I understand that Jesus fasted and prayed often. The question I have is for whose sake would he fast and to whom would he pray?
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
Christ Jesus did fast and pray often. He did so for God.
Pax Christi nobiscum.
You believe that Jesus is God. Did he fast and pray to himself?
God is love. God is the creator of all things. Even before He created anyone else, He was love. Hence, even when there was only God, God was love.
So, one must ask, is love selfish? When God was alone, what did love mean? Can one love without a beloved?
The answer to this question is the answer to the question you are asking about Christ’s fasting and praying.
It is at the heart of what love is.
Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.
He fasted for our sake and to give glory to God the Father.
He (God the Son who took on a human nature) prayed to his Father in heaven to whom he was always united.
so to the person he was united to he prayed to? so really he prayed to himself but didn’t but sort of did.
This is correct, in a subtle sense. There is only one God. He is one and undivided. So, there is a challenge here. One is challenged to consider whether the highest love, the love which God Himself is and does is “self-love.”
How can there be one God, pre-existing all else, and yet love not be, “self-love?”
The Christ teaches us, both by His actions and His words, that the highest love is not, “self-love.” “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s [loved ones].” (John (NAB) 15:13; translation modified by JRH to re-emphasize an aspect of the Greek.)
So, the question arises, before He created any others, before the Angels or man or any other creature, how did God love in the highest sense? Who were His loved ones?
Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.
Thank you Claire,
If he prayed to the Father, would you agree the father is superior to the Son?
because prayer by definition is a form of communication with a deity for the purpose of worship or petition. In both cases the one who prays acknowledges his/her deficiency and neediness, and God is free from any need or deficiency.
In other words, Jesus act of praying to the Father acknowledges the superiority of the Father over the Son.
For you and me and everybody.
I do not wish to intrude in your exchange with Claire. I leave the response to your arguments in her capable hands.
However, in following the discussion, I have a question: Are your thoughts formed in English or in another language? I ask this because the terms “superior,” “prayer,” “worship,” and their implications seem central to your reasoning. However, they do not seem to match in any simple way my understanding of the general English usage for these words. I wonder if you are using these words to name concepts different from their general English meaning, or if you are using some particular tradition in vocabulary to which I can refer.
For example, the final section in a civil complain filed in an American court of law is called, “the prayer for relief.” It often begins with the phrase, “the Plaintiff prays . . .” Though this language shows respect for the court, neither diety in the court nor strict deficiency in the plaintiff are implied.
Thank you for any help you can offer in this regard.
Thank you Nick, but if Jesus is God, why would he petition the Father for our sake?
Why should I tell you? You don’t listen to us Christians. As is evident from the fact that you are asking a question which we have answered you many times over.
I’m not finger pointing Nick, I would love to get a straight answer to this paradox. On the one hand Jesus is God, yet he prays to and petitions another (for our sake)
You forget Christ was fully divine, and fully man, which is no fault on your part as I notice many Muslims have a misunderstanding regarding the hypostatic union of Christ’s two natures and wills, and it just requires some questioning and educating. Part of Christ’s role as the Son was to be the perfect man: to fight sin, to be a faithful follower, and to fulfill all that was required of Him spiritually. Think for a moment (just for the sake of argument) on this: if Allah took flesh and dwelt among us, would He be an atheist, or would He be the perfect example of what a follower should be?
Now when you say “superiority” between the Father and Son, I would disagree - the Father is not superior to the Son, rather the Son is subservient to the Father. The Word of God humbled Himself so that man may be elevated to the status mankind had at the beginning of the world.
These two points are tied together: when mankind was first created, we were glorified with God in Paradise at the very beginning, but we fell when we sinned. Our sin caused us to be separated from God, and our perpetual sinful nature meant that even when we died we were still dead spiritually (the Jewish concept of the afterlife, mentioned in the OT, was Sheol, a kind of land of the dead that was separated from God). By taking flesh and living a spiritually pure life with flesh untarnished by sin, the Word of God broke down the gates of the underworld and saved all those inside - He did so because Sheol (sometimes referred to as Hell, although it doesn’t have the same context as Dante’s Inferno) could not withstand His divinity and the pureness of His human nature. Christ arose again in a spiritually glorified flesh. When He did so, He granted us the Resurrection promised to the Jews. He was the source of this Resurrection through His dying on the cross and being raised in a spiritually glorified body.
“Your brother will rise again…I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” [John 11:23, 25]
This is why Christ did what He did during His lifetime - everything climaxed at the crucifixion. In the Orthodox Church, every Pascha, we sing, “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down death.”
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5-11]
I may not be allowed to bring such an old thread back but… I’ll try to answer but may God Almighty the merciful and compassionate one help you to see the truth…
God is ONE. There is no other God than God… whatever name you say either Allah or YAHWEH…
but in Christianity we have been revealed the plurality of the ONE God…
The Father is God, The Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God but there are NOT three God only one… because they are so intimately united.
They are distinct because in heaven there is always the Father but the Son came down from heaven as was the will of the Father and happened because of the Holy Spirit. i.e. the Virgin birth…
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit reign TOGETHER in heaven as ONE God.
The distinction between them is their relationship… lets say the love of God… has been shown to us by a plurality but it is still ONE GOD like i have stressed many times…
Thank you Wolf,
for the sake of argument, if Allah (God forbid) took flesh and dwelt among us, He would no longer be Allah, that is because God is independent and free of any need, whereas humans are in constant need of external and internal mechanisms to survive. For example, oxygen, food, water. Internally he is made up of organs and body part that are inter-dependent with one another, like the lungs, heart, kidneys etc… any one of those fails and he dies.
The point is God is independent and free of any need, whereas humans are needy by nature. which brings me back to your first point when you said “Christ was fully divine, and fully man”. For the reasons I cited above, it’s an impossibility for him to be both fully divine and fully man simultaneously because the qualities of the Divine and the qualities of humans are contradictory to one another. I’m curious though if you can provide evidence for this belief outside of the bible? In other words, is the belief that God can be fully divine and fully man simultaneously a rational and reasonable belief and what are the proofs that support this belief?
Before someone starts pointing out the passages in the bible to support this belief, I should disclaim that it is reasonable for a Christian to believe in something because it is written in the bible, but it is not reasonable to a non-christian who does not believe in the bible to start with.
You’re right, He would have human needs - this is why Christ often showed human needs or actions (ie. sleeping, eating, etc), it was because of His human nature. Yet I think you either missed or misunderstood a point of my last post - the Word of God took human flesh to save us from our slavery to the flesh. It was only divine will that could have destroyed sin in such a manner.
I think you make a very ironic argument near the end of your post
In other words, is the belief that God can be fully divine and fully man simultaneously a rational and reasonable belief and what are the proofs that support this belief? [emphasis mine]
You and I both are religious people - in other words, we believe in the supernatural rather than the natural, and therefore our beliefs go beyond the rational. Both Muslims and Christians agree that God is beyond human comprehension. I think, therefore, to attempt to describe a “rational” and “reasonable” reason for God partaking in His Creation is silly to begin with, just as if I asked you to present a “rational” and “reasonable” explanation for how an angel could give a man in a cave a book, and ask that you present evidence outside of the Abrahamic faiths.
We know of Christ’s divine and human natures and wills because of His revelation to His followers, who recorded it into what eventually became known as the New Testament and eventually collected into the Bible. If we are excluded from using this as any kind of evidence or understanding of Christian theology, then one might as well throw out the Koran for any kind of evidence regarding Mohammad or Islamic belief.
However, if you truly want something other than the Bible, I can easily present to you the Apostolic Fathers - the men who knew the apostles and were among the earliest Church leaders. Take, for example, Saint Ignatius, who knew the apostle John, the same “apostle whom Jesus loved.”
Since, also, there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; (Eph 4:5) and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil; it behooves you also, therefore, as “a peculiar people, and a holy nation,” (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9) to perform all things with harmony in Christ. [Epistle to the Philadelphians, Chapter 4]
If any one says there is one God, and also confesses Christ Jesus, but thinks the Lord to be a mere man, and not the only-begotten God, and Wisdom, and the Word of God, and deems Him to consist merely of a soul and body, such an one is a serpent, that preaches deceit and error for the destruction of men…[ibid, Chapter 6]
Now let’s look at Saint Polycarp, another disciple to the apostle John.
“For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;” (1 John 4:3) and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; “watching unto prayer,” (1 Peter 4:7) and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God “not to lead us into temptation,” (Matt 6:13; 26:41) as the Lord has said: “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41; Mark 14:38). [Epistle to the Philippians, Chapter 7]
These are early Christians who knew the apostles of Christ. They were what Muslims might call second-generation Christians, similar to the second-generation Muslims whom Mohammad said could be trusted and would be faithful. And here we see them preaching that Christ was God in the flesh, that He was crucified, and that through Him our sins are forgiven. This belief would continue well up to now, and no one would argue it outside of heretics and, sadly, Islam.
We humans often talk to ourselves - even pray to ourselves (prayer means simply ‘asking’) it’s called thinking! I know I often ask myself questions, give myself orders as to what I’m going to do today, have debates in my head about problems I’m considering.
Prayer is another example of the same type of communication.