Passages purported to uphold the idea that Jesus is God
John 1:1+ - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
It is said:
The reasoning here is the following: the Word is God, and the Word became flesh, and that flesh was Christ. Therefore, mathematically, Christ is God. (if a=b and b=c, then a=c).
- Would John introduce here an idea wholly new to the Bible, diametrically opposed to the account of the previous gospel writers? Matthew, Mark and Luke talk about a child being born of a woman who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no hint that the child was God, much the contrary, for when has it been heard that a person and their child are the same person?
- When is 'in the beginning'? Usage by John points to parallelism between the Old Testament and New Testament. The first beginning with Adam resulted in a fall from grace, yet God's plan and purpose (Num. 14:21) were not shaken. Jesus Christ was the perfection of that plan and purpose, and thus became the beginning, the firstfruits, of a new creation (John 2:11; 6:64; 8:25; 15:27; 16:4; I John 2:7, 13, 14, 24; 3:11; II John 5, 6).
The essence here is the following: Is this section about God, or about God manifestation? (i.e., how God reveals Himself to the world) We believe the conclusion to the section makes it clear: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (v18).
It makes no sense to wrap up a discussion of how God came down to earth in the flesh by saying that no man has seen God. This section must therefore be about how God is manifested in the world, not about how God came to the world.
We believe that Jesus manifested (revealed) perfectly the essential attributes of the Father, and that in that sense he is the Word made flesh. The wording of this section indicates a parallel is intended to the creation, so John is no doubt broaching the New Testament theme of the New Creation.
Philippians 2:6-9 - ...Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross....
It is said:
This passage is understood to say that God reduced himself, coming in the form of a Jesus, a servant.
This passage just needs to be read carefully. When you do so, you'll realize that it in no way says that Jesus was equal with God; quite the opposite, it makes it clear that Jesus never considered this - in contrast to Adam (who was also in the form of God, Gen 1:26) who took the fruit, believing he could be like God.
This comparison between Adam and Jesus is the crux of the argument developed in this section.
Isaiah 9:6 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".
It is said:
That because Jesus here is called 'Mighty God' and 'Everlasting Father', he is the one and same God, the Father.
Notice that it doesn't say he will be these things, it says his name will be called them.
Jesus is not the only one to be called by the names of God. In the Old Testament the Angel who speaks for God is frequently addressed as God or speaks as God (Ex. 23:21-22, Judg. 2:1, 13:21-22, Ex. 13:21 cp.w/ 14:19, Ps. 8:5 cp.w/ Heb 2:7, etc.) If you read the Old Testament with care, especially the first seven books, you'll notice there are lots of incidents where 'God' and an Angel are used interchangeably. The teaching here again is that a person or being perfectly representing God, or standing in the place of God (Ex. 4:16, 7:1 - Moses) can be called by the names and titles of God.
John 10:30 - I and the Father are one.
It is said:
That the words: "I and the Father are one" indicate that Jesus and God are the one and same.
Even the sentence in its structure indicates two persons: 'I' + 'the Father" equals 2.
Christ and his Father were one in the same sense that Christ prayed the disciples would be one (Jn. 17:11), and a man and his wife are one (Mark 10:7-8), and the church is one (Gal. 3:28). One in purpose and thought, not in being.
Jn 20:28 - Thomas answered him [Jesus], "My Lord and my God".
It is said:
Because Thomas says to Jesus "My Lord and my God", that Jesus is God.
To understand what Thomas is saying here, you have to understand where he's coming from, namely the conversation they previously had in 14:7, where Jesus told Thomas that "If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him." Philip followed up this comment by saying: "Show us the Father and we shall be satisfied". No small request here; but what does Jesus say? (v9-10) "He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works."
So after the resurrection, in 20:28, Thomas looks at Jesus and finally acknowledges that there was no need to see God, that God can be seen in Christ.
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