Section 2 .. Reasons To Believe/Jesus


003white  Index To Section 2.. Reasons To Believe       >        Index To Articles On Jesus         >       Deity Of Christ.. Part I


The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?

Part I - So Who Was Jesus? How Those Who Knew Him Referred to Him and What They Said About Him

Carol Brooks

Detailed Index To All Five Sections

PART I - Introduction and How Jesus Was Viewed By Those Who Knew Him.
Those Who Knew Jesus Referred to Him as the Logos and Theos

PART II - What Jesus Said About Himself
 Considering the claims Jesus made, the titles he gave Himself, and the worship He accepted, the only possible conclusion one can come to is that He suffered from grandiose delusions - or He was the Son of God as He said.

PART III - Jesus' Claims - Authenticated By Some Very Impressive Evidence
Miracles, Prophecy, and The Strikingly Significant Parallels between Yahweh in The Old Testament and Jesus in the New

PART IV - Rebuttal Arguments
Five passages in particular are often used as proof that Christ was not Deity.

PART V - Explaining The Unexplainable and Conclusion
So how can all this be explained? How can Jesus and the Father be one, yet distinguishable from each other?
Last, but far from least, one has to come to a decision about Jesus.


John 1:1-3 - The Logos

Please note that I have often referred to the Supreme Deity as "God the Father" - this done to differentiate between Him and Jesus, whom the Bible calls the Son of God. But more about that later.

Perhaps the most common disagreement about Christianity is not whether a person called Jesus ever lived, but who exactly He was. Even people who are not Christians will usually agree that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was a unique personality. However, opinions as to who He was/is are sharply divided.

Many people see Jesus as simply a great moral teacher, perhaps even an extraordinary "way-shower". Others believe that He was a God in Heaven, but divested Himself of His 'Godhood' when He came to earth. A few hold to the opposite - claiming that Jesus was a good man who was born human but because His exemplary life and perfect character were so pleasing to God, He was raised and adopted into the Godhead after His death. Yet others regard Jesus as no more than a man who achieved enlightenment. And I doubt that many New Agers would recoil at accepting Jesus' divinity because they believe that - in some sense - we are all divine.  

The answer to the question of who Jesus really is cannot be filed under 'differences of opinion' and left at that, since the practical implications for every person on this planet is enormous. If Jesus was not who he claimed to be and was not who the Bible says He is, then we can at best safely ignore His teachings as the product of the devious mind of an out and out charlatan, or the ranting of one who was vastly deluded or even insane. However, if He really is God, then we need to sit up and pay very close attention to what He had to say. For example

    "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 NASB)

If our entire future hinges on our knowing God and the Messiah whom He sent, then we have to know who this Messiah was. 

Besides which, if Jesus is God, then it is insulting to Him to say that He is not. On the other hand, if Jesus is not God, it is not a good idea to call Him God's equal, especially in view of the Biblical passages which make it very clear that God takes a very dim view of His glory being given to another.

However, the New Testament abounds with so much proof of the deity of Jesus Christ, that it is bewildering to hear it repudiated by so many who claim to believe in the Bible. Even some who call themselves Christians will not admit to Christ's Deity. For instance the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that "the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth". [01].

Perhaps what skeptics are looking for is at least one passage in which the Bible unambiguously states that "Jesus is God", or perhaps an unequivocal "I am God" statement from the lips of the Saviour Himself. However, because Scriptural passages are not phrased exactly as they would like they assure themselves that the Bible never once identifies Jesus as God.

We in the 21st century, may not understand the significance of the numerous claims Jesus made and the titles He gave Himself, but His opponents immediately recognized them as being declarations of equality with God. Which, of course we can take with a pinch of salt if so inclined. What we cannot so easily overlook is the fact that, among other things, Jesus managed to fulfill prophecies made centuries earlier, backed up His claims with some pretty impressive miracles, to say nothing of the fact that He came to life after being in a tomb for three days. In other words, He wasn't just spouting hot air air. See Section on The Resurrection

Besides which, using the Greek word theos, the Gospel authors did explicitly call Him God..

Jesus' Message
All too many people picking out a random phrase or two, think 'love' was Jesus' core message. Unfortunately, they are terribly wrong... In fact, Jesus never stopped talking about the "kingdom of God", which phrase is used over 50 times in the four Gospels alone. He even said that the proclamation of the Kingdom was the reason He was sent to earth (Luke 4:43). But what and where is this kingdom?  Here is what is really paradoxical ... the Bible's description of this kingdom of God, also called heaven is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there', but matches, in every respect, the world most men and women would choose to live in. a place of peace and safety, where there is no crime, hunger and disease, war and above al -no death. Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, Christianity promises exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of.

Since no discussion about the Deity of Christ can be undertaken without referring to what is probably one of the most controversial passages in the entire New Testament, the first chapter of the Gospel of John is where we should begin...

Logos (word)
John's Gospel opens with the words

    In the beginning was the Word (Gr. logos), and the Word (Gr. logos) was with God (Gr. theos), and the Word (Gr. logos) was God (Gr. theos). He was in the beginning with God (Gr. theos). All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3 NASB)

He made no clarifying statement because his readers - both Jew and Gentile would have been familiar with the term.

Logos was a commonly used word in Greek philosophy. In pre-Socratic philosophy, it was the principle governing the cosmos - "The power that kept the world running in an orderly rather than chaotic fashion - the "Ultimate Reason" that controlled all things" (David Guzik). Aristotle used the term to refer to the "reasoned discourse" or "the argument" in the field of rhetoric. When all was said and done, logos was an abstract philosophical concept.

However, in Hebrew thought the logos is God's medium of communication with the human race and has creative power itself. The Septuagint (a 300-200 BC. Greek translation of the OT) used it in place of the Hebrew dābār that denoted the Lord's actual words to someone and the word's creative power. Because God's word embodies His divine will, creation is brought about by God speaking ie. He spoke and it was so.

    1) After these things the word (Heb. dābār) of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great."  (Genesis 15:1 NASB)

    2) By the word (Heb. dābār) of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host... For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalms 33:6, 9 NASB)

Thus, in the New Testament logos has most often been translated into the English word (occasionally statement, saying, speech etc.) The Gospel is also called the word (Gr. logos) of God.

    But when the young man heard this statement (Gr. logos)  he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.  (Matthew 19:22 NASB)

    "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 NASB)

    And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. (Acts 13:49 NASB)

However John took this familiar concept a whole lot further

Jesus as Logos
Remember that the Jews were fiercely monotheistic, their knowledge of who God was had been handed down from generation to generation and was thus deeply ingrained. No Jew would ever have believed in any God other than the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph - the Great I AM. No Jew would have called any other creature theos (God). Yet, in his prologue John clearly stated that in the beginning Jesus Christ as the Word (logos) was with God (theos), and was God (theos)

When, in verse 14, he asserted that the logos "became flesh and dwelt among us" he was saying something that no Jew could never have imagined in their wildest dreams. Their logos - that that had created the earth - that was the sole mediator between them and God - that had once been heard from a cloud on a mountain top or through the voice of the prophets - had come to earth in human form.

John's attributing personal qualities to the logos and declaring that this logos was "the only begotten God" (Vs 18) and "the Son of God" (Vs. 34, 49) was very likely to have  shocked and astounded both Jew and Gentile - and taken a lot of getting used to.

The Matter of The "a"

However, the latter part of verse 1 of John's Gospel has been changed by the Jehovah's Witnesses Bible (The New World Translation), to

    "...the Word was a God" (Emphasis Added)

As Brian Wright, currently an adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, says, (Emphasis Added)

Until 1996, when Bart Ehrman first published The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, New Testament scholars agreed unanimously in their textual certainty of the statement in John 1:1, "and the Word was God" (a verse that appears in at least one manuscript prior to the second century). This scholarly agreement continues today with the exception of Ehrman. In this case, John 1:1, he remains unpersuaded by the scholarly consensus because of his hesitancy to dismiss a single eighth-century manuscript - a manuscript that has an additional Greek article in front of "God." This manuscript, then, gives him the "distinct impression" that the Orthodox Church changed the text in order to confirm the full deity of Christ. (Ehrman, Orthodox Corruption, 179). [02] See Footnote I


Theos - God The Father
The Greek word Theos means deity. It is used almost 1200 times in the New Testament - most often for God the Father. In Jesus' words, 

    'But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: I am the God (Gr. theos) of Abraham, and the God (Gr. theos) of Isaac, and the God (Gr. theos) of Jacob'? He is not the God (Gr. theos) of the dead but of the living."  (Matthew 22:32 NASB)

Theos - Jesus Christ
Many people go to great lengths in the effort to prove that John did not say that Jesus as the Word was theos. However, he was not the only person to do so. In fact, John wasn't even the first. That place goes to the angel who told Joseph that Mary would bear a child.

The Angel: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, God (Gr. theos) with us.(Matthew 1:23 NASB)

The NT also records several other instances in the NT when Jesus was explicitly called "theos".

Thomas, was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. When he heard that the other disciples had seen the resurrected Christ, Thomas was frankly skeptical. He said he wouldn't believe it until he had seen Jesus for himself. When the Messiah appeared to Thomas He told the disciple to

    "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord (Gr. kurios) and my God (Gr. theos) !" (John 20:27-28 NASB)

While some claim that Thomas was praising God not Jesus, the text clearly says that Thomas said these words "to Him", i.e. to Jesus. And while it is possible that the disciple was carried away by the excitement of seeing Jesus alive, the fact remains that Jesus did not rebuke him at all. If Thomas had been out of line, I cannot imagine Jesus would have ignored it when He Himself had previously said only the Lord God was to be worshipped (Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8). Much to the contrary, Jesus accepted this address and went on to say "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (Vs. 29). This short, but extremely significant incident is compelling testimony that Jesus was in fact Deity, or was under the impression that He was..

Luke: After Jesus had exorcised a number of demons from the demoniac of Gadara, the man begged to accompany Jesus, but Jesus sent him away, saying,

    "Return to your house and describe what great things God (Gr. theos) has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:38-39 NASB)


And we know that the Son of God (Gr. theos) has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God (Gr. theos) and eternal life.  (1 John 5:20 NASB)

Paul: Note Paul's final words to 1) the elders of the Church of Ephesus and 2) to the Philippian church

    1. "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God (Gr. theos) which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28 NASB)

    2. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God (Gr. theos), did not regard equality with God (Gr. theos) a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7 NASB)

When Paul said Jesus took the form of a servant, it is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ becoming a flesh and blood human being.  Therefore, it should be equally obvious that, when he said that Jesus existed "in the form of God", Paul was referring to Jesus being God.

Paul and Peter
The following two verses, one by Paul, and the other by Peter, have the same exact wording.

    looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God (Gr. theos) and Savior, Christ Jesus,  (Titus 2:13 NASB)

    Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God (Gr. theos) and Savior, Jesus Christ:  (2 Peter 1:1 NASB)

There are differences of opinion regarding these two passages. Although some believe that two separate persons are in view, the Greek construction indicates one person who is our God and Saviour. While this may not be something easy to understand - much less explain, it hardly matters if you consider the word  "appearing" in the first quote. No where in the Bible is it ever said that God the Father will appear to anyone at any time. Only Christ will "appear"  

    that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Timothy 6:14 NASB)

    but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,  (2 Timothy 1:10 NASB)

    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: (2 Timothy 4:1 NASB)

Hebrews: Finally we have this verse in Hebrews that has God the Father saying

    But of the Son He says, "Your throne, O God (Gr. theos), is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of Your kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8 NASB)

The New Testament Benedictions
What's more this mindset continued through the writing of the New Testament. Many of the epistles contained benedictions - invocations of divine blessing some of which were given on behalf of the Father. For example...

    To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1:2 NASB)

Other books list Jesus alone which makes it very clear that the apostles saw Jesus on the same plane as God the Father.

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Romans 16:24 NASB)

    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:18 NASB)

In fact, in most of them, Jesus is mentioned on an equal footing as the Father as the source of both grace and peace. 

    to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7 NASB)

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:2 NASB)

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2 NASB)


The boldness to call Jesus theos did not begin as a distortion of the teachings of the apostles. The earliest church did not add it to the original doctrine. It was not invented in the third century as an innovation to combat Arianism. Constantine did not dream it up. The church's confession of Christ as Theos began in the first century during His lifetime and with His full consent.


1) the claims Jesus made, the significance of which were not lost on His opponents who recognized them as being declarations of equality with God

2) The titles He gave Himself

3) the fact that although the Scriptures explicitly teach that Yahweh alone is to be worshipped (and warns of the consequences of worshipping other gods, Jesus accepted worship as His due.


Footnote I- The Matter of The "a"
While dozens of scholars have made a considerable effort to explain the correct technical translation of this verse, the problem is that these discussions, centered around the intricacies of Greek grammar, are difficult for the majority of us to understand. (If you would like to explore this in detail, you may want to read John 1:1 Meaning and Translation, by James White at http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html and/or See Footnote I)

What all of us can easily grasp is the following,

A large part of the debate is centered around the fact that Greek grammar has a definite article, but no indefinite article. That is, Greek has an equivalent of the English "the", but there is no word for the English "a" or "an". Therefore, the insertion of the article "a" into John 1:1, has been done in light of preconceived theology.

An article entitled The Truth About the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit on New World Publishers.Org says,

    There is no indefinite article in front of either noun because there was no indefinite article in Koine Greek. But most translations insert the word "a" because Greek grammar and the context require it. [01]

I am not sure what exactly they mean but using the indefinite article in English only makes grammatical sense. Many sentences would sound very strange without it. For example, 

     "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was (a) murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is (a) liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 NASB)

However, to say that John 1:1 requires the insertion of the indefinite article, because the Bible states that Jesus is not Almighty God, is absolute hogwash. As shown in this article the Bible very clearly, and definitively, points to Jesus as being God.

Furthermore, the New World Translation is anything but consistent. There are many times the NWT does not translate theos into "a god," but simply as "God." In fact they do so just five verses later

    There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John (John 1:6 NWT)

    No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god (note the non-capitalization) who is at the Father's side is the one who has explained Him. (John 1:18 NWT) [PLACE IN TEXT


End Notes
[01] JW.Org. Who Is Michael the Archangel? https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/who-is-michael-the-archangel-jesus/ ].

[02] Brian J. Wright. Jesus as Theos. http://www.equip.org/article/jesus-as-god/

[03] The Truth About the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit New World Publishers.Org


Index To The Deity of Christ’

Artwork provided courtesy of James "theo" Theopistos.