The Union Of The Father And The Son
By David K. Bernard
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gayest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:21-22).
An Example for Believers
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of His disciples (John 17). We should note that the prayers of Christ do not teach us that He was a second divine person but that He was an authentic human being. He prayed “in the days of his flesh” (Hebrews 5:7).
It is from this perspective that we must examine Christ’s prayers, including His request in John 17 that the disciples would be one even as He and the Father were one. Trinitarians often attempt to prove from this statement that Jesus and the Father are two persons in the Godhead. They hold that since believers are distinct persons from each other, Jesus must be a different person from the Father.
Unfortunately for trinitarians, this argument proves too much. When carried to its logical end, it does not establish trinitarianism (the doctrine of three persons in one divine substance) but tritheism (the doctrine of three gods). If Jesus meant that He was indeed a distinct person from the Father exactly as believers are distinct from one another, then the three persons of the trinity would be three gods. Moreover, since believers are to be “one in us,” arguably they could become members of the Godhead just as Jesus would be.