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Is the Father greater than the Son?

Snowy mountain summit with cross, photo credit: Max Pixel

There are a lot of skeptics out there who work hard to turn as many people away from God as they can. And they do their research. They are wrong in their conclusions, but they do work hard. One of the areas they love to convince people of is that Jesus is not God in human flesh. Take that truth away and you destroy salvation.

Here are two verses that they use:

You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

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Yes, those words were spoken by Jesus. The skeptics have the biggest grin across their faces. Gotcha!

How could God the Father be greater than God the Son? Jesus must not be God, but only a man; a good man who preached a good sermon, but not the Savior of the world. You Christians are crazy for believing that.

As Christians, we need to know how to answer back. We study the doctrine of the Trinity: that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are truly God, manifested in three persons. Our limited human minds can’t fully understand the greatness of God, and we can only grasp the Trinity in the simplest way.

So, how can Jesus, being God too, say the Father is greater than He?

Think about this: How could Jesus, being God, take on human flesh, be born as a baby, cry when hungry, have His mother change His diaper, and as a toddler, take His first steps and learn to talk? How could Jesus, growing as a boy, fall and skin His knee, feel pain, get the flu and feel sick, and yet be God?

If the salvation of mankind was going to work, Jesus had to be fully human and fully God. In Jesus’ humanity, God the Father is greater than God the Son.

Let’s put it this way; Jesus as God is equal to the Father and as man He is lesser to the Father. The man Jesus had to set aside a portion of being all knowing and all powerful, so that as a man, He could take the penalty for the sins of the world. Jesus, as God, kept His holiness so that as God, He would be the perfect lamb to satisfy God the Father.

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The second verse they use to support their argument is Mark 13:32:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Some of the disciples asked about the future and when the destruction of the temple would occur. Jesus admitted that only God the Father knows. This is another verse skeptics use to “prove” their case that Jesus could not be God. And again, as man, Jesus had to set aside being all-knowing. When you understand the dual nature of Christ being fully God and fully human, then these passages become clear.

Written by Doug Velting

Doug has a heart for kids and has taught elementary and Junior high students biblical creation for over 30 years.

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