YES, YOU SHOULD BELIEVE IN THE TRINITY!
CHAPTER 5: IS JESUS INFERIOR TO GOD?
Many of these arguments against the Trinity are groundless when viewed in light of the incarnation. As already discussed, when Jesus became a man, He laid aside His privileges as God in order to experience all the struggles of humanity.1. In His Deity, Christ is “equal” to God the Father, but in His humanity, He is in a lesser position than that of the Father (John 14:28). Let’s discuss some of the passages addressed in the Trinity brochure:
“…I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”
One fact about this passage that the Society fails to note is that Jesus was always very careful to distinguish His relationship with the Father from the relationship His disciples had with the Father. He never addressed God as “our Father” in reference to Himself and the disciples, but rather addressed Him as “My Father” and “your Father.”2. This is significant to note because Jesus is God’s Son by nature; whereas, His disciples are God’s sons by adoption (John 1:12). As the “Son of God,” Jesus has the same nature as God (John 5:18, 19:7), but in the incarnation, Jesus took on the nature of man and thus became the “Son of Man.”3. While in His Divine nature, Jesus still has all the power and authority of God, it is in his human nature that Jesus refers to the Father as His God.
In human affairs, the “right hand” is the symbol of strength and power. Someone who is said to be the president’s “right hand man” is someone who is in a high position of honor. Thus, Scripture often employs the phrase “sitting at the right hand of the Father” to denote Christ’s preeminence as the one in the highest position of authority.
“For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father...and one Lord, Jesus Christ....”
When one considers the fact that no Jehovah’s Witness would argue that the Father is not “Lord” simply because Jesus is “Lord,” it is evident that this argument is groundless. Furthermore, the Father is called the “Lord of Lords” at Deuteronomy 10:17 while Jesus is called the “Lord of Lords” at Revelation 17:14 and 19:16. Yet, Jude 4 points out that there is only one “Lord.” Thus, in the same way that both Jesus and the Father are both called “the Lord,” Jesus is just as much God as the Father is God as He is addressed as God on several occasions. 4. Yet, 1 Timothy 1:17 reveals that there is only one God. So here we have yet another example of Scripture that supports the Trinitarian position that Jesus is the same “God” as the Father.
“And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’ ”
Nowhere in this passage does Jesus imply that He is not good. On the contrary, according to the context, Jesus was helping the rich ruler recognize that the attribute of “goodness” which the ruler had applied to Him was a quality that only God possesses. Thus, Jesus was forcing the ruler to recognize that either He is “good” and is therefore God, or He is bad and is therefore only a man.
“…Are you not from long ago, O Jehovah? O my God, my Holy One, you do not die.”
One of the attributes of our immutable God is that He does not die; and in this passage, Jehovah God is called “the Holy One” who does not die. Yet, at Acts 2:27, 3:14, and John 6:69 we read that this “Holy One” is Jesus who, as foretold by David at Psalm 16:10, was to die but whose body would not “undergo decay.” How can this be? If the Holy One does not die, how can Jesus as the “Holy One” die? We can reconcile this by recognizing that according to Psalm 49:7, more was required than just a mere man to atone for the sins of mankind. 6. Thus, it was necessary for Jehovah God to become man in the person of Christ in order to die and atone for the sins of the world. Although Jesus (in His human nature) had completely died, He (in His Divine nature) still possessed the power to raise Himself.
“...I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”—John 10:17-18; 2:19
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,
Prior to the incarnation, Jesus was one in person and one in nature, being totally Divine. At the incarnation, Jesus took on a human nature and henceforth became two in nature while yet remaining one in person. As a result, attributes from His Divine and human natures both became credited to His one person. In this passage, Jesus was speaking from the standpoint of His human nature; thus, demonstrating the limitations of His human nature by not being able to foretell the future. Nevertheless, there were many other occasions where Jesus, speaking from the perspective of His divinity, demonstrated the Divine quality of omniscience. Note the following passages:
At 1 Kings 8:39, we read that God is the only one who knows the hearts of all men; yet as seen in these and many other passages, Jesus knew the hearts of all men. How can Jesus have the very omniscience of Jehovah and not be Jehovah Himself?
“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. ...When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
1 Corinthians 11:3 states that “the man is the head of a woman.” Are women inferior or less human than men simply because husbands are to be in authority over their wives? No! Just as a woman is fully human even though she submits to her husband, so Jesus is fully God even though He submits to the will of His Father God. Another example of this can be seen at Luke 2:51 where we read that Christ was in “subjection” to Mary and Joseph. Was Christ inferior to them because He was in “subjection” to them? Of course not! In all of these cases, we see a type of functional subordination that is necessary to maintain order, but this subordination does not in anyway denote an inferior nature.
“...I go to the Father; for the Father is greater [meizon —meizon] than I.”
There is a significant reason why Jesus (in indicating His relationship to the Father) chose to use the term meizon (meizwn) translated “greater” rather than the term kreitton (kreittwn) which means “better”. Meizon denotes a greater position, whereas kreitton denotes a better nature. The difference between these two words can be seen at John 14:12, where we read that believers will do “greater” (meizon) works than Jesus. Since we know that this verse is not implying that we will do “better” works than Jesus, it is clear from the context that Jesus used this same word to demonstrate the greatness of the Father’s position (being in heaven) as opposed to Jesus’ position (being here on earth).
On pages 19-20 and 28 of the Society’s brochure, they reference the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library in England endeavoring to support their assertion that Jesus is not God and never claimed to be. They quote the Bulletin as stating: “The fact has to be faced that New Testament research over, say, the last thirty or forty years has been leading an increasing number of reputable New Testament scholars to the conclusion that Jesus...certainly never believed himself to be God.” However, the Society left out a very important statement in their quotation. The part they left out is as follows:
The idea that Jesus never claimed to be the “Christ” is unquestionably against the plain teaching of Scripture. For Matthew 16:20 specifically says: “Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” Even the Watchtower Society would agree that the idea that Jesus never “claimed” the title of “Christ” is erroneous. Thus, in order to conceal the fact that this source is not credible, they placed an ellipsis in the quotation and concealed this inaccurate statement from their readers.
1. That is, He had limited knowledge and “learned obedience” (Hebrews 5:8) through suffering, experiencing hunger, sleep, pain, death, etc.
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