He Gave to the Son to Have Life in Himself

These words are spoken by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John, which refers to God the Father.

“ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ” (John 5:26)

“For just as the Father has Life in Himself, in this way even to the Son He gave Life to have in Himself” (literal translation)

Does Jesus here mean, as is supposed by some, the Father has in eternity past, “given (ἔδωκεν, aorist active indicative, of δίδωμι)” “Life” to Him, in the Godhead? Is Jesus saying that the Father is the “source” of His Life, as “God”? If this is the case, then Jesus Christ can never be “God” in the same sense as the Father is, and would be “δεύτερος-θεός”, where the meaning is, “secondary”, “of lower rank”. Which would justify the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of John 1:1c, as “and the Word was a god”. Or that of Moffatt, “the Logos was divine” (also Goodspeed). If Jesus here means, that the Father is the “source” of His Life within the Godhead, as God, then the verse would read different: “γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ, καὶ ἐκεῖνος ἔδωκας τῷ υἱῷ ζωὴν” (for the Father has Life in Himself, and He gave the Son Life).

Jesus’ words here are very clear, and when examined closely, it will be seen not to even hint at the Father “giving” Him His Life. Note the two almost exact phrases, “ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ”, and “ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ”, the only difference is the grammar. In both places the meaning is the same, “has Life in Himself”, this is another way of saying, “self-existing”, not “independent existence”, but that neither the Father, nor the Son, depends on the Other for their very existence. Neither “derives” their Life from the Other. In fact, Jesus says, “ὥσπερ…οὕτως” (just as…in the way), which is used to show a comparison between Himself and the Father, on an equality. In both places, “ἔχει” and “ἔχειν”, are in the “present continuance tense”, used for the “Eternal Life” that is in the Father and in Jesus Christ. In 1 John 1:1, Jesus Christ is called, “τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς (the Word of the Life)”, and in verse 2, “καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη (and the Life was Manifested). John goes on to say of Jesus, “τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα”, that is, “the Life the Eternal Who was with the Father”. It does not say, “ἥτις ἦν ἐξ τὸν πατέρα”, “Who was out of the Father”, where the Greek preposition, “ἐξ” would have been used. By using “πρὸς”, it is clear that Jesus Christ, Who is here “The Eternal Life”, is “from the side of, near”, which shows a clear distinction, and not dependence. In John 1:1, John says of Jesus Christ, Who is “the Word (ὁ λόγος)”, Who is, “πρὸς τὸν θεόν (with the God)”, same Greek preposition as in 1 John 1:2, showing distinction. John then goes on to say, “καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος”, which according to the Greek grammar of this passage, in its context, can only read, “and the Word was God”, in exactly the same sense the Father is God. This is clear from verse 18 in the oldest and best textual evidence, “θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε μονογενὴς θεὸς (God no one has seen at any time the Unique God)”, where both uses of “θεὸς”, do not have the Greek article (τὸν, ὁ), with the same meaning, Two distinct Persons, Who are equally GOD. In verse 4, it says of Jesus, that, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν (in Him was Life)”, where the Greek preposition “ἐν” means “in His Person”, as the “source of life”. Jesus cannot be the “source of life”, if His own Life is “derived” from the Father, as “given” to Him.

In Acts 3:15, Peter says of Jesus Christ, “τὸν δὲ Ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς ἀπεκτείνατε”, literally, “but the Source of life you killed”. The noun “ἀρχηγός”, has the meanings, “a first cause, originator, founder”. In Hebrews 2:10, Jesus is called “the author of their salvation (ASV); and “the source of their salvation (CSB). In Hebrews 12:2, “Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, (NAS); “Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith (CSB).

In John 11:25, Jesus says of Himself, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἀνάστασις καὶ ἡ ζωή”, “I AM The Resurrection and The Life”. In 14:6, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή (I AM The Way and The Truth and The Life”. Again, in Revelation chapter one, were we read of Jesus Christ Appearing to the Apostle John, and says to him, “ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, καὶ ὁ ζῶν (present active indicative)” (verses 17, 18), which is literally, “I Am The First and The Last, and The Ever-Living One”. Dr Joseph Thayer, the Unitarian Greek scholar, has this to say, “ὁ πρῶτος καί ὁ ἔσχατος, i. e. the eternal One, Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8; Rev 22:13” (Greek Lexicon on πρῶτος). In the Book of Isaiah, we read of Yahweh, Who says, “´ánî ri´šôn wa´ánî ´ahárôn ûmibbal`äday ´ên ´élöhîm (I The First and I The Last, and beside Me no god)”. The Greek Old Testament (LXX) reads, “ἐγὼ πρῶτος καὶ ἐγὼ μετὰ ταῦτα”, literally, “I am the first, and I am hereafter”. In Exodus 3:14, where the Speaker is “Mal'ak Yehovah” (verse 2), “The Messenger of Yahweh”, or “The One sent by Yahweh”, Who says to Moses when asked about His Name, “Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν”, “I AM The Eternal One”, which is what Jesus says in Revelation 1:18, “ὁ ζῶν”, “The Ever-Living One”.

John 5:26, cannot be taken on its own, as it connects with verse 27, where Jesus goes on to say, “καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ κρίσιν ποιεῖν, ὅτι υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν”, which is, “and Authority He appointed Him, to execute Judgement, because the Son of Man He is”. The same verb, “ἔδωκεν”, which is in verse 26, is also in verse 27. In verse 22 Jesus says, “For the Father judges no one, but has appointed all judgment to the Son” (NKJV). Where the word “committed” is the Greek word, “δέδωκεν”, which is from δίδωμι”.

δίδωμι”, does not only have the meaning, “to give something to someone, which they never had before”. In Mark 4:25, Jesus says, “For whoever has, to him more shall be given (δοθησεται, from δίδωμι)”. In John 17:24, Jesus says, “Then they may see My glory, which You have given (δέδωκάς, from δίδωμι) Me”. In verse 5 we read, “Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had (εἶχον, imperfect, “I have always had”) with (παρὰ, “together with You”) You before the world existed”. The verb also has the meanings, “to appoint, to grant, to allow, to assign, to hand over, deliver up”, etc.

If Jesus’ “Life” is “derived” from the Father, which would indeed make Him “δεύτερος-θεός”, then it would have been impossible for Jesus to have said what He does, in verse 23, “that all may Honor the Son, just as they Honor the Father. Whoever does not Honor the Son does not Honor the Father who sent Him”. Can someone Who is “inferior” to God the Father, make such a claim? If we do not “Honor” Jesus Christ, we do not “Honor”, the Father, Who sent Him. The use of the conjunction, “οτι (because)”, gives the reason for what is said in verses 26-27, “He is the Son of Man”. Jesus Christ, The Son of Man, while on earth, Acted in complete agreement with the Father in everything that He did, which is what Jesus Himself says in John 5:19, “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise”. These words are in response to what Jesus had told the Jews, that, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (ver 17), which enraged the Jews, who then even more wanted to murder Jesus, “because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (ἴσον ἑαυτὸν ποιῶν τῷ θεῷ)” (18). The Jews clearly understood Jesus as saying that He was GOD, and equal to GOD The Father.

In verse 26, Jesus is explaining further what He says in verse 21, “For just as (ὥσπερ, in the same way) the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also (οὕτως καὶ) the Son gives life to whom He will”. Both the Father and Jesus Christ are here equally the “giver of life”, as we have the same Greek verb, “ζωοποιει”, used in the present, active, indicative, “to cause to live, give life”, for both Persons.

Just as the Father is the Source of all Life, and the Giver of Life; so He has “appointed”, the Incarnate Jesus Christ, as God-Man, as the Source of all Life, and the Giver of Life. As the Father has “appointed” to the Son to be the Ultimate Judge of all. In Hebrews 1:2 it says, “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed (ἔθηκεν, from τίθημι, which can also mean, “to put into, to appoint, to make, to give”) heir of all things, with whom also He made the world”

This is what Jesus means when He says in John 10:30, “ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν”, where the literal meaning is, “I and the Father one thing We are”. “Essentially”, the Father and Son are ONE (ἕν, so the neuter); but they are not “identical Persons”, which is clear from “ἐσμεν”, the masculine plural.

Another verse that is used to try to “prove” the Father is the “source” of the Life of Jesus Christ, is John 6:57;

“Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me”

Here Jesus uses, “ὁ ζῶν Πατὴρ” (the Living Father), as He said of Himself in Revelation 1:18, “ὁ ζῶν (the Living One), in both places we have the use of the continued, present. Jesus says that He Lives, “διὰ τὸν Πατέρα”, that is with the accusative in the Greek, “because the Father Lives”, His Life is essentially one with the Father. He also says in John 14:10, 11, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?... Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”. And, as we have seen, “The Father and I We are one thing” (10:30). As both the Father and Jesus Christ are equally essentially GOD, it is impossible for their “Lives” to be independent of one another, as their Lives are One and the same.

In the New Testament, we have Jesus Christ say of Himself, that He is Yahweh. This is clear from Matthew 11:10 (also Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27), where Jesus is speaking about John the Baptist, and quotes from Malachi 3:1. In the original Prophecy, in the Hebrew and Greek, we have the “πρὸ προσώπου μου”, which is the first person, “before My Face”. Jesus, on His own Authority, changes this to, “ἔμπροσθέν σου”, which is the second person, “before you”. By doing so, Jesus makes the Prophecy as addressed to Himself, as the Speaker of the words in Malachi, and that He is, “ʼâmar Yᵉhôvâh tsâbâ’(the Lord of Hosts; the LXX reads,  “λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ”, “says the Lord Almighty”). Some say that the Bible never calls Jesus Christ, “Almighty God”; here we have Jesus Christ say of Himself, that He is “ALMIGHTY GOD”. Isaiah 40:3 speaks of the Coming of “Yahweh”, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of Yahweh; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God”. In the Gospels, John the Baptist says that this is fulfilled in the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD (Yahweh); Make His paths straight.”

On the meaning of the Name of Almighty God, “Yahweh (YHWH)”, the Hebrew lexicon by Brown, Driver and Briggs, says, “he one bringing into being, life-giver, giver of existence, creator, he who brings to pass, he one who is: i.e. the absolute and unchangeable one, the existing, ever living, as self-consistent and unchangeable”. The Jewish Encyclopaedia, says, “The meaning would, therefore, be "He who is self-existing, self-sufficient," or, more concretely, "He who lives"”