Saturday, 9 February 2013
Contradictions In The Bible 5 :
How can Jesus' statement "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) be reconciled with the doctrine of the Trinity?
In John 14:28 Jesus says, "If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the
Father, for the Father is greater than I" (NIV). The Trinity is defined in the Westminster
Shorter Catechism (No. 6) as follows: "There are three Persons in the Godhead: the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory." How, then, can the Son affirm that the Father is greater (meizon) than He?
Our Lord Jesus Christ was speaking here, not in His divine nature as God the Son, but in His human nature, as the Son of Man. Christ came to suffer and die, not as God, who can do neither, but as the Second Adam, born of Mary. Only as the Son of Man could He serve as Messiah, or Christ (the Anointed One). Unless He could take to Himself a true and genuine human nature, He could never have represented Adam's race as Sin-Bearer at the Cross. But as the Son of Man, He certainly was lower in station than God the Father. As Isaiah 52:13-53:12 makes clear, He could only become our Savior by becoming the Servant of Yahweh. The servant by definition can never be as great as his master. Hence it was as the death-conquering Redeemer, the God-man, that Jesus would enter into the presence of the Father, who of course would be greater in dignity and station than the Son of Man.
But as for God the Son, apart from the Incarnation, Scripture never suggests any
contrast in glory as between the Father and the Son. The following passages make this
abundantly clear: John 1:1, 18; 8:58; 10:30; 14:9; 17:5; Romans 9:5 ("Christ ... who is
God over all"); Colossians 2:2; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20; cf. also Isaiah 9:6
(which affirms that the Virgin-born Immanuel is also the Mighty God-- 'el gibbor).
Gleason L Archer