John 14:28: Is Jesus Less than Almighty God?

Jehovah’s Witnesses often quote John 14:28 in trying to show their view that Jesus is less than Almighty God. In the verse, Jesus says “The Father is greater than I.” To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, this means that Jesus is less than the Father, and therefore of a different nature than the Father, and Jesus is not God.

First, the distinction that the JW’s make between Almighty God and God is a distinction without a difference. If God is God, then He is Almighty. There is no sort of mighty god or any true god of any sort that is not the one true God. If there is a god that is not the true God, then it is a false god. There is Jehovah God, and all other gods are false gods. The Bible leaves us no room for a good God other than Jehovah God.

Second, the verse in John 14:28 merely means greater in position, but does not mean greater in being or nature. Just as the President of the United States is greater in terms of his position, he is still a human being, and in terms of his humanity is equally great as any other human. As the Son who voluntarily took a human nature, Jesus as Son can say that the Father is greater in position. Jesus as Son is still equally God as much as the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the same Arian heresy that was removed from the church at the council of Nicea in 325. As such, it is outside of Christianity.

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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12 Responses to John 14:28: Is Jesus Less than Almighty God?

  1. portal001 says:

    this is more related to testimony, but I have a question

    Have you ever had a direct experience of God?

    Can you please explain?

    Are there particular experiences of God communicating with you that stick in your mind?

    Biblically speaking, is our relationship with Christ meant to be a personal relationship?

    How does this look like? what is this relationship?

  2. portal001 says:

    How can we have a relationship with someone I can’t see, I have never heard, and from memory has not directly responded to me like a friend or family member does every day?

    • humblesmith says:

      The wind blows where it wishes, and we hear the sound of it, but do not know from where it comes or where it goes. But though we cannot see the wind, we still feel it and see the effects of it, and therefore know that it is real. We cannot see the wind, but it will fly a kite or blow down a building, for it is real.

  3. TJ says:

    When you say, “There is no sort of mighty god or any true god of any sort that is not the one true God. If there is a god that is not the true God, then it is a false god. There is Jehovah God, and all other gods are false gods.” This is actually a false statement.

    Many Bible commentaries and dictionaries recognize that certain representatives of God are given the title of “god” in scripture in a relative sort of way. That’s just a fact. For example, God says to certain human judges, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” (Psalm 82:6) Likewise, Exodus 7:1 says, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh.”

    You used the analogy of the President of the United States. Aren’t there many other presidents in the US, presidents of various businesses, organizations, etc.? Are these all ‘false’ presidents, or are they ‘presidents’ on a different scope, still subject to the authority of THE President?

    • humblesmith says:

      In Psalm 82, God is using a type of ridicule, for in the next verse he tells them they will die like men and fall like human princes. The meaning is more like “you are gods? You will die like men.” We cannot take one phrase in isolation from the context, which in this case shows that God is not complimenting Israel, but rather showing they are wrong.
      As for the Exodus passage, the answer is again in the context. God made Moses appear as a god to pharoah, the lost pagan who had rejected the true God. In no sense was Moses held to be a God in a good sense to the people of Israel. Moses appeared as God to pharoah, for Pharoah did not fear the true God. Israel was never told to hold Moses in any sort of esteem other than a prophet of God.
      The passages in the Bible where God holds himself to be unique are numerous. One such passage is Isaiah 43:10, which says there were no gods formed before or after the true God, and there is one and only one true God.
      I’m not sure what you’re trying to show with your comment on the presidents. In a sense of the authority of the President of the US, we are all under him…..that was the point of my post.
      Arianism was declared a heresy in the early church and continued to be a heresy throughtout church history, including today. It is not supported by scripture or any orthodox commentaries or dictionaries.

      • humblesmith says:

        The presidents comment was merely an illustration, and since God is unique, all illustrations of Him eventually break down. Whether the illustration works in all senses is not relevant to the truth of the main point, which was that the Son took on humanity and voluntarily submitted to the Father, and in that sense, the Father was greater. It does not follow that they are necessarily a separate being.

        • TJ says:

          Thanks for your reply; I’ll get right to it.

          At Psalm 82 the text says plainly, “I have said, Ye are gods;” it’s not God questioning that they are calling themselves gods or whatever it is you are suggesting. This has support in that the judges in Israel represented God himself; so when the Law prescribes that the Israelites are to go “before God”, the practical application would be for them to go before the judges (compare Exodus 21:6 where some translations actually translate ‘elohim’ as judges). Jesus himself confirms that it was God actually recognizing these humans as gods and that it “cannot be nullified” or explained away. (John 10:34-35)

          Even the Catholic New American Bible says in it’s note to Psalm 8:6, where angels are called ‘gods’: “Hebrew ‘elohim, the ordinary word for “God” or “the gods” or members of the heavenly court.” And as for your explanation of Exodus 7:1, God made Moses a god to Aaron as well. (Exodus 4:16) Or do we chalk that up to Aaron being a ‘lost pagan’ as well? Check Mounce’s Dictionary to see yet again that it is a recognized definition of the term “god” for representatives of the true God.

          Your quotation of Isaiah 43 offers more proof to my point. As you said, *context* is important. So what is being compared there? It’s the God of Israel being compared to the gods of the nations–*representatives* of the God of Israel are NOT being considered here. Look what happens if I follow the very same logic that you employ in an effort to prove that Jesus is God:

          “I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11)

          “And when the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah, Jehovah raised up a saviour to the children of Israel, who saved them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.” (Judges 3:9)

          I guess I just proved Othniel is Jehovah God, right? But wait, there’s more:

          “But when the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah, Jehovah raised them up a saviour, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a man left-handed.” (Judges 3:15)

          So should I conclude that Othniel and Ehud are the true God? See what I mean? When you fail to see any distinction between *how* a title is being used in different contexts, either in its absolute or a more relative sense, you can make all kinds of crazy identities.

          That was my point with the presidents above. You’re saying there is no difference between Almighty God and a god, staunchly insisting that any other god MUST be a false god. That’s akin to denying that anyone else in the United States can be properly called ‘president’ in *some* sense besides the one in the White House. In other words, you’ve created a dichotomy that scripture does not support. Thanks again!

          • humblesmith says:

            No matter how you slice it, Psalm 82 is a rebuke to unjust people (v.2) who will die like regular sinful men (v.7). In no sense can this be considered good. To suggest so is a twisting of the word of God.

            Further, these verses talk about appearing to someone “as God” and do not speak to the nature of their being, which is always human. No created being is ever held up in a good sense to actually be divine in any good sense, for this would be a violation of the first and greatest commandment. God can point out that someone, such as Moses, may appear as God to others, since Moses was God’s spokesman, but in no sense was Moses nature considered anything other than human.

            It is a tortuous twist of exegesis to take the categorical denial in Is. 43:10 and suggest that it somehow supports plurality of gods. The only comparison in Is. 43:10 is between God and all other created beings, which God clearly says are not God in any sense.

          • TJ says:

            Thanks for your reply, but none of this really addresses the evidence I presented. Jesus’ point in quoting Psalm 82 was to show that *even* men who came into God’s disfavor for abusing the power delegated to them were still recognized as “gods” in his view, and that that *cannot* be nullified. In fact, Jesus’ whole argument against his opponents’ claims stands or falls on this being true. By saying it’s not true, you take a position against Jesus.

            You go on to speak of Moses appearing “as God”, which is *not* what the Hebrew says. You’ve turned it into a metaphor, a comparison to God, by adding the word “as”; the Hebrew text doesn’t have this. Would you object if I said Jesus merely appears “as God”? Or would adding that one little word be unacceptable in that case, but not for Moses?

            As far as Isaiah 43, you missed my point. The context clearly compares Jehovah God to the gods of the nations and *not* representatives of God. It’s been proven that your logic, if applied consistently, would make the judges Othniel and Ehud out to be the one true God. Further, you didn’t even bother with the NAB’s frank admission that even angels are called “gods” in scripture, which is obvious by anyone reading Psalm 8:5 and Hebrews 2:7 objectively.

            Since you appear uninterested in addressing these points, I’ll move on. Thanks for your time and patience!

  4. humblesmith says:

    I hope you’re not insinuating that men who were in God’s disfavor are held to be gods in a good sense…? I am not denying that Jesus used the comparision, I never denied that. The point I was making is that Jesus’ words in the NT in no way hold up men as being gods in a good sense. Many people have gods; the romans in Jesus day held Ceasar as god, that people have gods was never at issue. The question was whether the Bible holds anything other than the one true God as a god to be held in high esteem. The answer is categorically no. You are correct that Jesus is making the comparison, but incorrect in concluding that Jesus is saying there are non-almighty gods that are true and in God’s grace.

    As for the Hebrew in Ex. 4.16, I respectfully submit the translations of KJV, NKJV, ESV, NIV, TNIV, NRSV, NASB, ASB, NET, Darby, New Century, NlrV, Holman Christian Standard, and Douay-Rheims, every one of which translate the passage as “as God,” “like God,” “as if you were God,” or similar. These are all the translations I have handy, and they all agree.

    It has not been proven that Is. 43:10 applies to only certain categories, for the language is quite clear that He speaks in universal terms. The term “no god formed” is a universal negative statement. By making it apply to only non-Israel (especially in the context of the idolatry of Israel in Isaiah) then you are making the term say “some gods formed.”

    Your attempt at a syllogism merely shows that if you equivocate in the logic, why then you equivocate in the conclusion. It’s the equivalent of saying “that chair won’t hold heavy things, and Bob is a heavy smoker, so that chair won’t hold Bob.” Again, I’m not saying there aren’t any other “gods” in the Bible, I’m just saying they’re all presented negatively, and not to be esteemed. That was the original point.

    As for Ps. 8.5 and Heb. 2.7, I’ve checked my list of versions, and none of them say anything of the sort. Only by concluding that Jesus is some sort of lesser god could you make a stretch of logic and read meaning into the verse. However, I do find directly in Heb. 1.8 that the Father calls the Son God, and says the Son has a throne. Since there is only one God, Jesus is the one God, and the Trinity is true.

    I respectfully submit that a fair reading of the bulk of the OT can only conclude that the one true God will accept no pretenders, no “sort of god”, demi god, almost god, or competitors of any kind. The anger of God is reserved the most for those who hold any created thing up to be a god. Mankind is presented as finite and evil, and God is infinite and righteous, and the two are presented throughtout the scriptures as not to be confused.

    • TJ says:

      “I hope you’re not insinuating that men who were in God’s disfavor are held to be gods in a good sense…?”

      The sense is neither “good” or “bad”, just factual. They are “gods” in the sense that they actually existed and they had REAL power delegated to them from God. This is a different context from that of Isaiah 43, where the gods of the nations are described as the carved idols.

      Jesus counts on this to make his vindicating comparison…that unlike these corrupt judges, who God recognized as his sons, he’s actually carrying out the work his Father assigned to him. So if Scripture didn’t count it as blasphemy for those ones to be recognized as “gods” and sons of God, neither should it be held against Jesus who is better than they are. You undermine his entire argument by trying to explain away those judges’ God-given, scriptural designations.

      As for Exodus 4:16, the fact remains that all of those translations added a word that the Hebrew itself does not contain. The Hebrew literally says that God made Moses a god to Aaron, not “as God” to Aaron. Would you just as willingly take their word for it (no pun intended) if these translations added “as” or “like” in John 1:1c? Somehow, I suspect you wouldn’t…

      “As for Ps. 8.5 and Heb. 2.7, I’ve checked my list of versions, and none of them say anything of the sort.”

      Really? You included the NET Bible in your list, which renders Psalm 8:5 as, “and make them a little less than the heavenly beings.” Then its footnote offers this, “Heb[rew] ‘and you make him lack a little from [the] gods [or 'God'].’” The actual Hebrew word used there is ‘elohim’ (meaning ‘God’ or ‘gods’). Paul quotes this verse as, “You made him lower than the angels.” According to your definition then, angels are false gods!

      “I do find directly in Heb. 1.8 that the Father calls the Son God, and says the Son has a throne. Since there is only one God, Jesus is the one God.”

      This is more *selective* (inconsistent) interpretation. That is a *direct* quote of Psalm 45:6, originally addressed to the king of Israel, most likely Solomon. Yet again, somehow I can’t see you, to be consistent, arguing the following:

      ‘I do find directly in Ps. 45.6 that the Father calls Solomon God, and says Solomon has a throne. Since there is only one God, Solomon is the one God.’

      Whether you realize it or not, your theology is driving your interpretation of scripture. Thanks again.

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