In John 17:22, Christ Jesus said to the Father "We are one."  Does the verse teach that the Father and the Son are one and the same God?
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"That they may be one just we are one"

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, August 2008, p.4

I MUST ADMIT I'm just a beginner in studying the teachings of the Bible. My recent retirement from work gave me the opportunity to finally tend to  my soul something I haven't   done  for   so   many years   because   of  my   former   job.   Now that I'm relatively old,  reading the Bible somehow gives   me the feeling   that  I'm patching up with the Lord. However, there are verses   in  the Bible which  I honestly don't   understand,  or   which   confuse me. For   instance,   though  I   originally   believe that the Father  is different from   the Son, there are nevertheless biblical verses which seem to teach otherwise. In John 17:22, for example, Christ said to the Father, "We are one." Doesn't it teach that the Father and the Son are one and the same?

Franz Merkl
Frankfurt, Germany

Editor's reply:

We truly appreciate your effort in writing us to ask  questions   concerning  biblical teachings.

Regarding John 17:22 which many suppose is teaching that "the  Father and the Son are one and the same" our Lord Jesus Christ, praying to the Father, simply said in the verse:

"And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one" (New King James Version)

This statement, as you will see, does not in any way teach that Christ is Himself the Father and vice versa, as how others interpret the verse.

Verses 9 and 20 of that chapter inform us that Christ was then praying for the believers or true Christians:

"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. ... I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word" (Ibid)

As part of His prayer for the believers, Christ then said to God in verse 22, "that they may be one just as We are one."

First, if we were to accept the interpretation that Christ here was teaching that "He and the Father are one and the same" then we would also have to accept the absurd and  unbiblical   conclusion that  Christ is praying that all Christians become one and the same when he said "that they may be one just as We are one."

Without   isolating the phrase "We are one"  in John 17:22  from its proper context, the message of Christ's  prayer is very clear and does not result in an absurdity:

"My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and  I are,   Father---that just as you are in me and  I  am  in you,  so  they will be in us,   and   the world  will   believe you  sent me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 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"   (John    17:21, Living Bible;  John 17:22-23, New  American  Standard  Bible, emphasis ours)

It is clear therefore that the "one-ness" being referred to by Christ in His prayer is neither His alleged being "one and the same" with God, nor His supposed being God also as the Father is, but His having "one heart and mind'' with the Father or their "unity"

Furthermore, the teaching that Christ is also the Father creates forthright contradictions. Just in the beginning of John 17, the Gospel records, thus;

"After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he  looked up toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you,

"Eternal  life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent."  (John 17:1, 3, Contemporary English Version)

Notice that Christ said, "Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son." This statement of Christ clearly teaches that the Father to whom Christ was praying has a Son.  Now, if Jesus were Himself the Father, then who would be the Son of Jesus to whom He would bring glory?  It is therefore very clear  in  these verses that   when Jesus looked up toward heaven and said "Father" He was neither referring nor talking to Himself but to someone else—the Father who is the only true God.

Finally, to prove that He differs from God who is the Father,   Christ said,   "My Father is greater than  I  (John 14:28,  NKJV). The phrase "greater than" obviously shows that two subjects distinct from each other are being compared,  for it is absurd  and   illogical to say that one is greater than his own self.  Indubitably therefore,   Christ   and  God   are not one and the same.

May our Lord  God guide you   in search for truth.


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