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A good defense, but if I may say so, many of the arguments you used could be used to say that Jesus is God as well. I will admit that simply saying that Jesus doing God's will or speaking God's word, however, does not necessarily lead to Jesus being God; neither does it necessarily lead to Jesus not being God.

Another reason for believing Jesus to be God is also in John 14, verse 10, (New American Bible) where he says "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works." The first part points to Jesus being God, for the Trinity is one in three persons, each person in the other. Perhaps even more clear is where Jesus says that the Father dwells in him. I am not saying, of course, that the Father and the Son are the same, but that they are both God, One God in Three Persons. Please don't ask me to explain this to you, it would be very difficult, and in so doing I might accidentally say something heretical, which I would not want to do.

Now, you are probably going to point out that Jesus said in that above verse "The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own," and that if they are not his own, he must not be God. But it is still possible for him to be God, for him to be a distinct person of the Trinity. A herald proclaiming a message from the king to the people would say a similar thing: "These are not my words, but rather those of the King." Jesus is simply saying that he is speaking and doing the Father's will, not that he is not God.

Ehrbricht Weimar

I would like to become involved in this discussion, as I believe it is important. I offer the following not as any proof of the doctrine of the Trinity, but merely something to consider. I am writing up something on the deity of Christ, and I shall present that in various parts, if I may.

By way of simple introduction, I'd like to address the question: Why is the doctrine of the Trinity important?

The question of the Trinity is not an exercise in mere semantics, as has been previously implied. It is a critical doctrine. As Herman Bavinck said, “Athanasius understood better than any of his contemporaries that Christianity stands or falls with the confession of the deity of Christ and of thee Trinity” (Bavinck, Herman: The Doctrine of God). Bavinck says further: “In the confession of the Trinity throbs the heart of the Christian religion: every error results from, or upon deeper reflection may be traced to, a wrong view of this doctrine.”

So why is the doctrine of the Trinity so important? Wayne Grudem (Grudem, Wayne: Systematic Theology) offers several reasons:

1. The atonement is at stake.

If Jesus is merely a created being and not fully God, it is hard to see how he, a creature, could bear the full wrath of God against all our sins. Could any creature, no matter how great, really save us?

2. Justification by faith alone depends on the full deity of the Son.

If Jesus is not fully God, we would rightly doubt whether we can really trust Him to save us completely. Could we really depend on any creature fully for our salvation?

3. If Jesus in not infinite God, should we pray to Him or worship Him?

If Jesus is merely a creature, worshipping him would be idolatry, and yet we are commanded to worship Him (Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 5:12-14).

4. If Jesus is not God, the creature is exalted in place of the Creator.

If anyone teaches that Christ was a created being but nonetheless one who saved us, then this teaching wrongly beginst to attribute credit for salvation to a creature and not to God Himself. This wrongfully exalts the creature rather than the Creator, something Scripture never allows us to do.

5. The independence and personal nature of God are at stake.

If there is no Trinity, then there were no interpersonal relationships within the being of God before creation, and, without personal relationships, it is difficult to see how God could be genuinely personal or be without the need for a creation to relate to.

6. The unity of the universe is at stake.

If there is not perfect plurality and perfect unity in God Himself, then we have no basis for thinking there can be any ultimate unity among the diverse elements of the universe either.

God willing, I shall post part one of my look at the deity of Christ shortly.

Ehrbricht Weimar and Terton

As promised, here is part one. In addition to the writers cited in the text, as well as to information personally sourced, I have also drawn from the systematic theology works of Wayne Grudem and Millard J. Erickson.

The Eternal Deity of Jesus Christ, part 1

To state a complex truth as simply as possible, the doctrine of the Trinity is the biblical teaching that God exists in the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet He is one God. The Father is not the Son, and is not the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father, and is not the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father, and is not the Son. All three are God, and God is one.

So far, the discussion in this region has centred on the deity of the Son, Jesus Christ. Once that matter has been put to bed, I would like to turn attention to the deity of the Holy Spirit, but for now I will participate in the discussion on how we are to regard Jesus Christ.

Rather than just a verse or two in isolation, I would like to address the topic from a systematic theology approach. Systematic theology is, in essence, an approach to doctrine that asks: “What does the whole Bible say on this subject?” In this case, what does the whole Bible say about the deity of Jesus Christ?

I hope that I do not have to explain the human aspect of Jesus. While some here may not accept the concept of the hypostatic union (that Jesus in His incarnation on earth was both fully God and fully man, and that He will remain fully God and fully man, yet one person, forever) I think we are all agreed on His humanity. If we accept that as a common starting ground, I would like to consider His deity.

DIRECT CLAIMS

There are several direct statements in the Scriptures that Jesus is God.

1. Theos

The Greek word theos (“God”) is usually used in the New Testament to refer to God the Father, but there are times when it is used of Jesus Christ, and in each case the word is used in the strong sense to refer to the one who is the Creator of heaven and earth, the ruler over all.

These passages include John 1:1; John 1:18 (in the older manuscripts); John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8 (quoting Psalm 45:6); and 2 Peter 1:1.

The Old Testament also refers prophetically to the then-coming Messiah as God. One example is Isaiah 9:6.

2. Kurios

The writers of the New Testament ascribe to Jesus the term kurios (“Lord”), especially in His risen and ascended state. The term can be used without high christological connotations, but there are several arguments for the siginifcation of divinity when applied to Jesus.

In the Septuagint, kurios is the usual translation of the name YHWH (Yehovah) and of Adonai, which was ordinarily substituted for it. In addition, several New Testament references to Jesus as “Lord” are quotations of Old Testament texts employing one of the Hebrew names for God (e.g., Acts 2:20-21 and Romans 10:13 [cf. Joel 2:31-32]; 1 Peter 3:14 [cf. Isaiah 8:13]). These references make it clear that the apostles meant to give Jesus the title “Lord” in its highest sense.

Kurios is also used in the New Testament to designate both God the Father, the sovereign God (e.g., Matthew 1:20; Matthew 9:38; Matthew 11:25; Acts 17:24; Revelation 4:11), and Jesus (e.g., Luke 2:11; John 20:28; Acts 10:36; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Philippians 2:11; James 2:1; Revelation 19:6).

When Mary visited Elizabeth months before Jesus' borth, Elizabeth said to Mary: “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43, English Standard Version throughout). Jesus was not even born yet, so Elizabeth could not be using the word “Lord” to mean anything like human “master”. Rather, she must have been using it in the strong Old Testament sense.

Matthew tells us that John the Baptist is the one who cries out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight” (Matthew 3:3). John is quoting Isaiah 40:3, which speaks about the Lord God Himself coming among His people. The context applies the passage to John's mission to prepare the way for Jesus to come. The implication is that when Jesus comes, the Lord Himself will come.

Worth noting is Hebrews 1:10-12, in which the writer quotes Psalm 102, which speaks about the work of the Lord in creation, and applies it to Jesus: “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

In addition to this, William Childs Robinson comments that when Jesus “is addressed as the exalted Lord, he is so identified with God that there is ambiguity in some passages as to whether the Father or the Son is meant (e.g., Acts 1:24; Acts 2:47; Acts 8:39; Acts 9:31; Acts 11:21; Acts 13:10-12; Acts 16:14; Acts 20:19; Acts 21:14; cf. Acts 18:26; Romans 14:11)” (Robinson, William Childs: “Lord” in Baker's Dictionary of Theology).

3. Other strong claims to deity

There are other passages that claim deity for Jesus Christ. For example, when Jesus told his Jewish opponents that Abraham had seen Christ's day, they replied that Jesus wasn't even 50 years old, and could not have seen Abraham (John 8:57). Jesus could have asserted His eternity by saying merely, “Before Abraham was, I was”. However, what he says is, ““Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

The Jews knew that He was using the very words of God when He identified Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus was claiming for Himself the title “I AM”, by which God designates Himself as the ternal existing One, the God who is the source of His own existence and who always has been and always will be. The Jews knew Jesus was claiming to be God. That is why they picked up stones to throw at Him (John 8:59).

Jesus says at the end of the Revelation, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22: 12-13). When this is combined with the statement of God the Father in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, it constitutes a strong claim to equal deity with God the Father.

In John 1:1, John calls Jesus not only “God”, but also “the Word” (logos). His readers would have recognized in that term a dual reference, both to the powerful, creative Word of God in the Old Testament by which the heavens and earth were created (Psalm 33:6) and to the organizing or unifying principle in the universe, the thing that held it together and allowed it to make sense, in Greek thinking. John is identifying Jesus with both of these ideas and saying that He is not only the powerful, creative Word of God and the organizing or unifying force in the universe, but also that He became man: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Jesus also refers to himself often as “the Son of man”. This title is used eighty-four times in the four gospels, but only by Jesus and only to speak of himself (note, e.g., Matthew 16:13 with Luke 9:18). In the rest of the New Testament, the phrase “the Son of Man” (with the definite article “the”) is used only once, in Acts 7:56, where Stephen refers to Christ as the Son of Man. This unique term has as its background the vision in Daniel 7 where Daniel saw one like a “Son of Man” who “came to the Ancient of Days” and was given “dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away” (Daniel 7:13-14). It is striking that this “son of man” came “with the clouds of heaven” (Dan. 7:13). This passage clearly speaks of had heavenly origin and who was given eternal rule over the whole world. The high priest did not miss the point of this passage when Jesus said, “But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). The reference to Daniel 7:13-14 was unmistakable, and the high priest and his council knew that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal world ruler of heavenly origin spoken of in Daniel's vision. Immediately they said, “He has uttered blasphemy.... “He deserves death” (Matthew 26:65-66). Here, Jesus finally made explicit the strong claims to eternal world rule that were earlier hinted at in His frequent use of the title “the Son of Man” to apply to Himself.

Though the title “Son of God” can sometimes be used simply to refer to Israel (Matthew 2:15), or to man as created by God (Luke 2:38), or to redeemed man generally (Romans 8:14, 19, 23), there are nevertheless instances in which the phrase “Son of God” refers to Jesus as the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God Himself (see Matthew 11:25-30; 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Hebrews 1:1-3, 5, 8). This is especially true in John's gospel where Jesus is seen as a unique Son from the Father (John 1:14, 18, 34, 49) who fully reveals the Father (John 8:19; 14:9). As Son He is so great that we can trust in him for eternal life (something that could be said of no created being: John 3:16, 36; 20:31). He is also the one who has all authority from the Father to give life, pronounce eternal judgment, and rule over all (John 3:36; 5:20-22, 25; 10:17; 16:15). As Son he has been sent by the Father, and therefore he existed before he came into the world (John 3:17; 5:23; 10:36).

The first three verses of Hebrews are emphatic in saying that the Son is the one whom God “appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:2). This Son, says the writer, “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint [literally “exact duplicate” - Greek charakter] of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is the exact duplicate of the “nature” (or being, Greek hypostasis) of God, making him exactly equal to God in every attribute. Moreover, he continually upholds the universe “by the word of his power”, something that only God could do.

These passages combine to indicate that the title “Son of God” when applied to Christ strongly affirms his deity as the eternal Son in the Trinity, one equal to God the Father in all his attributes.

God willing, I will continue with part two after the weekend.

Gwrrrrr and Terton

The Eternal Deity of Jesus Christ, part 2

EVIDENCE THAT JESUS POSSESSED ATTRIBUTES OF DEITY

In part 1, we saw specific affirmations if Jesus' deity in many passages of the Bible. In addition to those passages, the Scriptures show many examples of actions in Jesus' lifetime that point to his divine character.

(i) For example, Jesus demonstrated his omnipotence when he stilled the storm at sea with a word (Matthew 8:26-27), multiplied the loaves and fish (Matthew 14:19), and changed water into wine (John 2:1-11).

Those who refuse to accept the deity of Jesus Christ are likely to object at this point and say that Jesus' miracles simply showed the Holy Spirit working through Him, just as the Holy Spirit could work through any human being, and therefore do not demonstrate Jesus' deity. However, the contextual explanations of these events often point not to what they demonstrate about the power of the Holy Spirit but to what they demonstrate about Jesus Himself. For example, after Jesus turned water into wine, John tells us, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11, ESV throughout). It was not the glory of the Holy Spirit that was manifested, but the glory of Jesus Himself, as His divine power worked to change water into wine.

Similarly, after Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples did not say, “How great is the power of the Holy Spirit working through this prophet,” but rather, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27). It was the authority of Jesus Himself to which the winds and the waves were subject, and this could only be the authority of God who rules over the seas and has power to still the waves (cf. Psalm 65:7; Psalm 89:9; Psalm 107:29).

(ii) Jesus asserts his eternity when He says “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58, refer to the discussion in part 1), or “I am the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 22:13).

(iii) The omniscience of Jesus is demonstrated in His knowing people's thoughts (Mark 2:8) and seeing Nathaniel under the fig tree from far away (John 1:48), and knowing “from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him”(John 6:64). Of course, the revelation of individual, specific events or facts is something God could give to anyone who had a gift of prophecy in the Old or New Testaments. However, Jesus' knowledge was much more extensive than that. He knew “ who those were who did not believe”, implying that He knew the belief or unbelief that was in the hearts of all men. In fact, John says explicitly that Jesus “needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25). The disciples could later say to Him, “Now we know that you know all things” (John 16:30). These statements say much more than what could be said of any great prophet or apostle of the Old Testament or New Testament, for they imply omniscience on the part of Jesus.

Finally, after His resurrection, when Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Peter answered, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (John 21:17). Here Peter is saying much more than that Jesus knows his heart and knows that he loves Him. Rather, he is making a general statement (“You know everything”) and from it he is drawing a specific conclusion (“You know that I love you”). Peter is confident that Jesus knows what is in the heart of every person and therefore he is sure that Jesus knows his own heart.

(iv) The divine attribute of omnipresence is not directly affirmed to be true of Jesus during His earthly ministry. However, while looking forward to the time that the church would be established, Jesus could say, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Moreover, before He left the earth, He told His disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

(v) That Jesus possessed divine sovereignty, a kind of authority possessed by God alone, is seen in the fact that He could forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7). Unlike the Old Testament prophets who declared, “Thus says the Lord,” he could preface his statements with the phrase, “But I say to you” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44) – an amazing claim to His own authority. He could speak with the authority of God because He was Himself fully God. He had “all things” delievered into His hands by the Father and the authority to reveal the Father to whomever He chose (Matthew 11:25-27). Such is His authority that the future eternal state of everyone in the universe depends on whether they believe in Him or reject Him (John 3:36).

(vi) Jesus also possessed the divine attribute of immortality, the inability to die. We see this indicated near the beginning of John's gospel, when Jesus says to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). John explains that He was not speaking about the temple made with stones in Jerusalem, “But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken” (John 2:21-22). We must insist of course that Jesus really did die: this passage speaks of the time when he “was raised from the dead”. But it is also significant that Jesus predicts that He will have an active role in His own resurrection: “I will raise it up.” Although other passages tell us that God the Father was active in raising Christ from the dead, here He says that He Himself will be active in His resurrection.

Jesus claims again in another passage in John's gospel the power to lay down His life and take it up again: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:17-18). Here Jesus speaks of a power that no other human being has had – the power to lay down His own life and the power to take it up again. Once again, this is an indication that Jesus possessed the divine attribute of immortality. Similarly, the author of Hebrews says that Jesus “has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life” Hebrews 7:16).

The fact that immortality is a unique characteristic of God alone is seen in 1 Timothy 6:16, which speaks of God as the one “who alone has immortality”.

(vii) Another clear attestation to the deity of Christ is the fact the He is counted worthy to be worshipped, something that is true of no creature, including angels (see Revelation 19:10), but only God alone. Yet Scripture says of Christ that “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Similarly, God commands the angels to worship Christ, for we read, “when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God’s angels worship him'” (Hebrews 1:6).

John is allowed a glimpse of the worship that occurs in heaven, for he sees thousands and thousands of angels and heavenly creatures around God's throne saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12). Then he hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'” (Revelation 5:13). Christ here is called “the Lamb who was slain”, and He is accorded the universal worship offered to God the Father, thus clearly demonstrating His equality in deity.

God willing, I shall post part three later in the week. In that part, we will look at, among other things, the objections of those who say that Jesus is not God because he spoke during His earthly ministry about being subject to God the Father.

Gwrrrrr and Ehrbricht Weimar

Very Interesting!

God Bless You All!

Gwrrrrr and Ehrbricht Weimar

Hi folks,

Please bear with me. I had hoped to post part 3 of my series on the Trinity, but studies have got in the way. I hope to post the next part on this important topic early next week. I appreciate your patience!

The United States of Sanman wrote:Very Interesting!
God Bless You All!

Do you mind if we have this conversation here? I didn't want to clog up your RMB and didn't know if this was the appropriate forum for this, particularly as none of us 2 are in this region???

The Community of Christadelphians wrote:Do you mind if we have this conversation here? I didn't want to clog up your RMB and didn't know if this was the appropriate forum for this, particularly as none of us 2 are in this region???

Not at all! I could never see the harm in a good wholesome, enlightening, and peaceful conversation my friend.

I encourage it! As long as everyone behaves.

May God Bless Us All!

Greetings, The Unified Christians Alliance
The pro-life movement on NationStates is seeking to create a multi-regional alliance of pro-life regions, known as Pro-Life International. Understanding that pro-lifers are outnumbered in size in the world (of NationStates) it is important that we come together to help unite pro-lifers under a single banner- fighting for the inherent Right of all children to live. Please consider applying to Pro-Life International as a region. Please also telegram myself for more information.
Sanman
Living waters

The United States of Sanman wrote:Not at all! I could never see the harm in a good wholesome, enlightening, and peaceful conversation my friend.
I encourage it! As long as everyone behaves.
May God Bless Us All!

Thanks for that. Are we able to arrange a formal discussion after the CRCA Agreement is finalised. This is currently my main focus and taking a lot of my time. Would you mind The United States of Sanman?
tag:The Theocracy of Biblical Orthodoxy, The Republic of Terton

PS: Just on that point - The United States of Sanman would you mind voting in the poll on the Statement of Faith over in Christadelphia? Please do so only if you feel comfortable :)

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