Nature of God

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Jesus is deity but not part of a Trinity:

Is Jesus “equal” to His father – what ‘equal’ means in the Bible

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

The Greek word ‘isos’ (translated ‘equal’ in English) is used in two places regarding the Lord Jesus. The Trinity doctrine tries to use this to explain how Jesus is His Father’s equal. But is this really what the Bible is saying?

 

The definition of the Greek word ‘isos’ (Strong’s #2470) is:

 

Isos : similar (in amount and kind): equal, agree together, as much, like

 

 

Even if one ignores the fact that the one who begets is greater than the one begotten of him, does this mean that Jesus is equal to God as the Trinity doctrine espouses? No, it does not.

 

‘Isos’ means to be similar. The Bible tells us why the Lord Jesus is called God (deity as an adjective/descriptive), though not the same as ‘the’ God (a noun – His father; please see article: John 1 disproves a Trinity). It is because He is God’s begotten son – a son is like his father and will have the same nature.

 

This is the sense in John 5:17-18, the first time it is used to refer to the Lord Jesus:

 

John 5:

17 But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."

18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him,

    because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father,

    making Himself equal with God.

(NASB)

 

 

When Jesus called God His father, the Jews knew Jesus was not talking in figurative speech. They understood that Jesus was saying He was begotten by God in a direct sense and not a metaphoric one. So when Jesus called God His father, Jesus is calling Himself the only-begotten son with the understanding that the son will be like the father who bore him. This is true of any father-son relationship; the son will be like his father.

 

In Jesus’ case, since God is God, that means Jesus is stating His deity as the true and literal son of God. The Jews knew this and took this to be blasphemous and tried to stone Him. Context reveals that the word ‘equal’ means as God’s son, the Lord Jesus will be like His father and similar in nature; it does not mean Jesus is the equal to His father in power.

 

 

Here is the second place ‘isos’ is used:

 

Philippians 2:

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

(NASB)

 

 

In Philippians 2 we see the evidence for the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ words and why the Jews tried to stone Him in John 5:17-18. In John 5, Jesus called God His father which the Jews understood correctly that He meant He was also divine like God due to His being God’s true son. In Philippians 2, we actually see what the Jews understood to be true: in saying God is His father, the son is indeed like His father – the Lord Jesus existed in the form of God which is to say He was of the same nature as God. Why would He not be if He is God’s only-begotten son?

 

This is the meaning of the word ‘equality’ (remember, it is the same Greek ‘isos’): as God’s son, Jesus was of the same quality and substance as His Father; He is similar to His Father in nature. This is simply how all sons will be compared to their fathers. As an earthly father and his son would be of the same kind – mankind, the Heavenly Father has a son and they are the same kind – the God kind.

 

The word ‘isos’ does not mean equal as in equal in power, but equal as in similarity; they are similar in nature, similar in kind. The Trinitarian doctrine distorts this meaning to be equal in all things, but this is not how the Bible uses the word. The word ‘equal’ is used in the context of a son will be like his father. In John, we see the relationship of father and son implies they will be alike in nature, and in Philippians, we see the proof that the son truly is similar in nature to his father by being of the same form.

 

The Bible tells us what the true nature of the Lord Jesus’ deity is. He is God, because He is the only-begotten Son of God. The Bible never says Jesus is the equal of His father in any other way, except that as God’s son, He is similar to God – like His father in nature as Philippians 2 attests to, and is therefore God (deity as an adjective/descriptive) as we see in the correct reading and understanding of John 1:1.