Is Jesus Christ God?
Jay N. Forrest
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
To believe in the Deity of Christ means that one believes that Jesus Christ is God. Who believes this, you might ask. While, the Roman Catholic church believes this, the Methodist churches believe this, the Lutheran churches believe this, the Presbyterian churches believe this, the Episcopal churches believe this, the Eastern Orthodox church believes this, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches believe this, the Anglican church believes this, the Disciples of Christ churches believe this, the Mennonite churches believe this, and the Adventist churches believe this. The fact is, the only churches that deny the Deity of Jesus Christ are the cults. One of the distinguishing marks of a cult is that they deny this truth.
The Deity of Jesus Christ is one of the foundational truths of Christianity. It is one of the basic pillars upon which Christianity stands. Remove it and Christianity crumbles to the ground. The doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ is absolutely essential to our salvation. If one refuses to believe that Jesus is God, they cannot be saved. For only if Jesus was God could He be a sinless and perfect offering of infinite worth.
Jesus is Eternal: To be eternal means to be “without beginning or end.”1 Only God is eternal, for only God is without beginning or end. God has no beginning because God has always existed. Such a concept may be hard to understand, seeing that our lives are filled with beginnings and endings. But God is unlike anything He created.
Now to claim that Jesus had no beginning may seem strange to some. “Of course Jesus had a beginning,” they will say. Was He not born in Bethlehem as “a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12)?
Now it is true that Jesus entered into the human race as a baby in Mary’s womb, but He existed long before that. In the prophecy quoted to the wise men concerning the place of Christ’s birth, it says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2 NKJV Lit.).
The New Testament clearly applies this passage to Jesus (Matthew 2:6; John 7:42; Luke 2:4, 11). So Jesus existed before He was born. His “goings forth” were “from the days of eternity.” Jesus existed as God before He took on human flesh. This time before Christ became a man is referred to as His pre-existence. That means that Christ existed as God before He existed as man. This is why Jesus is called the God-man. He is both fully God and fully man.
There are several passages that teach that Jesus existed before He was born. At one point Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58). Abraham lived thousands of years before Christ was born, yet here Jesus says that He existed before Abraham existed. The only way for that to be possible was for Christ to have existed before He was born.
Notice that Jesus calls Himself “I Am.” The importance of this should not be overlooked. In the Old Testament God sent Moses to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. So Moses asks God what His name is. Moses wants to know what he is to say when the Israelites ask him the name of the God who sent him. God says to tell them, “I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). Hence Jesus is claiming to be the “I AM.” In other words, Jesus is claiming to be God.
At another time Jesus is praying to God the Father saying, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). Here Jesus is talking about the glory He had “before the world was.” In other words, before the world existed Jesus shared “the glory” with the Father and is asking to be restored to that former glory. Now clearly Jesus had to exist “before the world was” in order to share the glory He had “before the world was.” So Jesus existed, not only before His birth, but before the creation of the world. Now only God existed before all created things. So Jesus is God.
Again Jesus is talking to the Father, “Father, I desire that they also who You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Here we see the Father loved Jesus “before the foundation of the world.” Again it shows that Jesus existed “before the foundation of the world.” But only God existed then.
So Jesus is God. In our text it says that “the Word was God” (John 1:1). Who is this Word? It is not talking about the Bible, but about a person. “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:2-4). Notice that the Word is referred to as “He” and “Him”. Clearly referring to a person.
So this person, called the Word, existed in the beginning and “was face to face with God; yea, the Word was God Himself” (John 1:1 Williams Translation). We know is person as Jesus Christ. But before Jesus became a human He was known as the Word (Greek Logos). In the Book of Revelation, when Christ returns on a white horse, it refers to Him by saying that “His name is called the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). The apostle John calls Jesus the Word in his first epistle, saying that he and the others had heard, seen, and handled “the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).
So Jesus is the Word. As the Word He existed “before the world was created” (John 1:1 TEV). And the reason He existed before all created things is because He “was God” (John 1:1). So Jesus was and is God. That is what this passage clearly teaches. Jesus is the Word and “the Word was God” (John 1:1). So Jesus was God. The Living Bible paraphrases it this way, “Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God” (John 1:1).
Jesus is eternal. “He has always been alive.” He existed before creation, because “all things were made through Him” (John 1:3). He is without beginning and without end. Jesus is God.
This naturally leads us to the point at which Christ entered into human history. “And the Word [Christ] became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled – fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile – among us; and we [actually] saw His glory – His honor, His majesty; such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving kindness) and truth” (John 1:14 AMP). Jesus Christ is the Word. And as the Word He “became flesh.”
In the beginning of the Gospel of John we learned that Jesus “was God” (John 1:1). Now in this verse we learn that the Word that “was God” also “became flesh” (John 1:14). Paul refers to the same truth when he says that “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). Jesus was God and He became human. We are flesh, but He became flesh. This means that existed as something other than flesh before He became flesh. He existed as God and then became human. The Bible repeatedly tells us that Jesus had to come down from heaven to the earth to take on human form (John 3:132, 31; 8:23). He took on human flesh when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35).
Jesus, who was and is God, became a man. He was one person with two natures. He was both God and man. Paul speaks about this, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did no consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He Humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
Paul is clear that Jesus was “in the form of God.” But He became a man “taking the form of a servant.” Here we see one person with two natures or forms. One Divine and the other human. Jesus is the God-man.
Jesus is Creator: God is by definition the Creator of the universe. All things owe their existence to God’s creative power. God and God alone is the Creator of the universe. Only God can create things out of nothing. All this seems quite self-evident.
If it can be shown that Jesus created all things, then it would mean that Jesus was the Creator of the universe. And if Jesus was the Creator of the universe, then that would make Jesus God. For the Creator is God and God is the Creator.
Let us return to the passage in John concerning Christ as the Word. After stating that Jesus “was God”, John says that “It was through Him that everything came into existence, and apart from Him not a single thing came into existence” (John 1:3 Williams Translation). How many things came into existence through Christ? All things. That is, “all creation took place through Him” (John 1:3 Phillips Translation). And “not one thing in all creation was made without Him” (John 1:3 TEV).
He repeats this same truth again a couple of verses later, “He was in the world, and the world was made
hrough Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). The One who created the world came and lived “in the world” for a time. This can only refer to Christ as the Creator who “became” a human being. So Jesus is God the creator.
The apostle Paul taught that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God,” he declares that it was “by Him [that] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).
Here Paul says that Jesus, who is God, had an active role in creating “all things.” Not only were all things “created through Him,” they were also created “for Him.” Therefore Jesus is the Creator and Owner of all things. He existed “before all things” and is therefore eternal. And “in Him all things consist,” that is, everything is held together by Christ’s power. Such statements can only refer to God.
Paul repeats this idea in another epistle. Here explains that God the Father “created all things through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9). Here we see that the Father and the Son were joint Creators. The Father created everything through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The only way to accurately understand this is to realize that there is one God manifested in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). The Christian church refers to this as the Trinity. But an examination of the doctrine of the Trinity is beyond the scope of our present article.
Let us look at one more passage, “God. . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3). Here we again see that the Father “made the worlds” through Christ. Showing again that Jesus was an active participant in the creation of the universe. So “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3 NIV). So Jesus is God, the Creator of the universe.
Jesus’ Divine Attributes: There are certain attributes that only God has. Only God is everywhere present (omnipresent). Only God is all powerful (omnipotent). And only God is all knowing (omniscience). Let us look at each of these God attributes and see if they apply to Christ. If even one of them do, then we must conclude that Jesus is God, because only God can possess God powers.
First, the Bible teaches that Christ has the Divine attribute known as omnipresence, that is, that He is everywhere present. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Here Jesus plainly teaches that He can be present in more than one place at the same time, Hundreds of thousands of people gather in Jesus’ name every Sunday morning, and according to this passage, He is “in the midst of them” all.
In the great commission Jesus assures His followers, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The word “you” is in the plural. What He is saying is, “I am with all of you all the time.” This is only possible if Christ is everywhere present. And since Christ has an attribute of God, an attribute only God has, He must therefore be God.
Second, the Bible teaches that christ has the Divine attribute known as omnipotence, that is, that He is all powerful. Paul says that Christ can not only “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,” but “He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21). Or as one translation says, “He is able to bring all things under His rule” (Philippians 3:21 TEV). Now only God can “subdue the whole universe” (Philippians 3:21 Jerusalem Bible). And yet it claims that Christ can do what only God can do.
In the Book of Revelation Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. . . who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). He claims to be “the All Powerful One” (Revelation 1:8 LB). He considers Himself “the sovereign Lord of all” (Revelation 1:8 NEB). To claim to be Almighty is surely claiming to be God. Isaiah calls Jesus the Messiah, “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:7; cf. Luke 2:11). And since Christ has an attribute of God, an attribute only God has, He must therefore be God.
Third, the Bible teaches that Christ has the Divine attribute known as ominscience, that is, that He knows all things. The disciples attributed omniscience to christ, “Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You” (John 16:30). They were “sure” that Jesus was all knowing. They were sure that He possessed this God attribute.
The apostle Peter had no doubt that Jesus was all knowing. He said, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” (John 21:17). Again, a clear indication that Peter and the other disciples believed that Christ possessed the Divine attribute of omniscience. And since Christ has an attribute of God, an attribute only God has, He must therefore be God.
Now since Jesus was and is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere present, and since only God possesses these attributes, theregfore we must comclude that Jesus is God. There is simply no other way to fully explain why He possessed the attributes of God, unless He was God.
Jesus is Jehovah: Johnthe Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. Concerning his own ministry John the Baptist quotes Isaiah as saying the he would “prepare the way of the LORD” (Matthew 3:3). Here John calls Jesus LORD. The Iaiah passage that he quotes says, “prepare ye in the wilderness the way of Jehovah” (Isaiah 40:3 ASV). John prepared the way for Jesus, Isaiah said he would prepare the way for Jehovah, therefore Jesus is Jehovah.
There are so many passages that we can only summerize them here. Christ is called Jehovah of glory (Psalm 24:7-10; 1 Corinthians 2:8; James 2:11). Christ is called Jehovah our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ is Jehovah above all (Psalm 97:9; John 3:31). Christ is Jehovah, the First and the Last (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:17; Isaiah 48:12-16; Revelation 22:13). Christ is Jehovah of hosts (Isaiah 6:1-3; John 12:41; Isaiah 8:13-14′ 1 Peter 2:8). Christ is Jehovah the Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11; Hebrews 12:20). And there are many more.
Jesus is God: Is Jesus God? Here the testimony of the inspired writers of Scripture. Isaiah testifies and declares that Christ “will be called. . . Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). The apostles John says that Christ “was God” (John 1:1). He says that Jesus Christ “is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). The apostle Thomas, after seeing Jesus resurrected from the dead declares, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). The apostle Paul, in speaking of the return of Christ says, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Again he says that “Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God” (Romans 9:5). And Matthew testifies that Jesus was Immanuel, meaning that He is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Ther believed that Jesus was God with them.
I have hardly scatched the surface of the hundreds of passages that deal with Christ’s Deity. The very fact that He was worshipped should settle the question forever (Acts 7:59; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:12). It would take a rather large book to contain all the proofs of Christ’s Deity. We have seen but a sampling. The evidence is over whelming. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God. It teaches that there is one