“I can not believe that you think that God died !! or that Jesus and God are one ! Jesus was His only begotten , the Word , with God from the beginning before creation . Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus claim to be God but gives thanks to Him always , God’s power works thru Jesus ! God raised Jesus, who formerly had a spirit nature in heaven, was changed to human to balance completely the scales of justice ( a perfect human needed for this) , and after his sacrifice gave him the Divine Nature, indestructible , similar to God’s nature. This has been the calling of the present Gospel Age .. for others to run the race to become the little flock, and the bride of Christ and form the spiritual new heaven, ruling the earthly .which will be resurrected ! Please don’t lower God .. Jesus would not want that !”
We did not lower God. God lowered Himself in His love for us so that He could redeem us from our sin. A sin that we could not escape. We did not invent this––who could? So, let Scripture speak for itself.
Jesus accepts worship when only God should be worshipped
Jesus was worshipped throughout his whole life, from birth till death and after He rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. But we are told in the Law of Moses (Exodus 34:14, 20:1-3) and by Jesus himself (Matthew 4:10) to worship God alone.
““Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)…. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 1:23, 2:11)
Jesus was worshipped as a child.
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”” (Matthew 14:31-33)
Jesus had verbal power over the wind and the waves, so his disciples worshipped him for it and called him the Son of God.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”” (John 9:35-39)
“And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” (Matthew 28:9)
Notice in the last three passages Jesus did not stop anyone from worshipping him. He did not say, “No, no––don’t do that, don’t worship me, I am just a human. Worship only God”. In fact, He does jus the opposite: He welcomes it. He accepts worship. Why? What does Jesus say about worship?
“And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:8; cf. Exodus 20:3, 34:14).
How, then, could Jesus say worship only God and yet receive worship at the same time? As Christians, we are called to worship only God alone lest we worship a false god and commit idolatry (Isaiah 42:8). The worship of creatures––animals, humans, angels, gods, or any other spiritual being––is highly forbidden:
“Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind…” (Colossians 2:18)
“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9)
Jesus says He is God and Jews call Him a blasphemer
Jesus not only accepts worship, but he plainly calls Himself God. Here are some examples:
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”” (John 8:58)
This is a clear reference to God speaking to Moses through the burning bush when He calls His name “I Am That I Am” and then proceeds to tell Moses to “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus is calling himself “I AM”. And rather than say “before Moses”, He says “before Abraham” the first patriarch of Judaism. In other words, before the Law of Moses, before the first covenant and promise of God, from the very beginning in Genesis, I am God. Jesus is a declaring and attributing God’s name to Himself. He, then, goes on to declare his divine nature with seven more “I am” statements:
“I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35,41,48,51)
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5)
“I am the door” (John 10:7-9)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:11-18)
In this passage is reveals that Jesus has the authority to raise Himself from the dead.
“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
I thought only God can raise people from the dead? How, then, can Jesus claim to be the resurrection and the life if he is just a creature?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5).
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” (John 14:6)
These seven I am statements are all blasphemous declarations for a mere human, angel, or spirit creature to make. Unlike Moses, Jesus is not pointing to a Law external of himself, he is pointing to Himself as the Law. He is directing all the attributes of worship toward Himself.
“And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17:5)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall 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 Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
This would be the highest degree of blasphemy if Jesus was just an ordinary human or creature. We know this because in the very next verse it says:
“The Jews took up stones again to stone him.” Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (John 10:31-33)
Jesus then goes on to defend his position as equal to God and the Jews try to arrest him (v.39). If you believe Jesus is only a man, then you follow a blasphemer of the highest degree.
“This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18)
Notice that no one in Israel believed they were ‘God’s children’ or that we were ‘all sons of God’. That was considered blasphemy. Unitarians try to argue ‘we are all children of God’ by reapplying modern Christian lingo back onto the text. But this is anachronistic. To be the Son of God was not a mere quip in ancient Israel. It was a very serious and provocative statement because it means He, as the sole heir, owns everything the Father owns, it means He is of the same kind and substance of God, it means that “He is equal to God” –– and since “The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4), Jesus is saying, “He is God,” that “I and the Father are one”. That is why Jesus glorifies Peter when he says, “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-17) Peter knows that Jesus is equal to God because God revealed it to him. In ancient Israel, only God could be God’s Son. To be a Son of the living God, then, is a deific status.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)
Jesus’ disciples say that Jesus is God
Not only did Jesus claim to be God, but his apostles also make his declaration very clear, as well:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3,14)
The Word, Jesus Christ, was God, and He became flesh. Could John be any clearer? After Jesus resurrects from the dead, he appears to the twelve in the flesh.
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (Joh 20:27-29)
Thomas literally calls Jesus His God! But I think the clearest testament of Christ’s deity is by the apostle Paul, who was not an immediate disciple in Christ’s earthly ministry.
“To them [Israel] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:5)
And elsewhere Paul says:
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9)
The author of Hebrews also says that Jesus is the exact nature of God:
“…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:2-3)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
As we can plainly read, Jesus was believed to be God by his closest followers. It is one of the reasons why all the apostles could worship him without thinking they are committing blasphemy.
The Triune God in Scripture
To understand how this is even possible, Paul economizes the Trinitarian relationship and roles like John does:
“For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)
The “I and the Father are one” is a mysterious relationship maintained throughout Scripture, that God the Father and the Son are unified in worship as one God:
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” (Revelation 22:3)
Notice, here, that the throne is of God and of the Lamb (Christ), but it refers to the two not as them (plural) but as him (singular).
But I’m sure if you deny Christ’s deity then you reject the personhood of the Holy Spirit, as well. The Spirit of God who was in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) is the same person as the Holy Spirit, who is also called the “Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19, Acts 16:7) and “the Spirit of His Son” (Galatians 4:6) who baptizes us for eternal life. Consider that Jesus does not call the Holy Spirit an “it” but personalizes him with a “who” and “he”:
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26)
That Jesus sends the Holy Spirit from the Father and distinguishes the Him from himself and God in personhood is no trivial happenstance. He does not say “I will bear witness of me” or “the Father will bear witness of me,” but instead says “he will bear witness of me”. Paul does the same thing:
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14)
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is remarkably the “Spirit of Jesus Christ” and the “Spirit of God”. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three distinct divine persons in one God. If the Holy Spirit was not God, but a creature, we would be teaching people to believe in a variation of Greek mythology, as if the gods should possess you—just like demons do. That is why we are baptized in His holy name, three in one:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
You say we live in the Gospel age. Indeed, we do. So I ask you: Should we, then, be baptized and saved by a mere creature? Should the spirit of another creature indwell us? Or is salvation in and through God alone?
Christ in the Old Testament
The fact that Jesus Christ is God is also completely consistent with the Old Testament accounts when leaders and prophets of Israel worship the Angel of the Lord in human form––the preincarnate Christ––such instances include Abraham bowing to the three visitors, one of whom was the Lord who judges the whole earth (Genesis 18:1-3,22-26), Jacob wrestling with a “man” who redeemed him from all evil (Genesis 32:30, 48:16), the Angel of the Lord stating He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to Moses through the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-6), Joshua worshipping am angelic man who is the commander of the Lord’s army (Joshua 5:13-15), the Angel’s power to govern life (Genesis 16:10; Judges 13:21-22), and His power to forgive sin (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 23:21; Isaiah 42:8,43:25), to name a few, all of which clearly indicate that this “Angel of the Lord” is equal to God in authority. A fact that good angelic beings reject (Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9; Jude 1:9) and fallen angels desire (Matthew 4:9). Only God should be worshipped. Therefore, the Angel of the Lord is God, He is the preincarnate Christ.
Now that we’ve read only some of the Scriptural support for Christ’s deity, here is a revised summary of your claims:
- Jesus is a creature––False.
- Jesus is not God––False.
- Jesus never claimed to be God––False.
- Jesus changed from a spiritual creature to physical creature––False.
- Jesus was a perfect human only––False.
- Jesus sacrificed himself to appease God in order to earn His divine nature––False.
If you claim to be Christian yet believe Jesus Christ is not God, then you worship a man. You follow a mere human as Lord or you follow an angel as Lord, as if a corrupt/imperfect creature could be “the way, and the truth, and the life”. You worship an idol––a false god. But does Paul not say, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:24-25) because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”? (Romans 3:23) To claim to be Christian and say Christ is creature is to worship the creature, not God the Creator, from and through whom all things were made. It is to worship sin. This is foolishness. It is nonsense. It is antichrist.
Unitarianism is a clear and concrete heresy from the very beginning. It is not a Christian belief. It is doctrinally intolerable. To deny the Son as God it is to deny the Father as God. “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23; cf. Matthew 10:33; Luke 9:26) There is a profound mystery in the hypostatic union that we, as mere humans, cannot fully comprehend but must submit ourselves to and participate in. Consequently, the Holy Trinity may be difficult, if not, impossible to grasp, but it is the most honest, humble, and accurate explanation of Scripture to date. The revelation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is Christianity.
Jesus Christ is truly man and truly God. Praise be His name. Amen.
Matlock Bobechko is the Chief Operating/Creative Officer of Bible Discovery. He is an eclectic Christian thinker and writer, award-winning screenwriter and short filmmaker. He writes a weekly blog on theology, apologetics, and philosophy called Meet Me at the Oak. He is also an Elder at his local church.
 Biblical scholars Alan Segal and Michael Heiser have aptly identified the historical relationship between God and the Angel of the Lord, particularly, in human form. Torah scholars during the Second Temple period held to a two Yahweh theology, where there were two powers in heaven, both God yet distinct. Christianity did not invent the Trinity; the early Christians were primed to believe in Christ as saviour when they were fervent orthodox Jews because it was deeply woven into the Judaic framework long before Christ was born.
Michael Heiser, Two Powers in Heaven. https://drmsh.com/the-naked-bible/two-powers-in-heaven/
Excellent answer about Jesus being God. Great scriptural references. This will help us with a very committed and True Believer friend we have who still has, as he says, “Trouble seeing Jesus here on earth as God and not just a human”, so that thank you for this timely question and answer. Blessings!
Thank you Joe and Phyllis –– God bless you both!