“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5: 7-10).
“‘If you are the Christ,’ they said, ‘tell us’
Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God'” (Luke 22: 67-69).
Paul interprets Jesus’ life as a man who became perfect. Jesus started out imperfect, experienced temptation, weakness, and ignorance. He had to gain strength, wisdom, and ultimately perfection. If Jesus was “God the Son”, then it appears that “God the Son” did not exist until Jesus the “Son of Man” became perfect. A thing cannot be both coming into being and being at the same time. So if Jesus the man was imperfect then he could not have also been perfect at the same time. And if he was not perfect then he could not have been from the beginning what he was to become, the Word of God, “God the Son.”
Consider also what it means to be “seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” When one is seated, one is not as active as one could be. The distinction between seated and not seated represents first and foremost the distinction between acting and resting. The image of being seated is static, passive, and at rest. If Jesus is seated at the right hand of the mighty God, it sounds like Jesus is more dead than alive, though experiencing his death near to God, kept close by God, and supremely valued.
If Jesus is to come back, he will likely come into being the same way he did the first time. Interestingly, though we are reminded by Paul that Jesus appealed to the Father to save him from death, it appears to be only possible to give him a second life if human beings allow one that has to the potential to become “God the Son” to do so. That is, there will have to be not just another Jesus, but another Mary and another John the Baptist at a minimum.
In sum, these three things suggest that “God the Son,” or what we typically mean by “Jesus,” at the moment does not exist. 1. Jesus as God the Son did not exist in his human form until he reached his full development. Before that, he was becoming the Son, but was not yet in his full perfection and therefore in the beginning could not offer salvation to mankind. 2. Jesus told us that he would be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. The image here strongly evokes a sense of death, and Jesus showed in his subsequent petitions to the Father that he expected to die. 3. We are told that Jesus will come again, but if he is to come again, it would seem that he would have to come by the same route that he did the first time. So, in the same manner that he did not exist initially as the Son during his first coming, he will not have existed as the Son prior to his second coming.
The potential to exist, though, does indicate some underlying continuous existential form. So we have to distinguish between existing as a potentiality and a form on the one hand and existing as an active and conscious entity in the material world on the other.