Deity of Jesus Christ

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  • 8/3/2019 Deity of Jesus Christ



    Deity of Jesus Christ

    Paper for the courseDoctrine of God and Christology


    Professor Ran Young Hwan


    Rai, Yub RajM. Div. I

    December 9, 2011

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    Table of Contents:

    IntroductionI. Deity of Christ in Old testamentII. Deity of Christ in New Testament

    A. Self Proclamation of JesusB. Apostles Teaching

    1. Paul2. Peter3. John

    III. Jesus in TrinityIV. The Incommunicable attributes of God in ChristV. Proof in decisions of early Churches


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    The long and very historic questions that still roams around the believers and non

    believers is Is Jesus Christ really God? This question which has been there from the very

    beginning of his churches in the first century have lot of arguments going on in this age too.

    But the answer to the question is quite simple as different proofs in bible have shown us.

    The bible which itself is the word of God has provided us with enough proof that Jesus is

    the God and his Deity should not be questioned and this paper gives instances in all of the

    bible where it is clearly indicated that Jesus is God and his deity existed before the creation

    of the heaven and earth with the father.

    I. Evidences in the Old Testament (OT) Bible

    Genesis 1:26 points out the creation of man as Let us make mankind in ourimage,

    in our likeness, what does that indicate? Wayne Grudem thinks that, already in the first

    chapter of genesis we have the indication of the existence of Jesus Christ1 together with God.

    From the very beginning of the creation in Genesis the existence of triune God could be

    found. In the event that led to meeting the meeting of Abraham with three peoples is

    explained by Sailhamer as the symbol of trinity. Abraham met and welcomed three peoples

    and at the same time it is mentioned that God was with Abraham when having conversation

    about the birth of Isaac which definitely directs towards the triune God hence the existence

    of Jesus and Jesus as equal god to the father God. (Genesis 18) 2

    There are many instances where a verse a two in Old Testament is directed

    towards Christ. And directs in such a way that they refer to him as God. In fact, the whole

    New Testament is based upon the thought that there is essential unity between Jesus Christ

    and the covenant God of Israel.3 So it is not surprising fact to find so many connections in

    the OT which tells us about the deity of Jesus.

    1 Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine: Essential teachings of the Christian faith, (Leicester: Intervarsity

    Press, 2002), p.105

    2 John H Sailhamer, Pentateuch as Narratives(Grand Rapid, Chicago: Zondervan Publishing House,

    2001) p.162

    3 J. Gresham Machen, The Christian Faith in the Modern World(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), p.


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    Isaiah 7:14, prophesize that birth of Jesus Christ as the birth of Immanuel which

    literally means God with us. This conform the deity of Christ. Again in Isaiah 9:6 the birth

    of almighty God everlasting Father is mentioned for the prophecy of birth of Christ. The

    deity of Christ is stressed in OT in many instances where many have written about the God

    that would rule over world. Psalm 110 shows the authority of Christ to be equal to the

    Father God. Micah 5:2 gives us the reason that Christ was always there from the beginning

    and he is not a created being as many of the theologian wrongfully claims. Jeremiah 23:5-6

    has claimed Jesus to be Lord our righteousness. So, prophets have knowledge in the OT that

    Jesus is the Lord and has evidences that proves his deity.

    If that is not enough then Daniel himself has marked Jesus as the one coming from

    the cloud of heaven and was given authority, glory and sovereign power to whom every

    people of the earth worshipped for his deity. (7:13-14). Here the son of man is everlasting

    who was, is and will be. So what more do we need as a proof that Jesus is the God?

    II. Evidences in the New Testament (NT) Bible

    Jesus as a messiah can be seen in many passage in NT where we can get the

    glimpses of evidences that tells us that Jesus is the God. First of all the fulfillment of

    prophecy of Isaiah can be found in Matthew 1:23 where Jesus is claimed to be the Immanuel.

    The significance of not only the fulfillment of prophecy is here but also the fact that Jesus is

    the God is proven by this verse. Similarly verses in the Gospel of John in chapter 1 also

    signify the word who is God and has become the flesh in the form of Jesus. This further

    highlights the deity of Christ.

    NT portrays Jesus as exercising Divine prerogatives and works too, as creation in

    John 1:3,10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2,10 etc, has divine intervention in Luke 10:22; John 3:35; 17:2;

    Heb. 1:3etc, forgives sin in Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5; Col. 3:13, he is resurrected and will judge as

    in Matt. 25:31-,32; John 5:19-29; Acts 10:42; and the final dissolution and renewal of all things

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    as in Eph. 1:10; Heb. 1:10-124. Since all these attributes described by Berkhof are the

    attributes of divine God it signifies the divinity of Jesus as a son of God hence his deity.

    A. Self Proclamation by Jesus Christ himself

    There are instances in Gospel where Jesus has told himself about being God. In

    the question regarding his meeting Abraham in John 8: 57-59 he answered that ...before

    Abraham was born I am this can be taken as the strongest indication by Jesus about his

    deity; in the same way while healing the sick in the book of Mark he forgives the sin. When

    asked about the blasphemies that he poses Jesus answered the questioner by telling that he

    has the power on the earth to forgive sins which depicts his Godly nature.

    Erickson points out the evidence which shows Jesus considering himself in

    equal in status with God. If he was not in equal power with God it would not have been

    appropriate for him to say and does what he did in Matthew 13:41. In this verse he claims

    that both the Kingdom and angles is his. In another Gospel angles are known as "the angels of

    God" (Luke 12:8 9; 15:10) and Kingdom of God is found all over Bible.5 This can be used as

    good proof that Jesus considered and proclaimed himself as equal in essence to God provinghis deity.

    In many dialogues Jesus used the word I say to you (e.g. Mat.5:22) instead of

    some other inferior word which claims his authority over everything. Even the prophets

    when referring to the scriptures says that the word of God came to me. His reference as

    son of god and resurrection and life in many instances in Bible confirms his proclamation

    of deity and his equal authority with God.

    B. Teaching of ApostlesThe teaching of different Apostles also directs us towards the deity of Christ. In

    4 Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B., Eerdmas Publishing

    Company,., 2002), pp 94-95

    5 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1985), pp.


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    different letters written by different apostles we can find their claim on the Christ being the


    1. Apostle PaulIn many epistles that he wrote he have mentioned on numerous occasions about

    Jesus as God and savior of mankind. In his letter to Titus he says our great God and

    savior, Jesus Christ (2:13) indicating the deity of Jesus. Similarly he wrote to Romans

    claiming Christ, who is God over all (9:5) which directs us to obvious deity of Christ. In

    the first letter to Corinthians Paul claims Jesus Christ as our Lord (1:8). In similar context we

    can find other proofs by Apostle Paul indicating the deity of Jesus Christ.

    2. Apostle PeterFirst of all Peter confessed that Jesus is the son of man and God in Matthew

    chapter 16. But in his epistles also he has confessed that Jesus is the Messiah. In II Peter 1:1

    he has written God and savior Jesus Christ.In the same way in I Peter 1:3 he has written

    about the resurrected Christ which once again claims his divinity and deity.

    3. Apostle JohnWhen we read the Gospel of John we can find many passages that relates to the

    deity of Christ. But his writing does not limit to the Gospel but it extends to epistles and to

    the book of revelation. In his epistles and book of Revelation to he has revealed the deity of

    Christ through different passages. He writes that Jesus Christ is the true God in 1 John

    5:20. And in revelation 1:8 he wrote about Jesus being the Alpha and Omega.

    Besides these apostles mentioned above there are others who claims the deity of

    Jesus without any flaw. The writer of Hebrews has mentioned many times about Jesus being

    the Lord and other epistles also commend Jesus as the God. So New Testament as scripture

    written under the guidance of Holy Spirit has fully supported the deity of Jesus. So the

    argument for his not being God could not be supported on the account that he himself is

    truth and truth cannot be modified or denied.

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    III. Jesus Christ in Trinity

    Grudem summarize the biblical teaching in three short lines. First God is three

    person, second each person is fully God and third and finally there is one God.6 He defines

    the unity within the trinity by saying that God is only one being and three persons have one

    essence. As many passage in scriptures points towards one God even though there are three

    persons they are one and Jesus being one of them could identify him as God and hence his


    The suitable explanation about the trinity God is given by Geisler and Saleeb

    Further, the Trinity is not the belief that there are three natures in one

    nature or three essences in one essence. That would be a contradiction.

    Rather, Christians affirm that there are three persons in one essence. This

    is not contradictory because it makes a distinction between person and

    essence. Or, to put it in terms of the law of non contradiction, while God is

    one and many at the same time, he is not one and many in the same sense.

    He is one in the sense of his essence but many in the sense of his


    So by this explanation we can be clear and updated that Christ as a part of

    trinity is in equal essence with God so he is god himself. In further readings of

    trinity we can come across many articles which relate Jesus as God. It could be

    understood that God, who as a father has created everything, who as the son has

    redeemed all the mankind and who as a holy spirit has sanctified all peoples of

    god, and within the unity and perfection of his eternal being three as well as One

    and the Divine three are mutually and personally related to each other.8

    6 Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine: Essential teachings of the Christian faith, (Leicester: Intervarsity

    Press, 2002), pp.106-110

    7 Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1993),


    8 Charles W. Lowry, What is the Doctrine of Trinityin Readings in Christian Theology Vol. I, edited

    by Millard J. Erickson, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House,, 1987) p.419

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    Bible in many verses has explained the same things about trinity which signifies

    the Lordship of all the three which shows clearly the deity of Jesus. Hence through the

    thorough study of trinity doctrine we can understand the deity of Christ.

    IV. The Incommunicable attributes of God in Christ

    God has two kinds of attributes in the names of communicable and in

    communicable attribute.9 Incommunicable attributes are those attributes which cannot be

    transferred from God to its creation but Jesus had all of these attributes that the Father God

    possessed which once again proves the deity of Jesus. Some of the incommunicable

    attributes of God which are found in Jesus are as follows:

    A. Jesus Christ is Omniscient who knows everything. He knew others thoughts(Luke 6:8) he knew Peter claims in John 21:17 that Jesus knew everything. Besides Jesus

    knew everything anybody could imagine.

    B. Jesus Christ is omnipotent who is all powerful. He is able to do thingsexceedingly abundantly according to Ephesians 3:20. Similarly Colossian 2:10 claims that

    He is the head over every power and authority. We have other verses there are proof ofhis omnipotence.

    C. Jesus Christ is immutable who was is and will always be the same. Hebrew13:8 is the best describes the immutability of Christ.

    D. Jesus Christ is omnipresent who is found everywhere. Matthew 18:20 bestdescribes this attribute of him where it is stated that wherever there are two or more peoples

    gathered together in his name his presence would be there.

    E. Jesus Christ is eternal who was in the beginning, who was with the Godbefore the creation. This shows his eternal attribute.

    Besides other incommunicable attributes of God as his creativity and his

    judgments towards mankind are also proofs of his divinity. These attributes further

    enhances his divine character.

    V. Proof in decisions of early ChurchesDespite the rising power of Heresies as Arianism and Pelagianism the doctrine of

    9 From the book Systematic Theologyby Louis Berkhof pp 57-81

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    Trinity and deity of Christ survived through the early churches. Arianism which came

    through the brain of Arius denied the deity of Christ and argued that he was not there from

    the beginning had power in that period but that did not flourish despite the persecution

    they applied in the Trinitarian through the misuse of power. It is mainly due to the fact that

    the Holy Spirit did not allow the heresies to be spread. And early churches decided to

    condemn the heresies of Arius and Pelagius. The new form of religion in the name of

    Gnosticism also flourished during this time. Even though they had more philosophical

    elements within them they were not able to attract the intellectual circles too.

    All these happened because many church fathers fought for the cause of truth and

    they succeeded, through the power of Holy Spirit to dismiss all the heretic thoughts. In 325

    in the council of Nicaea the Trinitarian doctrine was passed which saw the victory of truth

    over heresies and also the deity of Christ was conformed unanimously. So through the

    events of early churches when the fathers like Augustine and Athanasius fought against the

    world for trinity and truth we can learn that truth always win and truth is Jesus Christ who

    is God himself.


    Looking at all these proofs given in Bible and outside in academic world as well as

    the history of the churches we can conclude that Jesus Christ is The God and he is divine. So

    it is unnecessary to argue against the deity of Christ. His deity as he is, is always uncut fact.

    He was there in the beginning, he is with us at present and he will be coming back visibly to

    take us to his Kingdom. So he is eternal, omniscient and all powerful Lord. We dont need to

    prove that he is divine because himself in the truth whose deity could be found in every

    aspect of him.

    NB: All the bible verses used in this paper are taken from the New