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9 Proofs of Christ’s Divinity

February 26, 2013

1700 years ago, a man named Arius brought a serious attack on the person and nature of Christ as well as an attack on the Gospel. His claim was that Christ was a created being and that he was not of the same substance or nature as God the Father. He claimed that only God the Father was truly God and the “there was a time when the Son was not”.

At the same time existed a man named Athanasius. This man believed that the scripture revealed a mystery that is hard for humanity to grasp; namely that Christ is God and the Father is God and yet there is only One God. He claimed that the bible taught that Christ has the same substance and nature as God the Father, that the two were distinct in personhood but One in being.

There was a tremendous theological battle that took place (not one of swords but one of teaching, rebuking, and debating) that lasted the rest of Athanasius’ life. Arius’ theology penetrated the Church for many years but Athanasius’ hard work and the sheer weight of scriptural evidence eventually brought the Church back to the Truth; namely that Christ is God just as the Father is God.

Sadly, there are still people in the world today that claim the same theology as Arius. What I am going to do is to give you a small glimpse at the scriptures that proves Christ’s Deity. This is barely scratching the surface and yet the evidence is overwhelming…

1) Christ has the same Nature as God

One of the main arguments made by the Arians, and the Jehovah witnesses who are simply modern day Arians, is to take every shred of evidence that proved Christ’s humanity and then use it as proof against his deity. The Arians were very philosophical and therefore, they could not imagine a Christ that was both fully God and fully man so they thought that his humanity and his voluntary submission to the Father were proof against his deity. They would constantly quote John 14:28 where Jesus says, “The Father is Greater than I” as proof that the Son must be of a different substance then the Father. How could the Son be less than the Father and yet of the same substance?

Athanasius answer to this argument was to point out that John 14:28 must be understood in the light of Philippians 2:6-8

“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The sense in which Jesus is less than the Father is seen in his voluntary submission and his taking on of Humanity. But, remember the context of this submission; Jesus existed in the very Form of God; the very thing that the Arians were denying. In light of this scripture, neither Jesus’ submission or his humanity acts as proof against his deity.

Furthermore, one of the main claims made by Arius was, “There was a time when the Word was not.” Athanasius would often use this quote against the Arians by pointing out that you cannot hold to that position and at the same time believe what the bible says about Christ. Athanasius would say,

“What is the source of your discovery of these things? Nowhere has the scriptures said such things about the Savior. Rather, the scriptures uses such words as Always, Everlasting, Co-existing with the Father, in the Form of God, and so on.”

There were several other common texts that Athanasius would draw on for support of the Divine nature of Christ.

He would quote John 1 which shows that Christ was with God in the beginning and that he was God, eternally.
He would use Revelation 1:8 which shows that Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, who is and who was and who is to come. This again was a major proof of the eternal existence of the Son

This was Athanasius’ main argument, namely that scripture attributed to Christ everywhere, a Divine nature and an eternal existence. In the words of Philippians 2:6, he exists eternally in the form of God, in other words, Christ is of the same substance as the Father.

The Only Begotten Son

This seems to some to be a very sticky phrase to many. This is a key phrase for those who argue for Christ being created while in actuality, it does the opposite.

Athanasius pointed out that the “begetting” took place in eternity [without reference to time] and therefore it speaks of an eternal reality. To us, words like begotten suggest an origin of things such as our birth; but what does it mean when applied to Christ who existed before time? Since he is an eternal being, this term cannot refer to his beginning because it would be a fundamental contradiction of existing apart from time. This saying actually refers to the oneness between the Father and the Son and their relationship to one another. Saying that the Son is begotten of the Father simply signifies that he is of the same substance of the Father. He derives his essence from the Father.

Since both the Father and the Son are eternal, theologians will often speak of the “eternal generation” or “the eternal begetting of Christ”. It might be understood like this: the idea being conveyed is that Christ is eternally of the same essence of the Father, or that he eternally proceeds from the Father.

Furthermore, when Christ claims to be the “Son of God”, it is a claim of his divinity and not of his humanity. That is exactly what the term “Son of God” conveyed to the Jewish people of Jesus’ day because they accused him of blasphemy because he claimed equality with God and they tried to stone him (John 10:36).

2) The Old Testament predicts a Divine Savior

One powerful proof of Christ’s Divinity is the fact that it isn’t only seen in the New Testament but in the Old Testament as well (which should be the case since the bible is consistent with itself). The Old Testament tells us that the Savior who would come to redeem humanity would be Divine. In fact it goes so far as giving the Savior the Divine name “Jehovah”.

  • Psalm 2 – (Paul quotes this in Acts 13:33 as proof that it is a messianic psalm) “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” In this passage, serving the Lord and doing homage to the Son are set as equal and it is even said that you can take refuge in the Son. Athanasius saw this as clear proof of the Deity of the Savior to come.
  • Psalm 110 – David calls the Messiah Lord
  • Isaiah 9:2 – The Savior is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father
  • Isaiah 7:14 – The Savior is called Immanuel – ‘God with us’
  • Micah 5:2 – Shows the eternality of the Savior
  • Malachi 3:1-3 – God says that a messenger will prepare HIS [God’s] way. That messenger is none other than John the Baptist and he prepared the way for Christ

There are a multitude of these types of verses that point to the Divinity of the savior who would come…

3) Jesus uses the Covenant name of God an applies it to himself

  • Psalm 23:1 (Jehovah is given the title of Shepherd) –> In John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd” and Hebrews 13:20, Christ is given that same title.
  • Isaiah 6:5 (Isaiah tells us that he Saw Jehovah but the Apostle John tells us that Isaiah saw Jesus Christ [John 12:41])
  • Joel 2:32 – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”–> The New Testament tells us that we can only be saved if we call on the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21 and Romans 10:13)

4) Titles that are reserved for Jehovah are applied to Christ

There are names in scripture that Jehovah says are unique to him and yet Christ applies them to himself.

  • Isaiah 10:20 (Jehovah is called the Holy One of Israel) –> In Acts 3, Peter applies this title to the person of Christ.
  • Isaiah 44:6 – Jehovah says that he is “The first and the last” but Jesus applies that same title to himself in Revelations 1:11, “the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega.”
    • This passage is also a strong proof of the Trinity. Both God and Jesus are the first and the Last, both equally God and yet Isaiah clearly says that there is only One God.
  • Isaiah 43:11 – (I am the Lord and Besides me there is no Savior) here God says that the title of “Savior” is reserved for him alone and yet  Christ is clearly spoken of as Savior
    • Titus 2:13  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ
  • Zachariah 12:10 – Jehovah is speaking (we see that from verse 4) and he says “when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced”. God says that people will pierce him and yet we see that is was Christ that was pierced. In John 19:37, John applies this prophecy directly to Christ.

Again and again, the New Testament takes titles that the Old Testament says are reserved for Jehovah alone and they are applied directly to Christ.

A good Hermeneutic to keep in mind, whenever you see Jehovah in the Old Testament, Understand it as a reference to Christ. Almost every reference to Jehovah in the Old Testament is a reference to Christ.

5) Jesus Possess All Of The Incommunicable Attributes Of God

There are certain attributes that God possess that are communicable; in other words, there are attributes that God has that we share. Such as Love, Jealously, and Knowledge.

Incommunicable attributes,  on the other hand, are attributes that God alone can possess. These are the attributes that make God Divine and separates Him from His creation. Allow me to repeat, God alone can have these attributes; and yet Christ has them…

Omniscience – God knows all things, even the things in the minds and hearts of men…

  • Revelation 2:23 – “I [Jesus] am he who searches mind and heart”
  • Eternality – We have seen this already in the fact that Christ existed with the Father before time existed. This, by definition, makes Christ an Eternal Being (John 1:1).

Omnipresence – God is everywhere at once and is not bound by Space. Jesus can be simultaneously with all of his people until the end of the age.Omnipotence – God is all powerful. Christ is all powerful.

  • Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
  • Matthew 28:20 – “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • Hebrews 1:3 – “He [Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

Immutability – The unchangeableness of God

  • Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

The FULLNESS of Deity

  • Colossians 2:9 – “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”
  • Hebrews 1:3 – “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature

6) Jesus Does Works That God Alone Can Do.

There are some things that only God can do and yet we see Christ claiming to have done these things.

Creation – Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

  • If all things were created by Christ, then Christ cannot have been created. If all created Beings were created by Christ then by definition, Christ is not a created Being.
  • Nor can Christ be an angel because all thrones/dominions/rulers/authorities were created by Christ.

The Sustainer of all things – Only God is powerful enough to be the giver and sustainer of life because Life comes from God alone…

  • Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Forgives sins – The Jews were right when they complained about Jesus forgiving sins. They said that it was Blasphemy for Jesus to forgive sins because only God alone can forgive peoples sins and yet Christ proved that he could forgive sins.

  • Mark 2:7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
  • Mark 2:10-11  “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic–“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
  • Matthew 9:2-7

Raises the Dead and acts as Judge – Only God has power over life and death and only God is the Judge of the living and the dead.

  • John 5:21-22 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son”
  • Acts 10:42 “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”
  • Acts 17:31 “because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:1 “I 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”

Clearly, Jesus does things that are reserved for God alone…

7) Jesus Receives Worship

You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only. Jesus knew this verse, he quoted this verse (Matthew 4:10), and yet he allowed people to Worship Him.

People continually fell on their faces and worshiped Christ and not once did Christ rebuke people for giving him this kind of worship…

  • Matthew 14:33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
  • John 9:38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him

Contrast how Jesus responded to worship to other examples where people or angels are worshiped…

  • Acts 10:25-26  When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.  But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”
  • Revelation 19:10  Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
  • Revelation 22:8-9  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,  but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

We see 2 commands in scripture. First, only God should be worshiped and secondly, that Christ should be worshiped.

  • John 5:22-23  The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,  that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

Jesus makes himself the object of Faith

  • John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Jesus is not an angel but is worshiped by angels

  • Hebrews 1:6  And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

8) If Jesus is God, you would expect the Bible to say so in the strongest terms possible

If Jesus is god, why doesn’t the bible just say so? It does. Turn with me to John 1:1-3.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Here we have the strongest possible declaration that Jesus is God. This passage is both clear and emphatic about Jesus’ Divinity. Every statement in this passage is very significant.

  • “In the Beginning” – This statement sets the rest of the passage in the light of Eternity. It shows that Christ existed before time and to say that there was a time when Christ did not exist is to contradict this fundamental truth that John speaks of.
  • “The Word was with God” – This signifies the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son. This statement shows that the Son is distinct from the Father and at the same time, One with God from all eternity past.
  • “The Word was God” – The Jehovah Witnesses contest this translation but if you study the Greek, this is the literal meaning of the text. Athanasius pointed out that the Arians could not hold to their opinion that Christ was not God and believe this verse.
  • “Without him was not anything made that was made.” – This statement shows that it is not possible for Christ to be a created being. If he was created, then it could not be said that Christ made everything that had been made. There would be at least one created thing that Christ had not created.
  • John 20:28 – Thomas saw the resurrected Christ, fell down and worshipped him (which is another proof of Christ’s Deity because only Jehovah is worshipped) and Thomas said of Christ, “My Lord and My God”
  • Titus 2:13 & 1 Peter 1:1 – Refers to Jesus as Our God and Savior
  • Philippians 2:6 – Christ existed from all eternity in the form of God
  • 1 John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
    • Who is the true God? None other than Jesus Christ
  • Hebrews 1:8 – Please note that this is God the Father speaking to the Son… “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…. It can’t get any more explicit than that

9) Jesus Personally Claimed To Be Divine

Did you ever wonder why Jesus didn’t just come out and say “I am God” and put the end to any confusion that might happen? If you actually take time to look at what Jesus said about himself, he did precisely that. He specifically said that he was God.

John 8:56-59 – Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

  • To his Jewish audience, this statement was far more explicit than if he had simply said “I am God”.

John 8:54 – Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’

  • You worship God but God gives glory to me. Nothing could be more blasphemous to the Jews than this statement. Jesus claims that he receives honor and glory from the One who the Jews worshiped.

John 8:58 – Jesus claims the divine name “I AM” to be his own and nothing could be clearer than that and it was for that reason that the Jews attempted to stone Jesus for Blasphemy.

The Gospel of John uses a whole string of quotes by Jesus were he evokes the name of “I AM” to describe himself…

  • I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
  • I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins (John 8:24)
  • Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)
  • I am the Door (John 10:7,9)
  • I am the shepherd (John 10:11, 14)
  • I am the Son of God (John 10:36)
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
  • You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. (John 13:13)
  • I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
  • I am the true vine (John 15:1)

In each of these cases, the “I am” is speaking of his divinity and with that phrase, he often connects it to titles that are reserved for God alone. The Door, Shepherd, Resurrection, Life, The Way, The Truth, Teacher, and Lord…

Here is what Athanasius had to say concerning the phrase “I am”…

“In the expression “I am”, is indicated that the Son is everlasting and without beginning before every age. Therefore it is obvious that the scriptures speak about the everlasting nature of the Son. Those things which the Arians utter, “he was not”, “before”, and “when”; words like that are for things created, foreign to the [Incarnate] Word of God.”

Jesus speaks of himself as the “I AM”. One without a beginning and therefore eternal and this brings us full circle back to the fact that Jesus shares the same nature as God.

The biblical evidence for the Deity of Christ is Conclusive, Overwhelming, and it is Irrefutable. This is but a small snippet of what could be said about Christ’s Deity. We haven’t even begun to discuss ideas like John 10:30 where Jesus says, “I and the Father are one”.

You can believe that this is true or you can condemn yourself to suffer the wrath of God. To look at this amount evidence and to sweep it aside is to place yourself outside of Christianity and outside of saving faith. Even Jesus said that unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins.

Inherent Contradictions in saying that Jesus isn’t God

The people who claim that Christ isn’t God don’t actually realize the internal contradictions and philosophical absurdities that they have just run into.

  • Polytheism – These people assume that if you say that Christ is God, you are guilty of polytheism (the belief in more than one God) (I will address this in a little bit) but what they don’t realize is that they are guilty of the very thing that they are trying to condemn. These people teach two gods, one uncreated and the other created. One is a supreme god while the other is only secondary.
  • A Divine Creature – Hopefully you see the contradiction in terms here. They hold Christ to be a mere creature, and yet they say that he is the creator of the world; as if a creature could be the source of life, the origin and the end of all creatures!
  • Eternal yet finite – Again, their teaching is internally contradictory. They ascribe to Christ a pre-mundane existence, but deny him eternity, while yet time belongs to the idea of the world, and is created only in relation to the world, so that before the world there was nothing but eternity. They suppose a time before the creation of the pre-existent Christ; and therefore involve God himself in the notion of time; which contradicts the absolute being of God. They assert the unchangeableness of God, but they deny, with the eternal generation of the Son, also the eternal Fatherhood; therefore assuming after all a very essential change in God.
  • The destruction of the Gospel itself – If the Son is a creature, man remains still separated, as before, from God; no creature can redeem other creatures, and unite them with God. If Christ is not divine, much less can we be partakers of the divine nature and children of God.

If Christ is God, are we teaching more than One God?

The simple answer is no, we are not. We see two things clearly revealed in the Scriptures; first we clearly see that the Son of God is of the same nature as the Father and yet separate from him, and secondly we see that there is only One God and beside Him there is no God. This is indeed a mystery but one that has been clearly revealed and one that we believe.

Many people think that the idea of the “Trinity” is some bogus idea that a bunch of old people came up with but after reading this paper, I hope you are beginning to see how it came into existence. We see several truths…

1 – We see that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
2 – We see that there is a distinction between them and that it isn’t simply One God displaying himself in different ways.
3 – We see that although all three are God and they are distinct enough to be in relationship, there is only one God

And there is the beginning of the Doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine simply teaches that God is ONE IN BEING but He is THREE IN PERSONHOOD. We see this clearly taught in John 1 where the Word is both WITH God and at the same time IS God.

What this comes down to is not whether or not you can grasp the idea of the Trinity or a Fully Divine, Fully Human Savior but whether or not you are willing to submit to the revealed Word of God. Are you going to humbly submit to what the Scriptures say or are you going to arrogantly reject Scripture?

Allow me to end with the conclusion of the Council of Nicaea…

“But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

Related Articles

Related Audio Lectures

By Phil Johnson

Related Books

By Athanasius of Alexandria (you can read these online for free)

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