Pre-existence : Part 3
Certain arguments that Paul addressed to the Phillippians were a warning to them to guard against self-righteousness and works glorifying themselves. In these arguments 'proof' is found for Jesus' pre-existence and divinity. Shorn of Paul's qualifying statements, verses 5-8 appear to support the accepted teaching. Paul leaves no doubt, however, as to when Jesus existed in the 'form of God' for he continues in verse 9:
"Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name..."
It was after Jesus became "obedient unto death, yes, the death of the cross". Jesus existed in the 'form of God' after the crucifixion. It was as a man that Jesus emptied himself and took on the form of a servant.
In Romans 1:3-4, Paul clearly states the sequence of events: "concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead..." (See also John 5:27, Psalm71:16)
Paul's timely warning to guard against personal self-righteousness has been made the servant of false doctrines. It is a manifest example of the way in which scripture has been manipulated to not only serve the interests of dogma but also to preserve the reputation of the 'academy,' that gowned empire of theologians and scholars "ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth."
Note how many doctrinal positions are refuted by Acts 10:36-38 - Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit after he was born, not before:
"The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all); that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."