How can the Lord display nescience, which is if anything the very
opposite of omniscience? Moreover, the evangelist Luke tells us that
the young child Jesus grew in wisdom: "And Jesus increased in wisdom
and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52). How can
God increase in wisdom, when there is nothing He does not know?
Some thoughts on this very difficult issue:
"As the Word or Mind of God become flesh Jesus Christ was the incarnate wisdom of God,
but incarnate in such a way as really to share with us our human ignorance, so that we might share in
his divine wisdom. That was not just an appearance of ignorance on his part, any more than
his incarnating of the Word or Mind of God was only in appearance...Unless the Son of God had assumed
the whole nature of man, including his ignorance, man could not have been saved. The wonderful
exchange that lies at the heart of the interaction of incarnation and atonement operates right here,
as at every other point in the relation between God and sinful human being, for the human mind is an
absolutely essential element in creaturely being. Hence God in Christ Jesus took it up into
himself along with the whole man, in order to penetrate into it and deal with the sin,
alienation, misunderstanding, and darkness that had become entrenched within it. Jesus Christ
came among us sharing to the full the poverty of our ignorance, without ceasing to embody in himself
all the riches of the wisdom of God, in order that we might be redeemed from our ignorance through
sharing in his wisdom...Thus throughout his earthly life Christ laid hold of our alienated and darkened
human mind in order to heal and enlighten it in himself. In and through him our ignorant
minds are brought into such a relation to God that they may be filled with divine light and truth.
The redemption of man's ignorance has an essential place in the atoning exchange, for
everything that we actually are in our lost and benighted condition has been taken up by Christ
into himself in order that he might bring it under the saving, renewing, sanctifying, and enlightening
power of his own reality as the incarnate wisdom and light of God." (The Trinitarian Faith, T. F.
Torrance, pp. 187-188).
Jesus is both man and God; He has both a finite human mind, and
the infinite divine mind. While no one can posit a Chinese wall
between the two, if there were any such thing the incarnation would
not be real, there may be cases where Jesus steps onto our side of
the equation from deliberate policy.
Satan tempted Jesus to use His divine powers to overcome
the inconveniences and weaknesses of the humanity He had assumed, thus ensuring a pleasant and
painless incarnation. To hunger is an affliction of flesh, but God can turn even stones
to bread, raining down manna on His children in the wilderness: "And when He had fasted forty days and
forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are
the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'" (Matthew 4:2-3). So did He do it?
No; He did not become incarnate to evade our ills and burdens, zooming by suffering humanity in
an air-conditioned limousine, but to take them upon Himself: "Surely He has borne our griefs and
carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:4).
Only True God
For many anti-trinitarians, John 17:1-3 is their go-to passage.
While much of the Bible does not work for anti-trinitarians, they
see the beauty in the Lord's high priestly prayer:
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:
'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also
may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh,
that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given
Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only
true God [τον μονον αληθινον θεον], and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified
You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given
Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself,
with the glory which I had with You before the world was.'” (John
To some, this passage is proof positive for 'Father-onlyism:'
"I am repeating my question. Jesus said the Father is
the only true God.
Do you believe that?
"Yes I do.
"So for Jesus the Father is the only true God.
"How do you understand the word 'only.' Could there be another
one? (Joe Ventilacion, Trinity Debate, vs. James White,
One thing we noticed above is that the Son describes the Father as
'God.' But this is reciprocal; in Hebrews 1:8, it is the Father
who acclaims the Son as 'O God:'
“But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
Can anyone imagine here that God the Father is acknowledging
the existence of a real plurality of gods? What kind of 'God' is
His Son? A false God, or the true One?
In Jesus' description of the Father as the "only true God," a
boundary is being set, but where is it being set? Robert Frost
warned us to be aware of what we are fencing in and what we are
fencing out when we erect a wall. Where lies the boundary line
In 1 John 5:20, Jesus Christ is called "true God:" "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
It is understood throughout the Bible that there is a dividing line
between the true and living God and the false gods of the nations.
But to anti-trinitarians, like those of Iglesia Ni Cristo, it is
self-evident that the dividing line here is between 'me' and 'thee:'
that Jesus is intentionally and consciously renouncing any claim to
deity, versus the Father who alone is God. This interpretation fails
the test of consistency with the remainder of scripture. 'And'
can separate or join; in saying "and Jesus Christ," Jesus has not
placed Himself beyond the boundary of the divine.
According to Unitarians, the fact that Christians are urged to
imitate Jesus proves that Jesus cannot be God. Who, after all, can
"Namely, if Jesus had superhuman power and knowledge, he
cannot be a model for human behavior. Yet the New Testament often
speaks of him as such. The gospels speak of following Jesus, and
Paul speaks of imitating Christ and being transformed into the
likeness of Christ. But if Jesus was really God (and thus not really
human), it makes no sense to speak of imitating him and becoming
like him." (Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, p.10).
This might be more convincing, were it not that the scriptures do exhort us to imitate God:
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
. .Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:44-48).
"Speak unto all the
congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye
shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy." (Leviticus
We cannot do this by matching might for might, but by showing mercy and kindness.
We are indeed renewed day by day in the image of Him who created us: