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Jesus Christ » The Deity of Jesus » Christ's Deity

The Deity of Jesus Christ


By Glenn Miller
at Christian Think Tank
________________________________________________________________________

The Claims of Jesus

His claims to pre-existence

  1. Jesus claimed the have been pre-existent before his birth--he was around before Abraham (Jn 8.58-59)

  2. Jesus claimed to have been pre-existent in heaven with glory before His incarnation (Jn 3.13; Jn 6.33; Jn 6.38; Jn 6.62; Jn 8.23; Jn 8.42; Jn 10.30-39; Jn 16.28; Jn 17.5)


His claims relative to worship, glorification, exaltation, object of religious faith, title of "God".

  1. Jesus promised to come in 'the glory of the Father' (Mark 8.38)

  2. Jesus held himself out as a legitimate object for religious faith (Mark 9.42; Jn 3.15; Jn 9.35f) even to the same extent as the Father (Jn 14.1)

  3. He NEVER corrects those who accuse him of making himself equal to God (Mr 2.5ff; Jn 5.17ff; Jn 8.58-59; Jn 10:30-39) nor those who called him "GOD" (Jn 20.28).

  4. He claims loyalty greater than ALL human loyalties (Mt 10.37)

  5. Jesus claims that he should be honored co-extensively with the Father! (Jn 5.17f)

  6. He claims the Father is seeking Jesus' glory (Jn 8.50 with 8.54b; Jn 13.31) and that the two are linked (Jn 11.4)

  7. He uses the divine epithet "I AM" (Jn 8.58-59, 24, 28)

  8. He accepts worship without rebuke, and even with commendation (Jn 9.35-38)


His claims to authority

  1. Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins (Mark 2.5ff; Lk 7.48f)

  2. Jesus had authority over the Sabbath (Mark 2.28; Mt 12.8)

  3. Jesus claims that the elect are his, and that the angels are his (Mr 13.26f) -- either in possession or authority over

  4. He implied that he had the ability/authority to abolish the law (Mt 5.21)

  5. He implied by his "but I say to you..." passages a divine authority (Mt 5)

  6. He had the authority to give authority over evil to others (Lk 10.19)

  7. He claims to have universal authority (Jn 17.2)

  8. He has authority to confer a kingdom--in the SAME MANNER that the Father does (Lk 22.29f)

  9. He claims to have authority to send/give the Holy Spirit of God! (Lk 24.49; Jn 4.10 with 7.37-39; Jn 15.26; Jn 16.7)


His claims to IDENTITY/EQUALITY with the Father

  1. Jesus claims that one's response to Jesus is equated to one's response to God (Jn 15.23).

  2. Jesus claims that to see Him is to see the Father! (Jn 14.9)

  3. He claims to be, and is repeatedly called, the potentially blasphemous title "Son of God" (Mr 14.62 et. al. )

  4. He NEVER corrects those who accuse him of making himself equal to God (Mr 2.5ff; Jn 5.17ff; Jn 8.58-59; Jn 10:30-39) nor those who called him "GOD" (Jn 20.28).

  5. He claims to be on a par with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mt 28.19)

  6. He claims that his coming was the same as God's coming (Lk 19.43ff)

  7. He claims to operate co-extensively with the Spirit (Mk 21.14-15 with Mt 10 and Mr 13)

  8. He claims to operate co-extensively with the Father (Jn 5.17ff; Jn 10.30-39; Jn 15.9)


His claims to a UNIQUE relationship to the Father

Jesus considered His Sonship-relation with the Father to be ABSOLUTELY unique (Mr 12.1-11; Jn 20.17)

  1. He claims to be the unique Heir of God (Mr 12.1-11)

  2. He claims to have EXCLUSIVE knowledge of the Father (Mt 11.27; Jn 7.28-29)

  3. He claims to have been the only one to have seen the Father (Jn 6.46; Jn 8.38)

  4. He claims to be absolutely perfect/sinless-he ALWAYS pleases the Father (Jn 8.29; Jn 8.46)


His exalted nature and powers

  1. Jesus is often linked to the word 'Lord' (Mr 11.3; Mr 5:19-20)

  2. Jesus claimed to be greater than King David (Mr 12.35-37), than the Temple (Mt 12.6), than the prophet Jonah (Mt 12.41), than King Solomon (Mt 12.42).

  3. He claims that his rank in the universe is superior to the angels (Mr 13.32)

  4. He implies that he is, or will be, omnipresent (Mt 18.20; Mt 28.19)

  5. He claims to have access to knowledge of the future, and events occurring in heaven (Lk 22.31).

  6. He claims to be able to give freedom (Jn 8.36)

  7. He claims to be able to raise himself from the dead! (Jn 10.17ff)


Claims of Jesus which make NO SENSE if He were not God

  1. Jesus claims that his words will outlast time itself! (Mr 13.31)

  2. He claims that the eternal destiny of people depend on their response to HIM! (Mt 7.21ff; Mt 25.17ff)

  3. He claims to have been the only one to have seen the Father (Jn 6.46; Jn 8.38 with Ex 33.20)

  4. He claims to be absolutely perfect/sinless-he ALWAYS pleases the Father (Jn 8.29; Jn 8.46)

  5. Jesus makes statements that are completely ludicrous, if he is not God. (Jn 14.28; Jn 15.5; Jn 17.10)


How those around Christ responded to Him

  1. God calls him "Son" and declares that He is "pleased" with Jesus (Mt 3.16)

  2. God tells some of the disciples to pay attention to Jesus (Mt 17.5)

  3. Evil spirits knew he was the Son of God (Mt 8.28-29; Mr 3.11ff) and the Holy One of God (Mr 1.23f)

  4. His enemies knew he was claiming to be God (Mt 9.3; Mt 26.63ff; Jn 5.18; Jn 10.33)--and accused him of blasphemy.

  5. Some of the general populace called/considered him God (Lk 7.16; Lk 8.39-40)

  6. John the Baptist recognized Jesus' RADICAL superiority to himself (Mt 3.13; Jn 1.26-30 w/.34)

  7. The disciples and those whose lives He touched WORSHIPPED Him (Mt 14.33; Jn 9.35ff)

  8. He was repeatedly called the Son of God (Mt 14.33; Mt 16.16; Jn 1.26-30 w/.34; Jn 1.49; Jn 11.27)

  9. He was called "God" directly (Jn 20.27f)

  10. Later Rabbinical writings 'remember' some of these exorbitant claims of Jesus.


How the Church understood the claims of Jesus and the events of

His life/death/resurrection


His pre-existence and His role in creation.

He is described as pre-existent in glory with the father (Gal 4.4; I Cor 15.47; 2 Cor 8.9; Rom 8.3; I Tim 1.15; Eph 4.9; Col 1.15-17; 2 Tim 1.9; Heb 1.2; Jn 1.2-3; Jn 1.14; Jn 3.31-32; I Jn 1.2; I Jn 3.8; I Jn 4.2, 9;) and active at the time of Moses (Heb 11.26)

He created ALL things in the universe, including angels (Col 1.15-17; Heb 1.2; Jn 1.2-3; Jn 1.10)


The appropriateness of worshipping Him and of the title of "GOD" applied to Him

  1. Citations from the OT in the NT show that Jesus was YHWH (Rom 10.9; Mt 11:10; I Cor 10.26; Rom 10.9-13; Eph 4.8; Heb 1.8ff; Heb 1.10ff)

  2. The earliest materials (e.g. hymns, blessings, prayers, formulas, doxologies) indicate that the early church recognized Jesus as God, equal with the Father (Phil 2:6-11; Col 1.15-20; I Tim 3.16; Mt 28.19; I Thess 3.11; 2 Thess 2.16; I Cor 16.21)

  3. Jesus is often singled out for glorification by the Church (Heb 13.20-21; 2 Peter 3.18; Rev 1.5-6)

  4. Jesus is CONSISTENTLY called "Lord"-- a VERY misleading title if He were not God (close to 200 times!)

  5. The angels belong to Him (2 Thess 1.7) and are to worship Him (Heb 1.6)

  6. He is described in words like 'glorious' and 'Lord of Glory' etc. (Js 2.1; I Cor 2.8)

  7. Jesus is called Savior (Titus 1.4; 2.13; 3.6) AS IS the Father (I Tim 1.1; 2.3; 4.10).

  8. He is to be co-extensive with the Father in being praised (Rom 1.25 with Rom 9.5; Phil 1.20; Rev 5.12ff ) and in worship and glory (2 Tim 4.18; 2 Pet 3.18; Heb 1.6; Rev 5.12ff ) and even in being offered a sacrifice! (Rev 14.4)

  9. He explicitly is called "God" (I Tim 3.16--in the best texts--, Acts 20.28; Rom 9.5; Titus 2.13; Jn 20.28; 2 Pet 1.1; Heb 1.8ff; John 1.1; Jn 1.18; I John 5.20 w/1.2; Rev 1.1 with 22.6,16 ) or some derivative thereof (Col 2.9; Phil 2.6-11)

  10. The churches' use of the substitute epithet "The Name" and the nomina sacrademonstrate a firm and early belief in the deity of Jesus.


His authority

  1. The angels belong to Him (2 Thess 1.7) and are to worship Him (Heb 1.6)

  2. His is Lord of ALL (Acts 10.36).

  3. The Father put ALL things under His feet (I Cor 15.27)


His identify/equality with God the Father (and the Spirit)

  1. Jesus is described at the co-source of grace and peace, with the Father, in the benedictions (2 Cor 13.14; Rom 1.7; 2 Cor 1.2; 1 Cor 1.3; Eph 1.2; Phil 1.2; Eph 6.23; Gal 1.3 ).

  2. He is sometimes MENTIONED alone in such benedictions (Rom 16.20, I Cor 16.23; Rev 1.4) as is the Father sometimes (2 Cor 1.3-4)

  3. Citations from the OT in the NT show that Jesus was YHWH (Rom 10.9; Mt 11:10; I Cor 10.26; Rom 10.9-13; Eph 4.8; Heb 1.8ff; Heb 1.10ff)

  4. The "Spirit of Christ" is identified with the "Spirit of God" (Gal 4.6; Rom 8.9-11; Phil 1.19; I Pet 1.11) and the "mind of the Lord" with the "mind of Christ" (I Cor 2.16)

  5. He is described co-ordinately with the Father in our obligations to him, and co-extensively with the Father in actions (I Cor 7.17)

  6. Jesus is called Savior (Titus 1.4; 2.13; 3.6) AS IS the Father (I Tim 1.1; 2.3; 4.10).

  7. He is to be co-extensive with the Father in being praised (Rom 1.25 with Rom 9.5; Phil 1.20; Rev 5.12ff ) and in worship and glory (2 Tim 4.18; 2 Pet 3.18; Heb 1.6; Rev 5.12ff ) and even in being offered a sacrifice! (Rev 14.4)

  8. How one responds to Jesus equates to how one responds to the Father--the are identified that strongly (I Jn 2.22-23)

  9. The wholesale identification of the titles, names, roles, actions, commitments of the OT YHWH and the NT Christ was made and lived by the early church.


His UNIQUE relationship with the Father

  1. He is repeatedly called God's unique Son (Gal 1.15; Gal 3.20; I Thess 1.9--et. al.--over 40 times)

  2. He is the reason the universe was created (Col 1.15-17)


His exalted nature and powers

  1. He created ALL things in the universe, including angels (Col 1.15-17; Heb 1.2; Jn 1.2-3; Jn 1.10)

  2. He sustains the universe (Col 1.15-17; Heb 1.3)

  3. He has super-creaturely characteristics (Eph 3.16ff; Eph 1.10, 22; 4.10; 6.8; Col 2.2ff; Heb 1.10ff; Heb 10.12ff; Jn 3.34; I Jn 2.2)


His difference from 'mere humans'.

  1. Jesus is contrasted with mere men (Gal 1.1)

  2. He is described as being sinless (2 Cor 5.21; I Pet 2.22; I Pet 3.18)

  3. There are a number of passages that talk about Christ's "human nature" or "physical body" implying that there was something "more" about Him (Rom 1.3-4; Rom 8.3; Rom 9.5; I Tim 3.16; Col 1.22; Heb 2.14; Jn 1.14; I Jn 4.2; 2 Jn 7)

If we step back from the data at this point, and look at it in its entirety, we cannot but be overwhelmed by the massiveness of it! We might be able to argue away a little here, and a little there, but the sheer bulk of this cannot be moved. One cannot stop an avalanche 'one rock at a time'. We come face to face with the reality that the Son of God shared ALL of the attributes, glory, and status of God the Father, and that this reality was disclosed in the life and words of Jesus Christ.


There are simply no other ways to account for this. The earliest texts have a full-blown divine Christ. The earliest texts are so close to the events as to preclude some 'legendizing' activity--at a level of comprehensiveness, success, integration into the life of the church, etc. that would match the data we have seen. And quite frankly, the apostles probably couldn't have even thought that up--given their background and context.


To be sure, there are difficulties with this conclusion, but we must be honest here and admit that the data we have seen is simply too 'stubborn'--it is our handling of the 'problems' that will have to give way first.


The original article can be found here


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