Refutation: How Can Jesus Be God, When He Calls The Father The Only True God?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Jesus himself admitted that the Father is the only true God. Since Trinitarians believe that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons, that they are not the same Person, wouldn’t this prove that Jesus denied that he was God?
Sam chooses to answer this question by immediately forming a corpus of specific verses from within John’s Gospel, ignoring the verses immediate context. If a Muslim were to chop up the Bible as he has, simply to prove a point, what would his reaction be? Here’s Sam’s new version of the Gospel According to John, please note that all emphasis is Shamoun’s:
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify YOUR SON, that YOUR SON may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people THAT HE MIGHT GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL THOSE YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I HAD WITH YOU BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN …
For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me … All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.
And glory has come TO ME through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one … My prayer is not for them alone.
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be IN US so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I IN THEM and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them AND THAT I MYSELF MAY BE IN THEM.’” John 17:1-5, 8, 10-11, 20-26
This is what Sam concludes from the above:
- Jesus is God’s Son.
- Jesus gives eternal life to all that God gives him, which is a claim to being absolute Deity since only God can give eternal life.
- Jesus existed in glory with the Father even before the world was created.
- Jesus demands to be glorified by God, something which no mere creature could ever demand.
- Jesus states that everything that the Father has belongs to him, which makes him the heir of everything that exists.
- Jesus indwells all the believers, an indication that Christ is omnipresent and therefore God since God alone is omnipresent.
- Jesus is the object of the Father’s love even before the creation of the world.
This is what the text actually says:
- Jesus is God’s son, just as he was David’s, son is a term of endearment in the Old Testament.
- God gives eternal life to those who follow the message He sent with Christ, see Acts 2:21-22. Christ is the deliverer, not the source, Sam concedes to this by stating, God ‘gives’ him these things.
- We all existed before the world began, Christ was merely more glorified by God as opposed to the rest of us, see Ephesians 1:4.
- Many creatures asked to be glorified by God, Jesus wasn’t the only one, see Jeremiah 30:19. As an addendum, Jesus could not glorify himself, if he was a God, then God can glorify himself, but Christ could not and only the one greater than him could do so, see John 8:54, “Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.”
- All Christ has is what God gave him, what God has given Christ, he earns glory through it, as Sam himself has quoted, “And glory has come to me through them.” This does not make him God, but rather dependent upon God’s majesty over all things.
- Christ’s message was in his followers, as was God’s message in Christ, thus he dispensed the knowledge so that they all could become ‘one’ in the Lord’s path. If we take Sam’s interpretation, then those of whom Christ are in, are also deities/ incarnate of God.
- Whether before, during or after the world, God’s love does not make one a deity, for God has loved many. See Deuteronomy 23:5, John 16:27.
Below is Sam’s logic for the divinity of each person in the Godhead:
- The Trinity is the only true God.
- Each specific member of the Trinity is the only true God.
- Therefore, the members of the Trinity are the only true God, whether individually or collectively.
To correct Sam:
- Christ says that the Father, not the Trinity is the only true God.
Since his first premise is wrong, his logical deduction is therefore non-sequitur and hereby invalid. He then went on to quote Hebrews 1:8-12 which according to his translation states:
“But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ He also says, ‘In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.’” Hebrews 1:8-12
The reality is, the Judaic translation is rendered as:
“Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.” – Tehellim (Psalms) 45:7.
In fact, the very next verse, which is verse 8, it declares that the judge has a God:
“You loved righteousness and you hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, anointed you with oil of joy from among your peers.” – Ibid.
The confusion stems from the term for God, אֱלֹהִים , which has three meanings, Judges (Psalm 82:6), God (Genesis 1:1) and Angels (Psalm 8:6). Since verse 8 already mentions that the person from verse 7, has a God, then since there is only one God, verse 7 is translated as Judge or Angel, however since the person is on a throne and ruling judgement over a nation, the person is therefore a Judge.
Sam continues by quoting the following verse:
“For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4″
Notice, the distinction between God and Jesus Christ. The verse did not say,”….the grace of our God who is our only Master and Lord”, rather it differentiates between two persons, one who is God and the other who is a Master and Lord. Whereas Christ is a Master and a Lord, not once is he referred to as “God, Jesus Christ”, but rather teacher, rabbi, master and lord (kurious not theos).
He then states:
In fact, a careful reading of John 17:3 helps to further confirm that Jesus wasn’t denying his absolute Deity:
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, AND (kai) Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
To the contrary, this is another distinction between God and the one whom God has sent, Jesus the Christ. Notice the verse explicitly states ‘that they know you the only true God’ and then it goes on to say who the only true God sent, that is Christ. The verse does not describe Christ as a God in the least sense. If I said, “The boy and the dog”, would this mean to Sam that the boy is the dog?
According to his logic and reason, that would be a yes, but we are educated people and know otherwise. He has quoted some Christian scholars who adhere to his opinion, this is mere confirmation bias and adds nothing academic to his argument.
In fact, according to Sam’s own quote from John Gill’s exegesis, many other Christian groups used this verse in opposition to the Trinitarian dogma:
“… The Arians and Unitarians urge this text, against the true and proper deity of our Lord Jesus, and his equality with the Father” – Source – as Sam has provided himself.
In closing, he then used several verses from the Gospel according to John, wherein the Christ is referred to as the saviour. We agree that Christ came to save men from their sins, he did so by calling them to repent in Matthew 3:2, 3:8, 4:17 and 11:20. This is naturally what the Prophets would have done. His last ditch attempt to use John 1:1 can easily be refuted if we understand ‘Word’ to be God’s wisdom and action and not as a separate deity, as is presented in the Old Testament:
- And the word of the Lord was Joseph’s helper (Gen. 39:2).
- And Moses brought the people to meet the word of the Lord (Ex. 19:17).
- And the word of the Lord accepted the face of Job (Job 42:9).
- And the word of the Lord shall laugh them to scorn (Ps. 2:4).
- They believed in the name of His word (Ps. 106:12).
As it stands, John 17:3 was not thoroughly answered by Sam, at the very most, he spent less than 50 words on these verses. Whereas he spent over 2000+ words on everything else. Therefore, he has not answered the question and the argument(s) he has presented have been soundly refuted.
wa Allaahu ‘Alam.= Allah knows Best.
Source Calling Christians