Coequality Necessities Within The Trinity

Continued from Part 3

John quotes Jesus as saying:  “I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am” (John 14:28).  Is this coequality within the Trinity?  According to the New Testament, Jesus referred to God as “my God” both before and after his supposed resurrection (Matthew 27:46; John 20:17; Revelation 3:12).  Thus, according to the New Testament, Jesus did not consider himself to be God or God’s coequal, but instead recognized his subservience to God to whom he must go.  As John’s postresurrection Jesus says to Mary Magdalene, “I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God” (John 20:17).

John’s Jesus says:  “Do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming’ because I said ‘I am the Son of God’”? (John 10:36).  The meaning of sanctify is “to make holy,” specifically by setting something apart as holy (consecrate) or to make something free from sin (spiritually purified).  This Gospel teaches that Jesus was “sanctified” by God before being sent into the world.  It is claimed that Jesus was sanctified by God before entering the world, but God does not need to be sanctified!  Does this sound like the alleged pre-incarnate Jesus and God were coequal?

The author of Hebrews writes that it was fitting that God should “make” Jesus “perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10).  According to this author, Jesus “learned obedience from the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).  God is forever perfect, but Jesus is said to have needed to attain perfection through his suffering.  If he was a sinless god-man this makes absolutely no sense.  Why did Jesus have to learn to be obedient if he is God?  An all-knowing God does not need to learn anything for He knows it already.  Whom does Jesus have to obey?  Do the equal members of the Trinity exercise authority, one over the other?

Paul states:  “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3).  “You belong to Christ,” Paul claims, but he goes on to say “Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:23).  As man is subservient to Christ, and woman to man, so Christ is subservient to God.  One who is subservient to another cannot be equal to that individual.

In a prayer to God made by the disciples that is found in the Book of Acts, they refer to King David as God’s “servant” (Acts 4:25).  Later in that same prayer they call the alleged post resurrection Jesus “your holy servant” (Acts 4:30).  It is obvious that the disciples did not believe Jesus was God, but thought of him, like David, as a servant of God (cf. Matthew 12:18 and Acts 3:26).

The author of Acts reports that Peter said that “God has made this Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).  It was God who it is alleged made Jesus “both Lord and Christ” and “gave him the name that is above every name” (i.e., Lord of lords and King of kings”—Revelations 17:14, 19:16).  If Jesus were part of the one-and-only God, he would not need God to exalt him for he would already be exalted.  “Lord” (the Greek word is kyrios) is a masculine title of respect and majesty, and it is frequently used in the New Testament of others beside God and Jesus.  Property owners are called lord (Matthew 20:8); heads of households are called lord (Mark 13:35); slave owners are called lord (Matthew 10:24); husbands are called lord (1 Peter 3:6); a son called his father lord (Matthew 21:30); the Roman emperor is called lord (Acts 25:26); Roman authorities are called lord (Matthew 27:63).  The word, “lord” is not used at Acts 2:36 in the sense of God; rather, it refers to someone who has only attained a high station through the grace of God.  The New Testament says Jesus earned positions of authority and as a result earned the names and powers that go along with these positions.  How did he earn them?  “. . . [He] humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even on a cross.  Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:8-9).  Such a one could not be God.  Indeed, if Jesus were God, then by definition he was already “Lord,” and it would be incorrect to say Jesus was “made” Lord.

© Gerald Sigal