Is the Son equal to the Father?

Among the many verses that are used to prove the deity of Jesus, John 5:23 is used to show the equality of honor due to both the Father and the son:

John 5:23: “…He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.”

On the surface, this appears to be a straightforward example of how Jesus is due the same honor as the father, therefore, making him equal to God the Father.

However, there are a couple of additional facts to consider in relation to this verse.

First, in the Semitic culture, a son always receives the same honor as a father. That is how that culture interprets familial relations as far as the authoritative structure and goes; but that does not mean they are the same person.

Unfortunately, an equivalent familial role does not exist in our American culture, unless it is considered where a father hands his self-made business to his son, therefore giving the son the same authority in the company as the father had.

Additionally, many people gloss over the previous context, which explains WHY the son is to be honored as the Father:

John 5:22-23: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father…”

Here we see how the Father gave the son something he didn’t have previously (the authority to judge), there by illustrating the son has not always had the same level of authority and honor as the Father.

It also highlights the fact that God the Father has entrusted his son with this responsibility, thereby giving the son honor as God’s designated, authoritative, representative.

To my way of thinking, this passage supports a unitarian view of God much more strongly than a trinitarian perspective.

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