Is Jesus God?
The following paper is the debate material I successfully used against Dr. James White (www.aomin.org) during my debate with him concerning the deity of Jesus. The debate can be viewed here:
Now to the successful arguments:
To see if somebody is God or not is rather simple my friends, you just look at the nature and characteristics of God, and what he has said about himself, and then compare this to Jesus to see if he matches the description.
So with that said I have come up with 6 established criteria's for one to be God, these criteria's are to be found within the Bible itself.
1- GOD DECLARES HIMSELF TO BE GOD
The first criterion is that God CLEARLY and EXPLICITLY declares who he is, by declaring and saying I AM GOD, we read:
Isa 45:5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Jer 32:27 Behold, I [am] the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Eze 20:20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God.
Gen 35:11 And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins
Gen 46:3 And he said, I [am] God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:
So God CLEARLY and EXPLICITLY declares who he is, he doesn't leave it open to question or guesswork, he plainly says it.
Yet Jesus never ONCE in clear plain Hebrew or Greek ever said I AM GOD, OR I AM GOD ALMIGHTY, OR I AM GOD AND THERE IS NO GOD BESIDE ME. Jesus in his entire ministry NEVER and I repeat NEVER EVER uttered this sentence once, hence he fails the first criteria.
God says I AM GOD, Jesus never said it once.
2- God is not a MAN nor the SON OF MAN
Now in the Bible God tells us about his nature, his attributes, what he is, and what he IS NOT. And the God in the Bible clearly states that he is not a MAN, nor the SON OF MAN, as he says:
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
1 Samuel 15:29:
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
So the God of the Bible makes it very clear that he is not a man, nor the son of man! Yet what about Jesus? Well let us see what Jesus said in John 8:40:
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
So Jesus is a man, God is not a man, therefore to put it short: Jesus is not God! Furthermore the Greek word used for man is called Anthropos, and this is from where we get the word anthropology which is basically the study of humanity!
Secondly, the word Anthropos in the Greek language is used to distinguish man from God! So Jesus used a word to describe himself which clearly separates and distinguishes him from God! To sum it up when one is called Anthropos it means he isn't God, but a man/human like all others, separate from the divine creator.
3- God's nature DOESN'T CHANGE, it is FOREVER THE SAME
Another attribute of God in the Bible is that his nature is consistent and unchanging, as he says:
For I am the LORD, I CHANGE NOT
So the God of the Bible's nature does not change, yet here comes the problem for people like James White and Christians who share the same belief as him. The problem comes in the shape of Philippians chapter 2:6-7, a verse that Christians such as Dr. White USE TO PROVE JESUS' DIVINITY and it reads:
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (New King James Version)
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, (New Living Translation)
who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; (American Standard Version)
None of the translations are similar, but the basic Trinitarian interpretation is that Jesus gave up his divine right and power and took on the human form.
So this basically means that if Jesus truly was God, then he changed his nature, and went against his nature by giving that divine nature up and becoming a man.
Malachi 3:6 completely refutes this Trinitarian interpretation of Philippians chapter 2, because if God gave up his divine right, and took on the flesh then he truly changed and went against his nature, and God clearly says he does not change nor go against his nature.
So the Christian is in a major dilemma now, either they let God be, meaning he is not a man, and that his nature doesn't change. Or they make God into a liar, claiming he did change his nature by becoming a man and taking on the flesh! It is up to the Christian as to which option they choose, but either way they still lose, because they either accept the reality that Jesus isn't God, or they call God a liar to simply continue their belief in Jesus' divinity!
4- God is ALL-KNOWING
As we all know, one of God's main attributes is that he is all knowing, he is not ignorant etc.
Yet when we read the Gospels we find that Jesus displayed ignorance on 2 separate occasions:
Incident number 1:
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 24:36)"
Incident number 2:
Mark chapter 11 verses 12-13:
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
So as you can clearly see, Jesus is not all knowing
5- God is all-powerful
Another clear attribute and criteria of God is that he is all powerful, yet anyone who reads the Gospels will see that Jesus was not powerful at all.
Jesus fled from King Herod as the Gospel of Matthew chapter 2 tells us. Imagine this, the all powerful God fleeing from a tyrant king who wants to kill him?! James White in trying to respond to this point has said well Jesus was 2 years old so off course he would flee from King Herod!
Is that a response or is that a FURTHER refutation to his own beliefs that Jesus is God! The all powerful God is a helpless 2 year old child fleeing from his creation!
We also read in many other parts of the Gospels were God GAVE Jesus power and authority:
Jhn 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
John 17:6-8: 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that ALL THINGS whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me
Jhn 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
.Jhn 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
6- God is perfect
Another attribute of God is that he is perfect, with no defects or flaws, yet Jesus precisely denied being good in the same and absolute sense as God:
Mat 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God:
So here we see that Jesus denied that he was good in the absolute sense of good, which is perfect, perfect like God.
So these are 6 criteria's which Jesus clearly fails, therefore Jesus is not God.
Who Jesus declared himself to be
Now let us move on to another issue, what did Jesus clearly and explicitly say about himself, basically his position, his identity etc. We know he never said he was God, rather what he did clearly say about himself was:
He was a prophet (Luke 19:24, Matthew 13:57)
He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:20)
This is what Jesus explicitly and clearly said about himself, he was a prophet, the messiah, and not one of these terms denotes divinity or making one God.
So did Jesus want the people to believe that he was God? The answer is NO, he wanted the people to believe that he was SENT from God, two different, as Jesus himself said in many places:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? (John 16:30-31)
Did the people believe that Jesus was God?
Now another way to solve this issue is to see if the early followers of Jesus during his life time on earth believed him to be God. Since Christians are fond of quoting the Pharisees accusations against Jesus as a proof of him being God, likewise I shall quote what the believers thought about Jesus, prophet or God.
Christians cannot have their cake and eat it, they cannot simply accept Jewish accusations when it supports their belief, and disregard TRUE BELIEVERS testimonies about Jesus when it debunks their belief.
So what did the people think of Jesus?
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets
So notice Jesus asks the disciples what the people were saying about him, and note, none of them were saying he was God, rather they were saying he was some prophet.
In fact as we read on in Matthew 16 we get the disciples belief about Jesus:
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ,
So the disciples believed that Jesus was the Christ, they did not say we believe that you are God, or the divine son of God. It would have been very easy for them to have said we believe that you Jesus is God himself, the divine son of God! Yet no such statement was made.
What about the Gospel of John? The Gospel of John is said to be the most Christological Gospel out of the four, and in fact the Gospel of John is often used by Christians to try and prove Jesus' divinity. Well let us read what the people thought about Jesus when they saw him, starting with John the Baptist, when he first saw Jesus he exclaimed the following:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God (John 1:26)
Did John the Baptist say behold this is God, or behold this is the Divine Son of God? No, he stated that this is the LAMB OF GOD, obviously he did not believe Jesus was God or he would have simply said behold this is God!
We further read in the same chapter:
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:34)
So notice he also bears witness that Jesus is the son of God, not that Jesus is the divine son of God, or God. The term son of God to the Israelites did not denote divinity or made one God, it simply meant a righteous man of God, a prophet, or the Messiah.
Let us move to John chapter 4:13-19. What makes this incident rather interesting is that Christians such as Dr. White use John chapter 4:15 to prove that Jesus is God, yet Christians like Dr. White ignore verse 19, so let us quote the specific point of interest, John 4:13-19:
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. (John 4:13-19)
Notice verse 19? The lady believes that Jesus is a prophet; she does not say that I perceive you to be God, or the divine son of God!
Now Christians such as Dr. White use verse 15 to prove Jesus' divinity, since Jesus told the lady that the water he gives her will give eternal life, so from this statement Christians like Dr. White infer that Jesus is God for making such a statement. Yet if such a statement made Jesus God, and is supposed to make us believe that he is God, then why didn't the lady who personally and physically witnessed this statement believe that Jesus was God, but rather a prophet?
Many more such passages can be found within the Gospel of John, testimonies from believers who did NOT believe that Jesus was God, but a prophet of God. Believers who witnessed Jesus' statements, words, and miracles, even after all of such things they still believed that Jesus was a prophet.
Let us also read from Matthew chapter 21 verses 10-11, when Jesus entered Jerusalem this is what the believers were saying:
And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. (Matthew 21:10-11)
Last but not least we read in the Gospel of John that the believers debated amongst themselves concerning WHO JESUS WAS! My question to the audience is what do you think they debated? Did the believers debate whether Jesus was simply a prophet, and the messiah? Or was he more than that and God himself? You would think so right?!
Well the answer is no, the earliest believers of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, debated amongst each other on whether Jesus was the prophet of 18:18 or if he was the Messiah! How interesting is that? That 2000 years ago in Palestine while Jesus was there in his ministry, the people were not debating as we are today, if Jesus is prophet or God, nay, rather they were debating whether he was a Prophet or Messiah! If you don't believe me then I will quote it for you:
Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? (John 7:40-41)
Jesus has a God
Now one of the most interesting things we read in the Gospel of John is that Jesus declares that he has a God! As he says:
John 20: 15-18:
5 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Now logically ask yourself this, here a man is claiming he has a God, which is the same God as your God, would you actually then believe that this man is also God? Of course not! The fact that Jesus declares that he has a God is not surprising at all, because he is a man, a prophet, so off course he has a God, yet when people claim that Jesus IS God then this sounds very strange doesn't it? God saying I have a God? I don't think so people, let us use our common sense and rationality, a man is saying he has a God, do you really believe that he is God?
Now lest a Christian says well yes this was the MAN Jesus saying he has a God, then let us go to Revelations 3:12 where the supposed divine Jesus is in his glory and also says he has a God:
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
So this is from Revelations, when Jesus is supposedly in his divine state of glory where he receives worship and so on. Yet here the divine Jesus is also saying he has a God!
Also I need to remind the audience about something, there is no such thing as man Jesus and God Jesus, this dual personality and dual natures, because remember one of the attributes of God is that his nature is never changing, from Malachi 3:6 as we saw. So a Christian response that oh yes Jesus was a man so that is why he said my God, this response will not work due to Malachi 3:6, and number two there is not a single passage from the lips of Jesus where he claims to have dual natures, being both fully man and fully God.
All of the above was enough to defeat Dr. James White and PROVE that Jesus is not God, the above information is very simple, and straightforward and should help any of you when you come across a Christian trying to prove Jesus' deity.
-Jesus fails the attributes of God
-Jesus identified himself with terms such as prophet and Messiah
-The eyewitness believers did not believe that Jesus was God
-Jesus has a God!
Put all of that together and consistently you will arrive at the conclusion that Jesus is not God.
And Allah Knows Best!