IS CHRIST GOD BECAUSE HE SAID THAT “I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE” IN JOHN 10:30?
— Bro. Joe Ventilacion 🇮🇹
There are some people who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God because he said in John 10:30 that
“I and the Father are one.”
Although the verse does not say that Jesus is God, they understand it to mean that Jesus is God since he is one with the Father. They reason out that if the Father is God and Jesus is one with the Father, therefore, Jesus is God. Some, like the Oneness Pentecostals, even believe that Jesus is the Father based on this verse. As we study this verse, we would consult and be helped by the Greek language which is the original language of the New Testament in order to fully understand the meaning of Jesus’ statement in this verse.
WHAT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE ENGLISH TERM “ONE” IN THE GREEK LANGUAGE?
In the Greek New Testament, there are three (3) terms that correspond to the English word “one”: EIS (masculine), MIA (feminine) EN (neuter). We could see these terms used together in one occasion in —
Ephesians 4:5:“eis kurios (one Lord), mia pistis (one faith), en baptisma (one baptism).” “one Lord, one faith, one baptism;” (New King James Version)
We do not see in English the difference of the three genders of the term “one” in Greek: EIS is masculine, MIA is feminine, and EN is neuter.
What is the Greek form that we find in John 10:30? Let’s take a look at the verse:
EGO KAI O PATER EN ESMEN (I AND THE FATHER ONE ARE)
We see the neuter form EN in this verse. Why was the neuter form used? Why not masculine or feminine? Below is the explanation of the Bible scholars who studied the function of this term:
With the aid of the monotheistic formula the Gospel of John DEVELOPS THE IDEA OF THE UNITY OF GOD AND CHRIST (John 10:30; 17:11,21,22,23). (from Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament © 1990 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)
The neuter form was used to show the UNITY of God and Christ. Why was the masculine form not used when both God and Christ are classified as masculine nouns? Because it will be construed that the Father and the Son are just one being – a situation contrary to what the Bible teaches about the Father and the Son. They are two different beings because the Father is a spirit according to John 4:24 while the Son has flesh and bones in Luke 24:39.
How was John 10:30 translated in other English translations?
“My Father and I are united” (The Plain English Bible).
“I and my Father are of one accord” (Lamsa Translation).
“And I am one with the Father” (Contemporary English Version).
Therefore, the use of the term ONE is to show the UNITY between the Father and the Son. The term ONE does not show that the two of them are just one God. If that was the intention of John, he could have used the masculine form EIS.
What did Jesus conclude that he and the Father are one? In what work or activity is he one or united with the Father?
27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND. 30 I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE.”
The Father and the Son are united in their work of taking care of the sheep. If the sheep could not be snatched from the hand of Christ, the same goes true with the Father, no one can snatch the sheep from His hand, that is why the Father and the Son are one or united in taking care of the sheep.
Aside from John 10:30, what other verse in the book of John uses the Greek neuter form “en”? You could find it in John 17:23. Take note how the verse was translated in English:
23 “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (NIV).
23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (NKJV).
23 “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me” (NASB).
Take note that NKJV translated EN as one while NIV and NASB both translated it as UNITY.
In this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ is praying for those who were given to him by the Father (John 17:9). These are the people whom God called to be into a fellowship [partnership; relationship] with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1st Corinthians 1:9 EXB). The ones who were called by God are in the one body (Colossians 3:15) which is the Church headed by Christ (Colossians 1:18). This Church is called the Church of Christ (Acts 20:28 LAMSA).
So, the prayer of Christ is for members of his Church, that they should be united or be perfected in unity (NASB). This is the same thing that the term ONE is emphasizing in John 10:30, that the Father and the Son are united.
How do the Bible scholars who examined John 17:23 understand it? What is the usage of the Greek neuter form “en” in this verse?
CHRIST HIMSELF IS IN UNITY WITH THE FATHER AND BRINGS HIS OWN INTO THE SAME FELLOWSHIP (JOHN 17:23). (from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company).
Even Bible scholars testify that the verse talks about the unity of Christ with the Father. The Greek term EN in John 17:23 is also the term used in John 10:30 and signify the UNITY of the Father and the Son.
THE BIBLICAL PROOFS THAT THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE NOT ONE GOD
What are some of the declarations of the Lord Jesus Christ that proves that he and the Father are not one as God?
John 8:16 “But even if I do judge, My judgment is true and My decision is right; for I am not alone [in making it], but I and the Father who sent Me [make the same judgment]” (AMPLIFIED BIBLE).
John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone” (NASB).
John 14:28 “because the Father is greater than me” (CEB).
John 17:1, 3 “Father . . . You are the only true God. If they know you, and Jesus Christ whom you sent, they will live for ever” (Worldwide English New Testament).
We have proven in this short study that it is not Christ who is the only true God but the Father. Although he is one with the Father, their oneness does not mean that they are just one God. HIS UNITY WITH THE FATHER IS WHAT HE IS REFERRING TO WHEN HE SAID THAT “THE FATHER AND I ARE ONE” IN JOHN 10:30. If we accept the teaching that the Father is the only true God and Jesus was sent by God, we will be blessed with eternal life. This is what the IGLESIA NI CRISTO believes and this is the reason why we continue to share this faith with others that they may also have the opportunity to gain eternal life.