ABC:John 10

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Verse 30

Infidels.org and TheThinkingAtheist.com calls a contradiction that Jesus said He and His Father were one, and that He also said His Father was greater than He, questioning "Is Jesus equal to or lesser than?"[1][2]

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

This is not a contradiction but caused by (A) Jim Meritt's lack of understanding about what the Bible means by "oneness" - something many are confused about, and (B) the incorrect assumption that being 'one' means having the same status. The assumption is that because they are one, one cannot be greater than the other.

As best I understand it, when the Bible speaks of oneness, it means the indwelling of God's spirit in a human body so that both are considered one. God spoke back in Zechariah 14:8 of how "living waters shall go out from Jerusalem... and the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one."

Jesus also spoke of how God would redeem the Gentiles so both would be one fold with one Shepherd. In John 17, Jesus speaks of how all Christians are to "be one, as we are." Nonetheless, as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11:3, "the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." So oneness does include a hierarchy nonetheless. All become one body of Christ called the Church.

Zechariah 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

John 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

For the definitive chapter showing oneness includes distinctions, see 1 Corinthians 12:

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Paul states that all Christians have the same Spirit with one Lord and the same God working all in all. However, the Spirit working in each manifests differently in each, giving some wisdom, some knowledge, some faith, some healing, some miracles, some prophecy, some discernment of spirits, some tongues, and to some interpretation of tongues.

The same Spirit works in all these dividing individually to each one, yet all Christians have the same Spirit. As I understand it therefore, oneness seems to mean the indwelling of God. Thus Jesus was indwelt with the Spirit of God the Father and said to be "one" the same as we are all said to be one with both Jesus and God the Father, because God's Spirit indwells us. (John 17:21) Nonetheless, Jesus is greater than Christians (John 13:14), while God the Father is greater than Jesus. (John 14:28) Oneness does not mean one in all things, but refers to a bond whereby we are indwelt with God's Spirit.

Sources

  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  2. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.