Understanding the Significance of Distinctions

Jason Dulle


In your article titled A Oneness View of Jesus' Prayers you seemed to argue that because Jesus is spoken of as distinct from and yet personally equivalent to God, Trinitarians must admit that He is likewise distinct from, but personally equivalent to the Father. Am I understanding your argument properly? If so, how does that follow?



My argument is that a distinction between the Father and Son tells us very little in itself. We need to understand the reason for, location of, and nature of the distinctions. They could be personal in nature, or they could be something else. I am persuaded that Trinitarians prematurely jump to the conclusion that they are personal based on a select number of passages. When we look at the Biblical data as a whole, however, it seems better to understand the distinctions as incarnational rather than personal in nature. But if Trinitarians want to point to the mere presence of distinctions between the Father and Son as conclusive evidence that distinct persons are in view, then why should we not also conclude based on the mere presence of distinctions between Jesus and God that Jesus is not God?

Such an interpretation of these passages would be foolish because it contradicts so much else the Bible has to say concerning the identity of Jesus Christ. They cannot mean what they seem to mean on their face. A deeper explanation is required. We derive that explanation from the macro-level of Scripture, taking into account all things said concerning Christ and His relationship to God.

Likewise, those passages which seem to portray Jesus as a distinct person from the Father cannot mean what they seem to mean on their face because that conclusion contradicts so much else Scripture teaches about the nature of God. These passages, like those that seem to indicate Jesus is distinct from God, require a deeper explanation.

So I am not arguing that the passages distinguishing Jesus from God require Trinitarians to admit that Jesus is distinct from, but personally equivalent to the Father. I am arguing that the mere presence of distinctions is not sufficient to demonstrate a personal distinction between Father and Son (an assumption made by most Trinitarians). Yes, the Father is distinct from the Son, but the Bible does not explain the metaphysical location, nor the precise nature of that distinction. The distinction could be personal in nature as Trinitarian theology maintains, or it could be incarnational in nature as Oneness theology maintains. That question must be decided on a proper weighing of all the Biblical data, not on the mere presence of distinctions.

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