But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.– John 16.13
So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. – John 5.19 (See 5:30 too)
Sceptics (Mostly Muslims) argue that Jesus and the Holy Spirit can’t be God based on these two passages of the Bible because they can do nothing on their own.
Do they really understand what these passages say?
Let’s address John 16.13 first:
This passage is in no way suggesting that the Holy Spirit is not God. On the contrary, it affirms that He does not work independently from the Father and the Son. What Jesus is saying here is that the Holy Spirit will only tell what the Father and the Son agree together with Him (Holy Spirit). He will not speak in His own accord. This is a passage about the perfect unity of Godhead (the Holy Trinity).
Let’s just see the context of this passage in John 14.16-17,
16. Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.”
Question is: how can a mere creature be in every believer at the same time no matter where they are to carry out His message?
This brings us to the next passage where Jesus said the same thing about Himself:
So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. – John 5:19 (See 5:30 too)
Here Jesus clearly says that He can do whatever the Father does. What kind of a mere creature can say that he can do whatever the Father (God) does?
He also states that He cannot do things in His own accord. He can only do things that the Father and He agree to do. Meaning He cannot do anything independent from the Father. He is in no way denying His Deity but rather affirming His oneness with the Father just as what He said about the Holy Spirit in John 16.13. To highlight this better, let’s see what He said elsewhere:
But if I judge, my evaluation is accurate, because I am not alone when I judge, but I AND the Father who sent me do so together. – John 8:16
Reading further in John 5.21-22, Jesus claims,
21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes.
22 Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son”
Here, not only does Jesus claim to have power to give life as the Father but also calls Himself as the Judge.
You can continue reading verse 25-30, Jesus repeatedly affirms His Deity (See John 10:18, 11:25 also).
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