Jesus as the Son of God is Equal with God

There is much misunderstanding over the term ‘Son of God’. This is especially true when people derive their conceptions from the words alone. In order to understand aright, we must allow the Bible to define its own terms. In this instance, there is no better place to look than John 5.

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)

The Jews recognised in Jesus’ words of Sonship a claim to equality with God. Just as the son of a dog is a dog and the son of a man is a man, so the Son of God is God.



Yes, it is true that the relationship of Father and Son indicates subordination of a kind. This subordination is spelt out in the first part of verse 19, namely one of action[1].

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (John 5:19)

The Son always and only acts in submission to the Father; never in independence from Him. But this functional subordination doesn’t make the Son less than the Father. The Son does ‘whatever the Father does.’ Think about that for a moment. ‘The only one who could conceivably do whatever the Father does must be as great as the Father, as divine as the Father.’[2]

If any doubt as to the equality of the Father and Son remains, verse 23 should ram the point home. As Father and Son, they are not only equal in being and in action, but are also equal in honor.

that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (John 5:23)

If there is one truth that rings clear throughout Scripture, it is that God alone is worthy of worship. It is sin to worship anything that is not God, no matter how exalted that thing may be. With that in mind, listen to the worship in heaven:

…"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:12-14)



[1] Note there is no hint here of an ontological subordination.


[2] D.A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, 251

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