Pauline Theology, Jesus is Not God
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that according to Paul's (supposed) writings and theology, that Jesus is/was not God. Some may find this strange as many often associate Paul with writings and theology that are completely filled with references that claim Jesus to be God, however so as we shall see, this is not the case at all.
I must clarify though, that Paul is indeed a false apostle, a deceiver, and a man who completely distorted and twisted the message of Jesus as well as the pure monotheism of God. The reason I say that is not because Paul necessarily preached that Jesus was God, no, rather Paul preached that Jesus died for the sins of the world, and it is through this that we are all saved, and I obviously do not believe in that. Salvation is not based on a man's death for the sins of the world, rather salvation is belief in the pure oneness and monotheism of God!
To say that our salvation relies on a man's death takes away from true salvation, that is the belief in pure monotheism, which is the key to paradise. So Paul took the essence away from monotheism, he took away its importance, and centred his whole theology on the death and resurrection of Jesus, he himself stated:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:14)
So while Islam teaches that salvation is based on your pure belief in the pure monotheism (Tawheed) of God, Paul teaches your salvation relies on the death of a man! For more on Islamic monotheism and its importance please visit the following section:
So let us be clear about this, just because one can consistently demonstrate that Paul's writings prove that Jesus is NOT God, it does not vindicate him nor does it make him saved.
So with that said we now move on to the topic at hand, to show that Paul's writings clearly demonstrated and show that Jesus is NOT God:
Book of Romans:
Paul begins this book by clearly distinguishing between God and Jesus in his introduction:
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
Notice the distinguishing between God and Jesus, grace and peace from God AND Jesus.Some may assert that since Jesus is called Lord, this means he is being called God. Anyone who reads the Bible will find that the word Lord is a common usage for men of high ranking, it was very common to name high ranking men with such titles, especially if one were the Messiah, who was in fact a King, and leader! Hence it would be natural to call the Messiah as Lord.
In fact in the very same chapter Paul goes on to state:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator?who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)
Notice how Paul is condemning a group of people for turning God into the creation! He is condemning the people for turning God into an image of a man, and also condemns them for worshipping the creation, and not the creator! Now Jesus was both man, mortal, as well as part of creation, so obviously Paul couldn't believe that Jesus was God or deserving of worship.
We move on to more passages which clearly prove that Jesus is not God:
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. (Romans 3:24-25)
So God sent Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement! God didn't send himself for atonement! Rather God SENT Jesus. Again, clear distinguishing between God and Jesus, and we also see the same message of Jesus being SENT by God, a common theme throughout the four Gospels, and this is something all monotheists believe, that Jesus was a messenger and servant of God, and was sent by God. Paul also goes on to state the following about the atonement of Christ:
but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Romans 4:24)
Another distinction between God and Jesus, we see Paul talking about believing in the one who raised Jesus from the dead, and that person is God. Paul goes on to distinguish between Jesus and God when he writes:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
So the people have peace with God THROUGH Jesus, hence again, Jesus is not God, rather Jesus is separate and distinguished from God. In the same chapter Paul goes on to also say:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
So God shows his love to us by letting Jesus die, as mentioned in John 3:16, God so loved the world that he sent his son to die for us. The above passage does not state that God loved us so much that HE DIED FOR US, rather it says that God loves us so much that Christ died for us, so out of God's love he sent Jesus to atone for our sins, another clear and separate distinction between God and Jesus.
Paul continues to distinguish between God and Jesus in Romans chapter 8, where he writes:
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man (Romans 8:3)
So the law was powerless, hence God sends his son to be an offering sacrifice for humanity, note, God does not send himself, rather he sends his son, another clear distinction between God and Jesus. Now unless Jesus happens to be God's actual physical Son then maybe a Christian can make an argument! Paul continues writing in the same chapter:
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died? more than that, who was raised to life? is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:32-34)
In the space of two verses Paul goes on to heavily distinguish between God and Jesus, in verse 32 Paul yet again repeats the theme of God sending his son, that God did not spare his son, but gave him up for all of us, Paul does not state that God didn't spare himself and gave himself for us! We then read how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God! So Jesus was raised and seated at the right hand of God, a clear distinction between the two, and we are further told that Jesus sit's on God's right hand side interceding for his followers! So Jesus is sitting at the right hand side of God acting as an intercessor.
Another major and clear distinction between God and Jesus comes again when Paul states:
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:9)
So if you believe that God raised Jesus then you shall be saved, do you see the major distinction between the two? The clear separation between Jesus and God, it was God who raised Jesus, and it was God who also sent Jesus, we almost sound like a broken record here, but that is the reality of what we are reading, over and over again Paul is distinguishing between God and Jesus, and there is much more to come!
Finally from the book of Romans, Paul writes:
but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him? to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:26-27)
That's how Paul ended the book of Romans! Those were his last lines, he ends the book by separating God from Jesus, and by mentioning how we must all believe and obey the eternal God, and glory be to God through Jesus. So you see the clear distinction, God is glorified through Jesus, because the believer gets to know and believe in God through his sent messenger and prophet, Jesus!
So in summary the book of Romans states the following:
1-God Sends Jesus
2-God Raises Jesus
3-God is not part of creation
4-God is not a man
5-God should only be worshipped, not the creation
6-Jesus sits at God's right hand side acting as a mediator
7-God is to be worshiped and obeyed and we know this through his servant Jesus
So all of this concludes with the book of Romans, we now move on to other writings of Paul.
In the very first chapter of this book, Paul distinguishes between Jesus and God:
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
So according to the verse, God has called you into fellowship WITH his son Jesus, so a clear distinction and separation is made between the two. Paul later goes on to explicitly show that Jesus is not God when he writes:
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)
So Paul makes it clear that there is only one God, and Paul identifies this one God as the Father! Paul goes on to identity Jesus as the Lord, again distinguishing between God and Jesus, as Paul said, there is one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus, so as you can see there is a difference between the two, and that the Father is the one true God, not Jesus. How clearer can it get? Paul is clearly saying there is one God, and that one God is NOT Jesus, what more evidence is needed?
Furthermore Paul states there is ONE God, he does not state that God is one in three, nor does he state that God is a Trinity, is that a coincidence? Trinitarians will off course force their own interpretation into these verses, for instance they will agree that there is one God, but they will go on to add their own spin to it claiming that one God means one in three and so on and so on.
So according to Paul, there is one God, and Paul did not identify that God as Jesus, hence Jesus is not God. Paul continues to give more hard evidence that Jesus was not God when he said the following:
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3)
So you notice a pattern here, the head of man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Jesus is God, which essentially means that God is over Jesus. By calling someone the head of something is another way of calling someone your leader, or labelling the person as being above you. For instance a common phrase is that the man is the head of the house, meaning he is the leader and top authority of the place. So Paul identifies God as being the head of Jesus, which means that Jesus is under God, and that God is above Jesus as his ruler.
What makes this more interesting is that you also see the distinction between God and Jesus! If Jesus is God, then how can God be the head of Jesus? God is the head of God? It makes no sense to say such a thing, rather the text makes it clear that we have two separate distinguished persons, and one of them is God, and one of them is Jesus, and God is above Jesus, something we would expect (Trinitarians may try to put a spin on this verse as they do with many others, but notice the verse doesn't say that the head of God the Son Christ is God the Father).
If Paul could not have made himself any more clearer that Jesus is not God, but under God, as a servant, then the following passages sum it all up:
For he "has put everything under his feet. Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:27-28)
Paul makes many things clear, for starters he makes it clear that God has given everything to Jesus, so Jesus' authority and power to do miracles, rule, and all of these things were granted to him by God! Paul even goes on to make it crystal clear that although God has put everything under Jesus, this does not include God himself, and that Jesus is under God! So even though God has given Jesus tremendous authority, Jesus is STILL under God and God is still the sole power and authority.
All of this is very interesting, as it shatters the myth of Jesus being God, but it is also important to note that YET AGAIN Jesus is SEPERATE from God! If Jesus is God, then how is it possible for him to be under God? God is under God? And if the Trinity is a reality, then how can Jesus be under God, I thought there was an equality within the Trinity, so they should all be equal, one must not be above or under the other!
Off course Trinitarians will go into full spin mode, they will say ah yes the Trinity is equal in essence but not rank and so forth and so forth, yet no text even says that! Furthermore the above passages does not say that God the Son Jesus is under God the Father only in terms of ranking and not essence, the entire Trinitarian response will be a spin and their own adding in of the text, they will essentially say what is not there!
If you let the text speak for itself then according to the text it is God who has granted authority to Jesus, and even though God has granted authority to Jesus, God is not under Jesus' authority, rather Jesus is still below God. That is what the text is saying, and that clearly proves that Jesus is NOT God and that there is no Trinity!
So in summary the book of 1 Corinthians states the following:
1-There is one God
2-The true one God is the Father
3-God is the head and leader of Jesus
4-God gave Jesus authority and power
5-God is not under Jesus' authority
6-Jesus is under God's authority and rule
Paul begins this book by yet again separating God and Jesus, he writes:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God (2 Corinthians 1:1)
So Paul became an apostle of Jesus by the will of God, an obvious distinction between Jesus and God, Paul continues to show that Jesus is not God in the very same chapter when he writes:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3)
So according to Paul Jesus has a God! How clearer can it get? Jesus has a God, therefore he is not God, since God has no God. Here are other passages from 2 Corinthians showing a separation of God from Jesus, and how Jesus cannot be God:
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. (2 Corinthians 11:31)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, AND the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God (2 Corinthians 3:4)
So we see verse after verse showing a clear distinction between God and Jesus.
Book of Galatians:
Paul again begins by separating Jesus from God, and showing that Jesus is not God, he says:
Paul, an apostle sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ AND God the Father, who raised him from the dead? and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:1-5)
So Paul repeats the message that Jesus was sent as a sacrifice BY GOD and it was all by the WILL OF GOD, and all of this again shows a separation between God and Jesus! Paul also goes on to make it clear that God is one, not three in one, or a Trinity:
A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. (Galatians 3:20)
So God is one, why didn't Paul say God is three in one, or God is a Trinity, why do we NEVER see such a statement being said? Also do not forget, according to other writings of Paul, this one God is the Father, hence Paul has even made it clear as to who this one God is, Paul did not say that this one God is Jesus, he never said that, rather the one God is the Father, who is NOT Jesus.
In the next chapter of Galatians, Paul writes:
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law (Galatians 4:4)
So God SENT his son, he didn't send himself! Again, how clearer do you want this to be?
Book of Ephesians:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God (Ephesians 1:1)
What a way to start your letter, by separating Jesus from God, by making it clear that Jesus is not God! Here are the many other verses from this book which show that Jesus is not God:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:2)
Praise be to the God and Father OF our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church (Ephesians 1:17-22)
According to the above verses Jesus has a God, and God raised him, and God placed him on his right hand side, and God have him authority and made him the leader of the Church!
Let us read other verses:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-20)
One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6)
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)
So we read all these passages which make a clear distinction between God and Jesus! In summary the book of Ephesians says the following:
1-There is one God
2-Jesus is a sacrifice to God
3-Jesus is the cornerstone of God's house, which was also built upon by prophets and apostles
4-God raised Jesus
5-God gave Jesus authority
6-God made Jesus the leader of the Church
7-God seats Jesus at his right hand side
8-Jesus has a God
Book of Philippians:
Paul begins another letter by separating Jesus from God:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2)
Other verses from Philippians which show Jesus is NOT God:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9)
Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6)
Many Trinitarians use the above verse to claim that Jesus is God because Paul claimed that Jesus existed in the form of God. Yet what the Trinitarian failed to realize is this that this verse greatly refutes them! Notice Jesus is not called God! There is a difference between being called God, and being called to exist in the form of God! Why didn't Paul just simply say Jesus who was God! God is God!
Furthermore, why does Paul state that Jesus did not regard equality with God to be something to be grasped, if Jesus is NOT God then such a statement makes sense, since Jesus is not God, he did not regard it as a major thing to be equal with God. An example could be given with a servant who is equal with a king, but does not consider that to be special, that statement only makes sense because he is a servant and not the king himself!
Now off course Jesus was not fully equal to God, as Paul has demonstrated that Jesus is UNDER God, and God gave Jesus authority, and God made Jesus a leader, hence it's not a literal equality. One must understand the theology of Paul and certain Christians on this issue; they believe that Jesus is God's PERFECT representative on earth, and that Jesus fully carries out God's will and orders, for instance Jesus said that he who sees Jesus sees the Father, for these Christians they take that verse and say since Jesus is God's perfect representative, and fully does what God wants, then in that certain sense he is equal to God. It is indeed a very high exaltation of Jesus, but it is in no way meant to say that he is God. As one Christian writes:
So what can we conclude about morphe? The Philippian church consisted of Jews and converted Greeks. From the Septuagint and their other writings, the Jews were familiar with morphe referring to the outward appearance, including the form of men and idols. To the Greeks, it also referred to the outward appearance, including the changing outward appearance of their gods and the form of statues. The only other New Testament use of morphe outside Philippians is in Mark, and there it refers to the outward appearance. Also, the words related to morphe clearly refer to an outward manifestation or appearance. We assert the actual evidence is clear: the word morphe refers to an outward appearance or manifestation. Jesus Christ was in the outward appearance of God, so much so that he said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." Christ always did the Father's will, and perfectly represented his Father in every way. (http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=127)
Now as Muslims we would never use such language or terminology, but that is a different issue, what does matter is that Philippians 2:6 was not meant to call Jesus God, it was terminology being used according to a specific theology and thought.
Book of Colossians:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1-2)
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you (Colossians 1:3)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
Christians use the above verse to try and prove that Jesus is God, yet again the verse works against them, Jesus is not called God, but called the image of God, two different things! Would you call God the image of God? No, God is God! Not the image of God!
Furthermore, men are also called the image of God by Paul:
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 7:11)
Men are not only called the image of God, but the image AND glory of God, hence should we conclude that all of us are the all mighty God?!
Another important point about Colossians 1:15 is that it calls Jesus the first born of CREATION! Yet God is uncreated! Jesus being the first born of creation means he is part of creation and a created being, hence he cannot possible be God!!!
Other verses from Colossians which prove that Jesus is not God:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1) (Note, the verse says you have a master in heaven, not masters or three masters in heaven)
All of this concludes part one. For part two click here (*)
And Allah Knows Best!