How can God be Jesus's Father and Jesus be God's Son if
God and Jesus are the same person?
The question goes to the heart of understanding God as Trinity,
and there is the related question how the Holy Spirit can be said
to proceed from God if it is God.
To answer the question: Jesus is God the Father's Son, and is
also God, but God the Son, just as God the Holy Spirit proceeds
from God the Father through God the Son.
So Jesus is not the same person as God, but through the
incarnation is one person, who is God the Son. God the Father is
another person, and so is God the Holy Spirit. But they are all one
God, because they share equally in the one divine essence of the
An imperfect analogy is to say that, mathematically, one
infinity divided by three is still infinity, but also three
infinities. Each person of God is distinct, and many theologians
have developed analogies of how it works, none of which quite
works, because it is, ultimately, a mystery.
Nevertheless, one way of thinking about it (also not quite
right!) is that the Father is "solely" God. The Son is "incarnate"
God. And the Holy Spirit is "empowering" God, so that each is
distinctively different, and yet all are still God.
Benedict Yates (Virger)
We can speak of God only by using analogy. There are ways God is
like a person and like a father, but God is not literally a person
or a father. Jesus lived on earth as a person and was like God's
son in that he was one with God's life and work, but he was not
literally God's son. The traditional doctrine of the Trinity speaks
of Father, Son, and Spirit as three persons, but a better
translation of the original Greek formulation might be three
realities. Fortunately, we are not called to explain God's inner
being, which is impossible, but to trust and obey God, which is
(Canon) John Goodchild
I would refer the questioner to the Quicunque Vult, commonly
known as the Athanasian Creed, to be found before the Litany in the
Book of Common Prayer. I am grateful that the cathedral at which I
was a young choirboy after the war used the Quincunque Vult on the
appropriate feast days.
I assume that the questioner, when saying "if God and Jesus are
the same person", is using the word "God" in reference to the
Trinity as a whole, and not to the first person, God the Father. If
so, there is a misunderstanding; for, as the Quicunque Vult states,
"there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another
of the Holy Ghost." I am sure that each person of the Trinity has a
memory, understanding, and will, but that the persons are united in
word and deed, as demonstrated by Jesus's "Father, if thou be
willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but
thine, be done" (Luke 22.42).
I would suggest to the Liturgical Commission a return to the
occasional use of the Athanasian Creed in the worship of the
Church. There should be more frequent teaching on the subject of
the Holy and Blessed and Most Glorious Trinity.
(Brother) Michael Bartlett OGS
How can a Christian explain the occurrence of walking on
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