Classical reasons that Christ is God

open-book-1428428_1920Introduction

            Jesus Christ has been the most influential figure throughout history, so much so that every religion looks up to him with respect and not just that but they clearly want him in their own camp. Like for example, Muslims declare him as a prophet and want him in their camp, Mormons want him in their camp, Only Jesus want him too and similarly, there are many others but the point is that Jesus is irresistible in one sense or the other. But who Jesus really is? Is He God? What are the reasons that can convince us of His Deity? These questions would be addressed in order to help others in understanding the real character and nature of Jesus Christ.

Classic Reasons That Christ Is God

            Five classic reasons: Reasoning from ascription, reasoning from the divine attributes, reasoning from God’s actions, reasoning from the adoration from the worshiping community and The Son is equal to the Father, would be discussed in detail and the case for Christ would be set forth. [1]

Reasoning from Ascription

            The Holy Bible has repeatedly called out Jesus Christ as God and that gives us ample reasons to believe in his Deity. Jesus’ Deity is taught in the scriptures because we see that He is referred to as “The only begotten son”; “The Way, The Truth, The Life, The Light” etc. New Testament writers claimed his Deity, for example, in the opening chapter of the Gospel, John says “the Word was God” and “the Word became flesh”. Paul says that Christ is “God over all”. Peter declares that believers receive righteousness from “our God and Savior Jesus Christ”. [2] Speaking of ascription there are about 200 names and titles given to Jesus Christ in the Scriptures that tell us about his nature and role within the Trinity. Jesus declared himself as Alpha and Omega and ascribed himself the title ‘I AM’. Jesus was also called the Lamb of God, the High Priest, and Good Shepherd. All these and the many more titles inadvertently lead us to the conclusion that Christ is God. What’s more interesting is the fact that Jesus never protested when the terms of God were ascribed to Him. [3]

Reasoning from Divine Attributes

            It is argued that if to him were ascribed Divine Attributes that could only be rightly ascribed to God, and if canonical Scripture bears truthful witness, then he must be God. [4] Jesus shares certain attributes with the Father that makes a case for His Divinity, for example, in OT it is taught that God created all things and similarly in NT we learn that Jesus created all things. This is nothing but a declaration of his Divinity. The other attribute of God is to forgive sins and we see that Jesus was given the authority! What amazes us is that according to Scripture God alone has the authority to forgive sins and this same attribute is part of Jesus’s ministry. [5] Sam Shamoun mentions that “It is not hard to see why the others felt that Jesus’ power to forgive sins indicated that God had now given men this authority to proclaim forgiveness. They were seeing a man standing before their eyes who had just performed a supernatural act, healing a paralytic, to prove that he could take away a person’s sins. They couldn’t deny the miracle, since they just witnessed it, and therefore couldn’t contest Jesus’ statements that he had forgiven the paralytic. Yet seeing that Jesus was a human being it never dawned on them that the One standing before them was God in the flesh, which explains why they came to their conclusion.”[6] Jesus was also called the ‘The Holy and the Righteous One’ as we see in Acts 3:14. He is also referred to as the underived being (Col. 1:15). Jesus is also called to be the one who is the uncreated reality and the one who has unsurpassable power as well as exceptional knowledge.

Reasoning from God’s Actions

            Christ performed certain actions and operations which only God could do and thus it counts as an evidence of His Deity. Not only He made specific claims, but He backed them up with genuine miracles. While it is true that in the past God gave people the power to perform miracles, but they only confirmed their servanthood. In the case of Christ, those miracles were intended to prove that He is God. [7] Miracle is an unusual event (wonder) that has its source in God (power) and its significance in that it is a confirmation of God’s message (sign), and Jesus performed these miracles to prove his Deity as well as confirm God’s message.[8] John MacArthur in one of His sermon mentions that, “Jesus did all these miracles in order to show that He was God, so that he could say He came to forgive sinners. Not only to forgive sinners, but to provide the sacrifice on which that forgiveness is based. And by the way, He’s still doing it. He still says to the spiritual paralytic, “Son, your sins be forgiven.” He’ll say it to you if you’ll repent and believe in Him.” [9] Apart from that, Jesus gave life to the dead and He was also able to search the heart and reveal the thoughts of men. Not only that he was himself raised from the dead. All these factors reveal that He’s the eternal Son and the Lord of all.

Reasoning from the Adoration of the Worshipping Community

            In the OT we see that it is forbidden to worship anything but God. We have also learned from the Bible that men were not allowed to accept worship and even angels refused to be worshipped. Christ was worshiped as God and without any resistance, He received worship, on at least 9 occasions, which is due only to God. In Matthew 8:2 the healed leaper worshipped Him and in Matt. 9:18 the ruler knelt before him with his petition. After Jesus stilled the storm, those in the boat worshipped him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Similarly, there are many other examples where we see that Jesus was worshipped. Not to rebuke those people who knelt before Him, worshipped Him and prayed to Him was not only utterly pretentious but it was blasphemous unless Jesus considered himself to be God. [10]

J. Warner Wallace from Cold Case Christianity says that,

“From His first days on earth to His last, Jesus was worshiped as God. Those who were in a position to see His power, hear His teaching and witness His resurrection were convinced by what they saw. Jesus claimed to be God, and then demonstrated the power and authority, that belongs to God alone. The disciples responded in worship, even though their Jewish upbringing taught them the danger of worshiping anything or anyone other than God. The disciples worshiped Jesus without fear because they knew they were not breaking the commands of God. They knew they were still worshiping the only true God.” [11]These facts give us all the more reasons to believe in the Deity of Christ Jesus.

The Son is Equal to the Father

            Jesus’ accusers were pretty determined to kill him because He was calling God His Own Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5:18). This incident took place when Jesus healed a man on Sabbath. Not only He did that, but He was calling God His Own Father and this elevated the Jews’ persecution and plan to kill Him. The crucial point isn’t that they would draw such a conclusion, but that Jesus let it stand. Jesus was indeed treating Himself as equal with God in the way He was talking about God. The other important fact that we can draw from Jesus’ earthly ministry is that the Son does only what the Father does. They act in perfect synchronization. When it comes to judging, The Father doesn’t go off on his own, without any reference to the Son, and judge the world. Adding to that Jesus declares in John 10:30 that “I and The Father are one”. [12]

Conclusion

            The conclusion of our study is that the one who is addressed in Scripture by ascription that could only be appropriate for God, who possesses attributes that only God could possess, who does the works that only God could have done, who is worshipped as God without disclaiming it; and, who is viewed by apostles as being equal with God – such a being must be God. [13]

WORKS CITED

[1] Oden, Thomas C. 1982. CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY. New York, NY: HarperOne., pp. 240-242

[2] Turek, Frank. and Geisler, Norman L. 2004. I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books., p 340

[3] TheAwakening. 2018. “JESUS CHRIST: GOD’S TOTAL SELF-GIFT”. Accessed August 28, 2018. http://3lotus.com/en/Christianity/Jesus-Christ.htm

[4] Oden, Thomas C. 1982. CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY. New York, NY: HarperOne., p. 241

[5] EvangelicalBible. 2018. “JEHOVAH WITNESS AND THE DEITY OF CHRIST”. Accessed August 28, 2018. https://evangelicalbible.com/apologetics/jehovah-witness-and-the-deity-of-christ/

[6] Shamoun, Sam. 2018. “Jesus’s Authority To Forgive Sins”. Accessed August 28, 2018. https://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_jesus_forgives.htm

[7] Thompson, Bert. 2018. “In Defence of Christ’s Deity”. Accessed August 28, 2018. https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article=1335

[8] Geisler, Norman L. 2011. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. Minneapolis, MN: BethanyHouse., pp. 1504-1507

[9] MacArthur, John. 2009. “Jesus’ Authority To Forgive Sin”. Accessed August 29, 2018. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/41-8/jesus-authority-to-forgive-sin

[10] Geisler, Norman L. 1979. CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS. Hyderabad, IN: GSBooks., p. 335

[11] Warner, Wallace J. 2016. “THE DISCIPLES WERE NOT AFRAID TO WORSHIP JESUS (EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN)”.  Accessed August 30, 2018. http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-disciples-were-not-afraid-to-worship-jesus-even-though-they-should-have-been/

[12] Piper, John. 2009. “Jesus: Equal with God.” Accessed August 31, 2018. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/jesus-equal-with-god

[13] Oden, Thomas C. 1982. CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY. New York, NY: HarperOne., p. 242

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