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I've seen multiple times (biblical) unitarians claim that being divine does not imply being God, and that we can view Jesus as divine (i.e. as having divine attributes) without being "God" with a capital G. This makes me wonder: for biblical unitarians, are there divine attributes that only the Father has but Jesus doesn't?


A suggestion: for a very complete answer, I would suggest something like a comparison table with 3 columns: "Divine Attribute", "Father" and "Son". Under "Divine Attribute" I would list several divine attributes, such as "eternal", "omnipotent", "omniscient", "omnipresent", etc. And under "Father" and "Son" I would list biblical passages that give evidence of whether the Father and the Son possess/lack these divine attributes, respectively. But this is just a suggestion, so feel free to answer as you see fit.

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    I was corrected in a recent question regarding a distinction between Biblical and Universalist Unitarians and asked to pick one. Apparently the two are wildly divergent. Feb 28, 2021 at 15:26
  • @MikeBorden - right, I edited the title accordingly Feb 28, 2021 at 15:27

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Divine attributes that only the Father has but Jesus doesn't.

That might take a lot of space to answer. Equally relevant is, what 'divine attributes' does Jesus have.

Jesus has been clear on numerous occasions to state the relationship he has with God and his Father.

Several NT writers have also shown the differences between God and Jesus. It seems necessary to state the obvious; Jesus has a God (Note 1). God does not have a God. From that basis it would seem ridiculous to think Jesus is somehow God too. Based on the numerous texts we have, this is not a logical or well-founded construct.

If we refer to extra-biblical creeds to understand the nature of God then we are ignoring the bible's clear revelations because the two do not agree.

The definition of divine I'm using is as an adjective. Being divine doesn't make one God, but simply has some of the characteristics of God. Specifically, Jesus was divine because he was holy and without sin. This makes him like God or Godlike, but by no means God. We will also share in God's divine nature.

Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust. 2 Pet 1:4

Attributes of Jesus v/s God

Jesus is holy and without sin. That's just like God - but doesn't make him God.

Jesus on earth in the flesh was the 'image of God' and had the 'form of God' - neither make him God, but make him like God.

Jesus could be tempted - that's not like God. God cannot be tempted. James 1:13

Jesus could die - that's not like God, He is immortal.

Jesus could sin - that's not like God, He cannot sin. Heb 5:7

Jesus doesn't know everything - God does. Matt 24:36

Jesus said he is not a spirit - God is Spirit. Luke 24:39 John 4:24

Jesus said he was a man (still is) - God is not a man. Num 23:19 Hos 11:9 John 8:40

Jesus had a beginning ~4BC - God has no beginning.

Jesus was made Lord - no one makes God anything! Acts 2:36

Jesus was sanctified by God - God does not need to be sanctified. John 10:36

We only need Jesus to fall short by ONE divine attribute that God the Father has to show Jesus is not God.

Either Jesus is God or he is not, He cannot be God for some things and not God for other.

How can he be God (because some say he has to be God to pay for all sin) and still die? Oh, only the humanity of Jesus died apparently, while God the Son lives on. This two-faced nature of Jesus/the Son is not found in scripture.

He cannot be immortal and mortal. We know he was mortal in the flesh until he was raised in the spirit. 1 Pet 3:18, Rom 6:9 He is mortal no longer. So by those texts, he was not God.

If the bible was supposed to explain who God is and who Jesus is and they are both God - it is doing a really lousy job. So to make Jesus God is to ignore all the verses that say he isn't.

It is pointless to grasp at the few 'proof-texts' like John 20:28, 10:30 or Is 9:6 etc. When read incorrectly or out of context they may seem useful to the 'Jesus is God' set. But even then, they are still insufficient to alter the substantial, consistent body of evidence for a human Jesus who is not God, but the son of God who gave his life in humble sacrifice for his Father's creation. Having accomplished this momentous task, he is rightly made heir to this creation. And now rules with his Father and God and is mediator between God and men.

Even Satan knew who Jesus was - he knew he wasn't God, but the son of God.

When the biblical evidence is understood and accepted, these 'proof-texts' regain their true meaning highlighting the magnificent plan God put in place in ages past.

This summary answer has been drawn from one main source and assoc. pages - https://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses

Note 1 https://onegodworship.com/jesus-has-a-god/ - sample of verses where Jesus has a God

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    It's not what Trinitarians claim though. We say that the divine person of the Son died in his human nature but not in his divine nature. To us it's an important distinction. It's definitely not two-faced, it's much more like saying that someone hit by a car is injured in their body but not their soul. What is written here, the humanity of Jesus dying while God the Son lives on, sounds a lot like Nestorianism. But, this isn't the place to debate such things, this question is about what BU teaches.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:16
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    Ok, seems like semantics. So if they are dead from the car accident, the soul lives on? That isn't biblical either.
    – steveowen
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:34
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User47952's answer contains a lot of relevant stuff. I would add a couple.

God is Being (the source, Genesis 1:1), Jesus comes from (is 'begotten' of, John 1:18) Being.

God has ultimate authority, Jesus is given authority (Matthew 28:18).

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    They are good points, It would be a long list, I just stopped after a while :)
    – steveowen
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:30

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