The Pre-existing first-born Son of Elohim
The question “Does God have a pre-existing Son, first-born of the creation?” always opens the door of polemic between religions that will never be closed by men.
The verses from JPS translation (Gen 6:2-4, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, and Job 38:7) showing that the Creator of the universe does have sons, namely, His messengers (angels), do not bring much argumentation.
If the argument against them is that these verses are general references to angels, and no specific son of God is meant, and God does not have Son, i.e. like a first-born of creation or pre-existing, then this study is meant to bring some clarity to this issue.
Because, as we will study below YHVH indeed has a son, and not just a son, but a first-born Son of the creation, who is pre-existing before the foundations of the world were laid.
What is His son’s name, if you know it?
The words of Agur the son of Yakeh (Pro 30:1) the unknown wise man, which he declared to Ithiel and Ucal, which King Shlomo (Solomon) collected together in these proverbs:
For I am more stupid than anyone, and do not have the understanding of a man. And I have not learned wisdom that I should know the knowledge of the Set-apart One. (Pro 30:2-3)
In the opening statement of Proverb 30, Agur humbly declares that he is an unlearned man who has insufficient knowledge of the Most High despite the fruits of a long and zealous search for knowing Him.
No self-respecting Rabbi would deny that the proverb does not speak of a prophet, nor of a righteous man, but of the Creator of the universe and His Son, not “sons” as it is the case with the messengers, because we further read thus,
Who has gone up to the heavens and come down?
Who has grasped the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His son’s name, if you know it? (Pro 30:4)
And if the proverb indeed testifies that God has a son, who is he because the inquirer asks the question: what is His son’s name, if you know it?
There are two possible interpretations of the words of Agur the wise man: (1) either it aims at the answer that no man, but a Being highly exalted above all creation to whose name the question is addressed (as in also Isa 40:12), (2) or the question is meant of men, i.e. “What man has the ability to know the knowledge of the Creator? And if indeed there is one, then name him!”
We should admit that the choice between these two possible interpretations is very difficult: is there any man who has already gone up to heaven and come down from it again? And if there is such a man, who is he? Name this man and his name! There is no such man to whom this statement may refer.
But if there is no such man, then this son of Elohim must be of a heavenly origin. And if this son of Elohim does exist, as the proverb indeed testifies, then when was he born as related to the creation?
But, is there at all a man who can comprehend by his finite knowledge the whole visible and invisible creation?
The second possible interpretation that remains is to Him who has already done and who continues doing all that. And indeed, if a finite man looks up to the heavens and sees the innumerous stars and the fabulous nebulas, and the entire beautiful creation is spread on the canvas of the night sky, the conclusion would come to him that the Omnipotent One, the Absolute Power and Authority, is highly exalted above all who unfolds the mystery of the wonder above all wonders through His work (see Job 26:7).
Then, Agur asks the question that expresses the longing to know Him in a more personal way, “What is His Name?“
But he does not stop there and asks a further question, “and what is His son’s name, if you know it?”
This question denotes striving after not any kind of name, which is given to him by men, but the name which is the most appropriate personal expression of the being that went forth from the Creator, whom the author of the proverb called “His son” alluding to him as a servant in the creation of the world.
The Wisdom of the Creator
We should recall that in the entire Proverb 8 Wisdom is personified as speaking, and is described as the Creator’s the beginning of His way, the first of His works.
Yehovah made me as the beginning of His way, the first of His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (Pro 8:22-23)
So, Wisdom originates with YHVH before all creation, and is the object of His love, as she also has the object of her love to her Father: Yehovah made me as the beginning of His way, the first of His works of old.
Therefore, Wisdom is not the Creator Himself, but is His. Wisdom has personal existence in the Word, but is not the Word itself: Wisdom is the idea, the plan of the creation that was to be created before the world itself was created.
In other words, Wisdom, once projected, was objective to the Creator YHVH, as a living image, an archetype of the creation, which originated from Him, and like a blueprint stood before Him, mediating between the Creator and the universe until its completion, as designed to be.
This Wisdom the proverb personifies not as the person of the Word, which was about to be pronounced and with which the creation would commence, but as her actual personification in the Word.
YHVH and His King Messiah
This Wisdom of YHVH is further revealed and developed in Psa 2:1-12 in the person of a heavenly King against whom and against YHVH the kings of the earth take their stand to overthrow their kingship,
And the rulers take counsel together, against Yehovah and against His Mashiach (Anointed One, Messiah), and say, “Let us tear apart Their bonds (between Him and His Messiah), and throw away their ropes from us.” (Psa 2:2-3)
The personality of this King is not so perceptible, but who is nevertheless still real, coming near to men in a human way,
But I, I have set My King on Tsiyon, My set-apart mountain. I inscribe for a decree: Yehovah has said to Me, “You are My Son, today I have brought You forth. (Psa 2:6-7)
It is most evident from the proverb and from the psalm that the Creator YHVH does have a son and this son has been set as the pre-existing of His creation, the first-born of His works, as it is written, “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning.”
This, we need to admit, can be said only about a son who has been pre-existing, or as we may say: the first-born of Elohim.
In Yochanan’s writings all this is said in the words in the most enigmatically possible way,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim. All came to be through Him, and without Him not even one came to be that came to be. (Joh 1:1-3)
For further knowledge, the reader may refer to the article “Is it lawful to call Yeshua ‘Elohim’?“
See also Psa 33:6, Eph 3:9, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2, Heb 11:3, and 2Pe 3:5 that through and in Melech Mashiach, King Messiah, (The Word) of YHVH, everything came to be. We also elaborated on this in other studies that the Sages of old viewed the Messiah in the same light.
But here it suffices to quote Everyman’s Talmud, by Abraham Cohen, page 347,
The belief was general that the sending of the Messiah was part of the Creator’s plan at the inception of the Universe. “Seven things were created before the world was created: Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden (i.e. Paradise), Gehinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah” (Pes. 54a). In a later work there is the observation: “From the beginning of the creation of the world king Messiah was born, for he entered the mind (of God) before even the world was created“ (Pesikta Rabbati 152b)
Therefore, before the world was even created, YHVH created the Torah (literally “instructions”), according to which the world should be created and governed by, the means of salvation, that is, repentance, and ultimately the mediator of the creation King Messiah.
In Everyman’s Talmud, the author states that the King Messiah was first-born from the beginning of the creation, and being a first-born the King Messiah was made a son of Elohim.
Hence, we understand that Melech Mashiach (Hebrew for “Anointed King”), is viewed as the son who had already entered the mind of YHVH as pre-existing into His Wisdom with a name “more excellent name than that of the messengers,” Heb 1:4.
We should recall the very words of the Mashiach the pre-existing Son of Elohim, the first-born of the creation, to the men,
The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the beginning of the creation of Elohim, says this … (Rev 3:14)
See also Col 1:15 and Heb 1:6.
On both sides of eternity
In conclusion, a mortal man would know the Creator YHVH and His pre-existing Son, the first-born mediator in the creation, through their names.
And since “name” in Hebrew is not just a personal identifier but “character, reputation, authority”, the finite knowledge of mortals can only know what the essential nature of both are, but never in reality.
The nature of the Creator YHVH is hidden from inquiry. He is beyond time and space; He is self-sufficient, separate, standing apart, and not attached to or supported by anything; He is invisible Ruach. He is on the other side of eternity, which men cannot see.
But mortals can know Him through the works of His creation, which His creative power Ruach HaKodesh (the Set-apart Spirit) created according to the pre-existing Wisdom and through His first-born Son, through whom YHVH spoke the words of creation.
On this side of eternity, though, YHVH is beyond the reach and imagination of human knowledge and comprehension. He is hidden from men, or as He has said: “No one has seen Me and stays alive”.
Besides this, what He let us know of Him through the Torah, the Prophets, and through the words of His Son, we know nothing; it is beyond us.
For more wisdom on this subject, please, refer to the series of articles The Oneness of the Creator.
Therefore, to conclude, if King Shlomo the wisest man, says that the Creator has a son, He indeed has a son, a pre-existing Son the first-born of creation called “the Messenger of His Face” and the Rabbis of blessed memory called Him Sar HaPanim, “the Minister of the Face“?
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.