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October 28, 2014

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I guess if it was me I would just answer them directly with scriptures that refute those points directly.

Christians say Jesus is God, but how could he have been God if he worshipped God?

I'm not sure that the if-clause here is true.

It is certainly true, for example, that Jesus prayed to His Father in Gethsemane. That's evidence for the distinction of the persons of Father and Son. Not that Jesus is not God.

But I'm not sure that, for example, when He was singing Psalm 100 in synagogue and He came to the line...

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
...that He meant to include Himself among the created sheep. In fact, He always identified Himself as the Good Shepherd.

Also God is eternal and you claim that Jesus dies whereas God can't die.

Jesus certainly experienced death as we do. And He knows that death, even for us, is not an end...so death is no insult to his eternality. In dying, Jesus took upon Himself all of our deaths. He is with us when we die. He knows exactly what we are experiencing because He is experiencing it with us. And because of this, the Omniscience, of the Eternal God is complete.

Jesus was human and had human features. We all know that God is different than us humans in every way.

I don't know why anyone would claim that we all know that God is different from humans in every way. How would you come to know that? It is certainly not a truth of reason. So if you dis come to know that God is different from you in every way, it's something He would have to tell you. But if He can tell you that, then He speaks a common language with you, so it's false that He's different from you in every way.

So if anything, the truth of reason is that He has at least something in common with us. At least, the claim made in the challenge is self-stultifying. If the thing claimed to be known by all were known by all it would be false (and therefore not known by any).

Jesus said to several tribes to worship God alone and he never once said he was God.

I'm not sure about the tribes bit. By that I mean that I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't do much to speak to tribes as such. He did, of course, speak to some people who were in tribes.

I agree that He wanted all men to worship God.

But He also claimed to be the very God they should worship. For example, He said "Before Abraham was I AM." We only have it in Greek, but I'm pretty sure that when He spoke it in Aramaic (Hebrew with Greek influences) He used His own name, the forbidden name of YHWH. Had it not been so, the priests and elders would not have started picking up stones to stone Him.

John the Baptist claimed to be preparing the way for Jesus. And Jesus accepted this endorsement, commanding John to baptize Him. But it was said of John, and he said it of himself that he was the voice of one crying "In the wilderness prepare the way of YHWH, make straight in the desert a highway for our God". To accept this endorsement is to claim to be YHWH-God.

Answer to objection 1: When Christ became human, He took on a human nature, while maintaining His divine nature. However, as part of His human nature, Jesus became subject to human limitations. This doesn't negate his divine nature, while allowing Him to maintain a certain amount of revelation from the Father. This is logical since God the Father can, and has throughout history interacted with us through divine revelation, i.e. Paul's Demascus road experience.
Within the context of Christ's human nature, He was subordinate to His own divine nature, and therefore, became subject to the worship of God the Father, just like the rest of us.
In this way, Jesus maintains His divine nature, being equal to God, which is to say He is God, while being subject to worship God the Father through His mortal human nature. The key here is to recognize that Jesus has two natures, divine, and human. Which leads into the next question.
Answer to objection 2: As referenced in the previous answer, Jesus took on a human nature, in conjunction with His divine nature, when He was born. He maintains His divine nature because a nature by definition is something that cannot be changed or tampered with. Therefore, Jesus, who is God maintains His eternal, divine nature, which allows Him to survive physical death, very much in the same way our soul does when we die. Albeit, our souls are eternal, but certainly not divine.
Within the nature of Christ's human nature, He also became subject to a mortal death. This explains how Jesus, who is God, and therefore devine, and eternal, was capable to die through the context of His human nature.
Answe to objection 3: We all understand, that He is distinct from us in every way. Yet, God tells us through his word that we are made in His image. Therefore, how can God be distinct from us, while Maintaining we are similar to Him?
Well, it would seem that this is a catagorical error, and it is. When God created us in His image, clearly, a physical description is not in play here, since God, in His divine nature is not a physical being, but a disembodied mind. Therefore, image in this context speaks not of a physical picture one would see looking back at them while standing in front of a mirror, but a description of our non-physical human attributes, such as, our ability to love, the ability to think for ourselves, having freedom of choice, etc, etc.
If we associate a physical idea onto God's nature, then of course one might object to Christ's human nature as being contra to God's non-physical, eternal nature. However, once again, within the context of Jesus' human nature, he certainly had human features that made Him distinct to God's nature, but having never lost His divine nature, regardless of His humanity, we can apprehend Jesus maintaining His divine nature, and therefore his equality with God.
Answer to objection 4: The assertion that Jesus never said He was God is, with all due respect, quite ludicrous, and fallacious. Although, he may had never made the bold, blanket statement "I AM GOD", not exactly anyway, He made it quite clear on numerous occasions that He was God, and never once detested when others worshiped Him as God. Take for example the young rich man who ran up to Jesus while he preached, and referenced Him as "Good Master". Upon hearing this address, Christ turned to him, and asks "why do you call me good, only God is good"
In Jewish tradition, such an address was usually ascribed to God, yet Jesus sarcastically exposes the sentiment without refuting its audacity.
On another occasion, when Jesus stands in front of Pilot during His sentencing, Jesus equated Himself with God, by referring to Himself as the I AM, in answer to Pilot's question, "are you the Son of God".
We know the term I AM is the name God gives Moses to give to the Hebrews, after his descent from the mountain, having had an audience with God.
Again, in Jewish tradition, I AM is considered a sacred term, that could only be attributed to God, and was considered blasphemous for anyone to utter those words in relation to themselves, to the penalty of death.
There are numerous other examples through the New Testament that exemplify similar accounts to Christ's awareness, and affirmation of His divinity, and therefore, being God.
Therefore, taking all into consideration, we can be confident that not only could Christ be God, but that through Jesus' own revelation of Himsel, He infact was God.

You can start with the final assertion in #4. Jesus claimed to be God more than once. That was the final technical reason that the Jewish leaders sought his death. They understood Jesus to be making that claim and so should we.

The rest of the points illustrate a common misperception regarding the hypostatic union. Even a cursory study of the issues that surrounded Christology in about the 4th-7th centuries, between the Arians, Nestorians, monothelites, monophysites, Docetism, etc, and why Chalcedoninan Christology was so important, gives one the necessary categories for understanding it. The category errors behind these challenges are actually pretty juvenile by comparison. But a cursory explanation may not be convincing without something of the church history that God provided to give us the concrete Biblical Christology we have in the hypostatic union.

1. Jesus came to live a sinless life and to be a sacrifice. This meant that He was fully human and fully God. This is indeed a mystery, however, if Jesus was God, He would have lived an exemplary life before us - obeying the law of Moses and living according to God's statutes. This would have included worshiping God. The trinity is not an easy thing to understand, but Jesus came to set aside His position to live a life of a servant. God cannot contradict Himself and not live according to His own word.

2. The body Jesus occupied was not eternal in the pre resurrection state. However, His body did not see corruption [decay]. Since He rose from the dead, He conquered death, hell and the grave - proving His eternal presence. And the body He has is eternal bearing the scars He bore for us to His glory for all eternity

3. Again, this refers to the mystery of the hypostatic union. But, $50 theological terms aside, now we come down to the definition of what it means to be human. Human beings were created in God's image to love, serve and worship the creator and be in relationship with Him. In this way, Jesus was more human than any of us.

4. Jesus has said many times that He was indeed God. "Before Abraham, I Am". There are very bad assumptions that Jesus did not claim deity, but scripture is full of these accounts.

These questions are challenging a misunderstanding, or straw man of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that there is 1 God that exists in 3 persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three separate Gods that formulate the Trinity, but the Father Son and Holy Spirit together are one God, even though they each have their own unique attributes, roles, self-awareness, and intentionality that we call persons. When as a Christian we say that Jesus is God, we are not saying that he is 100% God, but we are using God as more of a title that refers to the divine uncreated nature of Jesus. One of the unique attributes of Jesus is the incarnation into human form where he was truly a human in every way but without sin. With this proper basic understanding of the Trinity, we can expose the errors within these objections.

Did Jesus worship God? I am not aware of any passage of Jesus worshiping God, he certainly prayed to the Father, and modeled submission to the Father, but the Father is a separate person in the Godhead, and it’s common for separate persons to communicate with each other.

Jesus’ human body experienced Death, but how does it follow that his divine nature ceased to exist? Christians maintain that God’s nature does not die, but the human nature of Jesus certainly tasted death.

Jesus did have human features, as stated above, he was truly human in every way but in sin, and he was also truly God divine, and uncreated. The bible affirms these things in multiple places like in John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews.

Jesus never claimed to be God… Well, a careful reading of the gospels will quickly challenge this claim. Prophets always speak on God’s authority, “Thus Says the LORD” etc, but Jesus didn’t do that, he spoke on his own authority, “Verily I say unto you” etc. He claimed to be God when he said Before Abraham I Am. The Jews said how can this man forgive sins, only God can forgive sins, and he said what is it easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or rise up take you mat and walk. From a first century Jewish perspective, these claims, and others like them were a clear indication that Jesus was claiming to be the God. That is why the Apostles would say that Jesus is Lord giving him the title of Jehovah in the Greek New Testament language.

When as a Christian we say that Jesus is God, we are not saying that he is 100% God
I think we are saying that, but I take your point to be that He is not exclusively God. It is possible to be 100% God and also be 100% man. Like all analogies, this one will break down if you push it too far, but I am 100% husband and 100% father.

In Exodus 24, when God makes his covenant with the people of Israel, elders from the 12 tribes join Moses on Mount Sinai for dinner with God. What do they see? All they describe is how brilliantly blue the ground under his feet appears.
Fast forward to John 14. Jesus is making a new covenant as the 12 disciples sit around eating the Passover meal. Phillip asks him, "show us the Father, that will be enough." Jesus replies, "After all the time we've spent together, don't you get it? If you have seen me, you HAVE seen the Father."

Jesus DID claim to be God.

If God created humanity "in His image", how exactly can God be different from humans in every way? He made us precisely to be enough like Him to live in relationship with him. God calls us to be conformed to the likeness of his Son that He would be the "firstborn of many brothers". God made us enough like Him that we could be his children and people could see some sort of "family resemblance" (most specifically, I think, in the way He loves).

Yes, Jesus died. How, though, does that make him not eternal? Even the Koran suggests that death is not the end of our existence. Jesus still exists, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and will exist in the future. The Bible also states that Jesus was involved in the creation of the universe. Since Time is a part of the created universe, Jesus exists apart from Time as we understand it. Thus Jesus IS eternal.

Jesus loved God. Jesus talked (prayed) to God. Jesus commands us to obey God. These are acts of worship. Jesus condemned hypocrisy (false, self-serving worship and obedience) more than anything else.
God says, "this is my beloved Son, listen to Him" three times in the Gospels: at Jesus baptism, transfiguration, and his triumphal entry. So God loved Jesus; talked to Jesus, and commanded us to obey Jesus. And, incidentally they both commend to us the Holy Spirit and command us to obey Him; and tell us that the Holy Spirit will empower us to obey God and follow Jesus teaching. God points us to Jesus and the Spirit, Jesus points us to the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit points us to the Father and Jesus.

God the Father sent Jesus, His Son, to die on the cross to be our atoning sacrifice. Jesus IS worship itself. We cannot truly worship God without Jesus. ("No man comes to the Father except through me") Indeed, the writings of the New Testament claim that all the worship prescribed in the Old Testament: the sacrifices, the offerings, the feasts, the tabernacle and temple, are all arrows pointing us toward Jesus. That is one of the reasons why, after Jesus, his followers no longer needed the sacrifices, the feasts, or the temple to worship God, we could now worship God "in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:23)

So, a bit roundabout and in reverse order:
Jesus DID claim to be God.
God created us in HIS image.
Jesus IS eternal
Jesus IS the Way we worship, the Life of worship, the Truth of worship.

A mix of the unnerving and the paranormal:


While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42“What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” “The son of David,” they replied. 43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, 44“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ 45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46No one could say a word in reply…

1.Christians say Jesus is God, but how could he have been God if he worshipped God?
-He maintained his loving and intimate relationship with God the Father, one that had been in place from Eternity prior.
2.Also God is eternal and you claim that Jesus dies whereas God can't die.
-Jesus was incarnate in human flesh, yet maintained 100% divinity, and also 100% human nature. Therefore he was subject to the limitations of that human nature, exhaustion, pain, and death. But he was raised from the dead, being seen alive by many after his death.
3.Jesus was human and had human features. We all know that God is different than us humans in every way.
-I think we can learn a lot about God from ourselves. Wouldn't a creator put bits of himself into his creation? I believe this is where we receive our emotions, our sense of right and wrong and desire for justice. Because of the community and connection experienced within the Trinity, we too were created with the strong desire to connect within community.
4.Jesus said to several tribes to worship God alone and he never once said he was God.
-Jesus did claim to be God in the phrase that was well understood at the time as being blasphemous "Before Abraham, I AM." Also, he never rebuked Peter for calling him "the Christ, the Son of the living God," or Thomas for saying to him "My Lord and my God," or others that worshipped to him.

"3.Jesus was human and had human features. We all know that God is different than us humans in every way."

Genesis describes God fashioning Man in His Image. Physicality is obvioulsy an acute difference, and in physicality Christ is just every bit that we are. However, that bit of Man that is (currently inside of the painful fragmentation of privation) in God's Image is - well, many qualities/nuances. In the Created Man we find that "Image". Of which we, you and I, say, "such in us is an image of Him". But that is what we say. Christ does not so say. He says instead that if you see Me you see - not an image of - but instead - God - or - The-Father. Combined with so much else which Christ claimed to be and to do (forgive our sins) and so on, there are clear lines in the sand being claimed, and, also, clearly, there are not any sort of metaphysical "problems" here amid raw Physicality vs. the Father's Image vs. the Father. There is still a problem if we grant (we don't) the critic that such is not coherent (it is) and that is the request of Christ of Father to restore to Him (Christ) that Glory which He had with Father prior to the World's existence.

But again, we don't grant such to the critic.



1. Christians say Jesus is God, but how could he have been God if he worshipped God?
As one of the persons in the Trinity, which is three persons and one nature or essence, Jesus was fully able to communicate with, submit to, worship and obey the Father.


2. Also God is eternal and you claim that Jesus dies whereas God can't die.

Well it would be simple to ask, what do you mean by Jesus dying? Does a person die when their body dies, or rather does only their body die, and their eternal nature live on?
As Christians we believe that Jesus body did die, but that His soul or spirit lived on. Moreover, God raised Jesus from the dead as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-24, showing that Jesus was not subject finally to death.


3. Jesus was human and had human features. We all know that God is different than us humans in every way.

Genesis 1:27 reads:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. KJV

So according to the Chistian World-View, man is made in the image of God, the Imago Dei. Therefore, it is not true to say that "We all know that God is different than us humans in every way." We don't know this, and in fact deny it. Moreover, on the Muslim view, man is also similar to Allah. Both can communicate, both have wills, both are individual people.
The reason why Jesus had human features, was that he was incarnated. Philippians 2:6-8:

...6 who[Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ESV.
He did not give up his divine nature, but rather limited himself to what he could do on earth.


4. Jesus said to several tribes to worship God alone and he never once said he was God.
False, Jesus did claim he was God.
Jesus always referred to himself as the "Son of Man", which is a direct reference to the Son of Man from Daniel 7:13-14, where the son of man comes on the clouds of glory. Moreover, he explicitly links the the claim with Daniel when he stands before the Sanhedrin on trial saying in Mark 14:61b-62:

...Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

The Chief priests knew exactly what claim Jesus was making, and responded by charging him with Blasphemy. Or again in John 10:30-33:

30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

So the evidence is clear, Jesus did claim to be God.

One overlooked illustration of Jesus' Divinity is the command to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and the Apostle's interpretation of the meaning, by baptizing throughout the Book of Acts in the "Name of Jesus".

In fairness to the objector, he did say that Jesus never claimed to be God. He did not make the more general claim that the Bible as a whole never says that Jesus is God.

While the objector's more limited claim is also false, many replies here depend on what the Bible says as a whole...not just what Jesus said during His earthly ministry. As a tactical matter, it's probably best to stay precisely on point with what the objector said. It provides him less wiggle room.

Take for example the formula of baptism Dave just mentioned. The parallel between baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and baptizing in the name of Jesus shows that the authors of Scripture fully understood who Christ was.

Those are not all words spoken out of Jesus' incarnate mouth though. Yes, what Jesus said about Himself has the implication that Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost is identical to Baptism in the name of Jesus. But Jesus never expressed that implication with His own lips. It was the authors of the the New Testament who ultimately spoke on the basis of that implication.

That said, the Trinitarian Formula of Baptism, all by itself, is a claim of the deity of Jesus, and that was spoken by Jesus Himself. In the Trinitarian Formula, Jesus affirms that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost have a single name. Jesus is claiming here to have the same name as the Father.

But the Father has only one name: YHWH.

Jesus claims here to be YHWH-God.

(Also, He asserts that the Holy Ghost is YHWH-God.)

True, if this were the only passage for the unity of the Godhead, anti-trinitarians would still have some leeway. But it's not, so they really don't.

Matthew 16:

"15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him,“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven."

Please may we remind you that not all Christians say tha Jesus is God.

According the Bible God is an eternal Spirit, Who knows everything, can not be tempted and does not tell lies or does not sin.
In the Bible which we take to be the Word of God, God Himself declares Who He is and who Jesus is: His beloved son, and not Him. Jesus also never claimed to be God and knew he was ever lower than angels, though God is the Most High.

Marcus:

"The WORD was with God, and the WORD was God."

So the Bible says unambiguously that Jesus is God.

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"Before Abraham was I AM"

Jesus Himself claimed to be the great I AM.

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To be a Christian is to adhere to the Apostle's Nicene and Athanasian Creeds (at a minimum). If you do not do that, you may call yourself a Christ, just as a married man may call himself a bachelor, but you are no such thing.

The creeds say clearly that Jesus is very God of very God.

So all Christians do claim that Jesus is God.

"you may call yourself a Christ"

should be, of course:

"you may call yourself a Christian"

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