To the Glory of God the Son: Refuting A Common Arian Canard Pt. 1

There are certain Arian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianism) apologists, specifically Gregory Stafford, the founder of a cult group called Christian Witnesses of Jah that recently sprung into existence (http://elihubooks.com), that employ the following passage,

“and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:11 

To argue for their belief that Christ is a subordinate deity since they take him to be the very first divine son of God that Jehovah created among a host of other gods and sons of God. They also believe that the other divine beings were created through the agency of Jehovah’s firstborn son, the prehuman Jesus. (Cf. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Pss. 29:1; 82:1-8; 86:8-10; 89:5-8; John 1:1-3, 10; 10:34-36; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3).

Stafford claims that the risen Jesus is confessed and worshipped as Lord to the glory of the Father, whereas the Father does nothing to the glory of another. He then assumes that this somehow proves that Jesus is not ontologically equal to God the Father.

In this post, I am going to refute the assertion that the Father does nothing to the glory of another since the God-breathed Scriptures testify that the Father does all things for the glory of his Son. I will demonstrate that the individual members of the Godhead, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, never do anything for their own personal glory but seek to glorify one another since they have eternally existed in perfect communion, and have been the object of one another’s infinite love. 

For example, we are told that not only does the Son love the Father and carries out his will,

“Jesus then said: “After you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And the One who sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.’” John 8:28-29

“But for the world to know that I love the Father, I am doing just as the Father has commanded me to do. Get up, let us go from here.” John 14:31

“Just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. If you observe my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have observed the commandments of the Father and remain in his love.” John 15:9-11 

But that the Father also loves the Son, and has loved him from even before the creation of the world, which is why he bestows on him his very own personal glory:

“And a voice came out of the heavens: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.’” Mark 1:11

“And a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud: ‘This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him.’” Mark 9:7

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” John 3:35 – Cf. 5:20; 13:3

“Jesus spoke these things, and raising his eyes to heaven, he said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son so that your son may glorify you… So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was… Father, I want those whom you have given me to be with me where I am, in order that they may look upon my glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the founding of the world.’” John 17:1, 5, 24

In this last passage, the Father glorifies the Son in the same way that the Son glorifies the Father, showing that it is reciprocal. The text further affirms that the Son personally existed alongside the Father in the very same glory from before the creation of the world, even though the Hebrew Bible is emphatically clear that this is a glory that Jehovah does not bestow on anyone:

“For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, For how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else. Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called. I am the same One. I am the first; I am also the last.” Isaiah 48:11-12

Astonishingly, the exalted Christ ascribes to himself the very expression that Jehovah describes himself with:

“When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last,  and the living one, and I became dead, but look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of the Grave.’” Revelation 1:17-18

Could the Scriptures, therefore, be any clearer that Jesus is ontologically equal to the Father?

In fact, it is precisely because the Father loves the Son that he appointed his Beloved to create all things for himself and to be the very One upholding all creation by his powerful word,

“Who drew out to self us out of the authority of the darkness and transferred into the kingdom of the Son of the love of him, in whom we are having the release by ransom, the letting go off of the sins; who is image of the God the invisible, firstborn of all creation, because in him it was created THE ALL (things [ta panta]) in the heavens and upon the earth, the (things) visible and the (things) invisible, whether thrones or lordships or governments or authorities; THE ALL (things [ta panta]) through him and INTO HIM (eis auton) it has been created; AND HE IS BEFORE ALL (things [kai autos estin pro panton]) and THE ALL (things [ta panta]) in him it has stood together, and he is the head of the body, of the ecclesia; who is the beginning, firstborn out of the dead (ones), in order that might become in all (things) he holding the first place,” Colossians 1:13-18 The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/b/r1/lp-e/int/E/1985/51/1#study=discover)

“All [other] things have been created through him and FOR HIM.” Colossians 1:16 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures with References (https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/b/r1/lp-e/Rbi8/E/1984/51/1#study=discover)

“Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… But about the Son, he says… And: ‘At the beginning, O Lord [the Son], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works OF YOUR HANDS. They will perish, but you will remain; and just like a garment, they will all wear out, and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as a garment, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never come to an end.’” Hebrews 1:2-3, 8a, 10-12(1) 

Even though the Hebrew Bible emphatically declares that Jehovah personally created all things by and for himself, and is the One who gives life to all creation:

“You alone are Jehovah; you made the heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens and all their army, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve all of them alive, and the army of the heavens are bowing down to you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“This is what the true God, Jehovah, says, The Creator of the heavens and the Grand One who stretched them out, The One who spread out the earth and its produce, The One who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk on it:” Isaiah 42:5

“I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’i And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back. Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, Everyone who is called by my name And whom I created FOR MY OWN GLORY, Whom I have formed and made.’… The wild beast of the field will honor me, The jackals and the ostriches, For I provide water in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert, For my people, my chosen one, to drink, The people whom I formed FOR MYSELF So that they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:6-7, 20-21

“This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb: ‘I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens BY MYSELF, And I spread out the earth. WHO WAS WITH ME?’” Isaiah 44:24

“‘I made the earth and created man on it. I stretched out the heavens with my own hands, And I give orders to all their army.’… For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.’” Isaiah 45:12, 18

Once again, what more do the God-breathed revelations need to say in order for Arians like Stafford to admit that Jesus is identified as Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh?

With the foregoing in perspective, it is time to proceed to the next part of my discussion (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/16/to-the-glory-of-god-the-son-refuting-a-common-arian-canard-pt-2/).

Endnotes

(1) Remarkably, Paul has taken the following Psalm, where Jehovah is glorified for being the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all things,

“O Jehovah, hear my prayer; Let my cry for help reach you… But you remain forever, O Jehovah, And your fame will endure for all generations… Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away. But you are the same, and your years will never end.” Psalm 102:1, 12, 25-27

And ascribed it to the Son, thereby identifying Jesus as that very Jehovah God praised by David!

I need to again ask, what more could the inspired Scriptures say before Arians realize that Christ is identified as Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh, even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit?

4 thoughts on “To the Glory of God the Son: Refuting A Common Arian Canard Pt. 1

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