As the Father hath life - God is the source of all life. He is thence called the living God, in opposition to idols which have no life. Acts 14:15; "we preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities (idols) ' unto the living God,' " Joshua 3:10; I Samuel 17:26; Jeremiah 10:10. See also Isaiah 40:18-31.
In himself - This means that life in God, or existence, is not derived from any other being. Our life is derived from God. Genesis 2:7; God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul" - that is, a living being. All other creatures derive their life from him. Psalms 104:30, Psalms 104:29; "thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust." But God is underived. He always existed as he is. Psalms 90:2; "from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." He is unchangeably the same, James 1:17. It cannot be said that he is "self-existent," because that is an absurdity; no being can originate or create himself; but he is not dependent on any other for "life." Of course, no being can take away his existence; and of course, also, no being can take away his happiness. He has "in himself" infinite sources of happiness, and no other being, no change in his universe can destroy that happiness.
So - In a manner like his. It corresponds to the first "as," implying that one is the same as the other; life in the one is the "same," and possessed in the same manner, as in the other.
Hath he given - This shows that the power or authority here spoken of was "given" or committed to the Lord Jesus. This evidently does not refer to the manner in which the second person of the Trinity exists, for the power and authority of which Christ here speaks is that which he exercises as "Mediator." It is the power of raising the dead and judging the world. In regard to his divine nature, it is not affirmed here that it is in any manner derived; nor does the fact that God is said to have "given" him this power Proverbs that he was inferior in his nature or that his existence was derived. For:
1. It has reference merely "to office." As Mediator, he may be said to have been appointed by the Father.
2. Appointment to office does not Proverbs that the one who is appointed is inferior in nature to him who appoints him. A son may be appointed to a particular work by a parent, and yet, in regard to talents and every other qualification, may be equal or superior to the father. He sustains the relation of a son, and in this relation there is an official inferiority. General Washington was not inferior in nature and talents to the men who commissioned him. He simply derived authority from them to do what he was otherwise fully "able" to do. So the Son, "as Mediator," is subject to the Father; yet this proves nothing about his nature.
To have life - That is, the right or authority of imparting life to others, whether dead in their graves or in their sins.
In himself - There is much that is remarkable in this expression. It is in Him as it is in God. He has the control of it, and can exercise it as he will. The prophets and apostles are never represented as having such power in themselves. They were dependent; they performed miracles in the name of God and of Jesus Christ Acts 3:6; Acts 4:30; Acts 16:18; but Jesus did it by his own name, authority, and power. He had but to speak, and it was done, Mark 5:41; Luke 7:14; John 11:43. This wonderful commission he bore from God to raise up the dead as he pleased; to convert sinners when and where he chose; and finally to raise up all the dead, and pronounce on them an eternal doom according to the deeds done in the body. None could do this but he who had the power of creation - equal in omnipotence to the Father, and the power of searching all hearts - equal in omniscience to God.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing John 5:26:
1 Corinthians 8:6
1 Corinthians 15:45
2 Corinthians 4:14
1 Thessalonians 1:9
1 Timothy 6:16
1 John 5:20
1 John 5:20
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