This week’s quote comes from S.J. Gathercole’s The Preexistent Son (p. 24-25). He addresses Phil. 2.6-8 which he calls “the highest point of Christological reference in the NT.” What he sees as “crucial” about this passage is this:
“Crucial here is the description of the incarnation as a voluntary act. If Christ emptied himself then he is not merely the passive envoy of the Father; the Son, too, is a willing subject of the mission and himself takes on the form of a servant. His act of emptying himself in the incarnation is parallel with his act of humbling himself to the point of death. Again, then, there is a strong implication of preexistence, this time from the fact that Christ acted in the event of the incarnation.”
This is one of my favorite books. I think Gathercole’s argument is very sound and it was actually Dunn’s harsh review in RBL that led me to read it for myself. With regard to the quotation, I think it’s a great observation, and one I’m indebted to Gathercole for making.
I like how both Gathercole and Fee have said their major problem with Dunn’s interpretation is simply it isn’t what the text says! Pretty straightforward.
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