By Wang Ya In the past, I saw the Bible recorded, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway […]
There Is Only One God, Why Is There the Idea of Father and Son?
By Xiaoxiao, France
The sky was clear, and the sun’s golden rays lit up the earth. Green grass was waving in the breeze; flowers were in bloom; twittering birds were scampering in the trees. On such a beautiful morning, Tian Lu, wearing earplugs, listened to hymns as she swept the floor. When sweeping in front of the desk, she took off the earplugs and put them on the desk, and then caught sight of the picture of the Lordon the wall. Then her eyes were blinded with tears, myriads of thoughts welling up in her mind …
In many years of belief in and service to the Lord, Tian Lu always believed that thewas the Son of God. For the says, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him: And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17). The Lord Jesus also prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). In her opinion, since there was a voice from heaven saying the Lord Jesus was His beloved Son and the Lord Jesus called the God in heaven Father in His prayers, it could be proved that the Lord Jesus was God’s Son sent by God to this world to do the work of redemption. One day, however, Tian Lu saw the Lord in Mark 12: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). She thought: In this verse, the Lord Jesus emphasized that God is one Lord, which means there is only one God. That is to say, there is no Father-Son relationship to speak of and the Lord Jesus is not the Son of God. However, if it’s really the case, why did the Lord Jesus call the God in heaven Father in His prayers? Isn’t His prayer in contradiction with His words: “The Lord our God is one Lord”? So is the Lord Jesus the Son of God or not? If He is not, what is His true identity? Tian Lu felt very puzzled at these questions.
Carrying these questions, Tian Lu went to Huimin, one of her co-workers whom she had not seen for years, hoping to get the answer from her. Huimin said, “The saying that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God wasn’t spoken by the Lord Jesus, nor did thegive such revelation to people. In the Age of Law, men all knew that Jehovah was the one true God and that there was no other God except Jehovah. Only after the Lord Jesus was incarnated is there the saying of ‘Father and Son.’ Let’s see what the Lord Jesus said about it. John 14:8-11 says, ‘Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.’ From these scriptures, we can see that Philip didn’t understand the substance of the Lord Jesus and thought there was God the Father in heaven, so he said to the Lord, ‘Lord, show us the Father.’ Then the Lord Jesus rectified his incorrect knowledge of God, saying: ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me,’ ‘I and my Father are one,’ and ‘he that has seen me has seen the Father.’ From the Lord Jesus’ words, we can know that the Father is the Son and the Son is the Father, that Father and Son are one, and that they are one God.”
Seeing the scriptures Huimin read, Tian Lu was in quite a state, thinking: “It never occurred to me that the Lord Jesus is the God in heaven and the God in heaven is the Lord. Here, the Lord Jesus clearly told us that God is unique and is only one. How could I neglect this?” Although she believed that all the words of the Lord Jesus are truth and are absolutely right, she still didn’t understand why the Lord Jesus called the God in heaven Father in His prayer before the crucifixion since He was not God’s Son. She was eager to get the answer from Huimin. Then they read these passages: “When Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father as He prayed, this was done only from the perspective of a created man, only because the Spirit of God had clothed Himself as an ordinary and normal man and had the exterior cover of a created being. Even if within Him was the Spirit of God, His exterior appearance was still that of an ordinary man; in other words, He had become the ‘Son of man’ of which all men, including Jesus Himself, spoke. Given that He is called the Son of man, He is a person (whether man or woman, in any case one with the exterior shell of a human being) born into a normal family of ordinary people. Therefore, Jesus calling God in heaven by the name of Father was the same as how you at first called Him Father; He did so from the perspective of a man of creation. Do you still remember the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught you to memorize? ‘Our Father in heaven….’ He asked all man to call God in heaven by the name of Father. And since He too called Him Father, He did so from the perspective of one who stands on an equal footing with you all. Since you called God in heaven by the name of Father, this shows that Jesus saw Himself to be on equal footing with you, and as a man on earth chosen by God (that is, the Son of God). If you call God ‘Father,’ is this not because you are a created being? However great the authority of Jesus on earth, prior to the crucifixion, He was merely a Son of man, governed by the Holy Spirit (that is, God), and one of the earth’s created beings, for He had yet to complete His work. Therefore, His calling God in heaven Father was solely His humility and obedience” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
“There are still those who say, did not God expressly state that Jesus was His beloved Son? ‘Jesus is the beloved Son of God, in whom He is well pleased’ was certainly spoken by God Himself. That was God bearing witness to Himself, but merely from a different perspective, that of the Spirit in heaven bearing witness to His own incarnation. Jesus is His incarnation, not His Son in heaven. Do you understand?” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
After reading these words, Huimin said to Tian Lu patiently, “Tian Lu, these words explain this question so clearly. When the Lord Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father as He prayed, this was done only from the perspective of a created man, so it can’t prove that the Lord Jesus is God’s Son. How could God have a son? Then would God not have become man? In fact, the word of the Lord Jesus: ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in me’ means that God is the only one true God. Because the Lord Jesus was the incarnation, He was called the beloved Son of God, and, from this, came the relationship between Father and Son. Before the Lord Jesus was laid on the cross, He was Christ, the Son of man, not a body of glory. It is because He was the incarnation of the Spirit of God that He called God’s Spirit in heaven Father from the standpoint of a created being, and obeyed the Father in heaven like a man; while God’s Spirit in heaven, in order to bear witness to people on earth that His own incarnation is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, called the incarnate Son of man His beloved Son. This was merely God calling Himself from different perspectives, and they are in substance still one God. Thus although the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God Himself, the Christ, He still prayed to God the Father from the perspective of the flesh, which completely shows the Lord Jesus’ humbleness and obedience!”
At this point, Tian Lu came to know: God is unique and there is only one God. God testified His own flesh in the position of the Spirit and called the God in the flesh Son, while the God in the flesh called the Spirit within Father in the position of the flesh. So the Lord Jesus is not God’s Son, and His real identity is Christ, the incarnate God Himself. As Tian Lu understood this, she felt guilty that she should regard the Lord Jesus as God’s Son and didn’t know that He is actually God Himself despite her many years of belief in the Lord. Thinking of the Lord Jesus’ suffering, she couldn’t help but shed tears of regret.
Seeing this scene, Huimin, with tears in her eyes, handed Tian Lu the paper towel. Before, when Huimin learnt that the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God Himself, she was as regretful and sad as Tian Lu. At that time, she saw her blindness and lacking in the knowledge of God, and realized that it was because she didn’t understand the truth of incarnation that she failed to recognize that the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God Himself and Christ. While communicating with Tian Lu, Huimin opened the book to read the words about this aspect of truth. Tian Lu wiped her tears, listening attentively. “The incarnate flesh originates in the Spirit: He is the incarnation of the Spirit, that is, the Word become flesh. In other words, God Himself lives within the flesh. … For this reason, even though He is called ‘man,’ He does not belong to the human race, and has no human attributes: This is the man in which God clothes Himself, this is the man that God approves” (“Interpretation of the Sixth Utterance”).
“The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood but is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself. Be it His humanity or divinity, both submit to the will of the heavenly Father. The substance of Christ is the Spirit, that is, the divinity. Therefore, His substance is that of God Himself; … Given that God becomes flesh, He realizes His substance within His flesh…. And since God becomes flesh, He works in the identity of His flesh; since He comes in the flesh, He then finishes in the flesh the work that He ought to do. Be it the Spirit of God or be it Christ, both are God Himself, and He does the work that He ought to do and performs the ministry that He ought to perform” (“The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father”).
After reading these words, Huimin continued, “The incarnation is God’s Spirit clothed in flesh, that is, God’s Spirit is materialized in the flesh with normal humanity and normal human thinking, and thereby becomes an ordinary and normal person working and speaking among men. The Bible says, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1). The Word is God; the incarnation is God’s Spirit materialized in the flesh. Only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Christ’s words and work, all that He has and is are the truth, the way, and the life. This is the substance of Christ. Just like when the Lord Jesus came, He initiated the Age of Grace and concluded the Age of Law; He expressed all the truth that man required in the Age of Grace, qualifying man toto God, confess and repent toward God, and come before God to enjoy His grace. Because God is incarnated in the flesh, we have had the opportunity to come face to face with God and receive His salvation. If the Lord Jesus hadn’t been personally incarnated in the flesh to do the work of redemption, men’s sins would not have been forgiven, and they would have faced the risk of being condemned and put to death. Then how could we have survived until today? All this is God’s great love and salvation to us.
Standing before the picture of the Lord Jesus, Tian Lu couldn’t stop her tears from falling. “Mom! Hurry up or I’ll be later for school.” Her daughter Fangfang’s voice broke into her thoughts. Tian Lu wiped her tears, saying, “I’m coming.”
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