Apr 13, 2012

The Father is not the Son

The Apostle John began his gospel with these words:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was (the) God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

It is very clear from this passage that "The Word (Logos)" is a person.  The personal pronoun "him" is used twice in reference to him who is by title "the Word."  The very one who is "the Word" is identified by the Apostle John as being the Son of God.

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."  (vs. 14-18)

 It seems strange to me that anyone can read these words and not see that "the Word" is that person who "was made flesh" and "dwelled among us," and who is "the only begotten of the Father" and "the only begotten Son," and who is clearly distinct from "the Father" who begat him. How can one be in the bosom of himself?  The "Word" or the "Son" is "in the bosom of the Father," and is clearly not the Father.  It would be as easy for me to claim to be my own father as for Jesus to claim to be his Father.

There are no scriptures where the Father and Son are ever said to be the same person.  The only possible exception are these words of Jesus:

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."  (John 14: 7-10)

Is Jesus saying "I am my Father"?  Is he saying that he is the same person as the Father?  If he is, then the above words of the text would be truly a unique passage with none other like it in Scripture.  In fact, it would contradict every other statement, in the gospels, where Jesus personally distinguished himself from his Father. 

In fact, Jesus spoke of both he and his Father as being "two."  Even in that famous passage where Jesus says "I and my Father are one" (John 10: 30) there is the use of the plural verb "are."  Jesus did not say "I and my Father is one."  Thus, Jesus is saying, about himself and his Father, "we two are one."  It would be the same in meaning as when Jesus confirms that "two are one" in marriage. 
In John 5: 31-37 Jesus responds to charges that his witness of himself cannot be valid unless, by the law of God, there are two witnesses. In addition to his own testimony about himself, there is the added witness of "the Father."  (He also in several places spoke of the witness of the Spirit to his person and work)  Jesus said:
"If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true."  (vs. 31, 32) 

If Jesus was the Father, then he was indeed bearing witness of himself alone.  Jesus is a person but it requires, in the Torah, that "another" person to bear witness.  Jesus said:  "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men (persons) is true."  (John 8: 17)  Jesus is clearly saying that he and the Father are "two" persons and bear witness as persons.

This is all devastating, of course, to Modalism.  If Jesus and the Father are the same person, then Jesus' justification and defence, for meeting Torah witness standards, is not valid.  Modalists do not want to confess that Jesus (the Word and Son of God) is not the same person as the Father, do not want to think of them as being anything more than "one" in every sense possible, and therefore are opposed to admitting that they are "two" as well as "one."  But, as we have seen, the scriptures are clear.

Jesus explains what he means when he says "he who has seen me has seen the Father."  He says "I am in the Father, and the Father is in me."  Clearly he distinguishes his own person from the person of his Father.  Jesus even speaks of his Father, who is in him, in the third person.  So, it is a mistinterpretation of this unique passage to say that it proves that Jesus and the Father are the same person.  Rather, it clearly shows that they are not the same person.

So, how is the Father's person seen in the person of his Son?  Is it not because the Son is the "express image (likeness) of his (Father's) person (substance)"?  (Heb. 1: 3)  Christ mirrored the exact image of his Father.  The Son is like the Father and the Father is like the Son.  As we say in common speech - "like father, like son."  Further, Jesus clearly distinguished himself from the Father when he said "he who has seen me has seen the Father."  "Me" is clearly not the same person as "the Father."

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