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What does this mean Jesus rejects equality with God? I was always taught Jesus and the Father where separate but equal? Granted you cant find it in the bible. Did they mean to say separate but both God but not equal?

Well I know of at least two places in the scripture where Jesus rejects equality with God.

John 14:28 "The Father is Greater then I"

Philippians 2:6 (NAS) "although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped"

Granted the second verse is translated with much liberty in many version that if you where to compare them they all seem to be saying different things. So I chose to stick to a good word for word translation.

But those two verses are not the only proof about who is greater.

Hebrews 7:7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.

Did God not bless Jesus, Did he not give him answers to his prayers. Did not God put all things in subjection to Jesus?

Acts 3:13 "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus"

John 3:34 "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God" [ referring to Jesus ]

Jesus is clearly God's servant and was sent by God.

John 13:16 "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave (or servant) is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

The Question behind the question is. Are you OK with Jesus being less then his God (and Father)?

Is is just me? It seems so many are so busy trying to put the God back in Jesus that they forget the point. He did not lower himself to be God, but to be a man. To be like us so we in turn might be like God.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. I'm not quite sure what exactly you're asking, or whether you just want to make a statement--which isn't what this site is for. See: How we are different than other sites and: What topics can I ask about here? Though your question may be put on hold, I do hope you'll stick around and browse some of the other questions. – Lee Woofenden Aug 27 '16 at 4:48
  • 1
    Is this a Christian doctrine question or a biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) question? Also note that "to be grasped" is in the sense of "to be held on to" not "grasping for straws". So its something he had that he was willing to humble himself and let go of. – Joshua Aug 27 '16 at 5:05
  • The word is harpagmos from the Greek meaning - spoil, an object of eager desire, a prize. Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be taken. The opposite of Satan's story. Now existing in the form of God might be assumed to mean equality but you would need to raise that assumption above the presentation that taking equality is being presented as a prize or the spoils of war. – Just Me Aug 27 '16 at 5:55
  • I guess what I want to know is am i the only one who see things this way. The title seems so at odds with many other biblical dogmas but the scripture itself seems very plain. How does this statement reconcile with traditional teachings? – Just Me Aug 27 '16 at 6:01
  • Related/possible duplicate: How do Protestants respond to the JW interpretation of John 14:28? – Nathaniel Aug 27 '16 at 11:51
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Jesus rejects equality with God - How does this statement reconcile with traditional teachings? It doesn't. The 'equality' teaching is indeed a tradition. If Christ was not convincing enough in John 17, other writings especially Isaiah 40:25 leave no room for options, as also Christ says that scripture cannot be broken.

Isaiah 40:25
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

There are 2 things to qualify first before embarking on illustrating how Christ is, or not, 'equal' to the Father;

A. The term 'God'
B. The phrase 'equal with God'

A The term 'God'

In the spirit, essence is directly related to power.

Isaiah 45:5
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

The Father is saying there are gods indeed, but none in all His creation is like Him.

Messiah says in John 10;

34 Jesus replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’?
35 If he(ultimately the Father) called them gods to whom the word of God came — and the Scripture cannot be broken
36 then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God? .

Now compare Psalm 8:5,

Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!

with;
Job 40:15, on the issue of 'making' man alongside that of another entity;

“Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox,

It's the same notion in Psalm 8:5 where man is contrasted to the entity 'god,' whose coming into existence is attributed to the Father just as man's is.

The inference is that there are 'gods' since the Father cannot contradict His word and all are because of Him, so often the term 'god' is an allusion to essense.

B Equal with God

The mist in the term equal with God then clears, making it to be true or false on the back of what scriptures above indicate as the position and nature of the Father, alongside that of gods who are by the same Father.
The question now is what do they mean by 'equality' if God in this phrase refers to the Father?

"Make them one even as we are One" and "I and the Father are one" don't make Messiah equal to the Father, rather, they depict both being of the same mind to achieve that for which Messiah is in flesh.
As also it should be obvious that the former saying doesn't mean that believers in Christ get to be equal.

Messiah is a highly distinguished 'Son of God', this makes Him God by essence, and when in the throne of the Father, He is God by title.

In Job 40, the Father describes the capabilities of an entity with a title of God.

9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

This is what is ascribed to entities labelled as Elohim, the same beings in Psalm 82:1

Yet even with all the preferment, Messiah categorically indicates many times that in His capacity He is only doing the Father's commandment and will. In the famous I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God, as well as in Revelation, when Messiah and the Father are in the same circumstances as opposed to Him being in flesh while the Father was in heaven, Messiah still refers to the Father as 'my God'.

Revelation 3:2

Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.

Messiah was given to believers to be 'worshipped. To 'worship' means essentially to fashion a heart's desires after a doctrine or way of life, and messiah's words aren't His words but the Father's ultimately. So, He's worshipped as the Father is also worshipped;

And in places like Hosea is where all this was foretold.

Hosea 3:5
5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

David is a messianic reference, as also the term seek is peculiar to issues of the heart of man. The same seeking is in;

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. SO the children of Israel in the days of this 'David' will seek David as well as the LORD at one and the same time in the last days, a time unique associated with the start of Messianic duties. In John 17 Messiah refers to the 'glory' that He had with the Father before the world begun, which existence before the world begun is mistaken for equality with the Father.

So Jesus rejects equality with God is a true statement as many scriptures indicate and therefore it conflicts with the traditional teaching of the 'Father being equal with His Servant.

  • ...so it wasn't God who died for our sins? – Probably Sep 11 '16 at 15:21
  • @Probably, God cannot die. If you mean the Father. It's written that God will 'get Him' salvation by His hand, the hand is a denotation of Messiah'. This is how He accomplishes His tasks in all His creation-Isaiah 48:13 & Isaiah 51:16 The Father doesn't simply have life, HE is LIFE. Whatever can die is because of sin to start with!, so if Messiah wasn't MADE sin for us, He wouldn't have died! And we are talking eternal death here, not of flesh. Secondly whoever dies was given life, somehow- John 5:26. No it wasn't the Father but His Messiah that died for sinners; Isaiah 53:6, 53:10-11 – Witness Sep 11 '16 at 15:46
  • @Witness Sorry, this is the part I don't understand, I think: "Messiah wasn't MADE sin for us, He wouldn't have died" – Probably Sep 12 '16 at 21:39
  • @ Probably, I was qualifying the nature of what can or cannot die, by saying; ''so, if Messiah hadn't been MADE sin for us, He wouldn't have died!'' Messiah was MADE sin as He couldn't sin Himself, Paul writes 2 Corinthians 5:21 , and this was prophesied by typifying it by the ''sepernt of Brass'' which Moses made for those bitten by 'spirit serpents'. A serpent is NEVER a good thing in Scriptures. It's because of sin that Beings capable of it can die. This Rules out God, ''in Him there's NO darkness or shadow,'' 1 John 1:5, darkness being an allusion to a sinful nature. – Witness Sep 13 '16 at 4:48
  • It doesnt make much sense to me – Probably Oct 17 '16 at 8:58
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Your question seems to be in some degree to be based on the hypostatic union.

Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence. - Wikipedia.

Since Jesus is by nature both divine and human (both God and man) it should not be surprising that Our Lord spoke in ways that reflected one nature at one time and then in a way that reflected the another nature. When Jesus said that the "Father is greater than I", he was speaking through his human nature.

Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived since he is the Savior, God in human flesh. He is not half God and half man. He is fully divine and fully man. In other words, Jesus has two distinct natures: divine and human. Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). This means that in the single person of Jesus he has both a human and divine nature, God and man. The divine nature was not changed when the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14). Instead, the Word was joined with humanity (Col. 2:9). Jesus' divine nature was not altered. Also, Jesus is not merely a man who "had God within Him," nor is he a man who "manifested the God principle." He is God in flesh, second person of the Trinity. "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Heb. 1:3). Jesus' two natures are not "mixed together" (Eutychianism), nor are they combined into a new God-man nature (Monophysitism). They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union.

The following chart should help you see the two natures of Jesus "in action":

GOD
He is worshiped (Matt. 2:2, 11; 14:33)

He was called God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8)

He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1)

He is prayed to (Acts 7:59)

He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15)

He knows all things (John 21:17)

He gives eternal life (John 10:28)

All the fullness of deity dwells in Him (Col. 2:9)

MAN
He worshiped the Father (John 17)

He was called man (Mark 15:39; John 19:5)

He was called Son of Man (John 9:35-37)

He prayed to the Father (John 17)

He was tempted (Matt. 4:1)

He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)

He died (Rom. 5:8)

He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)

The Communicatio Idiomatum

A doctrine that is related to the Hypostatic Union is the communicatio idiomatum (Latin for "communication of properties"). This is the teaching that the attributes of both the divine and human natures are ascribed to the one person of Jesus. This means that the man Jesus could lay claim to the glory He had with the Father before the world was made (John 17:5), claim that He descended from heaven (John 3:13), and also claim omnipresence (Matt. 28:20). All of these are divine qualities that are laid claim to by Jesus; therefore, the attributes of the divine properties were claimed by the person of Jesus.

For a proper understanding of Jesus and, therefore, all other doctrines that relate to Him, His two natures must be properly understood and defined. Jesus is one person with two natures. This is why He would grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52) and yet know all things (John 21:17). He is the Divine Word that became flesh (John 1:1, 14). - Jesus' Two Natures: God and Man.

  • So you are saying Jesus behaved like a man one moment and like God the next? Sounds like division rather then the unity I have come to expect. I might tend to have more mercy for such a position if he shed his humanity upon returning to heaven. But it seems like man trying to divide what God has joined. What would be the motive behind this attempt at division. What would be the negative impact of it just being Jesus the one Man-God Son of His Father doing everything? – Just Me Aug 27 '16 at 17:36
  • Regarding John 17:5 My understanding is just that Jesus was attributed the deeds of His father the same way Levi was attributed the deeds of Abraham. Because He was part of him, existed inside of him at the time. Heb 7:9 – Just Me Aug 27 '16 at 18:53
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Athanasian Creed

According to the Athanasian Creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance [Essence] of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance [Essence] of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Substance [Essence]; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

So the creed says that the Son and the Father are co-equal, and that neither are greater than or lesser than the other. According to the trinity doctrine, Jesus and the Father are homooúsios, or 'of the same substance'. This was a word used by a few gnostic sects prior to Nicea, but it's basically a made-up word to describe the 'relationship' of the 'three divine persons'.

Nicene Creed

In 341 AD, at the Council of Nicea, it was decided that Jesus is 'God the Son', the 'second person' of the 'triune God'; equal and 'eternally begotten' of the Father. However, there were still many people that found this hard to accept. One of the main problems was, Yeshua says:

"the father is greater than I"

...as well as many, many, many other things that Yeshua and the Apostles said.

Council of Ephesus

In 431 AD, at the Council of Ephesus, the church made up a different term: Hypostatic Union. During this council, Cycil of Alexandria said:

“We must follow these words and teachings, keeping in mind what ‘having been made flesh’ means...that the Word, by having united to himself hypostatically flesh animated by a rational soul, inexplicably and incomprehensibly became man.” Letters 1-50 (The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 76; pg. 39)

So there you have it. It is an incomprehensible mystery why Yeshua talked as though the father was greater than himself. Sometimes Jesus talked like a man using his 'human nature', and sometimes he spoke as God, using his 'divine nature". If anything Yeshua says seems to contradict that he is God, just put that under the 'human nature' category and you can ignore it.

Conclusion

According to Christianity, the one true God exists as an incomprehensible mystery. He has commanded his believers to explain this incomprehensible mystery to others, and he has determined that every human that has ever existed must believe in this incomprehensible God. If somebody fails to comprehend this, just make up words and tell them that the made-up words explain everything. If any person that has ever existed fails to accept this incomprehensible mystery, and the many terms associated with it that are found nowhere in any bible ever written- God will cast them into an eternal hell to have their flesh burned forever and ever in agonizing pain.

  • I have two issues with this way of thinking. – Just Me Sep 2 '16 at 16:00
  • My main issue with this line of thinking is its loophole that makes it work in the face of scripture that is contrary is to divide Jesus Christ. But John 1:13 says the Word became flesh. To divide Jesus from his humanity in any fashion is to separate humanity from God. – Just Me Sep 2 '16 at 16:22
  • Secondly regarding the appeal to ignorance, the "incomprehensible mystery" of the nature of God, the scriptures has this to say. " For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. " -Romans 1:20 – Just Me Sep 2 '16 at 16:25
  • @JustMe Thank you for the comment. You only have two issues with this? I don't believe a word of anything I wrote. You asked for the traditional view so I had to answer accordingly. I also don't believe Paul's word is Scripture. I consider it more like Jewish fables mixed with a lot of Greek philosophy. But concerning the verse you quoted, Paul is talking about believers that twist the truth- 'who hold the truth in unrighteousness' Romans 1:18. Yeshua was a human, because God (YHVH) made the world for mankind. – Cannabijoy Sep 2 '16 at 16:58
  • I hear you. I would say the truth you live is the only truth you really know. But regarding Romans 1:20 I would not say there is cause in the context to limit what Paul presents regarding what can be known of God to just the one group. – Just Me Sep 2 '16 at 17:43
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It means that Jesus is God incarnate. God, or the Father, is simply pure consciousness and purely every unmanifested idea or thing. Therefore Jesus is the second to God, or the physical manifestation of the Father, which is pure potential. God is made manifest by and through man, or Jesus. Creation is finished, and God is made manifest through the thoughts of man. This manifestation is named Jesus/Yeheshua etc.

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