How can Jesus be both God, and God’s Son?
This was an excellent question raised by someone who emailed in during our "Hard Questions" sermon series.
Many have concluded that it is impossible for Jesus to be both God and God's son because it is an impossibility for everyone else, and thus there are serious questions and reservations when it comes to embracing the truths of the Trinity. I can certainly understand; there is literally no other being in the universe or beyond that shares the unique characteristics of our Triune God. Every other being in heaven and on earth has a one to one relationship between the aspect of being and the aspect of person.
I am one being with one person. You are one being with one person. Every other being you will ever meet (except God) has one being and one person. Since our uniform experience tells us that being and person are synonymous we have a hard time wrapping our mind around a Being (such as God) Who can (and indeed is) One Being and Three Persons.
Nevertheless, if this is what we find must in the scriptures to be true, then such a unique conclusion must be embraced. If our study in scripture warrants, we must allow the bible to expand the rules we have created through our experience. The bible does just that.
First, we have to understand what the bible teaches about the nature of God. Then we have to know what the bible says about the distinctions between the Father and the Son.
The bible uncompromisingly teaches that there is one God. Christians are monotheists. We believe, and rightly so, that there is only one God. We do not have three gods, that is a misunderstanding of what Christians believe and a perversion of what the bible teaches.
We can confidently affirm this truth because of what the bible says about God being One.
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV)
Israel was told that there is only one God and that it was fundamentally a violation of the first commandment to believe in any other god.
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2-3 ESV)”
This is the consistent and ubiquitous testimony of the bible as we can see from Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 44…
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." (Isaiah 44:6 ESV)
We also believe that God is one God comprised of three Persons.
We believe this based upon the testimony of scripture that not only is the Father God (Theos in Greek) so also is the Son.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (Theos), and the Word was God (Theos)." (John 1:1 ESV, Greek Parenthesis)
We know that the Word that John is writing about is Jesus because of what John says a few verses later.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14 ESV)
John 14 tells us that the Word, the Son, Who is the Second Person of the Triune God, became flesh, thus uniting a Divine nature with a Human nature in the person of Jesus.
Nevertheless, the Father/Son relationship did not come about through the birth of Christ, The second Person of the Trinity existed in a Father/Son relationship with the Father in eternity past. We know this because the Father sends the Son.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law," (Galatians 4:4 ESV)
So it is indeed possible for Jesus to be both God and the Son of God due to the Trinitarian nature of our God.
Keep the good questions coming.