How Can Jesus Be God? The Truth Behind This Eternal Question
Updated: Oct 10
There is an eternal truth behind the question how Jesus can be God.
Establishing the Deity of Jesus Christ
Answering the question is Jesus Christ God is much simpler than one might imagine. Below is a short undergraduate paper I wrote addressing the question.
It is, of course, reformatted for presentation on this blog. Enjoy!
Begin — More than the other three synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John has major themes with respect to the deity of Jesus Christ. It could be effectively argued that the very purpose of this gospel is to present Jesus as not only the son of God, but God himself.
It is critical to establish the deity of Jesus for many reasons. First, to understand why God sent Him and next, why was important that He lived as a human and endured temptation, and why Jesus died on the cross.
Most importantly, we must also either prove, or disprove the linchpin of the faith. This cornerstone is the resurrection of Jesus after spending three days in the grave.
This isn’t to suggest the other two options for a topic are somehow less important. Those are important components of our faith as well however; they rest on proving that Jesus was both human and divine.
It is crucial to establish any claim Jesus makes with the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Unlike false messiahs who came before He arrive on Earth, Jesus connected His claim to the Law of Moses.
Moses has an incredible meeting with God while on the backside of the desert. Moses asked God His Name and this is how Go responded (Exodus 3:13-14):
John’s Case for Jesus as God
The Gospel of John, chapter 1 opens the door to effectively presenting the case for Jesus as deity. The writer of this gospel, the disciple John, leaves no gray area concerning who he believes Jesus of Nazareth is.
This book opens with:
By making this statement, John is directly associating Jesus with God of the Old Testament and more specifically, the deity responsible for creation.
The Holy Bible’s Book of Genesis opens with this statement: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Both Genesis, and John’s opening statement, must never be viewed apart from one another.
By examining these verses collectively, it is apparent that John believes Jesus is the creator Himself. When adding the third verse of the first chapter of the John, the writer further associates Jesus with the creative event in the first two chapters of Genesis.
John makes this statement with respect to Jesus’s involvement: “all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
John did not want any confusion ‘duty sharing’ between Jesus and God. The entire creation narrative is given in Genesis chapter 1, and 2, and further supplemented by the Gospel of John.
Focusing on John’s statement that “all things were created by Him”, it can be concluded that Jesus, as God, was both present and speaking the word of creation.
However, another author writing on this topic adds: “John was not merely focusing on a past event of creation but saying the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” ‘Word’ in this usage must not be overlooked.
When establishing Jesus’ deity in the creative event, we can see John’s usage of “all things were created by Him” means everything in Genesis. More specifically, God simply ‘spoke’ them into existence with no direct, hands-on labor involved.
When arriving at verse 10 in chapter 1, we read, “the world was made up by Him”.
The author mentioned previously indicates Jesus’ deity through explaining the significance of John referring to Jesus as the “Word.”
At first glance, this could be taken to mean that Jesus was speaking the Word of God, but the meaning was more profound.
The writer was pointing to Jesus “as” the Word of God. There is a difference between ‘reading’ the word, as do temple scribes, and Jesus who is that Word incarnate. Put more simply; temple scribes read God’s word on a piece of parchment.
Here the Bible points out “speaking” the Word and Jesus’ authority (Matthew 7:28-29):
Jesus, being the Word incarnate, is like that very same parchment becoming alive, standing up, and reading itself. Because the church of Jesus is established on the Word, the two are thus inseparable.
Thus far, John’s Gospel presents Jesus as the deity who created all things, and did so through a spoken word, which scripture tells us: “became flesh and dwelt among us.”
This word would later reveal Himself at an appointed time and to a chosen people.
Jesus Revealing His Deity to Nicodemus
Another unmistakable reference to Jesus as God is found in the Gospel of John chapter. In this setting, we find Jesus teaching a Pharisee named Nicodemus.
The subject of this lesson that Jesus, acknowledged as a rabbi by Nicodemus, was the Christian concept of being “born-again.”
Speaking of his impending crucifixion, the subject of this conversation turned to everlasting life.
Jesus referred to himself as “the only begotten son of God,” who would be a sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. When this pronouncement was given, and combined with John chapter 5, it becomes clear that Jesus was claiming equality with God.
In this chapter, Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath day. According to the law of Moses, the Sabbath was a day of rest, and no work was to be done.
Jesus directly referred to God as His Father, and according to Jewish culture, this makes Jesus’s claim blasphemous because in claiming to be God’s Son, Jesus made himself equal with God.
An expert in the Law of Moses, such as Nicodemus, would have clearly understood what Jesus was saying. This relationship between the two was one of the interesting things in scripture.
The Pharisees were the group which would eventually crucify Jesus.
However, and as Jesus was an expert at doing, He spit the loyalty of this council. Being eternally consistent in Word and deed, Jesus. Again, fulfilled His own words (Matthew 10:34-36):
Jesus Equal to God?
An author named Morris introduces us to another facet with respect to the deity of Jesus. Seven (7) times in the Gospel of John, Jesus began by describing Himself with “I AM.”
To understand the significance of these claims, let’s review where they originated.
In Exodus, Moses had an encounter with God. God told Moses that He was sending Moses, to Egypt, with the mission to free the Children of Israel from Pharaoh (and slavery).
Moses asked God: “who shall I tell them sent me”? God answered: “I AM, that I AM; tell them I AM hath sent you.”10 This statement became important to the Children of Israel in the time of Moses, as well their descendants.
As pointed out earlier, seven times in the Gospel according to John, Jesus began a descriptive statement with “I AM.” The significance of this proclamation wouldn’t have been lost on His Hebrew audience. Although there are seven such statements, we will only review a few.
The first example is listed in John chapter 6. Jesus had just fed a multitude of people and began to teach. He tells those assembled — “I AM the bread of life.”
The comparison was with the manna received by the Children of Israel, in the wilderness, during the time of Moses. What was particularly captivating to any who heard, is the authority with which He made this claim.
He didn’t say: “I know where to get the bread from Heaven,” or even: “I will ask God to send bread from Heaven.” Jesus presented Himself, as ‘the bread from Heaven.’
A further “I AM” statement establishing Jesus’ divine authority was: “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”12
Noted 17th century theologian John Gill articulates this position as such — “He (Jesus) is not only true, but truth itself: this may regard His person and character; He is the true God, and eternal life; truly and really man”.
The Gospel of John is replete with examples of Jesus’ deity. The few provided in this paper barely scratch the surface of the complete nature of Jesus.
The synoptic Gospels focused on other aspects of Jesus’s life, ministry, miracles, parables, and other.
Only the Gospel of John reveals, in detail, the evidence of Jesus’s claim of being God come in the flesh.
Above every consideration, the true value of Jesus’ arrival, and eventual departure, was spelled out in the Gospel of John chapter 3.
As was said previously, in the exchange with the Pharisee Nicodemus, Jesus explained the ultimate sacrifice He would make to reconcile humanity to God. However, and to dispel any false notions, although that gift is available to everyone, not everyone will accept it.
Even more powerful concerning Jesus’ sacrifice, and eventual resurrection is that only God, Himself, was sufficient to rescue a dying world.
In the most literal sense, Jesus’s deity saved humankind from the proclivities we have towards sin. In society today, we imagine that the world has many different problems to deal with.
For the purposes of this paper, I would submit that the world only has one problem; sin.
Now that you have the evidence, your conclusion on whether Jesus Christ is God will determine your eternal destination.
The choice is yours.
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