The Father is greater than I

Muslims have learned a lot of their arguments from the sectarian cult of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Therefore, the answers to be given to them are often the same we can give to the Muslim questioner.

The below is an excerpt from Patrick Zukeran's Jehovah's Witnesses and the Trinity

Is Jesus Inferior to God?

Is Jesus inferior to God? Another way the Witnesses try to disprove the deity of Christ is to show that Christ is inferior in nature to God. The verses they use here are John 14:28 and 1 Corinthians 11:3.

John 14:28 reads, "You heard that I said to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I." They will ask you, "How can Jesus be equal to God if here He states `the Father is greater than I'?"

The term greater refers to position, not nature. The term better refers to nature. Here is a good example I use in illustrating this passage. The President is greater than you or I, correct? Yes, as Chief Executive Officer of the United States he is greater than you or I. The Jehovah's Witness will agree. But, is the President better than you or I? What I mean is, is there anything about the President that makes him a superior being to you or me? No.

You see, greater refers to position, not nature. We see in Philippians 2:6-8, that Christ though He was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself and submitted Himself to the Father and took on the form of a servant. Though Jesus emptied Himself, He was always in nature God and equal to the Father in nature. If Jesus wanted to say He was inferior to God in nature, He would have said, "The Father is better than I."

Here is an example of the use of the term better in Hebrews 1:4 (NAS); it says speaking of Jesus, "having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they." The NIV reads, "So he became as much superior to the angels...." Here we see that Jesus is a being superior to the angels, so the term better is used. Remember, in explaining this verse, the term greater refers to position, not nature.

The explanation for the Muslim could end here since they usually are not really interested in the NT material outside the gospels. But this passage is good to see, since it further explains that the issue under discussion is position, not nature.

Another verse the Witnesses will use is 1 Corinthians 11:3, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." Here they say since the head of Christ is God, Jesus must be inferior to God.

Once again you use the same concept of equal in nature, but Christ submitted Himself to the Father. Here the principle of headship and submission established by God is displayed both in marriage and in the Trinity. Now show the Jehovah's Witnesses that in this passage, the head of the woman is man. "Does this mean that the husband is a superior being to his wife?" The answer is obviously, "No." The husband is greater than his wife by way of position but not by nature. The same applies to the Father and the Son. The Father is greater by position, but not better by nature.

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