Unitarians suppose that the Father is God alone to the exclusion of Christ, because the terms God and Father are synonymous, &c. This is examined, and it is mort particularly shewn that the Father and Christ are one being.
Mr. J. Miller supposes that because the Father only is called the supreme God, and that in the scriptures the terms Father and God are used synonymously, that Christ is not God. He says p.80: “That the Father of Christ is alone the supreme God, will, it is believed, appear,
1. From the peculiar titles which the scriptures ascribe to him, and the discriminating representations which they make concerning him.” He quoted the following texts:
Luke 1, 32. Ps. 91, 9. Gen. 14, 18. Deut. 33, 27. Matth. 16, 16. Col. 1, 15. John 17, 3. Rom. 16, 27. Rev. 19, 6. James 1, 17.
“That all,” continues Mr. M. p. 81: “these passages relate to the Father of Christ, is too obvious, I should think, to admit of reasonable doubt; and that they confirm and establish the doctrine that he alone is the supreme God, appears equally obvious.” Mr. M. then proceeds to put questions relative to these passages. He asks p.81.
“If the Father of Christ is the highest, the most high, the most high God, can any other person or being be as high. Surely no person or being can be so high as that person or being who is the most high.” Again. “If the Father of Christ is the eternal God, can any other person or being have a just claim to the same title? Or can any person or being besides the Father, be considered the Eternal God? &c. If the Father of Christ is the living God, can we reasonably admit that any other person or being is also the living God? This cannot be admitted, unless we admit the idea of another God, distinct from the Father. If the Father of Christ is the invisible God whom no man hath seen nor can see, can this character be ascribed to any other person or being? Can it with truth be ascribed (p. 82.) to Christ, who was seen and handled by men, as well after his resurrection, as before his death? If the Father of Christ is the only true God, can there be another true God, or can the true God exist distinct from the Father; whom Christ calls the only true God? If glory is to be given to the Father, as the only Wise God, through Jesus Christ, can any other being have a just claim to the same glory through him? Or is it to be admitted, that although there is but one person only, who is independently and supremely wise. If the Father of Christ is the Lord God omnipotent, and who also reigneth by his own independent power, can there be any other person who is also the Lord God omnipotent, and who reigneth by his own independent power? If the Father of Christ is without variableness or shadow of turning, can it with truth be said of any other person, that he is also without variableness or shadow of turning? Even Jesus Christ the Son and image of the Father, descended from riches to poverty, was literally subject to sorrow, grief, joy and gladness, and was like unto his brethren in temptations, sufferings, pain and death. From these considerations, are we not constrained to conclude that the Father of Christ is alone the supreme God?”
ANSWER. It is readily admitted that no other being beside the Father can be the eternal God, neither do Trinitarians believe that there is another supreme being, nor is this the point in question. But the controversy is whether, or not, the Father and Christ are one being? In the proceeding section I have proven by the text in Heb. 1. 3, that he and the Father are one being; and yet, have shewn wherein they are distinguished. Although, the Father alone is the Eternal and living God yet since Christ is one with him, he is necessarily included in the same oneness. Suppose, I affirmed, that the sun was the only luminary of day to the exclusion of all others, and then concluded, that hence the brightness thereof could not be light, should I not be exploded? Nevertheless, Mr. M’s. inferences are similar; for he supposes that since he has proven that the Father alone is the eternal, living, true, omnipotent and independent God, that therefore, Christ is not the true God. Is not Christ the brightness of God’s glory? If so, is he not one being with the Father? Since it has been shewn that Christ is the Father’s substance reflected, this position is already sufficient to answer all such objections of the Unitarians, founded on texts, indicating supreme prerogatives, exclusively ascribed to the Father: viz. such as, the Father alone is the eternal, living, immutable, &c. God, who only hath immortality: for whatever glory or prerogative is ascribed to the Father, also belongs to the self-same uncreated light reflected in the person of Christ, who being the brightness of his glory; and it is by no means necessary that the same prerogatives in all the texts ascribed to the Father, should also particularly, be ascribed to Christ; because it is readily understood, that when the Father is named, the Son is also included in his unity; even as when we ascribe some quality to the sun, no man ever thinks that the brightness thereof is excluded, but is naturally supposed to be the sun itself reflected.
That Christ is one with the Father, shews the propriety of calling him in sundry texts the only true God, which does not exclude Christ from being the same; and which also readily accounts for the propriety of the scripture phrases, addressing God in the singular number. Christ also differently from his son-ship, sustains another relation to the Father: for in the fulness of time he was made flesh, and thus was constituted a mediator. The Father is not the mediator; consequently Christ in so far as he is a mediator, is distinct from the Father; hence the Father alone in this respect is the only true God. This is according to 1 Tim. 2,5: “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
The passage in John 17, 3. —“this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;” —urged by Mr. M. does not exclude Christ from being one with the Father, but distinguishes him as one that was sent, and a mediator. It must also be observed, that to know God is eternal life; now the very same is ascribed to the knowing of Christ. None but God can give eternal life, and none can receive it, but such as know him. Christ also gives eternal life, and by knowing him, we receive it; hence he and the Father are one being.
That the Father is the invisible God, and that Christ was visible, that is seen and handled by men, does not prove that he and the Father are not one being. It ought to be remembered, that in the fulness of time the Son was made flesh. But how could he have been made flesh and be crucified, without also becoming visible? Mr. M. and as far as I know, all Unitarians believe that the Holy Ghost is one thing with the Father: for they do not even admit that he is a distinct person. Now I ask, was the Holy Ghost never visible? Did he not appear in a bodily shape like a dove, descending on our Saviour at his baptism in Jordan? Now if this be urged as a reason that Christ is not God: because he was visible after he had assumed a human body, then upon the same ground it might also be urged, that the Holy Ghost cannot be God’s Spirit: because God is invisible; whereas the Holy Ghost was seen in a bodily shape. Mr. M. concludes: the Father is invisible; Christ was seen; therefore they are two distinct beings. What would he reply, if I also concluded: the Father is invisible; the Holy Ghost was seen in the visible shape of a dove; therefore the Holy Ghost is a distinct being from the Father? Would he, or any other Unitarian admit that God’s Spirit is a distinct being from himself? By no means: for they teach the contrary doctrine.
1 Cor. 8,6—”But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things.” On this Mr. M. observes, p.85: “If the Father of whom are all things, is the one God, can it be true that the one God consists of two persons besides the Father?”
Ans. The apostle also in the same verse adds: “and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Why is it said: “but to us there is but one God, the Father?” In opposition to the many Gods of the heathens as the context shews, viz. “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one, for though there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be Gods many, and Lords many,)” v. 4, 5. Thus it is evident that the Father is God alone in opposition to the many Gods of the heathens. Or, does the apostle rank Christ with the many Gods and Lords? If the Father alone exclusively of Christ is God, then it is evident that Christ is one of the idols, who are excluded from being God: for the apostle shews that the Father is the true God in opposition to the many Gods and Lords so called. Christ is not one of the many Gods and Lords whom the apostle opposes to the one God, for he does not only say: “but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things,” but adds: “and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Thus if Christ is the one Lord, how can he be one of the many Gods and Lords? Mr. M. has attempted to prove that the Father exclusively of Christ is God, because the text says: “but to us there is but one God, the Father.” Now if the Father exclusively of Christ is God, then Christ also exclusively of the Father is Lord: for as emphatically as the text declares, that the Father only, is God; even so emphatically also, it declares that Christ only is Lord: “and one Lord Jesus Christ.” Let me ask Mr. M. or, any other Unitarian: whether the Father is Lord? Would they deny that he is Lord? I presume not. But how is it possible for the Father to be Lord, when Christ is the one Lord? Christ being the one Lord, can the Father also be the Lord without supposing two Lords? Will Unitarians affirm that there are two Lords? If they do, they would contradict the apostle, who says: that Christ is Lord; and if they deny that the Father is Lord, they would contradict Moses, who says: “Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” Deut. 6, 4. Thus God is called one Lord, but how can he be the Lord, when St. Paul says: Christ is the Lord, without contradicting, either Paul or Moses? Now how can Unitarians reconcile this, that Christ is the one Lord; and yet, that the Father also, is the Lord without supposing two Lords? I do not understand how to reconcile this, without admitting that the Father is called the one God, and Christ the one Lord in opposition to the many idols of the heathens: but neither is God one in opposition to Christ, nor Christ one Lord in opposition to the Father. Again, if the Father and Christ are one being, then either may be called the one Lord without excluding the other.
Mr. M. Says: p.83: “When John said, “who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name, for thou only art holy?” are we to understand that he had exclusive reference to the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it not more reasonable to infer that he had particular reference to the most high God, his Father? That this inference is correct, the preceding verse furnishes, I think, conclusive evidence. “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Here the person alluded to, in the text under consideration’s expressly called the Lord God Almighty; and who is the Lord God Almighty but the Father of Christ? He is none other; therefore the Father of Christ is the only independently holy being, and the fountain of holiness to his creatures.”
ANSWER. It seems that Mr. M. concludes, that because the Father is said to be, only holy; therefore Christ is not Almighty God. Now if supreme holiness (which is most certainly true) is a proof of an eternal Godhead, then surely Christ is God. Christ is holy: “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption.” Acts 2,27. Christ is not only the holy One, but he is positively the most holy. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint THE MOST HOLY.” Dan. 9, 24.
Who is the person anointed? Surely not the Father? for he never was anointed. The passage speaks of the Messiah. See also v.25,26. The word Christ signifies one that is anointed. Thus it is evident that Jesus is the person alluded to in the text, he is positively called the most holy; the most holy was anointed; hence Christ is the most holy. See also Heb. 2. Now according to Mr. Miller’s logic, can any one be as holy as the most holy? If the Father only, is holy, how can Christ be the most holy? It is in vain to urge, that holiness was communicated to Christ in a greater measure than to other men, that therefore he is called the most holy: for if he had not an original independent holiness, he could not be the most holy, as his Father only, would be the most holy. Now if Christ and the Father were not consubstantial, would it be possible to shew how the Father only, is holy; and yet that Christ also is the most holy? This could not upon any other ground be reconciled. But when it is shewn that the Father and the Son are consubstantial it may easily be understood. Now Mr. M. must admit either, that the Father was anointed or that the Son is the most holy. That the Father was anointed, cannot be proven: for had he ever been anointed there would be two Christs. Again, if Christ as the Unitarians suppose, be a distinct essence, hence a distinct being from the Father, then it would follow that Christ would be far superior to the Father in holiness, because Christ is the most holy. Two different substances cannot both be the most holy. But Christ is positively said to be the most holy; and yet who can deny that the Father is the most holy? When both are most holy, it must be concluded that thay are one substance.
Mr. M. observes p. 83 and 84 : “When Paul said, “who only hath immortality, &c.” is it not undeniably evident that he had exclusive reference to the invisible God the Father of Christ? This is not only evident from the 16th verse, which has been already adduced, but also from the preceding verses.” Again, “If then, the Father of Christ, the one God, the invisible Jehovah, whom no man hath seen nor can see, if he and he alone possesses goodness, holiness and immortality, in an absolute, infinite, eternal, independent and supreme sense, and is therefore the fountain and source of goodness, holiness and immortality, to all rational and intelligent existence, can any other person or being be the possessor of those attributes in the same sense? Can they with truth or propriety be ascribed, in the same sense to Christ, who was the first begotten of the Father, who lives by him, who received all things from him, and who became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross? Surely they cannot. Therefore the most high invisible God, the Father of Christ is alone the supreme God.”
ANSWER. I shall by no means deny that this text has a reference to the Father. Nevertheless, Christ is not excluded from having immortality. He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14, 6. Truly, a being may live without possessing absolute immortality: for it may be sustained by another source of life; but that any one should be life itself, as Christ is said to be, without having immortality, is out of the question. Again, “For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” John 5,26. What is the Father’s life in himself? It is an absolute, underived immortality. No creature has life in itself: for all creatures have derived their lives from, and live and move in God; but his life cannot possibly flow from another fountain: for it is self-original. Now it is positively said, as the Father has life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; hence the Son has positively the Father’s self-original life in himself. Christ’s life is not different from the Father’s: for the self-immortal Father is the light of his own brightness, i.e. Christ; therefore he possesses the same self-existent life. Now as absolute immortality is a prerogative of God, it is evident that Christ is God, because he is life, and because the Father gave him to have life in himself; even as he has it in himself.
That the Father is only wise, Rom. 16, 27, does not prove that Christ is not God. Is not Christ the wisdom of God? Is it not so said in Prov. 8, and 1 Cor. 1, 24? Christ is wisdom, yea the wisdom of God, and yet not one being with the Father! How strange! God only is wise, Christ is the wisdom of God; hence if they are not one being, then God has two wisdoms! But who can believe this?
The more clearly it can be shewn that the Father and Christ are one being, the more evidently it will appear that Christ is God. Christ said unto Philip: “Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very work’s sake.” John 14, 10,11. Thus since the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father; and the Father doeth the works in him, the one does not exist nor act without the other. Two separate beings also exist separately: for how otherwise could I know two distinct beings, unless they also existed distinctly? Although, the Son be personally distinct from the Father; yet he as this text shews exists in the Father. Where do we see a human son exist in his father and his father in him? But if such a sight were possible, it could not otherwise be concluded than that they were one being. No human son is in his father, and his father in him, but they exist separately; hence are two distinct beings. But Christ is never out of his Father, nor the Father out of him; hence no separate existence of either is perceivable; therefore they are one being.
But lest it should be objected that God also dwells in saints, and they in him, I shall observe, that the scriptures no where represent the union of saints with God in the same relation as that of the Father and the Son. The context indicates by Christ being in the Father and he in him a different relation than that of saints to God. Philip desired to see the Father, saying: “Lord shew us the Father, and It sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?” v. 8,9. Why would Christ have told Philip, that whosoever saw him also saw the Father, if he intended to indicate nothing more than that the Father simply dwells in him like in the saints? For according to this, in seeing any saint, one would see the Father. This would be absurd: for is it possible to suppose that because God dwells in the saints he is identified with their persons, so that upon seeing any of them one would see God? No! Now it must be concluded, that when Christ is said to be in the Father and he In him, and that when in consequence of this, upon seeing Christ the Father is seen, that they both are identified, i.e. they are one being. If Christ and the Father were two distinct beings, then by all means Christ could have been seen separately from the Father: for two distinct beings may also be discerned distinctly and separately. But Christ is not seen without the Father, therefore Christ and the Father are one being.
This passage seems to be parallel with that recorded In Exod. ch. 23, v. 20,21 :—The Lord says: “Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” This angel seems to have a divine prerogative; seeing that he has the power to pardon, or not to pardon transgressions, and Jehovah’s name is in him. The name JEHOVAH is the proper name of the supreme Being, and it can easily be shewn that it is indicative of his perfections. This name is in the angel that was sent. But the angel was distinct in personality from the one that sent him; yet as Jehovah’s name was in him, and that name is indicative of supreme perfections, it seems this angel had supreme perfections: hence one being with Jehovah. If this angel was not Christ, I am utterly at a loss to know any rational interpretation on the text.
The prophet says: “I am the Lord: that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isa. 42, 8. Now if it be, proven that God gave his glory to Christ, then it follows either, that Christ is not another being, or else that the prophet asserted a falsehood, in declaring that God would not give his glory to another. It has already been shewn, that this glory is all the supreme perfections of God, and that Christ is the brightness thereof; hence the same glory reflected. Unitarians themselves acknowledge, that supreme perfections are communicated to Christ. Mr. Worcester says: that Christ is almighty by the indwelling of the Father, or the fulness of the Godhead, and that it is possible for persons to receive divine perfections, &c. See Bible News, p. 75,70. Mr. Miller also acknowledges that the fulness of God dwells in Christ. Now if according to the concessions of Unitarians, Christ be almighty by the indwelling of the Father, and is possessed of divine fulness, then by all means he has the Father’s glory. Christ says: “and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” John 17, 5. With what glory did Christ pray to be glorified? Ans. With the Father himself: for he says: “glorify thou me with thine own self;” and he also declares that he had this same glory before the world was. He that is glorified with the Father himself, and who had this glory before the creation of the world possesses the uncreated, supreme glory. Since Christ has this glory; and yet, as the prophet declares: that God will not give his glory to another, it undeniably follows, that God and his Son are one and the same being.