|Study 8: The Nature of
Introduction | Differences Between God and Jesus | The Nature of Jesus | The Humanity of Jesus | The Relationship of God with Jesus | Digressions ("Being in the form of God") | Questions
8.5 The Relationship Of God With Jesus
Considering how God resurrected Jesus leads us on to think of the relationship between God and Jesus. If they are "co-equal...co-eternal", as the trinity doctrine states, then we would expect their relationship to be that of equals. We have already seen ample evidence that this is not the case. The relationship between God and Christ is similar to that between husband and wife: "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God" (1 Cor. 11:3). As the husband is the head of the wife, so God is the head of Christ, although they have the same unity of purpose as should exist between husband and wife. Thus "Christ is God's" (1 Cor. 3:23), as the wife belongs to the husband.
God the Father is often stated to be Christ's God. The fact that God is described as "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:3; Eph. 1:17) even after Christ's ascension to heaven, shows that this is now their relationship, as it was during Christ's mortal life. It is sometimes argued by trinitarians that Christ is only spoken of as less than God during his life on earth. The New Testament letters were written some years after Christ ascended to heaven, yet still God is spoken of as Christ's God and Father. Jesus still treats the Father as his God.
Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, was written at least 30 years after Christ's glorification and ascension, yet it speaks of God as "his (Christ's) God and Father" (Rev. 1:6 R.V.). In this book, the resurrected and glorified Christ gave messages to the believers. He speaks of "the temple of my God...the name of my God...the city of my God" (Rev. 3:12). This proves that Jesus even now thinks of the Father as his God - and therefore he (Jesus) is not God.
During his mortal life, Jesus related to his Father in a similar way. He spoke of ascending "unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17). On the cross, Jesus displayed his humanity to the full: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). Such words are impossible to understand if spoken by God Himself. The very fact that Jesus prayed to God "with strong crying and tears" in itself indicates the true nature of their relationship (Heb. 5:7; Luke 6:12). God evidently cannot pray to Himself. Even now, Christ prays to God on our behalf (Rom. 8:26,27 N.I.V. cp. 2 Cor. 3:18 R.V. mg.).
We have now demonstrated that Christ's relationship with God during his mortal life was not fundamentally different from what it is now. Christ related to God as his Father and his God, and prayed to Him; the same position obtains now, after Christ's resurrection and ascension. During his life on earth, Christ was God's servant (Acts 3:13,26 N.I.V.; Is. 42:1; 53:11). A servant does his master's will, and is in no way equal to his master (John 13:16). Christ emphasized that what power and authority he had was from God, rather than in his own right: "I can of mine own self do nothing...I seek...the will of the Father which hath sent me...the Son can do nothing of himself" (John 5:30,19).