Jesus’ subservience to the Father

March 12, 2009

Before the domination of the early Christian sect commonly referred to as the “proto-orthodoxy” (which later became known as the orthodoxy), there were other Christian sects who were also vying for supremacy. Like the proto-orthodoxy, these other sects held an opinion about the nature of Jesus. For example, some sects held that Jesus was a god who only appeared as a man. Others insisted that he was a god but one that was subservient to the God (a.k.a. the Father). Much of what the Church Fathers wrote was intended as a defense of their own particular christology, and as a condemnation of the views held by the competing sects. The proto-orthodoxy view was not merely that Jesus was a god equal to the Father, but that Jesus and the Father are one and the same god.

Yet this seems at odds with various verses in the Bible, such as ones we find in John 5, which make a clear distinction between Jesus and the Father. John 5 quotes Jesus as saying:

(19) …the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(20) For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
(22) …the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
(26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
(27) And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
(30) By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

How do you suppose the Church Fathers reconciles statements like these and others with their belief the Jesus and the Father are one and the same?


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