Was Jesus God?

Paul Derengowski, ThM

 

The deity of Jesus Christ is one of the most essential doctrines of biblical and historical Christianity.  Yet, it is also one of the most controversial doctrines, given that many claiming to be “Christians” have either denied Jesus’ deity, or have so watered down its significance as to make the doctrine of negligible importance.  Therefore, does the Bible teach that Jesus was God?  If so, just what impact does such a doctrine have upon the rest of humanity?  A few passages from the New Testament will bear out the fact that Jesus was God, and that because of that fact, each and every human’s eternal destiny is directly affected by the decision they make concerning him.

Matthew 1:23—“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’”

One does not have to read far into the New Testament before one comes across an explicit statement concerning the deity of Jesus.  In Matthew 1:23, the author tells us that Jesus has a name, aside from the name “Jesus”—which means, incidentally “Messiah,” or is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua” or the “Lord (Yahweh) saves”)—and that name is Immanuel (Heb. עִמָּנוּ אֵל), or literally “God is with us.”  The first time the name appears is in Isaiah 7:14 (and again at Isa. 8:8), where a prophecy is made concerning the future coming day of judgment upon Judah.  Nevertheless, with judgment comes delivery and restoration, and it is this same person would provide both under the additional name “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace”(Isa. 9:6).  According to Matthew, when Jesus was born into the world, he not only fulfilled this prophecy (Matt. 1:22), but it stresses that only God himself could do it.  Some might argue that Isaiah does not point to Jesus, but was speaking of someone else.  Yet, Matthew was writing under the inspiration of God to pen what he did in reference to Jesus, meaning that Isaiah’s prophecy not only had a double entendre connected to it—one of which Isaiah most likely was unaware—but that it would take the incarnation of Jesus to move Matthew to reveal just what the full meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy was.  Clearly, God was with Israel in the person of Jesus (cf. Jn. 1:11), signifying his deity both during and after Isaiah’s prophecy.

John 1:1—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1 has been perhaps attacked more by heretics, cultists, and non-Christians down through the centuries than any other verse in Scripture.  The reason is simply because its clarity, precision, and explicitness make it an obvious target by those seeking to discredit Jesus’ deity.  Moreover it is a classic text used by orthodox Christians to prove that Jesus was indeed God, very God.  Therefore, in order to counter the obvious, those outside the Christian faith have spent an inordinate amount of time and resources to counter, twist, and distort John’s claims.  Nevertheless, they stand as a testimony to all those willing to accept them at face value.  Jesus was God’s personified expression who brought all things into existence when He spoke.  Jesus shared an eternal and harmonious relationship with God, as God, qualitatively.  In other words, Jesus was not a demigod, as the Arians and Jehovah’s Witnesses would have everyone believe, nor was he the same person as God the Father, as the Modalists and Oneness Pentecostals argue.  Instead, he shared all the same qualities and attributes of God the Father, yet as God the Son, or as Wallace points out, “he shared the essence of the Father, though they differed in person.  The construction of the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.1

John 1:18—“No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Commensurate with the preceding reference found in John 1:1 is John 1:18.  Although some translations, such as the King James Version, render the second phrase “the only begotten Son”—which is acceptable so long as one understands that Son or Son of God when speaking of Jesus is actually a reference to Jesus’ deity as well 2—“only begotten God” is a better translation stemming from textual evidence.  As Metzger explains,

With the acquisition of p66 and p75, both of which read θεός, the external support of this reading has been notably strengthened.  A majority of the Committee regarded the reading μονογενὴς υίος, which undoubtedly is easier than μονογενὴς θεός, to be the result of scribal assimilation to Jn 3.16, 18; 1 Jn 4.9.  The anarthrous use of θεός (cf. 1.1) appears to be more primitive.  There is no reason why the article should have been deleted, and when υἱος supplanted θεός it would certainly have been added.  The shortest reading, ὁ μονογενής, while attractive because of internal considerations, is too poorly attested for acceptance as the text. 3

Therefore, when Jesus was incarnated into the world, he did not come as a mere man.  Instead, he “explained” God—from the Greek word ἐξηγέομαι (exegeomai)—which Jesus could do since he was God.

John 20:28—“Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”

In another Johannine reference declaring Jesus’ deity, one of Jesus’ disciples, “Doubting Thomas” becomes the center of attraction.  The preceding events has Jesus crucified, resurrected and appearing to the rest of the disciples in Thomas’ absence.  The disciples share with Thomas Jesus’ visitation, but he refused to believe until he saw physical evidence the wounds Jesus’ incurred during the crucifixion.  John’s narrative tells us that after eight days Jesus reappears, at which time Thomas reverently believes Jesus to be “My Lord and my God.”  Some translations such as the NAS (New American Standard) include an exclamation point to conclude verse 28, but that may be stretching the context to mean something that it does not otherwise mean.  Thomas may have been surprised, but probably not to the point of exclamation.  Subdued might be a better way to describe his reaction; subdued to the point of humility and reverence.  In the instance of profanation, as is sometimes suggested by those in the Watchtower, in the words of D. A. Carson, “Thomas’ utterance cannot possibly be taken as shocked profanity addressed to God (if to anyone), a kind of blasphemous version of a stunned ‘My word!’  Despite its popularity with some modern Arians, such profanity would not have been found in first-century Palestine on the lips of a devout Jew.” 4

Romans 9:5—“whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever.  Amen.”

A verse that is not quoted as often as it probably should be when it comes to the deity of Jesus is Romans 9:5.  Part of the reason for the lack of emphasis is simply because Bible versions such as the KJV and NAS do not offer precise enough translations of the verse for the reader to take notice.  As seen above, the NAS renders the final phrase “God blessed forever,” while the KJV has, “God blessed for ever,” leaving the reader with the impression that God has blessed Jesus by allowing him dominion over His creation.  But, upon closer inspection, that is not what the verse is saying at all.  Instead, a better translation of the verse would read, “the one who is over all, blessed God into the eternals.  Amen.”  The reason why it would be better to translate the last phrase “blessed God” is because the word “blessed” is an adjective, and it is magnifying the word “God.”  It is not a verb as the NAS and KJV translate it to be.  Therefore, the Apostle Paul is telling the Roman Christians that not only are his kinsmen, the Jews, the heirs of adoption, but that it is from among them that the “blessed God,” Jesus Christ, would come.  And as already seen above in Matthew 1:23, that is exactly what took place when Immanuel, or “with us is God,” was incarnated in the person of Jesus.  So, Jesus is not only called “God” in this verse, according to Paul he is the “blessed God.”

Philippians 2:6-7—“who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

In a passage that the Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to take great joy in distorting, the apostle Paul makes a declaration concerning the person of Jesus and his deity.  It in Paul tells his readers that Jesus “existed in the form of God” (μορφῃ θεου̑) prior to his incarnation.  Yet, even though Jesus was God, he set aside that status and took on the form of a lowly bondservant made in the likeness of humans.  As Oden points out, “He did not assert self-interestedly the power he rightly had.  He made not display of it.  The Son gave up the independent exercise of divine attributes and powers that constituted his equality with God.5  The form of God and laying aside of the divine attributes, though, are often ignored or overlooked by those attempting to negate Jesus’ deity.  Instead, their focus is upon the phrase “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” which fails to deal with the whole context of what Paul is saying.  Of course Jesus did not regard equality with God to be a thing to be seized upon because in order to for him to fulfill his mission as the Savior of humanity, he had to take upon himself the form of a human and experience, suffer, and die as a human.  At no time did Jesus ever cease to be God.  He simply laid that aspect of his person aside for a short time to accomplish God’s intention to pay the sin debt of humanity.  That act required Jesus’ absolute humiliation as a human and harmonious reliance upon God the Father to succeed in doing that which only God could do, namely satisfy the sin debt owed to God by the sacrificial death of the God-man.  A mere human being would have been an unsatisfactory sacrifice, since a finite human could not atone for the sin committed against an infinite God.  Only God could do that, and more specifically, only Jesus, in the form of a human being, who previously existed only in the form of God.

Colossians 1:15-16—“And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.  16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created by Him and for Him.”

A proto-Gnostic influence was circulating when Paul wrote his letter to the church at Colossae.  Among its many beliefs was the idea that Jesus was “only an ‘appearance’ of God in human form, He only seemed to suffer.” 6 That Jesus was not really God incarnated in the flesh, but was rather he was one of several divine emanations or aeons, whose original existence was produced from other aeons for the express purpose of setting free Wisdom’s ill-fated attempt to know the Abyss, or the eternal principle of all being.  Jesus does this through gnosis, or knowledge.  The Christ, who is a different entity and separate from the aeon Jesus, eventually descended upon the human Jesus—who is not to be confused with the human Jesus—to bring gnosis to the human spirits caught up in the evil, physical, material world, whereby we might be set free and return to the Pleroma.  Such philosophical ideas continue on in such religious systems as Hinduism and Mormonism, with the former advocating reincarnation, and the latter in Eternal Progression.

Yet, it is because of these pre-Gnostic notions floating about that Paul writes his definitive statement.  To Paul Jesus is the literally the icon or “image” of God, which is not to be confused with a physical image, since God is not a physical being (Jn. 4:24).  Instead, Jesus is exactly like God (Heb. 1:3) in his essence and attributes.  Moreover, Paul tells us that Jesus is the “first-born” (Gr. πρωτότοκος) of all creation, or that he is preeminent over creation, given that he brought all things into existence as the Creator. 7 Of course, those among the Jehovah’s Witnesses scoff at the idea that Jesus created “all things”—as do the Mormons for that matter—citing that Colossians 1:16 has been mistranslated.  Instead, they believe that he created all “other” things, as is viewed in their New World Translation.  But, there is no Greek grammatical precedence, nor hermeneutical justification for inserting “other” into the text.  Instead, what the Watchtower “translation committee” has done is deliberately alter the text that otherwise stands a clear testament to the power, authority, and deity of Jesus Christ.  In two verses, the apostle Paul manages to not only counter the esoteric and heretical claims of those who would eventually advocate a full-blown Gnostic philosophy, but also every erroneous teaching and doctrine that would conclude that Jesus was anything less than God, very God.

Titus 2:13—“looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;”

In an expression that Paul reserved for the last three letters that he wrote, otherwise known as the Pastoral Epistles, Paul confesses that it is God who is our Savior (1 Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Tit. 1:3; 2:10; 3:4).  Closely related to such a confession, Paul tells his readers that Jesus is the Savior (2 Tim. 1:10; Tit. 1:3; 2:13; 3:6).  In Titus 2:13 we see the overlapping of the two confessions culminating in the statement that Jesus is not only the Savior, but God as well.  The statement itself is an example of what is known as the Granville Sharp Rule.  That rule of Greek grammar basically states that when two nouns are connected by the conjunction καί and a definite article precedes the first noun, and not the second, then there is unified equation between the two nouns.  In Titus 2:13, “the great God” is in the genitive case and is followed by the καί conjunction along with “our Savior Jesus Christ, which is also in the genitive case, yet is lacking the definite article.  Of course some neo-Arians and Unitarians will scoff at such a conclusion, along with some well-meaning Christian scholars who do not completely understand the rule.  Nevertheless, as Wallace argues,

It has frequently been alleged that qeo,j is a proper name and, hence, that Sharp’s rule cannot apply to constructions in which it is employed.  We have already argued that θεός is not a proper name in Greek.  We simply wish to point out here that in the TSKS [article-substantive-καί-substantive] construction θεός is used over a dozen times in the NT (e.g., Luke 20:27; John 20:27; Rom 15:6; 2 Cor 1:3; Gal 1:4; Jas 1:27) and always (if we exclude the christologically significant texts) in reference to one person.  This phenomenon is not true of any other proper name in said construction (every instance involving true proper names always points to two individuals).  Since that argument carries no weight, there is no good reason to reject Titus 2:13 as an explicit affirmation of the deity of Christ. 8

Others are inclined to agree.  Dana and Mantey tell us that τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καί ἡμῶν καί σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χπριστοῦ, asserts that Jesus is the great God and Savior,” 9while Zerwick and Grosvenor conclude, “the one art. favours interpreting the whole phrase of Christ cf. Eph. 5:5.” 10 According to Kenneth Wuest, “The latter [part of Titus 2:13] conforms to the rule of Greek syntax known as Granville Sharp’s rule” and that it may be viewed as “a polemic against the emperor-worship of [Paul’s] day.” 11 Although Cullmann is less certain in dealing with Titus 2:13, he nevertheless concludes that

it is probable that Christ is called ‘God’ here…The phrase θεὸς καί σωτήρ is often used as a formula referring to God, and it is probably not to be torn apart.  This suggests that ‘God’ is not to be distinguished from ‘Saviour Jesus Christ’ here.  In addition, the following clause, which (like that in Col. 2.2 f.) certainly refers to Christ, also points to a function which is otherwise attributed only to God.  Finally, a simultaneous ‘appearing’ of God and Christ does not correspond to the usual expectation. 12

Given the overall Christology of Paul, and the grammatical structure in which he has written this particular passage, Titus 2:13 gives a clear indication that Paul believed Jesus to be God, and only those with an aberrant Theology and Christology, along with poor grasp of Greek grammar and exegesis, 13would argue to the contrary.

Hebrews 1:8-9—“But the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.  Thou has loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore god, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions.”

The opening chapter of the Book of Hebrews is a veritable tour de force when it comes to establishing the deity of the person of Jesus.  Verses 2 and 4 declare the creative activity of the Son, which is otherwise only attributable to God.  In verse 3 we are told that his nature 14corresponds exactly with that of God’s.  Verses 4 through 7, along with 13 and 14 tells, us that he is of a different order than the angels.  In fact, he is an object of their worship, as well as a person whom they minister to.  Verses 11 and 12 assert the eternality of the Son in contrast to the created order, the latter of which is temporal.  Moreover, verse 12 speaks to Jesus’ immutability, which is later echoed by the Hebrew writer in 13:8 which declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.”  Yet, it is in verses 8 and 9 that we have the absolute declaration coming directly from God Himself that the Son is God as well.  The words have been quoted from Psalm 45:6 where the Messianic King is in view.  Van Gemeren points out there that, “Our Lord as the descendent of David inherited the royal throne (cf. Heb 1:8-9).  As the ‘Son’ of God, his kingdom is everlasting.” 15  The writer to the Hebrews, though, attributes them to Jesus, who is called “God” twice by God.  Aside from perhaps the prologue in John 1, Hebrews 1 gives a clear indication of the biblical attitude concerning the divine status of the Son which only the most hardened heart could possibly deny.

2 Peter 1:1—“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 and Savior, Jesus Christ:”

In a verse with the same grammatical construction as Titus 2:13, 16 the apostle Peter in the salutation to his second letter declared that Jesus is “our God and Savior.”  Interestingly, it is the only time in either of Peter’s two letters that he makes such a statement attributing deity to Jesus.  In a footnoted comment dealing with 2 Thessalonians 1:12, which could also be referenced as a verse denoting Jesus’ deity, Ethelbert Stauffer curiously attempts to distinguish God from Jesus based on the inclusion of “our” (Gr. ἡμω̑ν).  The same inclusion is evidenced in 2 Peter 1:1—του̑ θεου̑ ἡμων καὶ σωτη̑ρος Ἰησου̑ Χριστου̑.  His conclusion is that with such a construction God “is not to be related to Christ” as one person. 17 Yet, as Wallace, 18 Robertson, 19 and Guthrie 20 all point out, such a conclusion is unwarranted, since Peter goes on to construct similar sentences where the two subjects are the same person (cf. v. 11, 2:20; 3:2, 18).  Stauffer does not actually address 2 Peter at all, but perhaps if he would have his conclusion concerning 2 Thessalonians 1:12 would have been different.  This is evidenced by his Christological outlook when he wrote,

Thus the basic christological ideas of Paul and John are faithfully preserved.  Christ is the Representative of God.  But the Christology of the NT is carried to its logical conclusion with the thorough-going designation of Christ as θεὸς.  He is not merely a Representative of God.  He is the Representative of God in the world and in history.  For He is instituted and equipped by God the Father.  He is Himself the Bearer of the divine office. 21

Clearly, given that 2 Peter 1:1 is written after the same manner as Titus 2:13, which was written by Paul, Stauffer’s conclusion could readily be applied to Peter as much as it is applied to Paul and John.  Peter believed as much as John and Paul that Jesus was not only our Savior, but also our God.  Hence, we have his confession to that effect found in his second letter.

1 John 5:20—“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.”

Our final reference brings us back to John the Beloved and the first of his epistles to an unknown group of Christians who were under attack by a similar, if not exactly the same, kind of anti-Christian philosophy that Paul wrote about in his address to the Colossian Church.  John, in an attempt to convey confidence and assurance amid a Docetic Gnostic barrage instigated by those who had left the Christian church (2:19), makes a definitive statement about the person of Jesus regarding his deity, that some have disputed on grammatical grounds.  John tells his readers that “we know that the Son of God has come.”  The word “know,” translated from both the Greek words ginōskō (γινώσκω) and oida (οἰ̑δα), appears 40 times throughout the short five chapters of 1 John.  John is emphatically rebutting the Gnostic notion that one must bow down to those super-spiritual leaders, who had left their midst, in order to understand the things of God.  To John, the first real evidence that anyone knows anything about God is by affirming the coming of the Son of God, which he stressed earlier, was in the flesh (4:2).  He goes on to point out that with the coming of the Son also entails the giving of understanding (Gr. dianoia, or literally, “through mind”), which once again, refutes the assertion that one must become a Gnostic to know God.  The purpose of the gift is found in the clause “in order that we might know Him who is true,” which only comes by being in Him, namely Jesus Christ. 22

It is the last phrase which some find difficult to know who John is referring to.  The demonstrative pronoun houtos (οὑ̑τος), translated “this” or “this one” or “this man,” has as its only antecedent “the Son” (ὁ υἱὸς) found earlier in the verse.  Some would like it to refer to God later in the clause, but as Robertson points out, that would be tautological.  In other words, it would be similar to saying, “This God is God,” which is possible, but highly unlikely, given the clarity in which John has been writing through this short epistle.  Moreover, given that the context is not speaking about God the Father directly, but about Jesus Christ, it is much better to interpret John’s words as attributing deity to Jesus in an emphatic way.  “This one,” using the demonstrative pronoun to add emphasis and pointing to the Son, “is the true God and eternal life.”  Such an understanding fits it perfectly with the rest of John’s writings which declare that Jesus is God (Jn. 1:1, 18; 20:28), but that in him resides eternal life, which is equally attributable only of God (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9).

CONCLUSION

Is Jesus God?  The Bible, particularly the New Testament, clearly affirms that he is.  From the opening announcement of his impending birth to the closing pages found in the Book of Revelation (1:17; 1:8 cf. 22:13, 16), God has revealed that His Son is ever bit as much God as He is.  Although one heretical group after another has attempted to argue against the clear statements in Scripture that Jesus is God, their arguments inevitably fail to make their cases whether it is due to poor exegesis or the allowance of preconceived theology to dictate the interpretation and exegesis of specific passages which declare Jesus’ deity.  Others, although conceding that Jesus is God only do so after, once again, manipulating the biblical corpus to make Jesus out to something less that God.  He became God, in other words, somewhere along the way, which is totally contrary to what the Bible says.  Jesus was always God.  He did not merely become a god, nor is he to be added into a pantheon of other equal deities or Ascended Masters that have progressed along some path of enlightenment.

In the day and age in which we live the defense of the deity of Jesus Christ is becoming that much more important.  For if Jesus was not God, then all he becomes in a convoluted way, is simply some kind of great moralistic teacher that pointed the way for others to follow.  He is not necessarily anything truly significant in the course of human affairs.  He merely did that which any man can do if he simply put his minds to it.  Conversely, if Jesus is God, then the humanistic philosophies and “spiritual” attempts by men to reach their “full potential”—whether that is to enjoy fellowship with God via one’s works or to become a “god” or a “goddess”—will be futile.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by Me.”  If Jesus’ declaration has any merit to it, and if the statements seen through this short study have told us anything about Jesus’ person as God, then one must acknowledge his definitive statement as true, or try in vain to transcend one’s humanity and sin apart from Jesus, and ultimately call him a liar.  To the prudent, however, it is best ponder his statement and consider just where one stands in relationship to Jesus, as God, than to minimize his declaration and go it alone.

Notes:

  1. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 269.
  2. “Jesus is the Son of God because he is God and partakes of the divine nature.”  George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, reprint 2001), 160.
  3. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2000), 169-70.
  4. D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 658.
  5. Thomas Oden, Systematic Theology, 3 vol. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987), 2:79.
  6. A. F. Walls.  “Gnosticism.”  Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Merrill C. Tenney, ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 2:737-38.
  7. See the article “The Jesus-Satan Brotherhood” which deals with Jesus as the “first-born,” where the Mormon notion is rebutted that assumes that “first-born” is a naturalistic idea, leading to the equation of Jesus and Satan being “spirit brothers.”
  8. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 276.
  9. H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Toronto: MacMillan, 1955), 147.
  10. Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor, A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Roma: Editrice Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1996), 649-50.
  11. Kenneth Wuest, “The Deity of Jesus in the Greek Texts of John and Paul,” Bibliotheca Sacra 119 (July 1962): 226.
  12. Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, trans. by Shirley C. Guthrie and Charles A. M. Hall (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), 313-14.
  13. It is interesting to note that of the four books that Jehovah’s Witnesses resort for their “biblical study”—the New World Translation, The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures, the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, and The Emphatic Diaglott (which is actually the work of a Christadelphian by the name of Benjamin Wilson—they are split evenly on how Titus 2:13 should be translated.  The NWT and Kingdom Interlinear insert the definite article “the” before “Savior of us Christ Jesus,” while the Diaglott and the NWTCGS exclude the definite article, and translate it as seen above: “the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus.”
  14. The Greek word for “nature” is hupostasis (ὑπόστασις), which can also be translated “essence,” “substance,” or “real being.”  It is a word that some heretical groups cringe over seeing, given their aversion over the thought that the Son could possibly consist of the very same essential qualities that God has.  For by admitting as much further destroys their anti-Trinitarian stance.  What they fail to realize is that by acknowledging that Jesus shares the same essence as God the Father it prevents them from lapsing into such a strict monotheism which collapses upon itself due to logical and biblical inconsistency, or, the promotion of a polytheistic theology, culminating in the conclusion that Jesus was either a false god or, at best, a demigod.
  15. Willem Van Gemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gæbelein, ed., 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 5:346.
  16. The Granville Sharp Rule is in effect.  See above for a description of the rule under Titus 2:13.
  17. Ethelbert Stauffer, “θεός” in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Gerhard Kittel, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1965]), 3:105.
  18. After noting the same grammatical constructions throughout the rest of 2 Peter as found in 1:1, Wallace goes on to argue, “Further, more than half of the NT texts that fit Sharp’s rule involve some intervening word between the two substantives.  Several of them have an intervening possessive pronoun or other gen. modifier (cf. John 20:17; 2 Cor 1:3; 1 Thess 3:2; 1 Tim 6:15; Heb 12:2; Rev 1:9).  Yet, in all of these constructions only one person is clearly in view.  In all such instances the intervening term had no effect on breaking the construction.  This being the case, there is no good reason for rejecting 2 Pet 1:1 as an explicit affirmation of the deity of Christ.”  Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 277.
  19. Robertson, while discussing the definite article in relation to the conjunction καί, and in reference to Jude 4, 2 Thess. 1:12 and Eph. 5:5, noted that  “One person may be described in these three examples, but they are not so clear as the type του̑ κυρίου ἡμων καὶ σωτη̑ρος (2 Pet. 1:1, 11) (emphasis added).  In other words, there are some Greek constructions after the order of Sharp’s rule which make it clear that the author is speaking of one person, but none ring with the clarity as that found in 2 Pet. 1:1, 11, meaning that Peter believed Jesus to be “our God and Savior.”  A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman, 1934), 786.
  20. In a short statement Donald Guthrie makes it clear that while some may attempt to provide a different translation of 2 Peter 1:1 in an effort to separate the persons of God and Jesus, such attempts do not do the text justice.  He says, “The alternative translation which inserts the definite article before Saviour avoids the implication that Jesus is being described as God, but is not as true to the text.  It seems unquestionable that the former is the only correct rendering,” namely “the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1981), 341.
  21. op. cit.
  22. To be “in Christ” is a favorite expression of the Apostle Paul’s, denoting that one is a Christian.  It occurs 90 times in the NT, all of which are attributed to Paul except one reference found in Acts 1:1.

Be the first to comment on "Was Jesus God?"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*