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According to What does the Bible really teach?, a Watchtower publication, pp.41-42:

The only-begotton Son never even considered trying to be equal to his Father. The Bible clearly teaches that the Father is greater than the Son. (John 14:28).

John 14:28 says:

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

Which, on the surface, appears to agree with the JW claim that Jesus himself says he is "not equal" to his Father.

What is the Protestant response to this, in the context of the divinity of Jesus. How can Jesus be divine, and also "lesser" than the Father?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Good question, it is written

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:5-7)

Herein it says Jesus is equal with God (the Father), thus contradicting the watchtower quote you provided.

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)

In John 14:28 Jesus is saying he is subordinate to the Father, but Philippians 2:5-7 says he is equal. So Jesus is subordinate but equal. To be subordinate does not mean one is not equal, for example the Bible admonishes wives to be subordinate to their husbands in the Lord (Ephesians 5:22), yet they are 100% equal in value in God's sight. More info on Jesus divinity from Scripture found here - http://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/77/t/the-trinity.aspx

Hope that helps!

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Jesus is both God and man, Divine and human natures in one person. In regard to His humanity, He is subordinate to God the Father, but in regard to His Deity, He is the Father's equal.

The mistake people like the JW's (and there are other sects ancient and modern who have gone the same route) is to take the statements in Scripture about Jesus as a human being on earth, living in obedience to the Father, and treat them as if they were about His eternal being.

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Jesus IS God but God made man. Thereby he was God transpositioned into finite form; in his full glory He is infinite. That is probably why Jesus maintained people to see him as the 'Son' and not as the image of God. In a way he really was an 'aspect' of God, a different side of the diamond, the trinity; God's outstretched hand (and blood and flesh sacrifice) for man.

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Phillipians 2: 5-8 clearly explains it -

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Christ humbled himself in his incarnation and with reference to his incarnation as a man, he says that the Father is greater than him even though by his nature/form, he was Equal to God.

Also, functionally Christ has always been submissive to the father just as a wife is functionally submissive to the husband even though a Woman is equal to a man in nature/created equal.

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