Why do we see Christ submitting to the Father?
What I understand to be the mainstream doctrine of the Trinity is that The Father and Christ are the same God? Why then does Jesus submit to his own will? Why does he pray to himself? And furthermore why does he claim that He and the Holy Spirit are witnesses of the Father according to Jew law if they are all the same God? Would that not nullify his witness?
Why do we see Christ submitting to the Father?
Are you familiar with conjoined twins, where two human persons are physically joined so that they share one human body? I don’t know if this has actually occurred in nature but try to imagine what conjoined triplets would be like, where three human persons are physically joined so that they share one human body. This is not a perfect analogy but the Trinity, where three divine persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) share one divine nature, is sort of like those conjoined triplets.
Although the three persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) comprise the one divine being called God, they are distinct persons, each having his own intellect and will, and one of them can communicate with (pray to) the other two and can submit his will to theirs and two of them can be witnesses of the third. (Remember the analogy of the conjoined triplets.)
So, the Father and Christ are the same God because the Father and Christ (the Son) are two of the three persons who comprise the one God.
Jesus (the Son) does not submit to his own will but to the will of a different person; he submits to the Father’s will.
(Note: There is a sense in which Jesus submits to his own will. Jesus actually has two wills, a divine will that he always had and a human will that he acquired when he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary 2000 years ago. His human will always submits to his divine will. However, I think your question concerned the submission of his divine will.)
Jesus (the Son) does not pray to himself but to a different person; he prays to the Father.
Jewish law required the testimony of two or three persons. Though the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit comprise one being, yet they are distinct persons. Thus, Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirit can be witnesses of the Father.
The human family is the closest analogy that mankind will ever come to concretely understanding the Blessed Trinity.
The creeds teach that while there is one God, He exists in three distinct persons. The bible, on the other hand, reveals that man is made in the ‘image of God’. From these two truths, therefore, we can acknowledge that the complete image of God is found in the Triune understanding of Him.
This understanding of His Triune nature is reflected by the human family whose personal relationships approach the likeness of the Trinity.
There are multiple demonstrations of this truth.
Consider the unity of the Trinity which is reflected in the unity of the family. Or the “family of persons” which is found in both. The persons of the Trinity share the 'same substance ’ while a human family becomes one flesh: wife with husband and parents with children.
There is also another element in the Trinity that lends itself to human likeness. The Nicene Creed professes this about the Trinity: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son.”
In Catholic theology, the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the will of both the Father and the Son, or in other words, through the activity which they engage in, otherwise known as “love”.
The Holy Spirit is poured forth through the exchange of love between the Father and the Son. This is why perhaps Jesus says to the Apostles: " Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7)
In the eternal economy of the Trinity, therefore, a person ‘proceeds’ from the love between two other persons. And so, the Holy Spirit is love ‘proceeding’ or ‘coming from’ the first two persons of the Blessed Trinity.
The human family has a rather striking parallel to this dynamic. The ultimate act of intimacy in a marriage mirrors the eternal exchange of love between the first two persons of the Trinity.
And like the eternal or continual procession of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, the act of love between a man and a woman causes a ‘procession’ of another human person (i.e. the birth of a child).
I feel like the doctrine of the Trinity is not truly understood by anyone. It is a compilation of statements, some contradictory to the other, formed from scriptural examples, held together because it is the best explanation anyone can come up with.
If by “truly understood” you mean fully comprehend, you are right - it is not truly understood by anyone. It is a mystery of our faith. We know about it only because God revealed it to us (Scripture and Holy Spirit’s guidance as Church clarified misunderstandings through doctrinal statements). We accept and believe it on faith.
It’s hardly surprising that we don’t fully comprehend the Trinity. There’s actually very little, if anything, that we fully comprehend!!
(gravity, atom, energy, angels, etc)
MaHeRsHaLaL, the Trinity is indeed a mystery. That means it is above our reasoning, but not contrary to reasoning. As I said, the human family is the closest ANALOGY we have to understand the Trinity. In the simplest terms, a husband and wife come together to make a baby. If you refuse to accept this as an analogy AS A STARTING POINT, there is nothing anyone can say that can help you.
There are three persons who make up one being in the Godhead. These persons are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Not one person in the Godhead, each with a different room in the house.
Alright, I’ll give you guys this one on faith. Although I don’t agree. But remember this when we are talking about something I can’t explain but believe on faith and you will owe me one!!
When we speak of Jesus’ relationship with the Father, we are talking about more than the doctrine of the Trinity.
There are two matters involved here. First, the Trinity–one God expressed in three Persons.
Second, the Incarnation–one Person with two natures, human and divine.
The second Person of the Trinity, the Son, is fully united with the Father and Holy Spirit, in possessing the one divine will and the divine attributes (which, even though we speak of them in the plural, are all one.)
But, only the Second Person took on a human nature, with a human intellect and a human will, and a human body. Jesus then, as man, submits his human will to the Father. Jesus, as God, is of one will with the Father. Jesus, as man, learns and grows from infant to adult. Jesus, as God, possesses the omniscience of God.
Jesus, as man, can atone for the sins of man through his sacrifice of himself. Jesus, as God, makes the sacrifice perfect and of infinite value because though it is accomplised in a human nature, it is a divine person who does it.
Isn’t the thing which saves Christianity from tri-theism precisely that there is only one divine will? You cannot, for example, decide that the Father is not answering your prayers to your satisfaction, so you will give the Son a go, and, if even that fails, you might be able to bend the ear of the Holy Spirit.
Exactly. There is one divine nature, and one divine will. Father, Son, and Spirit, as distinct persons but not distinct natures, each possess the one divine will.
Jesus, however, also has a human will.
If God is all-knowing, then isn’t it reasonable to think that God knows himself, and has known himself for all eternity? That is, isn’t it reasonable to think that, when God reflects on the concept of God, an exact image of God forms in his mind, an image so exact that it (or, more properly speaking, he) is a second divine person, possessed of all the same divine attributes as God, the first divine person? The only difference between the two of them is that the first divine person is unbegotten and the second divine person is begotten in the mind of first divine person. We refer to the first divine person as “the Father” and we refer to this second divine person begotten in the mind of the first as “the Son.”
If God is lovable and can love, then isn’t it reasonable to think that the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and has done so for all eternity and that the love proceeding from them both is so perfect that it (or, more properly speaking, he) is a third divine person, possessed of all the same divine attributes as the Father and the Son? We refer to this third divine person proceeding from the Father and the Son as “the Holy Spirit.”
So, if God is all-knowing and loving and lovable, then isn’t it reasonable to think that God is a Trinity?
The Trinity doesn’t give me any problem, but the attempted explanations of it do. I think it is probably something which begins to make existential sense the longer you live with it, but that it will never make logically comprehensible sense (mystery).
I think I should have said:
The only difference between the two of them is that the first divine person begets (generates) and the second divine person is begotten (generated) in the mind of the first divine person.
So was there ever a time when jesus did not exist?
If God the Father is only one of 3 personages, what is the name of the whole being of God. Is the Father governed by a greater intelligence? Or by some laws of reality ie: the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? Can God make a law that he cannot break?
They are both eternal.
If God the Father is only one of 3 personages, what is the name of the whole being of God.
God, would you believe.
Is the Father governed by a greater intelligence? Or by some laws of reality ie: the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? Can God make a law that he cannot break?
God is not governed by anything.
But if he makes a promise to us can he break it?
IE: The promise to Abraham
or perhaps, an individual who does and believes all the correct things in this life, could God deny him entrance into heaven?
Or could he give a prophecy and then not fulfill it?
Wouldn’t any of these actions make him a liar?
My point is that as a just being he is bound by his own word. Therefor he is governed by his own nature, his own laws and commandments.
Correct, God is bound by His own nature, but not by any force outside Himself.
On the question of entrance into heaven, however, the general Christian belief is that salvation is a free gift from God. No human can do anything to earn or demand it from God. However, He does tell us how to accept the gift and how to behave once we have it. Because it is not in His nature to lie, we trust that He would never go back on these statements.
OK, so God is governed by righteousness. That’s what I was getting at.
Then is God a just God? Is he governed by the rules of justice. In other words can he condemn a innocent soul? Can he give grace to an unrepentant soul?