Can we call Jesus God?

In John’s gospel there are several texts that confirm who Jesus Christ was. The opening verses to John’s gospel states, in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This is a comparison to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Apostle John is taking the reader back beyond creation. It states in effect at the time of creation the Word was already in existence. Thereby, “In the beginning was the word” highlights the eternity of the Word.

Just as fascinating to seeing how prophecy is fulfilled it is equally astonishing to see how heresies get repackaged and resurface like a plague whose only objective is to detour truth seekers. Arius of Alexandrian, a 4th Century heretic whose views were condemned at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. said of Christ, “There was a time when he was not.” The Council however, followed the Apostles’ teaching – thereby denying Arius’ views. That weed, however, has now grown into a bush, resurfacing in forms such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons who deny the eternality of Jesus Christ and the divine Trinity.

Second clause in John 1:1, “and the Word was with God” stresses the Son’s community of unity within the Godhead. The words describe in brief the eternal communion of the Son and the Father. This is reaffirmed in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Fathers side, he has made him known”.

Third clause, “and the Word was God.” portrays the deity of the Word. Thus that the Word is classified as a divine being. By opening his gospel in this manner John wants us to read his gospel in the light of the deity of the Son. His mighty signs and words as recorded in this gospel are the miracles and words of God. The Son is the eternal God, yet distinct from the Father in personality.

The Apostle John further goes on to mention in affirming the deity of Jesus Christ in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Fathers side, he has made him known”. Thus showing oneness of essence between Father and Son. In addition, Apostle John mentions in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Thereby bearing upon the essential unity. It is interesting that whether the word “one” is neuter in gender, or literally, one thing.

Thus implying that a deep unity is meant, and it certainly seems to mean more than oneness of will and that implication is that only God could say and guarantee these claims. For who could promise such as affirmed in the latter verses of John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Fathers hand. I and the Father are one.”

In John 20:28, Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Here is a confession which there can be no doubt that it confirms the deity of Jesus Christ. This confession of faith that Jesus Christ is God was uttered publicly from a reaction not out of belief or doctrine but a heart which had been moved. We all had learnt in Sunday School of “doubting Thomas” and how we are to have faith. However contrary to popular belief, Thomas was no skeptic for he valiantly suggested in John 11:16, “So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.” The apostle John must have agreed with this confession about Christ’s deity for the John cites Thomas’ confession at the climax of the argument of the gospel.

Categories: Theology

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