SOURCE: There are several groups that deny the deity of Christ. Four of the most common are: Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Way International, Christadelphians and Unitarians. The most common arguments used by these groups, and some others that are not listed, are cited below. It is out of obedience to Jude 3 and love for the truth of God that this study has been presented. (The Christian worker should become familiar with the contents of this study. See 1 Pet. 3:15.)
[Before the following refutations are given, it is imperative that you know two basic truths about the Lord Jesus: (1) When a Christian says, “Jesus is God,” he is NOT saying Jesus is the Father! Jesus is NOT the person of the Father, yet He is equal to the Father BY NATURE. In other words, Jesus is God BY NATURE, as are the Father and the Holy Spirit. (2) Jesus is both God BY NATURE and man. In other words, He is both true God AND true man. Jesus’ humanity is shown in Heb. 2:14 and 1 Tim. 2:5.]
OBJECTION #1. Jn. 14:28 reads, “… my Father is greater than I.” If Jesus is equal to the Father, as the Trinity definition states, then why did Jesus say His Father was “greater” than He?
ANSWER: Jesus spoke these words after He humbled Himself and became a servant (Phil. 2:5-8). Furthermore, the word “greater” refers to OFFICE or POSITION and not NATURE! God is God because of His “NATURE” (Gal. 4:8). Jesus is saying in Jn. 14:28 that His Father has a “greater” OFFICE or POSITION than He does. This is how the word “greater” is used as clearly seen in Gen 41:40. That verse reads, “You [Joseph] shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I [Pharaoh] be GREATER than you,” (NIV). Pharaoh was “greater” than Joseph only by OFFICE or POSITION, but not NATURE. The nature of Pharaoh and Joseph was the same, that is, human being. Similarly, the president of the USA is GREATER than we are, as far as OFFICE or POSITION is concerned, but certainly not by NATURE!
OBJECTION #2. 1 Cor. 11:3 reads, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” If Christ has a “head,” then He can’t be God.
ANSWER: Does this show Jesus inferior to the Father by NATURE? If one will insist that it does, then to be consistent, he would have to say the same regarding the woman to the man! Though a wife is subject to her husband in the Lord, she is NOT inferior to him by nature. The same is true with the relationship between the Lord Jesus and the Father.
OBJECTION #3. 1 Cor. 15:28 says, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” If Jesus is “subject” to the Father, He can’t be God.
ANSWER: Again, this argument is similar to Arguments #1 and #2. This verse doesn’t refer to NATURE either, but only to OFFICE or POSITION! In Lk. 2:51, the SAME GREEK WORD translated “subject” is found. No one would say that Jesus was inferior BY NATURE to Joseph and Mary from Lk. 2:51, which would be the natural conclusion if the word “subject” refers to NATURE! Likewise, Jesus is NOT inferior BY NATURE to the Father, since He is God. See Jn. 1:1, Greek; Jn. 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1 and 1 Jn. 5:20.
OBJECTION #4. Mk. 13:32 declares, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” If Jesus was God, then He would have had this knowledge.
ANSWER: Again, we must bear in mind that Jesus is true man besides true God. The Lord Jesus spoke these words when He was limited by His humanity and was relying upon the Father entirely (Acts 10:38; Jn. 12:49). After His resurrection, however, Jesus would have to be all-knowing, since He can be prayed to (Jn. 14:14, Greek; Acts 7:59; 9:14,21; 1 Cor. 1:2). In other words, if a group of Christians is praying to Jesus in Canada, Mexico and Japan at the same time, He would have to be all-knowing to know their requests! Also, since prayer is a form of worship, it would be idolatry to pray to Jesus unless He was and is God by NATURE. (If He wasn’t God by NATURE, then the early Church was guilty of idolatry by praying to Jesus, which is IMPOSSIBLE!)
OBJECTION #5. Lk. 18:19 reads, “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.’” God is “good,” but Jesus isn’t. Therefore, Jesus isn’t God.
ANSWER: If one would look closely at this verse, he should quickly notice that Jesus NEVER said that He Himself was NOT ‘good’! He merely asked, “Why callest thou me good?” Jesus wanted to know “WHY,” that’s all! Furthermore, Jesus openly declared elsewhere that He Himself was the “GOOD shepherd” (Jn. 10:11). Psalm 23 declares YHWH as the “shepherd,” but He isn’t called the “GOOD” shepherd, the description Jesus reserved for Himself!
OBJECTION #6. Jesus is shown in the Scriptures as being created in Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15; Prov. 8:22 and Psa. 2:7. If He was created, He can’t be God, since God is eternal.
ANSWER: (A) Rev. 3:14 states that Jesus is “the beginning of the creation of God.” The word translated “beginning” is ARCHE in the Greek. It also means ORIGIN besides BEGINNING. Since ORIGIN and SOURCE are synonymous, we can now understand why this verse reads in the N. A. B. “the SOURCE of God’s creation.” This verse doesn’t show Jesus is created, but that He is the Creator! After all, since Jesus created EVERYTHING that was created (Col. 1:16), how could He be part of His own creation?
(B) Col. 1:15 reports that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature.” Please notice that it does NOT say “first-created”! This word, “firstborn,” has more than one possible meaning. If one would read Gen. 41:51,52; 48:17-19 and Jer. 31:9 he would see that it can mean PREEMINENT. That is how it is used in Col. 1:15 as the context reveals from verses 15 through 18. Jesus is PREEMINENT over creation because: (1) He created everything that was created, (2) ALL created things were created for Him, (3) He existed before ALL created things and (4) ALL created things are held together because of Him.
(C) Prov. 8:22 states that Wisdom was brought forth in the beginning. Since Jesus is called the “Wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24), He was created, according to the argument.
What one must decide is: IS THIS WISDOM MENTIONED IN PROV. 8 REFERRING TO JESUS, BEFORE HE CAME TO EARTH? According to Jn. 1:1,14, Jesus was called the “Word” before He came to earth, NOT Wisdom (or even “Michael” as some groups teach)!
Secondly, the chapter reveals Wisdom in verse 19 as the PROPER USE OF KNOWLEDGE as shown by Job 28:15. Therefore, the Wisdom of Prov. 8 is personified and not really a person at all!
Finally, since Jesus is the WISDOM OF GOD and the POWER OF GOD (1 Cor. 1:24), for one to say that He was created is to say that there was a point in time in the distant past when God existed WITHOUT Wisdom and Power, which is ludicrous!
(D) Psa. 2:7; Jn. 3:16; etc. state that Jesus was “begotten.” Does this mean that Jesus had a beginning as we did, since we were begotten by our fathers and at that point we had our beginning? The answer to Psa. 2:7 is found in Acts 13:30-33. There we learn that this verse from Psalms refers to the resurrection of Christ! Secondly, the word translated “only begotten” in Jn. 3:16,18 and 1 Jn. 4:9 in regards to Christ is also used in Heb. 11:17 in regards to Isaac. Was Isaac the FIRST child of Abraham? No! See Gen. 16:15,16. Was Isaac the ONLY child of Abraham? No! See Gen. 16:15,16; 25:1,2. Was Isaac the UNIQUE ONE-OF-A-KIND son of Abraham? Yes! This is how this same Greek word is used in reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the UNIQUE ONE-OF-A-KIND Son to the Father, but NOT created. Micah 5:2 refers to Jesus the SAME WAY Psa. 93:2 refers to God. Jesus is “from everlasting” and therefore can’t be part of creation. Since He isn’t part of creation, then He must be God, since only God is eternal!
OBJECTION #7. In the Bible, Jesus is NEVER called “God the Son,” but instead “the Son of God.” Therefore, He can’t be God.
ANSWER: This argument has a trace of truth in it for the words, “God the Son,” are NOT found in the Bible. However, when an “open” student of the Scriptures examines all the verses relevant to the deity of Christ, he will conclude that Jesus is both God and man. How can this be? It’s possible the same way Jesus can be both shepherd and lamb and the high priest and sin offering at the same time! Concerning words NOT found in the Bible, the word, “Bible,” isn’t found in the Bible! Neither is the word “Millennium” found in the Bible, even though it is certainly taught in Rev. 20.
OBJECTION #8. If Jesus is God, who was He praying to in the Garden, Himself?
ANSWER: This question stems from a misconception about HOW Christians believe Jesus is God. We believe Jesus is God BY NATURE. We do NOT believe Jesus is the person of the Father! He can NOT be the Father, since He prayed to the Father in Jn. 17! He certainly wasn’t praying to Himself. The Bible teaches that Jesus is God by NATURE, as is the Father and the Holy Spirit. There is only one true God by NATURE. See Gal. 4:8. The Trinity is NOT defined as three Gods in one, but instead three Persons in one God. God is the NATURE of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
OBJECTION #9. If Jesus is God, then who ran the universe while He was dead for three days?
ANSWER: Again, this is no problem to answer when one understands that Jesus is NOT the person of the Father. The Father and the Son are two separate and distinct personalities.
OBJECTION #10. Jesus can’t be God, since God can’t die!
ANSWER: Remember, Jesus isn’t only God by nature, but also man! Jesus could die as any other human, because He became man (and still is man) besides being God by NATURE.
OBJECTION #11. Jesus can’t be God, because He said that the Father was His God in Jn. 20:17.
ANSWER: Jesus said this as a man. This, however, doesn’t change the clear evidence that shows Jesus is God! The Apostle Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord and my God,” Jn. 20:28. The Greek literally says, “The Lord of me and the God of me.” Remember also that Thomas was a strict MONOtheistic Jew. Was the Apostle Thomas “in the truth?” Obviously he was. Was the Apostle Thomas part of the early church? Obviously he was. Therefore, the early church believed that Jesus is God. If you claim to believe and teach like the early church, then shouldn’t you proclaim the same? Are you in the same “light” that the Apostles were in? Furthermore, the Father identifies Jesus as “God” in Heb. 1:8. Again, the Greek says, “the God.” Certainly the Father knows the true identity of the Son. Also, Heb. 1:6 declares that “ALL the angels worship Him [Jesus].” Who do the angels worship, according to Rev. 19:10? According to Heb. 1:6, the angel of Rev. 19:10 WORSHIPS Jesus! In fact, Jesus’ disciples WORSHIPED Him too (Matt. 28:9). Why do you think Jesus received this WORSHIP from His disciples? Are you following the example of the early disciples regarding this? Did you know it would have been idolatry for those early disciples, who were “in the truth” to worship Jesus, unless He was God?