Concerning this salvation, the prophets searched and inquired carefully, prophesying of the grace coming to you, inquiring what circumstances or what time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating, foretelling the sufferings of Christ and the glories which followed.
Some Trinitarians claim that Peter's words indicate that Christ pre-existed because Peter is referring to the existence of the "Spirit of Christ" in the ancient Israelite prophets.
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts show that Trinitarians are contradicting their own doctrine. The contextual facts also show us that the Spirit of Christ refers to the Holy Spirit in the prophets foretelling the future coming Christ.
The Problems with the Claim
This Trinitarian claim is inconsistent with Trintitarian doctrine and is usually advanced by laypeople who do not realize the implications of such a claim. It is either supposed that the Spirit of Christ IS Christ, or it is supposed that if the Spirit of Christ pre-existed then that must mean Christ pre-existed.
However, in Trinitarian doctrine, the Spirit of Christ is NOT Christ. The Spirit of Christ is someone else, the Holy Spirit (see 1:12). In Trinitarian doctrine, the Spirit of Christ is a person, the third person of the Trinity and not the second person of the Trinity. In Trinitarian doctrine, the Spirit of Christ is also not a reference to a "what" but to a "who." The Trinitarian "Spirit of Christ" is a reference to another person who is not Christ just as the Spirit of the Father is not a reference to the Father but to someone else, the third person of the Trinity. Any one of the three persons of the Trinity is not the other. It was the Holy Spirit which came upon the prophets (2 Peter 1:21) not another Spirit. Hence, according to Trinitarian doctrine, the existence of the Spirit of Christ can only mean the Holy Spirit existed, not the second person of the Trinity. Therefore, this Trinitarian claim doesn't make any sense whatsoever since it implies the existence of the Spirit of Christ means the existence of Christ when the Spirit of Christ is not Christ and each of these are two different and distinct persons in their own doctrine.
Analysis of the Facts
A more carefully reading of verse 11, and a brief review of the immediate context unfolds the truth of the matter.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets searched and inquired carefully, prophesying of the grace coming to you, inquiring what circumstances or what time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating, foretelling the sufferings of Christ and the glories which followed. It was revealed to them that they were not ministering to themselves but you, which now is announced through those who have preached the good news to you in the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
It is clear that the "Spirit of Christ" refers to the Holy Spirit, that Spirit of God which foretold the coming Christ and his sufferings. Peter is describing how the prophets prophesied the coming Christ in the Spirit of God. Notice how he refers to the sufferings of Christ and the glories which followed, a reference to a future human being.
The "Spirit of Christ" is obviously a reference to the Holy Spirit mentioned in the very next verse. In Trinitarianism, that would not be a reference to the second person of the Trinity but the third. Peter is referring to how ancient the prophets had prophesied about the suffering and glories of Christ. In this context, the term "Spirit of Christ" refers to how the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to them, that is, what was to come in the future concerning Christ.
Created: July 31, 2014 Last Revision/Update: September 25, 2014