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How is Jesus God's Son and yet He is on the same level as God?
Thank you for your honest spiritual enquiry regarding this important question about the nature of God and the deity of Jesus.
There is a related question on the LookingforGod.com website you might want to read in addition to this answer: www.lookingforgod.com/questions-and-answers/category/39/question/754/
The nature of God is something quite amazing and there is nothing in creation that can be compared with it. The only way to approach this is through God's own revelation of Himself in the Bible.
There we learn firstly that there is only one God. He has always existed and He created all things (Genesis 1). This is taught as much in the New Testament as in the Jewish Scriptures of the Old Testament. However, a deeper understanding of God was revealed through the words and deeds of Jesus.
Firstly, when Jesus was baptised (Mark 1:11) God revealed Himself as having three distinct persons: (1). God the Holy Spirit, who descended in the form of a dove; (2) God the Father, whose "...voice came from heaven, saying", (3). God the Son, that is Jesus, of whom the Father's voice from heaven said "You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
So at one and the same time, we find God speaking from heaven, His Spirit appearing as a dove, and God declaring Jesus as His Son.
Furthermore, Jesus called God His Father, not in the sense that all people could be called God's 'created children' but uniquely. Jesus said:
"All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him". (Luke 10:22)
Jesus went further by claiming to be divine and to have existed eternally when he said, "before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). 'I am' is the sacred name of God in the Old Testament, so Jesus was claiming to be eternally equal with God, something His Jewish audience understood because to them it was a shocking blasphemy from someone they thought was an ordinary human being. Indeed, when they heard this they were angered against Jesus!
However, Jesus also taught that the Holy Spirit was a distinct divine Person (read John Chapters 14-17) so that in God's Being there is not only a Father and Son, but a third Person. God is one eternal being, but also a being with Three Persons within that Oneness. He is Three in One - the Tri-unity, or Trinity. We find this beyond our human understanding, but it must be remembered that God is unique and completely above and beyond human life, so it would be surprising if we could understand Him by human reason.
God the Son has always existed in eternity. Jesus took on flesh (John 1). He did this to rescue us from sin and to make a way to become right with God the father.
The next step is to understand that God the Son returned to the Father in His eternal glory after the resurrection, and did not leave behind His human identity as Jesus. He is now and forever Jesus in heaven, the God-Man ruling with His Father. He has all the nature of God yet also all the nature of Jesus of Nazareth.
From these facts we can begin to see how Jesus and the Father relate to one another. Jesus talks about his oneness and equality with the Father. In John 17:20-24 he prays that his disciples will be one just as He and the Father are one. So Jesus is the Son but teaches that he is equal and one with the Father.
We have to realise that describing the nature of God in human language is very difficult and although God Himself has given us the terms ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ to describe two Persons of His Being, they point to an eternal relationship between them and not to the idea that the Father existed before the Son. God is eternally a Trinity. Jesus' closest friend and follower described this when he called Jesus 'The Word' from God, writing that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). He went on to write that: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
One more thing is important: why did God the Son take on flesh? The answer is wonderful. John reveals one part of it when he said that God made Himself fully known in this way. However, another part of the answer concerns our salvation. God's justice requires that the soul that sins must die as we read in Romans 6:23. That means eternal punishment through being cut off from God. No-one, therefore, has any hope of God's forgiveness in themselves.
However, God's law provides that an innocent person can take the punishment for a guilty person. The trouble is that for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that none is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). Except, that is, Jesus the Son of God. And Jesus came for this very purpose. He died on the cross in the place of sinners, taking our punishment so that we can be reconciled with God. He invites us to put our trust only in Him and His sacrifice, without even offering God whatever good we think we can claim for ourselves. Then, being justified by faith we have peace with God.
Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Through his life he became the perfect sacrifice able to stand in our place upon the cross for the sins of the world.
In summary, Jesus is both God's Son and equal with God and His teaching is therefore trustworthy and true and His death on the cross brings salvation to those who confess to God their need for Him, turn from a life without God, and put their trust in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Hebrews 1:1-4
- John 8:58-59
- Philippians 2:6-11
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken from The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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