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God the Son (Part 3)

Lesson 7

Some objections to the Deity of Christ

John 10:30-39 – Jesus referred to other people as “gods” (v. 34). So Jesus is also a “god” in the same sense.

Jesus is quoting Ps. 82:6. The Hebrew word for “gods” is elohim, which is most often translated as God or gods, but it literally means “mighty ones.” One can be mighty because he is a “god,” or because he is physically strong, or because he holds a position of authority. Therefore, what this word means depends on context. In Ps. 82, the “gods” are in fact the judges of Israel, who are expected to judge righteously, like God does. Elohim is also translated as judges in Exod. 21:5-6 and 22:7-9.

So Jesus is saying that if the judges, who are mere men, can be called “gods” because they hold positions of authority, why do you object when I, who has been set apart and sent here by the Father himself and is therefore of greater authority than the judges, say that I am the Son of God? Jesus is not saying that he is a “god,” but is above these so-called “gods” because he is the Son of God and therefore has the same divine nature as God the Father. The Jews understood this immediately, for they tried to stone him for blasphemy.

John 1:1 – In the Greek, the definite article (“the”) appears before the first use of “God” but not before the second use. This implies that there is a distinction between the first God (“the God,” meaning the Father) and the second god (“a god,” meaning the Son).

Actually, Greek is very careless with the definite article. Sometimes it uses it, sometimes it does not. For example, Greek often uses the definite article before proper names, but not always. In John 1:47, the article appears before the name Jesus but in John 1:50, it does not. Does this imply that there are two Jesuses? Of course not.

The definite article does not always appear before God even though the Father is clearly meant. For example, in John 1:18, “God” clearly refers to the Father, but the definite article is not used. The objection, therefore, is definitely pointless.

John 1:18 – Jesus is called “the only begotten,” meaning that he had a beginning. Therefore, he can be a “god,” but not God.

The Greek word for “only begotten,” monogenēs, can also mean “unique.” It is used in Heb. 11:17 of Isaac, who is obviously not Abraham’s only begotten son but is his unique son. Therefore, when monogenēs is used of Jesus, it refers to his unique status as the only Son of God.

The Nicene Creed affirms that Jesus was “begotten, not made,” and the Creed of Chalcedon explicitly says that Jesus was “begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead.” What these Creeds are trying to say is that the word “begotten” actually confirms the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Just as humans beget humans, so, too, God begets God. This is not to imply that Jesus had a beginning. It means that his Sonship differs from everyone else. Believers are the sons of God (John 1:12) by adoption but Jesus is the only Son of God by nature. When monogenēs is used of Jesus, therefore, it refers to his unique status as the only Son who has the same nature as the Father.

John 14:28 – Jesus said that his Father is greater than he is, so Jesus cannot be equal in nature to God.

This objection does not take into account the difference between nature and authority. If my son and I were working at the same corporation and he were the janitor and I were the CEO, I would have more authority than he would (thus, I would be greater than him), but we would still have the same nature. The Father has more authority than the Son, which makes him greater than Jesus, but they still have the same divine nature.

1 Cor. 8:5-6 – Paul says that there is only one God and that God is the Father. Therefore, Jesus cannot be God.

Paul also says that there is only one Lord and that Lord is Jesus Christ. So, if the objection were legitimate, that would mean that the Father and the Holy Spirit cannot also be Lord. Yet, Paul calls the Father Lord in 2 Cor. 6:17-18 and he calls the Holy Spirit Lord in 2 Cor. 3:17.

Paul is drawing a contrast between the world and us. In the world, there are many so-called gods and lords, but for us there is only one God and one Lord.

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