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The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity
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The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity

Rainbow

VI - Jesus Christ Is God

  1. Explicit statements
    1. Isa. 9:6; note 10:21. Translations which render "mighty hero," are inconsistent in their rendering of 10:21. Also note that Ezek. 32:21 is (a) not in the same context, as is Isa. 10:21, and (b) speaking of false gods, cf. I.G.5 above.
    2. John 1:1 Even if Jesus is here called "a god" (as some have argued), since there is only one God, Jesus is that God. However, the "a god" rendering is incorrect. Other passages using the Greek word for God (theos) in the same construction are always rendered "God": Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38; John 8:54; Phil 2:13; Heb. 11:16. Passages in which a shift occurs from ho theos ("the God") to theos ("God") never imply a shift in meaning: Mark 12:27; Luke 20:37-38; John 3:2; 13:3; Rom. 1:21; 1 Thess. 1:9; heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 4:10-11
    3. John 1:18. The best manuscripts have "the unique God" (monogenes, frequently rendered "only-begotten," actually means "one of a kind," "unique," though in the NT always in the context of a son or daughter). Even if one translates "only-begotten," the idea is not of a "begotten god" as opposed to an "unbegotten god."
    4. John 20:28. Compare Rev. 4:11, where the same construction is used in the plural ("our") instead of the singular ("my"). See also Psa. 35:23. Note that Christ's response indicates that Thomas' acclamation was not wrong. Also note that John 20:17 does show that the Father was Jesus' "God" (due to Jesus becoming a man), but the words "my God" as spoken by Thomas later in the same chapter must mean no less than in v. 17. Thus, what the Father is to Jesus in His humanity, Jesus is to Thomas (and therefore to us as well).
    5. Acts 20:28: "the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." The variant readings (e.g. "the church of the Lord") show that the original was understood to mean "His own blood," not "the blood of His own [Son]" (since otherwise no one would have thought to change it). Thus all other renderings are attempts to evade the startling clarity and meaning of this passage.
    6. Rom. 9:5. While grammatically this is not the only possible interpretation, the consistent form of doxologies in Scripture, as well as the smoothest reading of the text, supports the identification of Christ as "God" in this verse.
    7. Titus 2:13. Grammatically and contextually, this is one of the strongest proof-texts for the deity of Christ. Sharp's first rule, properly understood, proves that the text should be translated "our great God and Savior" (cf. same construction in Luke 20:37; Rev. 1:6; and many other passages). Note also that Paul always uses the word "manifestation" ("appearing") of Christ: 2 Thess. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2. Tim. 1:10; 4:1, 8
    8. Heb. 1:8. The rendering, "God is your throne," is nonsense - God is not a throne, He is the one who sits on the throne! Also, "God is your throne," if taken to mean God is the source of one's rule, could be said about any angelic ruler - but Hebrews 1 is arguing that Jesus is superior to the angels.
    9. 2 Pet. 1:1. The same construction is used here as in Titus 2:13; see the parallel passage in 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18
    10. 1 John 5:20. Note that the most obvious antecedent for "this" is Jesus Christ. Also note that the "eternal life" is Christ, as can be seen from 1:2.

  2. Jesus is Jehovah/Yahweh
    1. Rom. 10:9-13: Note the repeated "for," which links these verses closely together. The "Lord" of 10:13 must be the "Lord" of 10:9, 12
    2. Phil. 2:9-11. In context, the "name that is above every name" is "Lord" (vs. 11), i.e., Jehovah
    3. Heb. 1:10: Here God the Father addresses the Son as "Lord," in a quotation from Psa. 102:25 (cf. 102:24, where the person addressed is called "God"). Since here the Father addresses the Son as "Lord," this cannot be explained away as a text in which a creature addresses Christ as God/Lord in a merely representational sense
    4. 1 Pet. 2:34: This verse is nearly an exact quotation of Psa. 34:8a, where "Lord" is Jehovah. From 1 Pet. 2:4-8 it is also clear that "the Lord" in v. 3 is Jesus
    5. 1 Pet. 3:14-15: these verses are a clear reference to Isa. 8:12-13, where the one who is to be regarded as holy is Jehovah
    6. Texts where Jesus is spoken of as the "one Lord" (cf. Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29): 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5; cf. Roma. 10:12; 1 Cor. 12:5

  3. Jesus has the titles of God
    1. Titles belonging only to God
      1. The first and the last: Rev. 1:17; 22:13; cf. Isa. 44:6
      2. King of kings and Lord of lords: 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16
    2. Titles belong in the ultimate sense only to God
      1. Savior: Luke 2:11; John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; Titus 2:13, cf. v. 10; etc.; cf. Isa. 43.11; 45:21-22; 1 Tim 4:10; on Jesus becoming the source of salvation; Heb. 5:9, cf. Ex. 15:2; Psa. 118:14, 21
      2. Shepherd: John 10:11; Heb. 13:20; cf. Psa. 23:1; Isa. 40:11
      3. Rock: 1 Cor. 10:4; cf. Isa. 44:8

  4. Jesus received the honors due to God alone
    1. Honor: John 5:23
    2. Love: Matt. 10:37
    3. Prayer: John 14:14 (text debated, but in any case it is Jesus who answers the prayer); Acts 7:59-60 (cf. Luke 23:34, 46); Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 12:8-10 (where "the Lord" must be Jesus, cf. v. 9), etc.
    4. Worship (proskuneo): Matt. 28:17; Heb. 1:6 (cf. Psa. 97:7); cf. Matt 4:10
    5. Religious or sacred service (latreuo): Rev. 22:13
    6. Faith: John 3:16; 14:1; etc.

  5. Jesus does the works of God
    1. Creation: John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 3:14 (cf. 21:6 on "beginning"); on "through" and "in" cf. Rom. 11:36; Heb. 2:10; Acts 17:28; cf. also Isa. 44:24
    2. Sustains the universe: Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3
    3. Salvation:
      1. In General: See C.2.a above
      2. Forgives sins: Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26; note that Jesus forgives sins not committed against Him.
    4. All of them: John 5:17-29 (including judgment, cf. Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 5:10)

  6. Jesus has all the incommunicable attributes of God
    1. All of them: John 1:1; Col. 1:15; 2:9; Heb. 1:3
    2. Self-existent: John 5:26
    3. Unchangeable: heb. 1:10-12; 13:8
    4. Eternal: John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2
    5. Omnipresent: Matt. 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Eph. 1:23; 4:10' Col. 3:11
    6. Omniscient: John 16:30; 21:17; cf. 2:23-24
    7. Incomprehensible: Matt. 11:25-27

  7. Jesus is "equal with God"
    1. John 5:18: Although John is relating what the Jews understood Jesus to be claiming, the context shows they were basically right: In v. 17 claimed to be exempt from the Sabbath along with His Fahter, and in 5:19-29 Jesus claimed to do all of the world of the Father and to deserve the same honor as the Father
    2. Phil. 2:6: Jesus did not attempt to seize recognition by the world as being equal with God, but attained that recognition by humbling himself and being exalted by the Father (vv. 7-11)

  8. Jesus is the Son of God
    1. "Son" in Scripture can mean simply one possessing the nature of something, whether literal or figurative (e.g. "Son of man," "sons of thunder," "sons of disobedience," cf. Mark 3:7; Eph. 2:1
    2. Usually when "son of" is used in relation to a person (son of man, son of Abraham, son of David, etc.) the son possesses the nature of his father
    3. Jesus is clearly not the literal Son of God, i.e.. He was not physically procreated by God
    4. On the other hand, Jesus is clearly the Son of God in a unique sense (cf. "only-begotten son," John 1:14; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) and in a preeminent sense (i.e. the term is more fitting for Him than for anyone else)
    5. Scripture is explicit that the Son possesses God's essence or nature (cf. F. above)
    6. Jesus' repeated claim to be the Son of God was consistenly understood by the Jewish leaders as a blasphemous claim to equality with God, an understanding Jesus never denied: John 5:17-23; 8:58-59; 10:30-39; 19:7; Matt. 26:63-65
    7. Jesus is therefore God's Son, not God's creation, God's servant, God's agent, etc.; Jesus is God's Son who became a servant for our sake and for the Father's glory (John 13:13-15; 17:4; Phil. 2:6-11; Heb. 1:4-13; 3:1-6; 5:8; etc.)

  9. Objections
    1. Prov. 8:22: This text is not a literal description of Christ, but a poetic personification of wisdom (cf. all of Prov. 1-9, esp 8:12-21; 9:1-6), poetically saying that God "got" His wisdom before He did anything - i.e., that God has always had wisdom
    2. Col. 1:15: Does not mean that Christ is the first creature, since He is here presented as the Son and principal heir of the Father (cf. vv. 12-44); thus "firstborn" here means "heir" (cf. Gen. 43:33; 48;14-20; Ex. 4:22; 1 Chron. 5:1-3; Psa. 89:27; Jer. 31:9); note that v. 16 speaks of the Son as the Creator, nor creature (cf. E.1. above)
    3. Rev. 3:14: "Beginning" (arche) in Rev. as a title means source or one who begins, i.e. Creator (cf. Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13); elsewhere Christ is called the arche in the sense of "ruler," Col. 1:18, cf. plural archai "rulers" in Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15, also Luke 12:11; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Tit. 3:1; cf. Luke 20:20; Jude 6; 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21
    4. 1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28: Jesus is still subordinate to God, but as the Son to the Father; i.e., they are equal in nature, but the Son is subordinate relationally to God
    5. John 20:17; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 15:24; 2 Cor. 1:3; Rev. 1:6; 3:12: Jesus calls the Father "My God" because He is still man as well as God; note the distinction between "My God" and "your God" in John 20:17 (i.e., Jesus never speaks of "our God" including Himself with the disciples)
    6. Mark 13:32: Jesus' statement that He did not know the time of His return is to be explained by His voluntary acceptance of the humble form and likeness of a man (Phil. 2:7); in fact Jesus, as God, did know all things (John 16:30), and after His resurrection He does not including Himself as not knowing (Acts 1:6-7)
    7. Mark 10:17-18: Jesus does not deny being God, but simply tells the man that he has no business calling anyone "good" in an unqualified sense except God
    8. Heb. 5:14: Jesus was tempted, cf. James 1:13; but note that Jesus could not sin, John 5:19
    9. John 1:18: No one has seen God, but men have seen Jesus, e.g. 1 John 1:1-2; but note that no man can see the glorified Jesus either, 1 Tim. 6:16, and to see Jesus is to see the Father, John 14:9
    10. 1 Tim. 1:17: God cannot die, but Jesus did, e.g. Phil. 2:8; but note that no one could take Jesus' life from Him, He could not remain dead, and He raised Himself: John 10:18; Acts 2:24; John 2:19-22
    11. 1 Cor. 8:6: Father called God, Jesus called Lord: but here "God" and "Lord" are synonymous (cf. v. 5; cf. also Rom. 14:3-12 for a good example of "God" and "Lord" as interchangeable); moreover, this text no more denies that Jesus is God than it does that the Father is Lord (Matt. 11:25); cf. Jude 4, where Jesus is the only Lord
    12. 1 Tim. 2:5: Jesus here supposedly distinct from God; but Jesus is also distinct from (fallen) men, yet is Himself a man; likewise Jesus is distinct from God (the Father), but is also God
    13. Deut. 4:12, 15-25; God not appear in a human form to Israel, lest they fall into idolatry; but this does not rule out His appearing in human form later after they had learned to abhor idolatry
    14. In many texts Jesus is distinguised from God: He is the Son of God, was sent by God, etc.; in all these texts "God" is used as a name for the person most commonly called God, i.e., the Father



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