Lutherans/God and Jesus
I have a question relating to some verses I have read. I was hoping you could provide an answer for me
Can you please explain just who Jesus is in relation to God. Is he the Almighty, is one individual that makes up the Almighty, if he is one of three individual that makes up the Almighty, Are he and The Father and the Holy Ghost all considered to be Gods in their own right. Or is Jesus one aspect of the One God.
So when we read God in the Bible just who is that referring to? This has to do with the following verses as they seem to be saying Jesus had a God the same God that his followers had
John 2:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Thank you for your time
What you are asking about is the concept of the Trinity. This is a difficult concept for many people to understand. I will do my best to answer your questions.
There is only one God. This is made clear throughout the entire Bible. However, there are three Persons, and They are co-equal. This is the most difficult concept, how three Persons can be a single God.
I'll give you some background. During the Old Testament times, the teaching of the Trinity was implicit rather than explicit. In the first chapters of Genesis, when it is describing the creation of the universe and the forming of the world and the creation of animals and plants, God talks among the Persons. God says, "Let us make man in our image." This is the plural. Hebrew has three categories for number rather than two. There is the singular, and there is the plural, and then there is the dual. The dual is two of something. When referring to God, the plural is used consistently, so this means that God is at least three of SOMETHING. Consistently, plural nouns are paired with singular verbs, and plural verbs with singular nouns, whenever it refers to God. The most famous passage expressing Who God is, is Deuteronomy 6:4, and it is a very good example of this. It says, "shma yisroel adonai eloheinu adonai echad." In English, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." This verse is so important that God commanded the Jews to wear this on their bodies (phylacteries) and put it on the doorposts of their houses (mezuzah). Looking at the verse in detail, we see that "adonai" is the PLURAL of "adon", which means "lord". So God is LORDS. "Eloheinu" means "our God". The word "echad" means "one". In Hebrew, there are two words for "one" in that sense. One is "yachid", which means an absolute unity. "Echad," on the other hand, means a COMPOSITE unity. This word is used with respect to two people getting married and becoming one flesh. They're still two distinct persons, but they're one flesh. And it is used with respect to the bunches of grapes brought back by the spies from Canaan. A bunch of grapes is one bunch, but it is a composite made up of many grapes. God is also often referred to as "elohim", which is the plural of "el", which means "god".
In Genesis, at one point, three apparent men visit Abraham. Abraham addresses them as "Lord". Two of them depart and go to visit Lot, and the other one stays behind. These are the three Persons of the Trinity. And in John 8, Jesus refers to the fact that Abraham saw Him. In Isaiah, there are various prophecies which refer to Jesus. It is said He is Mighty God, and God with us (Immanu-el). It is also made explicit that Jesus will suffer for our sins.
The Holy Spirit doesn't get a lot of mention in the Bible. However, He is mentioned in the creation account, and David asks that the Holy Spirit not be taken away from him.
In the New Testament, the Trinity is explicit. When Jesus is baptized, the Father speaks from heaven and says, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased". The Holy Spirit descends in the form of the dove. The people there observed all three at the same time. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19( says, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Notice it's one NAME, but the three Persons are named. Different Persons are mentioned in various contexts throughout the New Testament. In Hebrews 1, we learn that Jesus created the world. Genesis says that God created the world, all three Persons together. The Spirit moved over the waters. In Hebrews 1, it makes it more clear that God the Father created the world through Jesus. Obviously, we have no concept of what it is like to be SO unified that God is ONE Being, yet three Persons. Hebrews 1 also makes it clear that Jesus accepts worship as God, unlike the angels, which refuse worship.
We are made in the image of God, and we also have three parts. The Bible speaks of our parts as being body, soul, and spirit. I personally would take that to mean that the soul is our mind and the spirit is that part of us that will live eternally in either heaven or hell. So we are also a trinity, and the three parts are so integrated it is impossible to tell where one part ends and another part starts.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus laid aside His heavenly glory to come to earth as man. While here, He was both true God and true Man. He sometimes demonstrated His power as God, and sometimes allowed the Father to work through Him. When He raised Lazarus, He just said, "Lazarus, come forth!" He raised Lazarus by His own power. Jesus also claimed to be God. In John 8, at the end of the chapter, He was talking to the Jews, and said to them, "Before Abraham was, I am." The "I am" was the same thing as YHWH in the Old Testament, revealed when Moses was speaking with the burning bush and God commanded him to go to the children of Israel, and Moses asked, who shall I say sent me? and God answers, tell them "I am" sent you. YHWH is the present tense singular of the verb "to be". So by telling the Jews, "I am", Jesus was claiming to be God. In John, chapter 10, there is another conversation with the Jews, and at one point, they tried to stone Him, and He asked them why they were trying to stone Him, and they said, for claiming to be God.
Before the foundation of the world, God knew that at some point, the human race would require redemption, and God planned that Jesus would come to earth to die for us. When Jesus was on earth, He deferred to the Father, as if to say that the plan of salvation was the plan of God the Father. When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said to the Father, "Not my will but thine be done." So while Jesus was on earth, He submitted to the Father.
Quite often, the New Testament refers to God, and then clarifies by saying "the Father". Customarily, whenever God is mentioned, without explaining that one of the other two Persons is meant, it is assumed that it refers to the Father. If one of the other Persons is meant, it will be explicitly stated.
To summarize, there is one God, in three Persons. The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, but together They are one God.
I do not believe that a human being can truly understand an infinite God completely in this life, though we are told we will understand Him when we get to heaven. So apart from the information we are given about the Trinity, we just have to accept the rest of it by faith. The Christian faith is a faith founded on fact, and there is always evidence. But the evidence is never quite the complete explanation. We ARE expected to simply accept some things. It is fair and reasonable to say that the Christian faith is the most thoroughly based faith, founded by fact, in the world, but not completely proven. It is simply demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. During the early decades of Christianity, various heretics arose, that tried to offer some other explanation other than the Trinity. It was for that reason that various ecumenical councils defined it more clearly and the creeds were written. Each of the three historic creeds focuses on defining the Trinity. The Athanasian Creed has the most to say about it, so it is worth reading.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask further questions.