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'For my Father is greater than I.'


Joseph Antley

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

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Thats easy... Its a Mystery. pardon.gif

Seriously...

Heb 6

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

According to most Christians... Jesus is who talked to Abraham. So how can he have some one greater than him and not have any greater than him at the same time?

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

Don't forget that they are co-equal.

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

Do you have this scripture reference?

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

Hi Joseph,

I think that most Trinitarians interpret this in the context of Jesus being fully God and fully man. Jesus, being God the Son, is co-equal to the Father in His divinity. When the Son incarnated on the earth, He made Himself lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9). Yet He did not stop being divine. So, in His humanity, Jesus was indeed lower than the Father. However the Son did not stop being divine when He incarnated, and was not subordinate in His divinity.

I hope that helps.

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Hi Joseph,

I think that most Trinitarians interpret this in the context of Jesus being fully God and fully man. Jesus, being God the Son, is co-equal to the Father in His divinity. When the Son incarnated on the earth, He made Himself lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9). Yet He did not stop being divine. So, in His humanity, Jesus was indeed lower than the Father. However the Son did not stop being divine when He incarnated, and was not subordinate in His divinity.

I hope that helps.

So he wasn't saying that the Father was greater than him -- just that the Father was greater than part of him? You would think he might have clarified something like that.

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and was not subordinate in His divinity.

So he wasn't saying that the Father was greater than him -- just that the Father was greater than part of him? You would think he might have clarified something like that.

Tell me about it...

Matt. 26: 42

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Sure seems like he was subordnate in his divinity to me.

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

I was not aware that Mormons denies that Christ is "totally God" because of this passage. Is that how you explain His desire to fulfill the Father's will, to pray to Him, and subordinate Himself? I can see that as a plausible explanation, but it is not an explanation that is necessary. From a Catholic perspective there two possible explanations for why Christ said that the Father is greater.

1) This has been mentioned already. The Son is speaking of His created human nature, which is indeed inferior to the divine nature of the Father.

2) Another explanation for how the Father could be said to be greater without diminishing the deity of Christ would be to recognize that all fathers are to be honored and obeyed by their children. You, Joseph Antley are totally man, and yet in respect to generation your father is greater than you because you came forth from him rather than the other way round. Do you think that the Lord tells us to honor our fathers and mothers because we are ontologically inferior, or because parents hold a position of greater honor? Certainly it is because our parents came first. We are as "totally human" as our parents, just as Christ is as "totally God" as His Father. From the beginning, according to Genesis 1, as well as modern biology, reproductive processes brings forth plants, animals, and humans, "after the kind" of the seed that is sown.

As I said, your apparent conclusion (that Christ is of an inferior substance to His Father) is certainly not one that I care to take issue with. Perhaps the obvious answer is that the Son is defective in comparison to the Father. Maybe there are more undiscovered ways of understanding the passage aside from making God the Father have a Son that violates the rule laid down in Genesis that offspring is always "after the kind" of the parents.

These are two ways that Catholics have traditionally have understood John 14:28 while continuing to hold that the Son is fully what the Father is. Thanks for your consideration.

3DOP

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So far I have located another couple of ways that the Father is greater than the Son that do not require that the Son be defective or less than the express image of the Father. The LDS position, at least so far as it has been represented in this thread, is that the Son is less than "totally God". As I said above, I have no quarrel if a non-Catholic wants to take that point of view. But there are multiple ways that a Catholic (or any other non-LDS) may accept that the Father is greater without diminishing the deity of Christ.

Alexander of Alexandria offers a third possible view on why the Father is greater than the Son. The Father is the Fountainhead without which there would be no stream. He is the Unbegotten and is therefore the First Person of the Holy Trinity:

To the Father alone, however, do we ascribe the peculiar circumstance of the Unbegotten; for the Saviour Himself has said: "My Father is greater than I?"
---Encyclical Letter of Alexander of Alexandria to Bishop Alexander and Non-Egyptian bishops, AD 324.

St. Augustine of Hippo gives us a fourth idea when he suggests that the commissioner of a job is of a higher authority than the one who performs the task. I would compare it to the diplomat. Who is greater, the diplomat, or the king he represents? In the quote given below, Augustine actually summarizes the last three of our options in a short sentence, but I cite him specifically for highlighting the superiority of the sender over the sent:

Not that one is greater and the other less, but that one if the Father and the other is the Son. One is the Begetter and the other the Begotten. One is the by-whom He is sent, the other is the who-is-sent by whom.
---St. Augustine, The Trinity 4:20:27, AD 400-416

In conclusion, I do not expect our LDS hosts to be persuaded by these arguments and certainly not by any authority they would attach to a Church Father. I cite them because they are my sources. These four ways by which Catholics can embrace John 14:28, and a Son who is the express image of His Father, equal in divinity, are not offered as proof that Catholics are correct. Rather, they are offered in the acknowledgement that the LDS view which reduces Christ to a status that is less than "totally God", to use the expression of original poster, is a plausible explanation of John 14:28 in isolation from the interpretive tradition of the Catholic Church. But it is not necessarily the only explanation; it is only one of four or five possible explanations of how the Father is greater than the Son.

For the record, I lean toward a combination the last three that I listed. I never did cite the source for the second. That was from St. Hilary of Poitiers in a homily from Ps. 138. The reason I lean toward these interpretations is that the first and certainly most popular Catholic answer means that before the Incarnation, the Father was not greater. I tend to think that the Son would so honor His Father as greater in the sense we have spoken about, even if He had not made Himself lower than the angels, by taking a created nature.

All the quotes and sources were found in the Jurgens three volume set that my fellow Catholics may be familiar with. I am afraid he sometimes ignores that which might mitigate against what he is trying to prove. But all in all, it is a very useful resource tool. There were seven patristic citations listed under the heading, "In some way, the Father is greater than the Son."

3DOP

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Hello 3DOP. I'd like to add a few comments to the mix.

1. Mormons do not believe that Jesus Christ is "defective" or "less than the express image of the Father." Jesus Christ is totally God, and he has been for a very long time (perhaps for eternity). He is every bit as much "god" as God the Father. There are a couple of important issues that have to be hashed out before we can have a meaningful dialogue about this, including what exactly it means to be a "god" or "fully divine", and what the source of divinity is. But since this thread isn't really about Mormonism's conception of divinity we'll not wade into it.

2. I'm comfortable saying that Mormonism adopts a form of subordinationism. The Son is in some way less than the Father. But I don't believe this is explained by positing a different substance or "kind" for the Son. Again, since this thread isn't primarily about Mormon subordinationism I won't wade there either. Let's move on to what this thread is about....a critique of Trinitarianism.

3. The OP asked how it is that Christ can be "less than" the Father given the unique characteristics prescribed to those persons by the orthodox notion of the Trinity. It is in fact a great question. The orthodox notion of the Trinity insists that in God there are no "parts". But if we are going to describe one person of the Trinity as being, in any way, "less than" another person of the Trinity, this is tantamount to describing two different "parts." It is inconceivable how the same unit (not having parts) can be somehow "less than" itself. We can't even begin to compare and contrast the Trinity with itself without positing parts. This is where the problem lies.

4. You've offered 4 ways to understand the fact that the Jesus is "less than" the Father within a Trinitarian framework. I'd like to comment on each:

4a. The Son is speaking of His created human nature, which is indeed inferior to the divine nature of the Father.

Now, you've already hinted that you don't buy this one. I don't either. Why? Because according to orthodox Christology the second person in the Trinity took upon himself the human nature in an inexplicable way (the Hypostatic Union) and still, to this day, retains that nature alongside (for lack of a better word) his divine nature. Thus, if possessing a human nature makes Christ "less than" God the Father then Christ is still "less than" God the Father and will continue to be for eternity. This means that the nature of Christ's subjection to God the Father is based on his metaphysical nature, which in effect ends up just where the Arians were. It makes Jesus "less than" God the Father due to a difference in nature.

4b. Another explanation for how the Father could be said to be greater without diminishing the deity of Christ would be to recognize that all fathers are to be honored and obeyed by their children.

The problem I see with this is that orthodox Trinitarianism doesn't actually believe that God the Father is literally the father of God the Son. The father/son relationship is merely an analogous reference we use to try to grasp their relationship in human language. God the Father didn't actually produce God the Son in the same way that a father produces his son. They are co-eternal in their divinity and the son "emanates" from the father. There isn't a single son in the human family who "emanates" from his father.

So, because the titles "Father" and "Son" are merely metaphors for their relationship, it means that Christ's subjection to his father as a son is merely a metaphor also. God the Son isn't really subjected to his father in a father/son relationship because is isn't really a father/son relationship.

4c.The Father is the Fountainhead without which there would be no stream.

I'm totally comfortably, as a Mormon, believing this. I believe that the source of all divinity, even for God the Son, flows from God the Father. But this is problematic for Trinitarianism. If God the Father is the fountainhead, where does that leave God the Son? Does the Father possess an attribute of divinity that the Son doesn't have? That seems to be the case, and while this isn't damaging to Mormonism this is highly problematic for Trinitarianism. It means that God the Son is not "divine" in the same way as God the Father, something not acceptable to orthodox Trinitarianism.

4d. St. Augustine of Hippo gives us a fourth idea when he suggests that the commissioner of a job is of a higher authority than the one who performs the task.

This seems to me to be the best option for Trinitarianism (and for Mormonism). But we still have the problem I outlined at the beginning. It is quite difficult to understand how an entity that has no parts can in fact have parts that can be compared to each other (ie one is "less than" the other). By the very nature of comparison it requires that there be parts. The orthodox Trinity doesn't have parts, and so we are stuck with a quandary.

Sincerely,

Sargon

(P.S. I reserve the right to take back anything I've said here!)

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Hi Sargon,

Thanks for your comprehensive consideration and analysis of my three original suggestions, as well as the one regarding the human nature.

Regards,

3DOP

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Hi Sargon,

Reply to 4a:

The Son is speaking of His created human nature, which is indeed inferior to the divine nature of the Father.

Now, you've already hinted that you don't buy this one. I don't either. Why? Because according to orthodox Christology the second person in the Trinity took upon himself the human nature in an inexplicable way (the Hypostatic Union) and still, to this day, retains that nature alongside (for lack of a better word) his divine nature. Thus, if possessing a human nature makes Christ "less than" God the Father then Christ is still "less than" God the Father and will continue to be for eternity. This means that the nature of Christ's subjection to God the Father is based on his metaphysical nature, which in effect ends up just where the Arians were. It makes Jesus "less than" God the Father due to a difference in nature.

Arius did not admit the hypostatic union. I do not think he lived to see its formulation and definition. I suspect this might have helped him in his speculations. The hypostatic union would be a concession to John 14:28 that in regards to the divine nature, Christ is "totally God", but that since the Incarnation, is and always will be less than the Father with regard to His humanity.

There is no necessity which requires that the subordination of Son to Father, or the inferiority of humanity to divinity be temporary. Arius made the inferiority of the Son an eternal arrangement whereby His entire nature was created and thus inferior. This was unacceptable. There had to be a sense in which Christ was fully God while also inferior to the Father. Catholic Tradition held that both are revealed truths. Arius' interpretation of John 14:28 did not resolve the matter satisfactorily. I fully admit that Jesus remains les than the Father due to the inferiority of His human nature (since the Incarnation...), regardless of whether I think this is what He meant in John 14:28. The union of the two natures as our answer to John 14:28 does not "in effect end up just where the Arians were."

The rest will have to wait for another time. Dinner, reading, sleep, American Idol...oops!...did I say that? Heh. My daughter has me watching. No...I must take full responsibility...

Anyway, thanks for your replies again. I'll try to give them some more attention...um...later.

3DOP

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Sargon

Hello 3DOP. I'd like to add a few comments to the mix.

1. Mormons do not believe that Jesus Christ is "defective" or "less than the express image of the Father." Jesus Christ is totally God, and he has been for a very long time (perhaps for eternity). He is every bit as much "god" as God the Father. There are a couple of important issues that have to be hashed out before we can have a meaningful dialogue about this, including what exactly it means to be a "god" or "fully divine", and what the source of divinity is. But since this thread isn't really about Mormonism's conception of divinity we'll not wade into it.

3DOP

Okay. Thanks for the disclaimer. And I wouldn't be up to going in depth on your stuff anyway.

Sargon

2. I'm comfortable saying that Mormonism adopts a form of subordinationism. The Son is in some way less than the Father. But I don't believe this is explained by positing a different substance or "kind" for the Son. Again, since this thread isn't primarily about Mormon subordinationism I won't wade there either. Let's move on to what this thread is about....a critique of Trinitarianism.

3DOP

I agree. The Son is in some way less than the Father.

Sargon

3. The OP asked how it is that Christ can be "less than" the Father given the unique characteristics prescribed to those persons by the orthodox notion of the Trinity. It is in fact a great question. The orthodox notion of the Trinity insists that in God there are no "parts". But if we are going to describe one person of the Trinity as being, in any way, "less than" another person of the Trinity, this is tantamount to describing two different "parts." It is inconceivable how the same unit (not having parts) can be somehow "less than" itself. We can't even begin to compare and contrast the Trinity with itself without positing parts. This is where the problem lies.

3DOP

Where you lose me is in saying that "if we are going to describe one person of the Trinity as being, in any way, less..." that it results in parts, apparently nullifying the divine simplicity in your mind. The oneness of what makes God God is not lessened because there is distinction in Persons. When Catholics affirm the equality of Persons in the One God, we make exception for what makes the Persons Three. What is distinctive to any of the Persons is not essential to the divine nature.

Sargon

4. You've offered 4 ways to understand the fact that the Jesus is "less than" the Father within a Trinitarian framework. I'd like to comment on each:

4a. The Son is speaking of His created human nature, which is indeed inferior to the divine nature of the Father.

Now, you've already hinted that you don't buy this one. I don't either. Why? Because according to orthodox Christology the second person in the Trinity took upon himself the human nature in an inexplicable way (the Hypostatic Union) and still, to this day, retains that nature alongside (for lack of a better word) his divine nature. Thus, if possessing a human nature makes Christ "less than" God the Father then Christ is still "less than" God the Father and will continue to be for eternity. This means that the nature of Christ's subjection to God the Father is based on his metaphysical nature, which in effect ends up just where the Arians were. It makes Jesus "less than" God the Father due to a difference in nature.

3DOP

Christ would only be less in His human nature. Arius did not make the distinction that came later. He did not posit two natures in the Person of Christ. I am reluctant to put limits on the degree to which created nature may be exalted. But you are probably correct in saying that it is likely that any created nature will be forever less than Uncreated Nature. This is acceptable to us. It does not reflect on the simple, Uncreated Nature which is common to all Three Persons.

Sargon

4b. Another explanation for how the Father could be said to be greater without diminishing the deity of Christ would be to recognize that all fathers are to be honored and obeyed by their children.

The problem I see with this is that orthodox Trinitarianism doesn't actually believe that God the Father is literally the father of God the Son. The father/son relationship is merely an analogous reference we use to try to grasp their relationship in human language. God the Father didn't actually produce God the Son in the same way that a father produces his son. They are co-eternal in their divinity and the son "emanates" from the father. There isn't a single son in the human family who "emanates" from his father.

So, because the titles "Father" and "Son" are merely metaphors for their relationship, it means that Christ's subjection to his father as a son is merely a metaphor also. God the Son isn't really subjected to his father in a father/son relationship because is isn't really a father/son relationship.

3DOP

I would differ with your characterization of what "orthodox Trinitarianism" believes here. I would sooner suggest that the Father and Son are literal and that we are the metaphors. God chose to reveal Himself in this way because it is an eternal divine reality. Whether or not emanation is figurative while physical childbirth is literal is no reflection on the importance of the relationship. Children obey their parents. Children honor your parents. These principles given to us are a shadow of how the Son seeks to glorify and obey His Father in the Godhead.

Sargon

4c.The Father is the Fountainhead without which there would be no stream.

I'm totally comfortably, as a Mormon, believing this. I believe that the source of all divinity, even for God the Son, flows from God the Father. But this is problematic for Trinitarianism. If God the Father is the fountainhead, where does that leave God the Son? Does the Father possess an attribute of divinity that the Son doesn't have? That seems to be the case, and while this isn't damaging to Mormonism this is highly problematic for Trinitarianism. It means that God the Son is not "divine" in the same way as God the Father, something not acceptable to orthodox Trinitarianism.

3DOP

It means that the Son is not the Father. It means that what is distinct to the Father is not essential to the divine nature which He passed to His Son.

Sargon

4d. St. Augustine of Hippo gives us a fourth idea when he suggests that the commissioner of a job is of a higher authority than the one who performs the task.

This seems to me to be the best option for Trinitarianism (and for Mormonism). But we still have the problem I outlined at the beginning. It is quite difficult to understand how an entity that has no parts can in fact have parts that can be compared to each other (ie one is "less than" the other). By the very nature of comparison it requires that there be parts. The orthodox Trinity doesn't have parts, and so we are stuck with a quandary.

3DOP

I have offered a simple answer. God is One. God is Three. There are reasons why Muslims and Jews accuse us of tritheism. We are not the strictest, most rigorous monotheists possible. Why? We acknowledge distinction in the Persons.

Regards,

3DOP

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

In that same vain.... Why is there even a "Father"?

If God is God and simply three "manifestations" thereof, why is there a Father, or even more, why even a Christ?

Even further, why is there a Holy Ghost if the Father alread is "spirit" as other Christians claim?

Even further, why did Christ say the Father was the only "perfect" being, and the ONLY ONE to be worshiped???

Why is there even a "need" for a Christ? If the Father can do all, why not he have just dicated things by His Power? Why was it necessary for a part of God to be both man and God while on the earth in order to "save" man, to also be "resurrected" with his body as man would also be, if there wasn't some important "matter/body" connection between God and man, as well as God's/Fathers own nature himself??? Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all "traditional" christian teachings, especially of the last 600 years.

Riddle me these you "traditional" christians....

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In that same vain.... Why is there even a "Father"?

If God is God and simply three "manifestations" thereof, why is there a Father, or even more, why even a Christ?

Even further, why is there a Holy Ghost if the Father alread is "spirit" as other Christians claim?

Even further, why did Christ say the Father was the only "perfect" being, and the ONLY ONE to be worshiped???

Why is there even a "need" for a Christ? If the Father can do all, why not he have just dicated things by His Power? Why was it necessary for a part of God to be both man and God while on the earth in order to "save" man, to also be "resurrected" with his body as man would also be, if there wasn't some important "matter/body" connection between God and man, as well as God's/Fathers own nature himself??? Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all "traditional" christian teachings, especially of the last 600 years.

Riddle me these you "traditional" christians....

Obiwan,

It doesn't appear to me that your seven questions are in the same vein at all.

1) Your seven questions, unlike Joseph Antley's one question, seem to lack familiarity with what I believe as a Catholic now. I have been several kinds of Protestant Trinitarian too. I have never heard anyone saying anything like "God is God and simply three manifestations thereof."

2) Each of your questions are "why" questions. Joseph Antley asked "how". Joseph A. was wondering "how" to explain a difficulty he perceived in John 14:28 from a Trinitarian perspective. How does something work is a reasonable question. Why something exists? First, do we have to know why?

3) The last 600 years? You are okay until 1410 AD? The Trinity had already been established for a thousand years in 1410.

4) Your closing remark, "Riddle me these you "traditional" christians....", seems to betray an unwarranted confidence in the inability of anyone to answer your questions to your own satisfaction.

Let's assume that you are correct: "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all 'traditional' christian teachings." Why do I think you're confrontational and agitated about something? You seem cold and unapproachable for someone who has such great spiritual advantages. Have I or someone else of my faith offended you in some way?

Look, I am aware that there are Catholics who dismiss your beliefs and ridicule them. I am sorry. Truly, you should forgive them, they know not what they do. I don't think your beliefs are worthy of ridicule. I can reproduce a private note I received at Catholic Answers yesterday thanking me for defending LDS teachings and worldview. I would never, ever say that "everything about the Bible gives testimony of Catholic teaching, but not at all LDS teachings." This is especially so in light of your continuing revelation and the fact that you lack seven books that we accept. I can see how you all believe what you do from the Bible that you have.

You've studied our Bible, putting aside the LDS Scriptures, using the Catholic canon, and nothing we believe is in there? Our Scripture teaches the LDS faith only and not our own? Sorry. You'll never win me to Mormonism with that. Worse than anything, you don't know what you are saying. Obiwan, without challenging your faith, I am here to show people what I believe, using my Bible at times, if they are interested. But I can't see why you would be interested if you already know that "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all "traditional" christian teachings'.

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Obiwan,

It doesn't appear to me that your seven questions are in the same vein at all.

1) Your seven questions, unlike Joseph Antley's one question, seem to lack familiarity with what I believe as a Catholic now. I have been several kinds of Protestant Trinitarian too. I have never heard anyone saying anything like "God is God and simply three manifestations thereof."

2) Each of your questions are "why" questions. Joseph Antley asked "how". Joseph A. was wondering "how" to explain a difficulty he perceived in John 14:28 from a Trinitarian perspective. How does something work is a reasonable question. Why something exists? First, do we have to know why?

3) The last 600 years? You are okay until 1410 AD? The Trinity had already been established for a thousand years in 1410.

4) Your closing remark, "Riddle me these you "traditional" christians....", seems to betray an unwarranted confidence in the inability of anyone to answer your questions to your own satisfaction.

Let's assume that you are correct: "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all 'traditional' christian teachings." Why do I think you're confrontational and agitated about something? You seem cold and unapproachable for someone who has such great spiritual advantages. Have I or someone else of my faith offended you in some way?

Look, I am aware that there are Catholics who dismiss your beliefs and ridicule them. I am sorry. Truly, you should forgive them, they know not what they do. I don't think your beliefs are worthy of ridicule. I would never, ever say that "everything about the Bible gives testimony of Catholic teaching, but not at all LDS teachings." This is especially so in light of your continuing revelation and the fact that you lack seven books that we accept. I can see how you all believe what you do from the Bible that you have.

You've studied our Bible, putting aside the LDS Scriptures, using the Catholic canon, and nothing we believe is in there? Our Scripture teaches the LDS faith only and not our own? Sorry. You'll never win me to Mormonism with that. Worse than anything, you don't know what you are saying. Obiwan, without challenging your faith, I am here to show people what I believe, using my Bible at times, if they are interested. But I can't see why you would be interested if you already know that "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all "traditional" christian teachings'.

3DOP,

What a GREAT example your Catholic manner is to me ( another Catholic ) THANKS !!!!

Given the post you were dealt to respond to, I greatly admire the way you chose to respond. I am not confident I would have offered a similar contribution.

Well done sir !!!

Your " light " , more than the words IMHO, should speak loud and clear to US ALL ( it certainly does/did to Ceeboo )

Proud and humbled.

Peace,

Ceeboo

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A simple question: If God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God, albeit distinct persons, but nevertheless together make up a single, eternal, glorified Deity, how can the Father be greater than the Son? If Christ is totally God, how can there be something greater than him?

This makes me think of this verse.

Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Who gave it?

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Sorry that I didn't get back to this thread sooner. I'm going to respond to your first post, and I hope that what I say isn't just a repeat of what other LDS posters have said in this thread.

I was not aware that Mormons denies that Christ is "totally God" because of this passage. Is that how you explain His desire to fulfill the Father's will, to pray to Him, and subordinate Himself?

Latter-day Saints understand God in a radically different way than Catholics (or Protestants, or Orthodox, for that matter). So much so that the phrase "totally God", as I used in my OP, doesn't even make sense in LDS theology. Christ is God because he is divine, he acts as one with the Father, and he acts in place of the Father. He is God because the Father has made him God. However, he is still a separate being subordinate to the Most High God (a biblical name that only makes sense if there are Gods lower than the Father).

1) This has been mentioned already. The Son is speaking of His created human nature, which is indeed inferior to the divine nature of the Father.

Before Christ became God Incarnate on earth, was the Father "greater" than him? Since Christ's bodily resurrection, is the Father still "greater" than him?

2) Another explanation for how the Father could be said to be greater without diminishing the deity of Christ would be to recognize that all fathers are to be honored and obeyed by their children. You, Joseph Antley are totally man, and yet in respect to generation your father is greater than you because you came forth from him rather than the other way round. Do you think that the Lord tells us to honor our fathers and mothers because we are ontologically inferior, or because parents hold a position of greater honor? Certainly it is because our parents came first. We are as "totally human" as our parents, just as Christ is as "totally God" as His Father. From the beginning, according to Genesis 1, as well as modern biology, reproductive processes brings forth plants, animals, and humans, "after the kind" of the seed that is sown.

I agree with this completely, but I don't understand how it fits with Catholic theology. According to this line of thinking, the Father and the Son would be two separate Gods, just as my Father and myself are two separate humans. That's an idea that sits just fine with me (and also sat well with the early Christians), but it seems like it would be antithetical to Catholic thinking.

As I said, your apparent conclusion (that Christ is of an inferior substance to His Father) is certainly not one that I care to take issue with.

On the contrary, I don't consider Christ "an inferior substance" compared to the Father. I don't think of God in terms of "substance". In fact, I don't even know what that means.

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Obiwan,

It doesn't appear to me that your seven questions are in the same vein at all.

What an odd statement, because I would certainly question your thinking stills then, because my questions clearly and directly in multiple respects are related, directly so even.

1) Your seven questions, unlike Joseph Antley's one question, seem to lack familiarity with what I believe as a Catholic now. I have been several kinds of Protestant Trinitarian too. I have never heard anyone saying anything like "God is God and simply three manifestations thereof."

1. They are logic questions which calls into question how "tradition" Christian reasonings in whatever their form simply don't work.

2. Are you kidding me? That statement is quite common. As well as it's many variations, "persons" in one, mirror "images" of the one, same "substance" of one, etc. Of course, I will give you that I likely didn't word the statement fully correctly (typed faster than I was thinking), but, I'm sure you knew what I ment by the statement. But, I've now clarified so there should be no doubt.

2) Each of your questions are "why" questions. Joseph Antley asked "how". Joseph A. was wondering "how" to explain a difficulty he perceived in John 14:28 from a Trinitarian perspective. How does something work is a reasonable question. Why something exists? First, do we have to know why?

Okay, whatever, splitting hairs and a classic diversion tactic. They are still why/how questions. I could easily replace the word "why" with "how", so your point is moot. They are still questions that need to be answered because the Bible itself presents those evidences/questions. And yes, we DO need to know "why". The purpose to life and key concepts related to that purpose are essential to who we are and why we are here.

3) The last 600 years? You are okay until 1410 AD? The Trinity had already been established for a thousand years in 1410.

My statement "especially the last 600 years" was in reference to the clear changes done and beginning with Protestantism, which significantly verried from traditional teachings depending on the religion of course, let alone what has changed the last 200 years. That's why I used the word "especially", to differentiate from the previous words and timeline. Would recommend you learn to read things more carefully instead of claiming an error when no error exists.

4) Your closing remark, "Riddle me these you "traditional" christians....", seems to betray an unwarranted confidence in the inability of anyone to answer your questions to your own satisfaction.

Well.... You still have yet to answer them, so what does that say???

Let's assume that you are correct: "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all 'traditional' christian teachings." Why do I think you're confrontational and agitated about something? You seem cold and unapproachable for someone who has such great spiritual advantages. Have I or someone else of my faith offended you in some way?

Spirituality and intellect do not always co-exist at the same levels. Unless you consider Buddhist Monks, many whom I'm sure are considerably more "spiritual" than you to hold to the actual "truths" of God. I've never claimed to be the most "spiritual", especially on a discussion board. Thus, you create a false appeal to something that never existed. Again, why do anti-mormons love to make up things? As to the rest of what you state, absolutely. I'm ABSOLUTELY offended by those who bear false witness of my faith, and the absolute arrogance of those who define God a certain way but degrade others for defining differently. My "attitude" is towards such people. Was I actually speaking to you also??? I was making a general statement towards anti-mormons.

Look, I am aware that there are Catholics who dismiss your beliefs and ridicule them. I am sorry. Truly, you should forgive them, they know not what they do. I don't think your beliefs are worthy of ridicule. I can reproduce a private note I received at Catholic Answers yesterday thanking me for defending LDS teachings and worldview. I would never, ever say that "everything about the Bible gives testimony of Catholic teaching, but not at all LDS teachings." This is especially so in light of your continuing revelation and the fact that you lack seven books that we accept. I can see how you all believe what you do from the Bible that you have.

Okay, that's nice.... Then, I must not have been talking to you, so why are you acting like I was?

But, I have a question for you? How can you say you are a faithful Catholic believing it to be God's Church, yet then say that the Bible "does not" fully testify of Catholic Doctrine? Seems to me that you don't fully believe in your Church. Cause, on my end the Bible fully validates the LDS Church. I knew it even before I was LDS, because I saw how the Catholic Church and many other churches I attended didn't fully believe and practice what the Bible taught, as well they didn't accurately teach some things, as well they contradicted each other. Only when I came upon the LDS Church did I discover a religion that was FULLY compatible with the Bible. But, that's me....

BTW, you again should learn to read to understand better.... My "not at all" statement was in reference to the word "everything". In other words, other religions do not at all fully co-inside with what the Bible teaches. Make sense??? But, I understand you not understanding how words apply to other words in sentence structure, because in another such common case you view the word "rock" to be referring to Peter, rather than the subject of the sentence that word is actually referring to, which is "revelation".

You've studied our Bible, putting aside the LDS Scriptures, using the Catholic canon, and nothing we believe is in there? Our Scripture teaches the LDS faith only and not our own? Sorry. You'll never win me to Mormonism with that. Worse than anything, you don't know what you are saying. Obiwan, without challenging your faith, I am here to show people what I believe, using my Bible at times, if they are interested. But I can't see why you would be interested if you already know that "Everything about the Bible gives testimony of LDS teaching, but not at all "traditional" christian teachings'.

Like I said above, you misinterpreting my comment..... Read again and again and again for better understand if you still don't get it. The rest of your comment doesn't apply, because it's based on a false conclusion about my comment. Enjoy. :P

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3DOP,

What a GREAT example your Catholic manner is to me ( another Catholic ) THANKS !!!!

Given the post you were dealt to respond to, I greatly admire the way you chose to respond. I am not confident I would have offered a similar contribution.

Well done sir !!!

Your " light " , more than the words IMHO, should speak loud and clear to US ALL ( it certainly does/did to Ceeboo )

Proud and humbled.

Peace,

Ceeboo

Would recommend you read my response above.....

FYI.... "Light" is supposed to also expand ones intellect and/or at least their judgment, not simply seem nice but giving a back hand at the same time. He made several incorrect and false judgments, as well didn't even respond to the post itself. So, don't know how he seemed like an "example" you like. Seems like you all seem to take joy in trying to make yourselves seem "better" than us, simply because some of don't take kindly towards anti-mormonism or some "veiled" anti-mormonism. Answer the actual questions, instead of always dealing with the periphery noise as anti-mormons always do as if IT is the actual problem.

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Would recommend you read my response above.....

FYI.... "Light" is supposed to also expand ones intellect and/or at least their judgment, not simply seem nice but giving a back hand at the same time. He made several incorrect and false judgments, as well didn't even respond to the post itself. So, don't know how he seemed like an "example" you like. Seems like you all seem to take joy in trying to make yourselves seem "better" than us, simply because some of don't take kindly towards anti-mormonism or some "veiled" anti-mormonism. Answer the actual questions, instead of always dealing with the periphery noise as anti-mormons always do as if IT is the actual problem.

Hi Obiwan,

I will keep my response short as I am not confident anything I type will create any value or benefit to either of us. :P

Concerning my post to 3DOP: You not knowing what " light/example " I speak of is very telling indeed.

You suggest " we " ( Catholics ) take joy in trying to make ouselves seem " better " than " you " ( LDS ). Simply put, Ceeboo doesn't feel that way at all. I wonder though, if you do ??

You also suggest I am an " anti-Mormon "?? I will let my resume here stand or fall on that accusation.

Lastly, you suggest that " this " is the actual problem. On the contrary my friend, the " problem ", IMHO, is almost always firmly rooted in our own bias and ignorance that places barriers in the path between us mere broken humans. This, sadly, prevents many of us the enormous opportunity to learn/share and gain other perspectives in our journeys.

You and I have indeed displayed a great example of how NOT to share on these boards. A waste of thread space and opportunity lost for all, IMHO.

Peace,

Ceeboo

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Thanks 3DOP. I'll find some time someday soon to reply. Take care.

Hi again Sargon, (and Joseph too! It IS your thread.)

Take your time guys. Great minds on either side have wrestled with this question. I know I do not attain to that level. I always try to steer away from philosophical lingo as much as possible. I never can even remember the difference between abstract and concrete and what they mean. I can only go so far. I can make it about as far as composite vs. simple. I am at my limit. What follows does not seem terrifically deep and does not offer a new answer to John 14:28, but it does suggest a new way, straight from Scripture and pretty plain about how in some way the Father is less than the Son, while in nature, the Son is equal to the Father.

First, I am sure you will agree that the Begetter and the Begotten cannot be one person. Second, He who is begotten and He who begets cannot be of a different nature. So far, I think we are agreed right? If I understand correctly, I don't agree that distinction in persons implies parts in the one nature, as you have argued Sargon. I am unable to see it and quite candidly, I doubt that there are very many others that can follow this far either. It may be that I just don't understand what you are saying.

Okay...dinner time. I appreciate your good will efforts to share your misgivings about my beliefs. I'm happy you are taking your time. I need it too. Lord willing, tomorrow I'll put up the promised biblical argument that explains the matter as I see it, regarding how the Son is in some very important and uncompromisable way less than the Father, while He is at the same time equal in some very important, and uncompromisable way. He didn't say the Father is greater just to create controversy. Nor did He perform miracles so that we could say He was an "underGod". Okay...until tomorrow. Thanks again guys.

God bless,

Rory

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Okay...dinner time. I appreciate your good will efforts to share your misgivings about my beliefs. I'm happy you are taking your time. I need it too. Lord willing, tomorrow I'll put up the promised biblical argument that explains the matter as I see it, regarding how the Son is in some very important and uncompromisable way less than the Father, while He is at the same time equal in some very important, and uncompromisable way. He didn't say the Father is greater just to create controversy. Nor did He perform miracles so that we could say He was an "underGod". Okay...until tomorrow. Thanks again guys.

God bless,

Rory

1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

However, we do have confusion in the Christian Churches of the world on this and other issues. Why is that? Why would God confuse us with so many different ideas about His nature? Especially when He is not the author of confusion.

Glenn

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