Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I know we don't believe in pre-existence of humanity, but when discussing with someone who does, Jeremiah 1:5 was used to defend the position. According to the Orthodox understanding, what did Our Lord Jesus Christ mean by, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV).

Pre-existence can only apply to the Holy Trinity. God is Omnipotent and Omniscient. Thus, He has foreknowledge of everything and everyone. There is no pre-existence of any other creature, not of mankind and not even of angels—but only God. In the case of the Prophet Jeremiah, God told him that He knew him—meaning He really knew him from his depth and what kind of unique and godly character he would possess. Thus, God ordained him a prophet prior to the formation of his pre-embryotic tissue. This statement affirms the value of life from its inception and not merely at implantation or in the fetal stage, as some have sinfully and erroneously demanded. God did not need to wait for Jeremiah to become of age for his ordination to be fulfilled because God knew him even before his conception. God knows us all. Every fiber of our being is exposed before Him. We are constrained by time, but time has no restraints on God. Nonetheless, God did not create him for the reason to be a prophet. Rather, He waited for his time to be fulfilled, and therefore, He consecrated and sanctified him for this ministry. The same can be said about the Blessed Mother St. Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Paul, and many, many others who were consecrated from the womb of their mothers for a specific ministry.

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