In this recent thread, the Muslim apologist, Paul Williams, isolates two verses from John's Gospel in a failed attempt to support his misguided Unitarian conception of the Godhead.
Paul isolates John 3:16 and 17:3 from passages in John's Gospel which speak to the divinity of God's only begotten Son—e.g. John 1:1; 1:14, 18; 5:18; 5:26; 20:28.
Paul fails to grasp that the "only true God" of John's Gospel (17:3) has an only begotten Son (His eternal Word), who was with Him before the "beginning"—that He created "all things through him"—and that this Son/Word "was God" (see John 1:1,3, 14, 18, 20:28).
This "only true God", is the "one God" of the Nicene Creed (325 A.D.) who has begotten, "the one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God". This "Son of God", was begotten "from the essence/substance of the Father", and is "God from God, light from light, true God from true God". (Link to the Nicene Creed.)
Augustine has elaborated at length on the truths of the Bible that were promulgated in the Nicene Creed. The following are a few germane selections from his extensive works:
...we understand that the Son is not indeed less than, but equal to the Father, but yet that He is from Him, God of God, Light of light. For we call the Son God of God; but the Father, God only; not of God. (On the Trinity, II.2 - NPNF 3.38 - bold emphasis mine.)
For the Son is the Son of the Father, and the Father certainly is the Father of the Son; but the Son is called God of God, the Son is called Light of Light; the Father is called Light, but not, of Light, the Father is called God, but not, of God. (On the Gospel of John, XXXIX.1 - NPNF 3.38)
Partly then, I repeat, it is with a view to this administration that those things have been thus written which the heretics make the ground of their false allegations; and partly it was with a view to the consideration that the Son owes to the Father that which He is, thereby also certainly owing this in particular to the Father, to wit, that He is equal to the same Father, or that He is His Peer (eidem Patri æqualis aut par est), whereas the Father owes whatsoever He is to no one. (On Faith and the Creed, 9.18 -NPNF 3.328-329 - bold emphasis mine.)
Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has also granted the Son to have life in himself (Jn. 5:26). As he had, as he gave; what he had, he gave; he gave the same king he had; he gave as much as he had. All the things which the Father has are the Son's. Therefore, the Father gave to the Son nothing less than the Father has. The Father did not lose the life he gave to the Son. By living, he retains the life he gave by begetting. The Father himself is life, and the Son himself is life. Each of them has what he is, but the one is life from no one, while the other is life from life. (Answer to Maximinis the Arian, II.7 - The Works of Saint Augustine, vol. 1.18, Arianism and other Heresies, p. 284 - bold emphasis mine.)
Thus, then, the Son according to nature (naturalis filius) was born of the very substance of the Father, the only one so born, subsisting as that which the Father is, God of God, Light of Light. (On Faith and the Creed, 4.6 -NPNF 3.324 - bold emphasis mine.)
Only one natural Son, then, has been begotten of the very substance of the Father, and having the same nature as the father: God of God, Light of Light. (On Faith and the Creed, 4.6 - FC 27.323 - bold emphasis mine.)
Being Son by nature he was born uniquely of the substance of the Father, being what the Father is, God of God, Light of Light. (Faith and the Creed 4.6 - LCC, Augustine: Earlier Writings, p. 357 - bold emphasis mine.)
[See THIS THREAD for related quotes and reflections on this topic.]
And so I ask, which understanding of John's Gospel is the fuller, more accurate one: that of Paul Williams, or that of the Nicene Creed and Augustine?
Grace and peace,