Part 6. We have been studying in some detail this very critical central doctrine of the Christian faith, and are working our way towards a conclusion. Before we dive into the meat of the post, I want to establish the parameters of how this is being approached to cut off, before they begin, certain arguments which might be made.
The objective here is to teach what the Bible teaches about the deity of Jesus Christ. We are going to look at things Jesus said, and we will look at things He did. We will look at what others had to say, including Jesus’ enemies and other writers of the Bible. By the time we finish this series we will clearly understand that those who teach counter to to the true Biblical position on the Deity of Jesus, and claim to base their position on the Bible, are simply wrong and have no case to make. That may sound harsh, but it is true. Stay with this study for the duration, and that point will be made quite clear.
The objective is NOT to debate the accuracy of The Bible. If that interests you, move on along, because that is not the discussion here. We are here to teach what the Bible teaches, with a big dose of presupposition that is is correct and accurate.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
So, did Jesus claim to be God? Well, as we have discussed, He never said the words “I am God.” He did, however make some claims that clearly seem to indicate He was making just that claim. Let’s look at some of those.
In John 10:30, Jesus claimed He and His father were one
In John 14:1, he said those who believe in God also believe in Him
In John 14:9, Jesus told Phillip that anyone who had seen Him had seen God.
John Chapter 14 is, in fact full of references to Jesus and the Father being of one essence.
In John 14:7, Jesus informed Phillip that if he had known Jesus, he would have known “My Father as well.”
John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?”
John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me“
Jesus claimed equality with God, that He was the Son of God. It is simply a rule of logic that if two things are equal, they are basically the same. For instance 2=2 clearly shows us that 2 and 2 are the same thing in every sense of the word. It gets more complicated when you compare beings or ideas, but the concept is the same. If Student A claims to be equal with Student B, then in some verifiable way they are equal. Of course, they may not be equal in every way: one may be tall and one short, one may be large one may be small. However, in some way they are equal. In normal usage, to claim equality with another person is claiming positional equality;in other words they share an equal position in the scheme of things and in life. When our country’s founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal”, they were not saying we are all alike, they were saying that we are equal in our position and standing before other people as well as before God.
So, if Jesus claimed equality with God (and He did), then He was stating He shared a position of equality with God. Who can be positionally equal with an infinite God other than God Himself? Therefore to claim equality with God is to claim to be God.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. This claim is very important when studied in the context of Jewish culture of Jesus’ day. Ancestry and lineage was of primary importance in the culture of the day. A son, while he might have to grow and mature, was in many ways the absolute equal to his father. Ultimately, every first born son of a Jewish male would assume his father’s place in the structure, authority, and culture of his time. So, to be a man’s son was to imply, basically, equality with that man. So, for Jesus to claim to be God’s son was to claim equality and one-ship with God.
Here are a couple of useful outside remarks concerning this issue”
Norman Giesler quoting Peter Kreeft in his book, “Why I Am a Christian:
Jesus also claimed to be the, “Son of God.” This title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. Neither does the term “Son” imply inferiority anymore than a human son is inferior in essence to his father. A son shares his father’s DNA, and although he is different, they are both men. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” Jesus meant by it that he has divine essence, or in 21st century terms, the “DNA of God
From Jesus OnLine Misistries:
What did Jesus mean when he called himself the ‘Son of God’? The son of a man is a man. (Both ‘son’ and ‘man,’ in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. ‘Son of God’ is a divine title.
So, we can see that even if Jesus, never uttered the words, “I am God,” that He did make claims to being of one essence with God, or claims of equality with God. We could stop here and have sufficient evidence that Jesus laid claims to divinity, but we won’t. Next week we will look at some things Jesus DID which basically amount to claims of a divine nature.
Until then, peace and blessings!
Okay, first of all I do not mean anything irreverent or insulting by the title of this post, The Hypostatic Union For Dummies. As I have said before I am not a theologian, nor are most of my readers. I know some are, and if you are feel free to chime in with some deep theology in the comments. I would love to learn something in the process of this post. For now, though, we are going to take a hopefully simple look at an extremely complicated topic: The Hypostatic Union.
Now, this whole thing can be analyzed for years and many Greek and Hebrew words tossed around, but really this is no more than the fact that Jesus was both fully human and yet fully divine at the same time. It is the concept of two distinct natures forming a union in one individual existence. The two distinct nature are of course humanity and divinity, and the individual existence is of course Jesus Christ.
Jesus was 100 percent God, and 100 percent human. Wait you say, that is 200%. Well, yes in math that would be true. He was fully man fully God. These two distinct natures were not mixed or blended, but were both there in Jesus in their entirety. I have heard it said that Jesus was as human as if He were not God at all, and as much God as if He were not human at all.
Makes sense, right? Of course it doesn’t. It’s simply not understandable by a finite human mind. How, then, do we know it is true? Well, the Bible teaches such, and understanding how it works simply has no bearing sometimes on whether something is true or not. We are taught clearly in Scripture of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Later in this series, we will talk in detail about the evidences of Jesus’ divinity, and his humanity is not really the point of this series. For the purpose of this blog, we are just going the work from the presupposition that the Bible does teach these two natures.
Our purpose for this post is to simply, quickly, and briefly discuss just why Jesus had to be both fully human and fully God.
First, let’s recap quickly the basics of why the Deity of Jesus Christ is so necessary. The reason why Jesus had to be God is actually one of the simpler concepts concerning the theology of salvation to understand. Most of this we discussed earlier.
If Jesus was merely a man, even a sinless man, He would be limited in the scope of sin His death would have covered. His sinlessness enabled Him to pay the debt for another; He had no debt of His own to pay. However, if He was just a man, even a sinless one, He could have paid the debt for one other person. God’s plan of salvation was for a sacrifice which would cover the sins of the entire world. That includes all who had been born and died before His day, as well as all who would be born in the future. Not only for all people, but for all sins; that includes all sin committed as well as all sin which would be committed into the future. If that sounds like a possibly infinite number of people and possible sins, that is because it is a possibly infinite number!
Only God is infinite, having existed from eternity past. God never came into being, He simply has always been. The Bible teaches that the entirety of the Godhead in the form of God the Father, God the Son(Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit have existed from eternity past. Since the amount of sin is basically infinite, only an infinite being could pay for it all. Therefore, only a being who was totally human could pay for the sin of humanity; conversely, only a being who was totally God could pay the infinite price which had to be paid. And as 1 John 2:2 makes clear, Jesus did come to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Now why did he have to be fully human? Well, we covered the basics of that earlier as well. On the most basic level humanity was necessary because humans were the ones guilty of the original sin, a human had to pay the price for that sin. In other words, only Jesus the man could die; and only death could pay the debt for sin, for as Romans 6:23 states, “the wages of sin is death”.
On of the keys is the Biblically stated necessity for the sacrifice of an innocent for the remission of sins. Worship in the Old Testament revolved around the sacrifice of perfect, innocent animals to cover and provide temporary atonement for the sins of the people. We see this spelled out in both Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22 The idea of a blood sacrifice for sin was clearly established between God and man. The problem is, that is not sufficient. Although the shedding of the blood for sin provided temporary remission of sin, it was never designed to be permanent. We are taught that in Hebrews 10:4.
Finally, we can sum up with the following:
Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons
Born under that law. Who was born under the law? Well, humanity of course. Not angels, nor animals, but humans. The law, designed by God to show us how we come short of His perfection, was created for humans and transgressed by humans. Ultimately humanity, each and every one of us, owes the price for failing to measure up to God’s standard of perfect Holiness.
There we have it: the Gospel in a nutshell. Man sinned, meaning ultimately mad had to pay. Temporarily, God set up a system for the temporary atonement for our sins by the sacrifice of innocent animals, but we don’t need that anymore. Because Jesus the man paid the penalty for us as humans, and Jesus God was able to pay it infinitely and forever.
All we have to do is accept and believe in the truth of that payment.
It’s easy; if you have not, why don’t you do so today?
Coming next: Alternate views and attacks on the Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.