Paul himself does 1 Cor. 11:7; cf. also Col. 3:10). Moreover, New Testament writers consistently use eikon in statements that seem to make explicit christological appropriations of this theme (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15), and in other passages as well where the allusion/appropriation is less direct but still likely (1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18). By contrast, morphe theou is never used to any allusion to Adam. In fact, morphe theou is not used at all in the Greek Old Testament , nor, to my knowledge, in any other pre-Pauline Greek writing.

“So the alleged use of en morphe theou as an allusion to Adam in Philippians 2:6 would be a singular phenomenon, and a particularly inept one as well. For allusions to work one must use, or at least adapt, at least a word or two from the alluded-to text so that the readers can catch the allusion. In Philippians 2:6-8, other than ‘God,’ there is not a single word from the Greek of the Genesis 1:26-27 description of God’s creation of the human in ‘the image of God’ or from the Genesis 3 temptation story.

“The phrase ‘being equal with God’ (to einai isa theo) is never used elsewhere in any identifiable allusion to Adam. It is used, however, in several texts, and always negatively to describe the hubris of human efforts to become or be seen as divine: e.g., a Jewish accusation against Jesus in John 5:18; the dying lament of Antiochus over his own hubris in 2 Maccabees 9:12; and Philo’s scornful reference to human vanity in Legum allegoriae 1.49.

“In Philippians 2:6, however, ‘being equal with God’ seems to be presented as something already held by Christ or really within Christ’s grasp, for he is pictured as refusing to exploit his status for selfish advantage. It appears also that ‘being equal with God’ is here equivalent or linked to ‘being in the form of God,’ the latter presented as the basis or condition for Christ being able to make a choice about not taking personal advantage of ‘being equal with God.’

“Furthermore, given that 2:8 explicitly refers to the earthly Jesus’ self-abasement and obedience to death on the cross, it would be somewhat redundant if 2:6-7 were simply recounting the same action. I suggest that the more plausible way to read 2:6-8 is as a narrative sequence, with Jesus’ earthly obedience in 2:8 as the apex of a set of actions of selflessness that are then answered by God’s exaltation of Jesus (2:9-11). All this means, as astonishing as it may be that the idea developed so early, that Philippians 2:6-7 should be read as describing the action of the ‘preincarnate’ or ‘preexistent’ Christ.

This raises the likelihood that Paul’s Corinthian readers also would have expected to think of Jesus’ self-impoverishment in 2 Corinthians 8:9 as involving the range of actions that seem to be referred to in Philippians 2:6-8, which includes the selfless readiness of the preexistent Jesus to give himself over to costly obedience. To be sure, 2 Corinthians 8:9 is a reminder to readers of Jesus’ generosity and self-impoverishment from some prior position of advantage (‘you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, being rich, for your sakes he impoverished himself’); so Paul does not explain what he expects his first readers to know already. But, with other scholars, I contend that various references in Paul’s letters indicate that among the ideas he expected his converts to be acquainted with and to appreciate was the belief that Jesus had really come from God, and that the story of Jesus’ own involvement in redemption extend back beyond his earthly existence and his crucially redemptive death and resurrection.” (Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K. 2003], 2. Early Pauline Christianity, Christological Language and Themes. Preexistence, pp. 121-123)

Evangelical scholar Gordon D. Fee also shows why Dunn’s exegesis (more like eisegesis) is unsatisfactory:

“Third, the crucial christological point lies in the first (b) line, that it was the one who in his preredemptive existence was ‘rich’ who became ‘poor.’ The modifying participial phrase with which the first clause concludes has ‘rich’ as its predicate adjective (= ‘being rich’), thus creating a metaphor that expresses the glory inherent in Christ’s preexistent state. The main verb then expresses the enormity of his grace: for your sakes he ‘became poor’ – from the ‘richness’ of eternity to the ‘impoverishment’ of our humanity. The reason for this ‘impoverishment’ is redemptive, to elevate us to his ‘richness.’ The power of the metaphor, as a way of expressing Christ’s grace, lies precisely in the presupposition of preexistence and incarnation, which at the same time implies choice on the part of the preexistent One. It is difficult to imagine how such a metaphor could ever have come to mind if Paul had been speaking about one who had merely human beginnings.

“In fact, however, it sometimes has been argued that this metaphor does not require us to think in terms of personal preexistence, that this metaphor would work for one who thought of Christ’s earthly life as having only normal human beginnings. But that is to read texts in isolation from one another; after all, the author of this text also wrote 1 Cor 8:6, insisting that the ‘one Lord, namely Jesus Christ,’ is also the one ‘through whom all things’ were created. And he is the same author of the later Phil 2:6-8, which tells this same story but with more detail. Granted that one must always use caution when looking at one passage in light of another; granted further that if we did not have these other texts, this passage, given its metaphorical nature, could be read in a way that does not necessarily lead to a view of personal preexistence. Nevertheless, the plain sense of the metaphor in this case carries all the freight in a presuppositional way of the normal sense of the language and theology of Phil 2:6-7.” (Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Commentary [Hendrickson Publishers, March 2007], pp. 164-165; bold emphasis ours)


13. Dunn (Christology in the Making, 121-123) begins the discussion by showing that the various parts of the sentence do not necessarily require the assumption of preexistence, always asking whether the Corinthians themselves would have assumed as much (see ch. 3, pp. 102-5 above for his view that 1 Cor 8:6 should be read as having not to do with Christ but with Wisdom!). He then offers that what more likely lies behind the metaphor is Jesus as the second Adam, who ‘was rich’ in a way far beyond the first Adam who became ‘poor’ in his suffering and death.

Although this view has rightly been found wanting by those who have written on this passage (e.g., Furnish, 417; Betz, 62; Martin, 263; Thrall, 533; Barnett, 407; Lambrecht, 137; Matera, 19; idem, New Testament Christology, 95), Dunn continues to maintain it in Theology of Paul, 290-292. One can only wonder how the Corinthians could have been party to such an oblique metaphorical referent as ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ as having to do with Adam before and after the fall, since the only reference to Adam in 1 Corinthians has to do with his leading humanity into death (15:21-22) and thus having a body subject to decay in contrast to Christ’s risen and glorified body (15:44-49). (Ibid.; bold emphasis ours)

Now returning to the point at hand, Paul elsewhere speaks of the unsearchable riches which Christ possesses:

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” Ephesians 3:8

The only Being who possesses unsearchable riches which he freely dispenses to his beloved people is God! In fact, the inspired Scriptures teach that everything that a person has, whether wealth, glory, honor etc., comes from Yahweh who is the Source of all that is good and the Possessor of all riches:

“Therefore David blessed Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: ‘Blessed are you, O Yahweh, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Yahweh, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Yahweh, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Yahweh our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.’” 1 Chronicles 29:10-16

As such, since only Yahweh possesses unsearchable riches and yet Christ does as well this simply further confirms that the glorious Apostle truly believed that Jesus preexisted as Yahweh!

Moreover, Paul gives us an idea of what these riches include:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 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. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:3-23


“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7


“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:11-14

The riches which God has freely lavishes on his saints include an inheritance in the kingdom of God and Christ. Thus, since these are the riches that Jesus once had, set aside, and received again, this means that Jesus must have possessed the entire creation and ruled over it even before he became a man!

Jesus as the creator God

According to the inspired writings the reason why Yahweh owns all of creation is because he created it. The Holy Scriptures further claim that Yahweh alone created and sustains all things, being the One who stretched out the heavens and spread out the earth by his own hands:

“It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, when He overturns them in His anger; Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; Who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; Who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; Who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number.” Job 9:5-10

“Naked is Sheol before Him, and Abaddon has no covering. He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds, and the cloud does not burst under them. He obscures the face of the full moon and spreads His cloud over it. He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke. He quieted the sea with His power, and by His understanding He shattered Rahab. By His breath (Spirit) the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” Job 26:6-14

“O Yahweh, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions.” Psalm 104:24

“As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

“Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am Yahweh, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,” Isaiah 44:24

“Thus says God, Yahweh, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:” Isaiah 42:5

I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host… For thus says Yahweh, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): I am Yahweh, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:12, 18

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.” Isaiah 48:12-13

Even the inter-Testamental books or the so-called Jewish apocryphal writings agree that Yahweh created and sustains all things by his word:

For he created all things that they might exist, and the generative forces of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them; and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.” Wisdom 1:14

"O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word,” Wisdom 9:1

“Because of him his messenger finds the way, and by his word all things hold together.… For the Lord has made all things, and to the godly he has granted wisdom.” Sirach 43:26, 33

The inspired writings also proclaim that Yahweh created individuals for himself, for his own glory:

“I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made… The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:6-7, 20-21

However, Paul says that Jesus Christ created everything for himself!

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he IS before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” Colossians 1:15-18

John says something similar:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men… He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 10, 14

Amazingly, the NT takes the following Psalm which praises Yahweh for creating and sustaining the cosmos,

“In the beginning thou, O Lord, didst lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. The children of thy servants shall dwell securely, and their seed shall prosper for ever.” Psalm 102:25-27 LXX

And applies it to Christ so as to describe him as the One who created all things and sustains the entire creation by his powerful word!

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power… And, ‘You, Lord [the Son], laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’” Hebrews 1:1-3a, 10-12

In light of the foregoing the inspired NT authors must have believed that Jesus always existed as Yahweh God. Moreover, by explicitly identifying Jesus as Yahweh in his preexistent role as Creator and Sustainer the writers obviously believed that Christ always possessed the name Yahweh, which further substantiates our point that the name he received at his exaltation is not one which he did not already have. Rather, it refers to the authority and status which the name encompasses, i.e., Jesus received the position and sovereignty which belongs to the One who bears the name Yahweh since he had voluntarily set these aside in order to take the role of a servant by becoming a human.

This now leads us to the second part of our discussion.