Jesus cannot always be in the Father's will
- In John 5:19, 30, Jesus denies ability to anything by
himself, but affirms that all which he does and says
is the Father's will.
18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more
to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath,
but also called God his own Father, making himself
equal with God.
19 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing
of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for
what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth
in like manner...
30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge:
and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine
own will, but the will of him that sent me.
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not
32 It is another that beareth witness of me; and I
know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is
But in Matthew 26:39, Jesus says "Father, if it be thy
will, let this cup pass..."
Now if Jesus cannot say or do anything except it be
the Father's will, then "let this cup pass" was just
as much part of the Father's will as Jesus's, correct?
How do you explain the Father having two opposing
wills regarding the single fact of Jesus' suffering?
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You claim that Jesus' statement that he cannot do anything but the
Father's will is contradicted by Matthew 26:39, which you quoted as
<< But in Matthew 26:39, Jesus says "Father, if it be thy will, let
this cup pass..." >>
The problem is that what you omitted (as represented by the ellipsis)
corrects your claim as to what the part you quoted implies.
More technically, what Jesus did in the half verse that you quoted was
to verbalize a hypothetical statement that he knew was contrary to
fact in order to express a feeling. His doing so was not an act
contrary to the Father's will. In fact, Jesus' meaning is distorted if
you leave out the rest of the verse.
In Christ's service,
Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
Manager, Apologetics & Interfaith Evangelism
North American Mission Board
Visit us online at http://www.4truth.net
- --- "Robert M. Bowman, Jr."
> Dave,If it wasn't contrary to the Father's will, that must
> You claim that Jesus' statement that he cannot do
> anything but the
> Father's will is contradicted by Matthew 26:39,
> which you quoted as
> << But in Matthew 26:39, Jesus says "Father, if it
> be thy will, let
> this cup pass..." >>
> The problem is that what you omitted (as represented
> by the ellipsis)
> corrects your claim as to what the part you quoted
> More technically, what Jesus did in the half verse
> that you quoted was
> to verbalize a hypothetical statement that he knew
> was contrary to
> fact in order to express a feeling. His doing so was
> not an act
> contrary to the Father's will.
mean that the Father WILLED for Jesus to voice this
impossible hypothetical objection to His will. Not
the most consistent bit of communication between two
"persons" I've ever heard.
Also, you are quite confident, and offer nothing more
than this, when you say Jesus "knew was contrary" to
the will of the Father. It is far from obvious that
Jesus knew his request was contrary to the will of the
Father. I maintain the evidence showed, and will
again show, that Jesus authentically hoped his request
would be granted, and this doesn't disappear just
because he later acquiesced to the Father's will.
> In fact, Jesus'First, that "feeling" Jesus had is defined in the
> meaning is distorted if
> you leave out the rest of the verse.
> In Christ's service,
> Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
context as being sad and of great sorrow. I now quote
the entire context from the NASB:
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of
Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding
sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch
39 And he went forward a little, and fell on his
face, and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be
possible, let this cup pass away from me:
nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them
sleeping, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not
watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 Again a second time he went away, and prayed,
saying, My Father, if this cannot pass away, except I
drink it, thy will be done.
Jesus' "feeling" as you put it, should be
characterized as "sorrowful", "sore troubled",
"exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death", "falling on
his face". Such a troubled state of mind surely
entertains authentic hope that his request for relief
will actually be honored.
Second, suppose you read in a book that a man was
asked to work late for his boss. Suppose further it
says that this man, after being exceedingly troubled,
said to his boss "i'd like to go home on regular
schedule, nevertheless I'll stay late if that's what
you want"...and said this TWICE (suppose he knew that
his continued stay would put him in the way of
attackers who sought his life).
Isn't it clear that such a troubled soul honestly
hopes his request will be honored, IN SPITE of his
later humble acceptance of his fate? I've suggested a
change of plans and then just accepted somebody else's
ideas many times....but my eventual acceptance of
another person's plan doesn't disturb the fact that my
own request was geninue and I honestly hoped it would
So then, this "feeling" that you mention, is the sort
of feeling that is NOT in the will of the Father.
Jesus felt like not drinking of that cup, even if for
only a fleeting moment. His agreement to do the
Father's will and not his own doesn't suddenly mean he
was kidding when he said "let this cup pass."
As such, it is far more likely, using common sense,
that Jesus honestly wished his request to avoid the
cup, be granted by the Father. Of course this
conflicts with the idea that everything the bible says
about Jesus is perfectly harmonious.
But I maintain that the only way to uphold the
inerrantist interpretation is to engage in absurdity
and contradiction. I foresee you delving into
Christ's "two natures", wherein you ascribe some of
his words to only one of his two natures, out of
concern to maintain biblical inerrancy at all costs.
Personally I think the Nicene Christ of the Creeds is
too high a price to pay to sustain inerrancy. If
biblical inerrancy requires me to posit a man with two
natures, who sometimes speaks from only one of the
natures, and not both (how could that be, isn't it the
entire man, who is involved as he speaketh?)
There are other problems with your rebuttal:
-- you say Jesus was using a hypothetical. Why?
What use is an "if" between two persons who are
equally "God"? Your choices are (a) Jesus was just
kidding, knowing full well it was NOT possible for the
cup to pass, the entire time he was asking, or
(b)Jesus honestly felt there was a possibility his
request would be honored by the Father (conflicting
with inerrancy and stating Jesus wasn't always in
harmony with the Father.)
-- Jesus said "not my will, but thine be done". The
will of the Son, who is God, is the same as the will
of the Father, who is also God, because, well....both
of them are equally "God", correct? If so, then when
Jesus said "not my will", he is not just talking about
his human half, but his whole person. After all, it
was the whole person, was it not, who said "not my
will"? Wouldn't that mean that BOTH his natures (God
and man in completness, not divided but united in
harmony) was saying "not my will"? As it must be the
case, this would appear to ascribe more than one
"will" to the Trinity. Not a suprise, since a "will"
is that which constitutes personhood to begin with,
and therefore suggests that the wills of Father and
Son will not necessarily always be in harmony.
-- How exactly do you know when it is right to
ascribe statements of Jesus to only one of his two
"natures"? Or is this necessitated by your
presumption of full biblical inerrancy, the view that
ALL the information on Jesus in the NT is true,
regardless of apparant contradictions?
Don't you think positing a man with two natures, who
sometimes only talks out of one of his natures, is too
high a price to pay, to maintain inerrancy? Is the
suggestion that and ancient religious text contradicts
itself on the person of it's god-man, more ridiculous
than a person with two natures?
And what exactly should prevent the unbeliever from
concluding that your procedure makes Jesus look
schitzophrenic? When somebody makes a statement,
that's the WHOLE of the person, everything they are,
if they are being honest, right?
I assume you will claim a deep divine mystery not
fully revealed. I maintain that a person with two
natures, who sometimes talks out of only ONE of his
two natures, is a deep contradiction, and just like a
married bachelor, NO amount of explaination will
suffice, and for the same reason in both cases.
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