Many of us, Christian apologists, talk to unitarians every day, whether it be Jews, Muslims or even Unitarians that claim to be Christians. With that said we must be able to, at all times and in all places, provide a coherent response to anyone who denies the Biblical Doctrines, one of them being The Divinity of Christ.
In this post, I will take a look at the standard unitarian prooftext, John 17:3.Every single one of us has heard a Jehovah’s Witness try to say that John 17:3 destroys the Trinitarian position. But is that really so? Well, let’s take a look at it.
“And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent” —Jesus the Messiah. John 17:3 (ISV)
Now our dear unitarian friends will obviously jump on it and say that we are done, but that is indeed not so. In our Trinitarian Theology The Father is indeed The Only True God, so is The Son, and The Spirit! Jesus can easily say that Father is The Only True God yet not deny his divinity for The Son is THE SAME GOD as the Father! So in saying that The Father is The Only True God, Jesus is in fact, affirming HIS OWN divinity for he is the same God as The Father! Now our dear unitarian friends are also know for detailed eisegesis and out of context interpretation, so let’s see the context of verse 3! Verses 1-4(every verse quoted in this article is from the ISV):
After Jesus had said this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son may glorify you. For you have given him authority over all humanity so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. And this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent—Jesus the Messiah. I glorified you on earth by completing the task you gave me to do. Verse 5-“So now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed.
Now looking at these verses, tell me, which created creature can speak to God like that? I have glorified you, now you glorify me? The answer is simple, there is no such creature. Christ is not a creature. He is the Eternal One, as per John 17:5!
John 17:5 makes it clear that Jesus had the glory, with the Father, before the world even existed. The Expositor’s Greek New Testament puts it greatly:
“The precise character of the glorification He looks for is here presented. It is παρὰ σεαυτῷ, and it is a restoration to the glory He had enjoyed πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι. By παρὰ σεαυτῷ it is *rendered impossible to understand παρὰ σοί of an “ideal” pre-existence;* because these two expressions are here *equivalents*, and Christ *cannot be supposed* to have prayed for an “ideal” glory when He asked that God would glorify Him παρὰ σεαυτῷ. “There is, consequently, here, as in John 6:62, John 8:58, a continuity of the consciousness of the historical Christ with the Logos.”
Furthermore, we shall demonstrate from another writing of John, namely 1 John 5:20,that Christ is indeed THE ONLY TRUE GOD!
1 John 5:20:
“We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true God. We are in union with the one who is true, his Son Jesus the Messiah, who is the true God and eternal life”. 1 John 5:20(ISV)
Now again, even tho clearly here THE SON is referred to as The True God, our unitarian friends would try to deny it so let’s just have fun with refuting their eisegesis. First of all, the nearest antecedent to God is Jesus Christ, that alone should get our unitarian friends to drop their eisegetical practices,however, most of them don’t, so let’s put a nail in the coffin of the unitarian interpretation here, that The True God, in fact DOES NOT refer to Christ. John is creating an inclusio here,
1 John 1:1-2 <(inclusio)> 1 John 5:20-21
What is inclusio now? In biblical studies, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar or same (repeated) material at the beginning and end of a section. What existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we observed and touched with our own hands—this is the Word of life! This life was revealed to us, and we have seen it and testify about it. We declare to you this eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. 1 John 1:1-2
Now we see that Christ,The Word is declared to be THE ETERNAL LIFE at the BEGINNING of the Epistle to prove that is the case at the end of the epistle and to prove that indeed John is creating an inclusio here,just as he did previously – John 1:1 <(inclusio)> John 1:18 – we are going to quote Prof. Stuart’s Letters to Dr. Channing, p. 83. It says:”There is no instance in the writings of John, in which the appellation life, and “eternal” life is bestowed upon the Father, to designate him as the author of spiritual and eternal life; and as this occurs so frequently in John’s writings as applied to Christ, the *laws of exegesis require* that both the phrase “the true God,” and “eternal life,” should be applied to him.”
So what do we have here? Well,the phrase True God and The Eternal Life have to be referring to Christ for the title “eternal life” is only used of HIM when talking about a person,if we affirm that,as there is no way around it,then clearly the inclusio here is affirmed and indeed Christ is The True God!
Christ is affirmed to be THE ETERNAL LIFE at the very BEGINNING of the Epistle and at its very END,A PERFECT INCLUSIO! So not only does John 17 itself prove that Christ preexisted all of creation,all of the world,but when taking into account all the writings of John,he is declared to be The True God himself! I have never met a unitarian who has been able to respond to this argumentation.
Use this,my brothers in Christ,to spread the message of salvation to our unitarian brothers in humanity,everyone needs Christ,so do they!