WAS THERE A SEPARATION IN THE ETERNAL GODHEAD
Mathew 27:46, tells us that when Jesus was on the cross he cried out saying “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me”. From this verse we ask: Was there a separation in the Godhead? A. Did God the Father separate himself from God the son? B. Was Jesus left to die on the cross alone? C. Did God turn His back on the son because He was too pure to look at sin? · There are those in the family of God that believe that God did indeed turn his back on His son, separating Himself from His son for a moment in time and thus leaving His son to die on the cross alone. · Too often as Christians, we listen, we believe, and we pass on the teaching that we hear without doing a critical test against scripture and without being a Berean to find out if the teaching is connected to sound doctrine. We are all subject to this lack of care for God’s precious word. However, we must do our very best to mine God’s word. · To answer any question about any one of the three distinct persons of the Godhead, knowledge of the nature of God, of the person of Christ, of the Holy Spirit and of the relationship that each one has to the other is imperative. · Usually the problem in our understanding of scripture lies in having a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of the nature of God the Father, of the nature of God the Son, and of the nature of God the Holy Spirit. · From the following study of the attributes of God, we will see that it is impossible for any separation within the Godhead to ever take place and that God the Father did not and could not separate Himself from God the Son: Note: I can’t over-emphasize that an understanding of the essentials of the Christian faith is crucial. Having a good understanding about the nature and character of God is the quintessential essential. Without 1st knowing and 2nd embracing the essentials of the Christian faith, we can start to enter a slippery slope towards heresy. Why, because every heresy begins with a misunderstanding of the nature of God. Let us take a quick look at some heretical religious groups that have gone down that slippery slope: Jehovah witnesses believe that: 1. Jesus is the first and only being directly created by God. 2. Jesus is not God Almighty, not all-powerful, not all knowing, and not all present. They also deny these same attributes to their own god, Jehovah. 3. Jesus is not to be worshiped. 4. Jesus didn’t rise bodily from the grave. Mormon’s believe that: 1. Jesus is the spirit-brother of Lucifer 2. Jesus was conceived in heaven by a celestial mother 3. Jesus came in flesh as a result of God the Father having sex with the Virgin Mary. Muslim’s believe that: 1. Jesus is no more than a prophet 2. Jesus is not the Son of God and to affirm Jesus as God is considered blasphemous. In the Muslim’s holy book, Sura 5:75 reads: “Christ the son of Mary was no more than an Apostle.” Further, “it is not fitting to (the Majesty of) God that He should beget a son” (Sura 19:35) Ebionites The Ebionites denied Christ’s divine nature. Arians Arianism may be said to be a doctrine which holds that Jesus Christ, though the greatest of all, was a created being. Nestororianism This heresy divides Christ into two persons Eutychains 1. This heresy declared that there was only one nature in Christ. 2. That Christ’s divine nature was so modified and accommodated to the human nature that Christ was not really divine. 3. At the same time the human nature of Christ was so modified and changed by assimilation to the divine nature that He was no longer genuinely human. The Nature and Attributes of God the Father God Is a Spirit 1. Per John 4:24 – God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 2. Negative implications per John 4:24 a. God is a non-corporeal (non physical body) being not located in any one one finite space. b. Jesus used the word Spirit to indicate non-corporeal existence. Per Luke 24:36-40, “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. c. In the Pentateuch the non-corporeal nature of God is the basis of the 2nd commandment (You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.) which forbids the worship of “any likeness of anything of a corporeal nature.” God is infinite In His Being 1. The intentional affirmation in the statement “God is infinite in His being” is that God is omnipresent 2. The omnipresent of God can be expressed in that everything in the entire universe is immediately in His presence. 3. Per I King 8:27 – But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! 4. Per Jer. 23:24 – Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. God is eternal in His Being 1. The being of God is eternal in the past and as to the future, God has always existed and always will exist, He never began to be, and He will never cease to be 2. Per Psalm. 90:1, 2 – A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3. Per Heb. 1: 8-12 – But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” 4. Per Psalms 45:6-7 – Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. 5. Per Isaiah 44:6 – “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. God is Unchangeable in His being 1. The immutability of God is clearly taught in the Scripture. 2. Mal. 3:6 – “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 3. Heb. 6:17,18 – Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 4. Heb. 13:7, 8 – Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 5. Note: When the scriptures mention that God repented or changed His mind it appears that a contradiction against His immutability exists. However, these are instances of a figure of speech referring to God in human terms called anthropomorphisms. For example, in the prophecy of Amos the exhortations are interspersed with visions, some of which portend (indicate or signify) dire calamity. Verse 3 says The Lord repented for this. From looking at all the verses in chapter 7 clearly it is not teaching that God changes His mind, but that such disasters predicted would be just punishment though at the same time God is merciful. God is Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in His Wisdom 1. This statement that God is infinite in His wisdom is intended to designate His omniscience. 2. This statement that God is eternal in His wisdom is intended to teach that God’s omniscience has always been His and will always be His. 3. The statement that God is unchangeable in His wisdom is intended to indicate that God’s wisdom can have no wisdom added to it or subtracted from it, and that He knows everything without exception, he knows truly immutably from eternity to eternity. God is Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in His Power 1. This statement that God is infinite in His power is intended to designate His omnipotence. 2. Per Rev. 19:6 – And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 3. Per II Corin. 6:18 – “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” God is Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in His Holiness, Justice, and Goodness 1. The holiness, justice, and goodness of God are His moral attributes. 2. Holiness is the center and essence of His moral character. 3. Justice is the expression of His moral character and His administration of rewards and punishments among personal (human) beings. 4. The goodness of God signifies His grace and love toward His creatures in their sin and in their needs, and it is the outgoing of His goodness in mercy. God is Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable in His Truth 1. Per Heb. 6:18 – so that by two immutable (unchanageable) things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 2. Per Titus 1:2 – in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3. Per II Tim. 2:13 – If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Person of Christ 1. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the Eternal Son of God, became man and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person forever.” – Westminster Shorter Catechism, answer to Q. 21. 2. Per Philip. 2:1-11 – 1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. a. Verse 6 shows Christ’s pre-existent Deity. Jesus did not resign, or in any way give up His deity in the incarnation. Throughout the entire course of His life in the flesh here upon earth He retained fully and completely the divine nature, the complex of attributes essential to his being the second Person of the eternal trinity. b. Pre existence – John 1:1-3 – 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. c. Pre existence – Colos. 1:15-17 – 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn (preeminent) over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. The Doctrine Of The Trinity God is one 1. Per Deut. 6:4, 5 – 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 2. Per Deut. 5:7 – ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. 3. Per Isa. 46:9 – 9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 4. The unity of the Godhead is just as emphatically taught in the New Testament as in the Old, and that, in direct conjunction with the Deity of Christ. a. See I Cor. 8:4-6 – 4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. b. See Eph. 4:3,6 – 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Jesus is God 1. There is no doubt that the early disciples regarded Jesus as God in the most absolute sense of the word without limitation or subordination. a. Per Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, b. Per John 20:28 – And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” c. Per II Pet. 1:1, 2 – 1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, d. Per Rom 9:5 – of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. 2. Jesus is also called Lord (Jahweh) in the Old Testament a. Per Mal 3:1 – “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the Lord of hosts. b. Per Romans 14:10 (But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.) Paul adds a quotation from Isa. 45:23 (I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.). That Jahweh is the speaker in Isa’s. words is evident in verses 24 & 25 (24 He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him. 25 In the Lord all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.’ “). These passages indicate that Christ and God and Jahweh are one. 3. Jesus and the Father as God JESUS IS EQUAL TO THE FATHER JESUS IS SUBORDINATE TO THE FATHER 1. In His divine nature 1. In His human nature 2. In His divine essence 2. In His human function 3. In His divine attributes 3. In His human office 4. In His divine character 4. In His human position 4. Athanasius, one of the early church fathers, said the Incarnation was not the subtraction of deity; it was the addition of humanity. The Holy Spirit is God 1. See Acts. 5:3, 4 – 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Additional Info. 1. The three persons of the Godhead are “the same in substance, equal in power and glory” are based on such scriptures as Heb. 1:3 (3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,). 2. God is one, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God and scripture clearly portrays all three are in a subject-object relationship to each other. Perfect unity exists within the Godhead that can not be broken. We serve one God (Godhead) and if Jesus is separated from the Godhead, He would no longer be God. Therefore it is imperative that we understand, the nature and attributes of God, the person of Christ, and the doctrine of the Trinity. In Conclusion We have established these uncompromising and incontrovertible facts: 1. In the incarnation Christ was the GodMan (100 % God & 100 % man). 2. In the incarnation Jesus retained all of His divine attributes. 3. In the incarnation Jesus did not resign, or in any way give up His deity 4. Throughout the entire course of Jesus’ life in the flesh here upon earth He retained fully and completely the divine nature, the complex of attributes essential to His being the second Person of the eternal Trinity. 5. The Godhead is one-God revealed to us in three persons who are eternally distinct. Hank Hanegraaff (the bible answer man) has correctly stated that The Trinity is one who (one God) and three who’s (persons).
We now answer the questions that were raised in the beginning of this blog: 1. Was there a separation in the Godhead? NO - based on the incontrovertible facts discussed, there could never be a separation in the Godhead even for a moment in time. 2. Did God the Father separate himself from God the son? NO - If God separated Himself from the son, we no longer have one God. What we would have is too bizarre to come up with an answer. 3. Was Jesus left to die on the cross alone? NO - Jesus Himself said in John 8:28-29, “Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things. 29And he that sent me is with me: the Father has not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Just think if God left His only begotten son alone, what are the chances that he might leave us all alone. And if we as God’s creation have the surety that as Hebrews 13:5 says, “ Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you, what about His son Jesus. you; 4. Did God turn His back on the son because He was too pure to look at sin? NO - God does not literally have a back because God is a Spirit. Jesus could never take on a sin nature and still be pure, holy and divine. Jesus was simply the sin bearer for us.