In the interests of continuing a conversation, but freshening it a bit with a new blog post, I will make one or two comments on this rather important text. Here is the Greek:
6ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, 7ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος:
And the translation (ESV) is here: “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
The main point I wish to make here is very simple: if Jesus “made Himself nothing,” then He must have existed before He made Himself nothing. If He existed before He made Himself nothing, then there must have been some form in which He existed before He made Himself nothing. (“Made Himself nothing” does not mean that He ceased to exist; it means rather that He humbled Himself) The form in which He existed before He made Himself nothing was the form of God, according to the first part of verse 6. The “form of God” does not mean “almost, but not quite God,” but rather “the very nature of God.” Therefore, the conclusion to this logic is that if Jesus made Himself nothing (humbled Himself), then He was God, according to this text. That is what the text is saying, based on pure exegesis, not quoting one single early church father, not quoting any council or creed. Pure exegesis.
Of course, the question of whether He ceased to be God is a whole ‘nother question. This passage does not say that Jesus ceased to be God. Rather, the focus is on the voluntary humiliation of Christ.
And if Steve wants to comment on this, he must read this article first or I will block his comments.