How could Jesus talk to God yet be God?

Monday Musings for January 04, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Today’s question comes from a Muslim who went out of his way to tell me that he means no disrespect by his question. I told him that since his question was earnest and fair, it was not disrespectful. In fact, such questions could not be disrespectful. How else can we, as a world community, learn from one another?

Now, there are indeed questions that are unwise to ask at certain times, but no honest and sincere question is disrespectful in itself. When you think about it, the fact that the questioner trusts you enough to bring what might be a divisive question to you is a sign of respect — and this is true even when the question challenges the bulwark of your beliefs!

You don’t have to spend much time in the social-media swamp, however, before you see that people prefer ad hominem attacks to honorable discourse. They use the internet — the greatest boon to humanity since the printing press — as a polemics tool. They yell at the opposition and paint them in the worst possible light rather than engage the issues they represent fairly. If straw-manning were an Olympic sport, the USA would take the gold!

We’ve just completed our presidential election in the United States. We do this every four years, and you can count on people talking about the electoral college during the cycle. Some people think we would be better off with a less representative and more directly democratic process when selecting a president. That would be a huge mistake. Our founders knew that a pure democracy was a fool’s errand — and our citizens prove this every day!

That being said, our system hinges on the idea that “informed” people will select worthy representatives to send to Washington, but the system breaks down where a critical mass of the people are not truly informed. Too many people merely take up the chants of their champions… and this sometimes feels like the villagers storming a castle with pitchforks — only from a distance.

I would ask my fellow citizens to take a lesson from today’s earnest seeker. He is asking of a Christian website, how is it that you say that Jesus Christ is God ... yet your Bible shows him interfacing with God in the second or third person. It does not seem that these both can be true logically. How can Jesus be God and talk to God in a logical narrative? If there was ever a fair question from a Muslim, this is it.

We know that the answer involves the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ. But even seasoned Christians do not have a handle on these doctrines. We “sign off” on them, of course. The Trinity is a defining doctrine of Christianity! But could the average Christian explain the Trinity or the dual nature of Christ to an outsider? I don’t think so.

I am not saying these doctrines pose insurmountable difficulties for unbelievers. I’m saying that we are congruent in affirming them.... despite not being able to understand them fully. But here's the thing: God entrusted us with this stuff — so, what are we going to do? Be satisfied with signing off on a doctrine — and storm the opposition?

I’d rather we use our pitchforks to get to the truth. Let’s put on the big-boy pants and dig to the center of the pile. Let’s show them how it’s done!

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