- How Jesus’ Not Having Faith In God Affirms His Deity
- Further Thoughts On the Question of Jesus’ Faith in God
- Responding to Dale Tuggy on Jesus and Faith
I wrote a couple days ago that there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Jesus had faith in God, and that this only makes sense if Jesus was himself God.
There are a number of other considerations that provide necessary nuance to that argument. None of them change its basic meaning, however, unless I’m misunderstanding something.
1. Jesus was certainly faithful, in the sense of being committed to his promises and consistent with his own character. That, too, is different from the kind of faith that we’re called to place in him.
2. Jesus certainly trusted the Father and the Spirit. To say he did not have “faith” is not to say he had no trust in the other Persons of the Trinity. Rather, it is to say he did not have the same kind of faith that we are called to have: the kind of faith that sees through a glass darkly, and that’s spoken of in Hebrews 11:1, where there are things hoped for and not seen. In the case of God, there is an obvious and important semantic distinction between faith and trust. (Note that Jesus is never depicted as hoping for anything either. He had positive expectations; he did not have “hope,” as far as any source says about him.)
3. My understanding of the kenosis (from the Greek word for “emptied” in Phil. 2:7) is that he probably performed most if not all of his miraculous works through the power of the Spirit of God, not through his own supernatural power. This is not universally agreed by all Christian thinkers, I could easily be wrong about it, and in any case it’s a more involved topic than I want to explore here.
The shortest way to say it, though, is that if this view is correct, then Jesus set an example of life in the power of the same Spirit that lives in and through every believer. I believe he did it through a trusting relationship with the Second Person of the Trinity, in obedience to the First Person, just as we are to do. Still I think there’s room for a fruitful distinction between Christians’ faith and Jesus’ trust, as just mentioned in #2.
4. There may be other issues relating to the kenosis that I haven’t thought of.
5. Nevertheless the biblical data remains what it is: even though Jesus and the apostles taught the importance of faith virtually nonstop, nowhere does anyone point to Jesus as an example of faith, or even mention that he had faith; and I think the point of my previous post still stands, unless one of these considerations (or some other) is found to undermine it.
I invite critical responses, especially from those who know the theological issues involved.