All Christians have heard of the Holy Trinity. However, this concept can be difficult to understand, for example, many people ask whether Christ is God and whether God and Jesus Christ are the same person.
In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the Bible to provide insight into the answer of whether or not God and Jesus are indeed one in the same.
The Holy Trinity
The Orthodox opinion on this matter is clear: God the father and Jesus Christ are not the same person, but rather two distinct hypostasis in one Godhead.
The Orthodox Church teaches that there is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. This doctrine, known as the Holy Trinity, is a central aspect of Orthodox Christianity and is based on the teachings of the Bible and the Church Fathers.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes it clear that he and the Father are two distinct hypostasis. He says, «I and the Father are one» (John 10:30), but later clarifies, «the Father is greater than I» (John 14:28).
These verses show that Jesus and the Father are one in purpose and essence, but not identical in personhood.
However, Christ is also God, that is, an integral part of the Holy Trinity, therefore, to the question of whether God and Christ are the same person, we can answer this way – Christ is God, but not God the father.
The Church Fathers also affirmed the distinction between God and Jesus Christ. Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote, «There is one God, who has manifested himself through Jesus Christ his Son».
Saint Justin Martyr wrote, «We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance».
Who is Jesus?
The Orthodox Church teaches that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. He is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), who took on human nature in order to save humanity from sin and death.
He, like all people, lived on this earth, experienced hunger, suffering, and torment. As a result of his death on the cross and resurrection, he overcame death and thus gave each person eternal life.
Jesus Christ plays a very important role in the salvation of people. As it’s written in the Gospel, «For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus» (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Nicene Creed, a statement of faith adopted by the Orthodox Church in 325 AD, declares that Jesus Christ is «begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father.»
The distinction between God the father and Jesus Christ is also important in the Orthodox understanding of prayer. Orthodox Christians pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. This formula shows the different roles and persons of the Trinity while affirming their unity.
In his book, “The Orthodox Way,” Bishop Kallistos Ware writes combining all the opinions of the Church Fathers together, «God the Father is the source and origin of all things, the transcendent and hidden God; God the Son is the revelation and manifestation of the Father, the one through whom all things were created and are sustained; God the Holy Spirit is the power and presence of the Father and the Son, the one who brings life and sanctifies all things.»
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The Distinction Between God And Jesus Christ
In Orthodox theology, the distinction between God and Jesus Christ is much related to the idea of «theosis» or divinization.
Through participation in the life of the Trinity, human beings are called to become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Theosis is not a matter of becoming identical to God or Jesus Christ, but rather of being transformed by their love and grace.
The Holy Spirit that comes from God the father helps a person to be transformed if a person believes in God, prays, and repents of his sins. As mentioned earlier, we pray to God the Father through Christ, after which we can become spiritually better with the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all three entities are inseparable and they can’t be confused.
Saint Athanasius wrote, «For He was made man that we might be made God». This quote supports the Orthodox belief in theosis, that through Christ’s salvation, we can partake in the divine nature and become more like God, but we don’t become identical to God or Jesus Christ. We can start to live with love, love all people, respect them, treat everyone with kindness, and do good things, these are all holy and divine qualities that are available to a person.
The Orthodox Church believes that God the father is the source and origin of all things, the Son is the revelation and manifestation of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the power and presence of God. The three persons of the Trinity work together in unity to create, sustain, and save the world.
Saint John of Damascus wrote, «We worship the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us».
It can be concluded that God the father and Jesus Christ are not the same person, but two different persons in Holy Trinity. This idea is expressed in the Nicene Creed.
Each essence of the Holy Trinity has its own tasks, therefore we can’t unite God the father and Christ into one person, because Christ himself said that God the father is greater than him, moreover, Christ prayed to God the father.
The Holy Spirit is also the third essence of the Holy Trinity, with the help of the Holy Spirit which comes from God the father, we can become better in this world.
Also, an important feature of Christ is that he was both fully God and fully human, that is, God appeared on earth to experience what all people experience, and as a result, he freed us from death.
This was done precisely by Jesus Christ, and not by God the father, so the idea that God the father and Christ are one and the same is incorrect, but we can say with certainty that Christ is also God, an integral part of the Holy Trinity and He has always existed even before the creation of the earth.
CharalamposCharalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.
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