Q & A Series:  Is Jesus Divine?

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Roger

To: Craig

Subject: Re: DaVinci Code - The Truth about the Deity of Christ

 

Craig-

 

I know that you have been on this theme of the non deity of Jesus for awhile.  I am sorry but I have not read all that you have written, so really I am unsure what you mean with the last piece on DaVinci Code.  But just so that I am sure of what you are saying, is it that you think Jesus was not divine?  In other words you deny that Jesus "and the Father are one" as it is recorded in John 10:30 and many other scriptural verses showing Jesus as divine?  By this theological position would you not have difficulty with the doctrine of the Resurrection?  And what about the Virgin Birth?  And was Jesus just a good teacher as so many claim without the element of divine purpose for Redemption?  Speak to me old friend.  This is very important. 

 

Rog

 

 

 

Craig’s Answer:

 

 

Hi Rog!

 

Forgive my inability to communicate clearly.  I feel like I have failed you my dear friend, and I’m at a loss for words.  Since you have difficulty digesting the more lengthy, detailed explanations, (which I prefer), below I have attempted to reconfigure my reply so that there is no room for misunderstanding. 

 

You asked five basic questions in your email.  I broke these questions down into a numbered format 1 thru 5.  Your question first, followed by what Scripture says about Jesus, his identity, his resurrection, the virgin birth, etc, (as it relates to each of your questions), which are followed by my brief summary explanations.

 

1. ROGER: Is it that you think Jesus was not divine? 

 

JESUS: John 17: 3 “Father  this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  New King James Version

 

CRAIG: By using the term ‘divine’ I assume you mean ‘God; the Supreme Deity or Divinity.’  Jesus says the Father is the “only true God” (i.e. the ‘only true Divinity’).  Jesus identifies the “FATHER” as the “ONLY” true “God” (i.e. Divinity).  Therefore, I believe what Jesus says is true; the Father alone IS God. 

 

Furthermore, In John 17:3, Jesus follows up his statement about the Father as being “the only true God” by using in his prayer (to God) the simple conjunction “and” to separate his (Jesus’) identity as being distinct from that of the Father.  To insure that this distinction cannot be misconstrued or misinterpreted, Jesus says, “…AND Jesus Christ whom You (the Father, the only true Divinity) have sent.”

 

CRAIG’S CONCLUSION: There is one true God… the Father.  Jesus Christ is “sent” by the one true God.

 

2. ROGER: In other words you deny that Jesus "and the Father are one" as it is recorded in John 10:30 and many other scriptural verses showing Jesus as divine?

 

CRAIG: Rog, you failed to list any of the passages akin to John 10:30; I looked up a few, and John chapter 17 is perhaps the most familiar, so I started there.

 

JESUS: John 17:21-23 “… that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  New King James Version

           

CRAIG: I have never said that I ‘deny’ that Jesus and the Father are ‘one.’  John 17:21-23 is a parallel scripture passage that aligns with John 10:30 because it describes the meaning of the phrase ‘I and the Father are one."’  Notice how Jesus prays TO the Father about his disciples saying, ‘that they (his followers) may be one just as We are one.” 

 

Jesus says his disciples are to become “one” in the exact same way he is “one” with his Father (i.e. “just as We are one”).  The PURPOSE of Jesus being ‘one’ with the Father, is so that we as his brethren are able to be made “perfect (complete) in one” body, so that “the world may know that the Father (God) has “SENT” His son Jesus and has “loved them” (his disciples) just as his Father “loved” him (the man Jesus).  However, the strict, orthodox religious people did not like this message; they were jealous of Jesus, and we see proof of this in what Christ tell the Pharisees in John 8:40.

 

John 8:39-40 Jesus said, “If you were truly Abraham's children, then you would do the works of Abraham follow his example, do as Abraham did.  40 But now instead you are wanting and seeking to kill me, a Man who has told you the truth, which I have heard from God. This is not the way Abraham acted.”  Amplified Bible

           

CRAIG’S CONCLUSION: Jesus says that he is a “man who has told you the truth.  As to his identity, Jesus does not leave any room for doubt Rog, because he follows up with this phrase, “who has told you the truth,” with these very human words, “… which I have heard from God.”  Now, I ask you, is this the ‘Divine’ part of Jesus that is claiming to have ‘heard’ the truth from God?’  How do you explain this Roger?  Do you simply skim over the verse?  I conclude that the phrase Jesus uses in John 10:30 and elsewhere is not his affirmation about being ‘divine’ but rather, applies to Jesus’ relationship of love and obedience to the Father’s will.

 

CRAIG: Below I have included the entire CONTEXT of John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”  The scriptures are not intended to pit one verse against another, but are meant to be read as one narrative.  The original scriptures have no chapters and verses; Bible publishers added these strictly for study reference purposes.

 

John 10:22-30 At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.  24 The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.  29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  30 I and the Father are one.”  31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him.  32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning me?”  33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy; and because you, BEING A MAN, make yourself out to be God.” (the Greek text for ‘God’ = Theón & is an anarthrous noun).”  34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, “I said, ‘you are gods (theoí)’?”  35 “If He (Yahweh) called them (Old Testament judges & rulers) gods (theoús), to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you (Jews) say of him (Christ Jesus), whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ BECAUSE I SAID, ‘I AM THE SON OF GOD?’  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

CRAIG: The Pharisees press Jesus to reveal his true identity as the Messiah saying, “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus’ reply to their pressing inquiry includes these words, “…the works that I do in my Father's name.”  You allege that Jesus’ words in John 10:30 are his claim to being “divine.” 

 

You say that I do not believe Jesus and the Father are ‘one’ because I don’t say this is referring to Jesus’ divinity.  However, if you agree there is only ONE TRUE God, the Father, which is what Jesus himself said in John 17:3, then you’ll have to explain your interpretation of John 10:30 in light of what Jesus says in John 10:29, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.” 

 

If Jesus is claiming divinity in verse 30, is he denying divinity in verse 29?  If he is claiming divinity in verse 30, then WHY does he say that the “FATHER” is “GREATER” than all?  Are there TWO divinities in verse 29?

 

The Jews FALSELY ACCUSE Jesus of claiming divinity in their statement, “For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy; and because you, BEING A MAN, make yourself out to be God.”  The Jews clearly know Jesus is a “MAN” but they falsely accuse him of a personal claim to divinity.  Does Jesus deny divinity?  What is his reply?  In John 10:36 Jesus said in response to their false accusations, “Do you (Jews) say of him (Christ Jesus), whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ BECAUSE I SAID, ‘I AM THE SON OF GOD?’

 

CRAIG’S CONCLUSION: Jesus clearly states the meaning of his words, ‘I and the Father are one’ in verse 36 by identifying himself with these words, “‘I AM THE SON OF GOD.’  Therefore, I conclude with Jesus, that he is the Son of God.

 

3. ROGER: By this theological position would you not have difficulty with the doctrine of the Resurrection? 

    

CRAIG: I do not have difficulty with the doctrine of the Resurrection; in fact, my views harmonize with Scripture, and without adding extra-biblical language or verbiage to the text in order to explain its meaning.

 

JESUS: Romans 6:9-11 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  New International Version

 

Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know —  23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. New King James Version

 

Acts 2:31-32 “… concerning the resurrection of the Christ …this Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. (also see Acts 3:15, Acts 3:26, Acts 4:10, Acts 5:30-31, Acts 10:39-40, Acts 13:29-30, Acts 13:33). New King James Version

 

CRAIG: Romans 6:9-11 says Christ was a man whose death he died to sin once for all; but the life he (the MAN Christ Jesus) lives, he lives TO God. My Bible says that we as disciples of Christ are to, in the same way, as Christ died to sin, to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 6:4 Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.

 

Acts 5:30-31 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.  31 He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

Acts 10:38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. New King James Version

 

Romans 6:4 Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.  New American Standard Bible

 

CRAIG’S CONCLUSION: ‘The God of our fathers raised up Jesus’ means the only true God that Jesus also prayed to in John 17:3.  This is the same God of the Old Testament ‘fathers’ of Israel.  He is the only ‘divine’ Father and God that I see in Scripture.  Note also, the same God that ‘raised Jesus’ also “exalted Jesus.’  You cannot have one person of divinity exalting another person of divinity, can you?  That is polytheism.  Furthermore, the Father IS the only “true” God, and He exalted Jesus to HIS right hand (i.e. place of authority) as a “Prince” and as a “Savior.”

 

It was this same God, the Father, who exalted Jesus, so that Jesus could grant “repentance” to Israel, AND “forgiveness” of sins to all who believe.  Pretty basic.

 

One final thought on the resurrection.  When doubting Thomas saw the Lord Jesus resurrected in the flesh, in John 20:28 he said, “My Lord and my God.”  This typical mistranslation should read, “My Lord and my King.”  Otherwise, John 20:17 makes no sense whatsoever; because Jesus said he had not yet ascended to his own God.

 

John 20:16-18 Jesus said to her, "Mary!"  She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!”  (This means, Teacher).  17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"  18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her. New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

Once you realize the Greek word theós is properly translated as ‘magistrate or king’, it reconciles many New Testament scripture verses formerly attributing deity (i.e. divinity’)to Jesus. 

    

4. ROGER: And what about the Virgin Birth? 

 

JESUS:  Matthew 1:18-2:2 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." 22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 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." 24 And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, 25 and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”  New American Standard Bible

 

CRAIG: I’m not sure what the virgin birth has to do with this subject, because the virgin birth is a testament to Jesus’ humanity.  If you are referring to his name ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’ as proof of his divinity, then you are saying that God the Father, the only true God, was born as an infant son?  Rog, many men in the Bible have names that attribute deity to them; consider the following names and their word meanings that all describe them with divine attributes.  Shall we also make these men divine?

 

Elimelech, my God is king
Eliphal, a miracle of God
Eliphalet, the God of deliverance

Elisha, salvation of God

Elishua, God is my salvation

Eliah, God the Lord
Elijah, God the Lord, the strong Lord
Elihu,he is my God himself

Elidad, beloved of God
Eliathah, thou art my God
Eliakim, resurrection of God

Jehoshaphat, the Lord is judge
Jehudijah, the praise of the Lord
Jezneel, seed of God
Jeremiah, exaltation of the Lord
Isaiah, the salvation of the Lord
Jehoiada, knowledge of the Lord
 

5. ROGER: And was Jesus just a good teacher as so many claim without the element of divine purpose for Redemption?

 

JESUS: Mark 10:17-18 And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Jesus and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”  New American Standard Bible

 

Luke 18:18-19 And a certain ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.”  New American Standard Bible

 

CRAIG’S CONCLUSION: Jesus did not allow the rich ruler to even refer to him as “God teacher.”  Jesus denied any claim to divinity here by answering the Jewish ruler with these words, of which there can be no uncertainty whatsoever, ““Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.”

 

Well, there you have it my brother.  I have answered each and every one of your questions, from each and every passage that mentions the topics you were interested in.  I hope you are willing to do some honest searching of Scripture, by laying aside whatever doctrinal prejudices you may have, disregarding man’s traditions in favor of the authority of Scripture as the inspired word of God, by which we reprove, correct, and instruct each pother in righteousness.

 

Love you brother,

 

Craigo

 

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 


 

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