Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is the Father Yahweh?

Unitarians take the position that the Father is the default referent of Yahweh or Elohim in the OT. I’ve discussed this contention before, but now I’d like to approach the issue from a different angle.

One of the major themes in the Fourth Gospel is the Son’s role as the revelation of the Father. By knowing the Son, you come to know the Father as well. The Son uniquely mediates knowledge of the Father. Other NT passages pick up on the same theme.

If, however, OT references to God single out the Father, then the Jews already knew the Father from OT revelation. They had direct knowledge of the Father.

So why would we need indirect knowledge of the Father via the Son? On the unitarian view, knowing the Son doesn’t contribute anything unique to the knowledge of the Father we can get straight from the source in the pages of the OT. Indeed, on a unitarian view, knowing the Son would be a superfluous and inferior means of knowing the Father, compared to the immediacy of OT revelation.


  1. This is simply unbelievable. This is now my sixth attempt to get this post right!

    In fact Steve, the NT is quite clear that apart from the Son (as well as the Holy Spirit) God or the Father cannot be known:

    "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom THE SON WILLS TO REVEAL HIM.” Luke 10:22 - cf. Matthew 11:27

    "No one has seen God AT ANY TIME; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, HE HAS EXPLAINED HIM." John 1:18

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Not that ANYONE has seen the Father, EXCEPT THE ONE WHO IS FROM GOD; He has seen the Father." John 6:44-46

    Now if no one has seen God at any time, and it is the role of the Son to make him known and explain him, then who was the Yahweh that the OT saints saw and heard? In fact, whom did Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel etc. see (Genesis 12:1, 7; 17:1, 22; 18:1-33; 32:24-30; Exodus 6:2-3; 24:1-2, 9-18; Numbers 12:7-8; Acts 7:2; Isaiah 6:1-10; Ezekiel 1:26-28, 2:1-10), if Jesus is correct that no one besides him has seen God the Father?

    1. And since the Father cannot be known apart from the Son, the Father can't be the default referent of Yahweh or Elohim in the OT. For if that were the case, we could bypass the Son by knowing the Father through OT revelation.

  2. FYI - This line of speculation, such as it is, is wholly consistent with Christian unitarian theology.