The Father is Greater than I?

How do we reconcile this passage along with other passages such as Matthew 24:36-“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” with the theology of the Trinity? Moreso, how do we answer objections to his equality to the Father (in divinity) within the LDS community and his actual divinity to groups just as the JWs based on these verses and others like it that appear to seperate the two person’s authority quite drastically.

In John 14:28, Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I.” For many, this statement seems obvious: Jesus is not God. But is this really what our Lord was saying?

In Catholic theology, this text can be understood in two ways. First, being “greater” than another does not have to mean one is essentially different from the other, as when we say a man is essentially distinct from an animal. Greatness can refer to one person functioning in a greater way quantitatively, qualitatively, or even relationally in comparison to another without there being an essential distinction. For example, Matthew 11:11 tells us there has never “risen among [men] a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” John is not something other than human because he is said to be greater than certain other people. All human beings share the same nature; therefore, they are absolutely equal in dignity.

Similarly, the Father can be said to be greater than the Son pertaining to their relation within the inner life of God, but not with respect to their shared nature as being fully and equally God. The Father alone is the first principle of life in the Godhead; thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church can say, in paragraph 246: “Everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born . . .” (emphasis added). In this sense, the Father can be said to be greater than the Son relationally, while they are absolutely equal with regard to their essence as God.

Another—and perhaps simpler—way one can legitimately interpret this text is to point out that John 14:28 seems to be emphasizing the humanity of Christ. Thus, because Jesus is fully man, it would be appropriate to say the Father would be greater than the Son. The entire verse reads: “You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”

Jesus was emphasizing here and in previous verses his impending death, resurrection, and departure from the apostles. This would apply to his humanity most particularly. Thus, the same Jesus who can say, “I and the Father are one” in John 10:30—as God—can say, “The Father is greater than I” in John 14:28—as man.

Jesus is God but the Father is greater than Him because Jesus was hindered by His humanity. The Father is pure Spirit. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He was again equal to the Father.

It is an act of humility that God the Son, equal in dignity and might, submits to the will of God the Father. The passage is a metaphorical description; the Son knows all that the Father knows, but it is not the Son’s knowledge to share.

How exactly does one explain “Not even the Son knows, but the Father”?

Here, I’m just going to quote Matt Slick of CARM: :eek:

[INDENT]Matt. 24:35-37,
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away. 36But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.

If Jesus is God in flesh, then shouldn’t He know what the day and hour of his return would be? After all, God knows all things. Therefore, if Jesus doesn’t know all things, then He cannot be God.

Jesus was both God and man. He had two natures. He was divine and human at the same time. This teaching is known as the hypostatic union, that is, the coming-together of two natures in one person. In Heb. 2:9 it says Jesus was “. . . made for a little while lower than the angels . . .” Also, in Phil. 2:5-8 it says that Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men . . .” Col. 2:9 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” Jesus was both God and man at the same time.

As a man, Jesus cooperated with the limitations of being a man. That is why we have verses like Luke 2:52 that says “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Therefore, at this point in His ministry He could say He did not know the day nor hour of His return. It is not a denial of His being God but a confirmation of His being man.

Also, the logic that Jesus could not be God because He did not know all things works both ways. If we could find a scripture where Jesus does know all things, then that would prove He was God, wouldn’t it?

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep” (John 21:17–NASB).

Jesus did not correct Peter and say, “Hold on Peter, I do not know all things.” He let Peter continue on with his statement that Jesus knew all things. Therefore, it must be true.

What if we have a verse that says Jesus did not know all things and another that says he did know all things, then isn’t that a contradiction? No, it is not.

Before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection He said the Father alone knew the day and hour of His return. It wasn’t until after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that omniscience was attributed to Jesus. As I said before, Jesus was cooperating with the limitations of being a man and completed His ministry on this earth. He was then glorified in His resurrection. Yet, He was still a man (cf. Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5). After Jesus’ resurrection, He was able to appear and disappear at will. This is not the normal ability of a man; it is, apparently, the normal ability of a resurrected and glorified man. Jesus was different after the resurrection. There had been a change. He was still a man, and He knew all things.

carm.org/if-jesus-god-then-why-did-he-not-know-time-his-return[/INDENT]

In His Godly nature did Jesus not know the hour of His return? Or did He know and not know at the same time? That is, did His Human nature not know while His Divine did?

Jesus was ALWAYS equal to the Father, and there was never a time when he wasn’t (to imply or affirm this untruth would be to state that Jesus was for a time inferior to God, which would, of course make, by definition, him not God).

The proper explanation for this (and the “Son does not know”) passages is a principle called the Communication of Idioms, an important concept when dealing with the Hypostatic Union. This principle states that what can be applied to Jesus in one nature can be stated for the whole Person.

According to this principle, it is accurate to say “God died on the Cross” because the Person, in his human nature, did die on the Cross, but this Person is a divine Person. What applies to his human nature can be spoken of the Person.

In much the same way, the Communication of Idioms allows us to truthfully state that “The Father is greater than [Jesus]”, because in his human nature, Jesus was indeed a creature, and as such, is inherently inferior to God. According to the same principle, it is equally accurate to state that “The Father is equal to Jesus” because in his divine nature, Jesus is indeed equal to the Father.

The same thing applies to the passages where Jesus claims ignorance. It can be truthfully stated that “Jesus did not know everything” because, as Scripture tells us, in his human nature, he had to learn and grow in knowledge. In his human nature, Jesus indeed did not know of these things. However, in his divine nature, he undoubtedly would have.

To be technical about it, the attributes that can be attributed to one nature (ignorance, weakness, finiteness, inferiority, omnipotence, omniscience, infiniteness) can be predicated to the Person.

If I understand this correctly, God did actually die, which is the reason for taking on a human nature in the first place, since he could not do so without the hypostatic union? Meaning that the Divine Nature actually died, as *well *as the human nature?

In much the same way, the Communication of Idioms allows us to truthfully state that “The Father is greater than [Jesus]”, because in his human nature, Jesus was indeed a creature, and as such, is inherently inferior to God. According to the same principle, it is equally accurate to state that “The Father is equal to Jesus” because in his divine nature, Jesus is indeed equal to the Father.

The same thing applies to the passages where Jesus claims ignorance. It can be truthfully stated that “Jesus did not know everything” because, as Scripture tells us, in his human nature, he had to learn and grow in knowledge. In his human nature, Jesus indeed did not know of these things. However, in his divine nature, he undoubtedly would have.

To be technical about it, the attributes that can be attributed to one nature (ignorance, weakness, finiteness, inferiority, omnipotence, omniscience, infiniteness) can be predicated to the Person.

So Jesus could have pretty much said anything and it would have been true?
Why did his human nature have to continue to grow in knowledge if his divine nature already knew everything?

No, and here, we encounter one rule of the Communication of Idioms: what is a thing specifically of one nature cannot be communicated to the other nature. So while it is accurate under this principle to say “God died” (because a property inherent to human nature, specifically, mortality, can be predicated to the Person, and the Person is divine) under the Communication of Idioms, as is “Jesus, as man, died”, it is equally untrue to communicate mortality (a human property) to the divine nature, so we cannot truthfully say, “Jesus, as God, died”, because God cannot die.

So Jesus could have pretty much said anything and it would have been true?
Why did his human nature have to continue to grow in knowledge if his divine nature already knew everything?

Because it is proper to a human nature to learn and grow. Jesus, as God would have known everything, but as man, would still have to learn and grow.

We need to be aware that these things being accomplished, while proper to a particular nature, are still accomplished by the Person. That’s why we do not say, “Jesus’ human nature died” or “Jesus’ human nature grew” or “Jesus’ divine nature knows everything.” No, Jesus died, Jesus grew, Jesus knows everything. To to be more qualified, Jesus, as man, grew. Jesus, as man, died. Jesus, as God, knows everything. But because the concrete Person is the Second Person of the Trinity (Jesus is not two Persons), the Communication of Idioms apply to any concrete term regarding him: The Son of Man, [as God], knows everything. The Son of God, [as man] died. The Word of God, [as man] learned the word of God.

Jesus willed not to know. It was his choice not to know.

***Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. *(Philippians 2:5-8)

Jesus willfully took the form of a servant. A servant is perfectly obedient to his master and Jesus was perfectly obedient to the Father, even praying, “Not my will but thy will be done” in the garden.

*A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; (Matthew 10:24)

for the servant does not know what his master is doing; (John 15:15)*

Jesus took the form of a slave. He willed not to know.

-Tim-

Did you read the article carefully?

Matthew 24 is before the resurrection.

If God is omniscient, how can He will not to know? If God wills not to know, then does that not mean that He is not omniscient.

Jesus was God-Incarnate.

It is written that Jesus was like us in all ways except sin.

I, personally, believe that Jesus, voluntarily, gave up His Omnis when He became One of us in the Incarnation, not just His Omniscience.

Is it heresy to believe that God is not omniscient?

This makes a lot of sense, thank you for your help in my increase of understanding.

Because it is proper to a human nature to learn and grow. Jesus, as God would have known everything, but as man, would still have to learn and grow.

We need to be aware that these things being accomplished, while proper to a particular nature, are still accomplished by the Person. That’s why we do not say, “Jesus’ human nature died” or “Jesus’ human nature grew” or “Jesus’ divine nature knows everything.” No, Jesus died, Jesus grew, Jesus knows everything. To to be more qualified, Jesus, as man, grew. Jesus, as man, died. Jesus, as God, knows everything. But because the concrete Person is the Second Person of the Trinity (Jesus is not two Persons), the Communication of Idioms apply to any concrete term regarding him: The Son of Man, [as God], knows everything. The Son of God, [as man] died. The Word of God, [as man] learned the word of God.

Being born Man and knowing nothing in his Human Nature, but yet knowing everything in his Divine nature is a little bit harder to grasp.

One point-not to divert-but, in reality, our nature never really dies even when we as a person do die, right? I mean, whether we go to Purgatory or Heaven, we still retain a Human Nature, even without our body.

God cannot change

Jesus is God

Jesus changed

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. There is some blank filling that needs to be done.

But I think it’s been answered already in this thread: Jesus as God chose to be born as Jesus as human. By being human, fully human, he could not know “everything.” He changed phisically and in knowledge as he grew, however, he was still fully God and unchanging in that respect.

(Someone needs to fill this out with the Holy Spirit since I can’t seem to grasp the words. Explaining God is not the easiest!) :wink:

You did not answer my question. Are you Jehovah’s Witness?

-Tim-

I said that I believe that God-Incarnate gave up His Omnis, is it heresy to think?

Sometimes I write it as think/believe.

Do you think that Jesus lied when He said what He said?

I don’t think that He lied.

If you think that He didn’t lie, than do you think anything concerning Jesus saying that He did NOT know?

Doesn’t “Omniscient” mean to know EVERYTHING?

Either Jesus didn’t know everything concerning this, as He said, and was speaking the truth or He lied, which of these two do you think is true?

Actually, I think that whomever God gave the power to think should utilize this gift from God, not just for the “higher-ups” to utilize.

Contradiction.

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