|RPM, Volume 20, Number 19, May 6 to May 12, 2018|
A person defends something they strongly believe in, for example a way of life, a person's behaviour, or a philosophy. This article is a short apology of the Deity of the person of Christ.
The English word for 'defence' derives from the Greek, apologia. What I intend in this brief article is to trace the contour of the biblical testimony of the divinity of Jesus and our reasons for our belief in it. I shall approach my task, by using the Bible as the source of reason and proof.
The phrase in my opening title needs some explanation and clarification. According to Wikipedia
Elephant in the room is an English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink no one wants to challenge. When we come to the divinity of Christ, we engage with one of the most greatest truths in Christendom. It is the central truth of the Christian Message. It is also one of the most attacked doctrines. Generally, humanity does not desire to hear this glorious truth.
Let me preface our discussion, with some useful and helpful quotes as background for this article. They are taken from [katapi.org.]
To accept a statement is to believe it to be true. We ought not to believe the truth of any statement without evidence. Different kinds of truth require different kinds of evidence. Mathematical truth requires mathematical evidence. Scientific truth requires scientific evidence, which is provided by observation and experiment. We cannot have this kind of evidence for historical truth because we cannot prove it by experiment. Historical evidence is sufficient for historical truth.
And I add, scriptural proof requires scriptural evidence, and this is my approach in this article.
The Proof of Christ's deity is cumulative and a convincingly reasoned truth. Some expositors reject the notion of reasoning in Christianity. But, the bible exhorts us to reasoned faith. Just turn to Isaiah 1:8 or 1 Peter 3:15.
The proof of the Christian religion is not mathematical proof or logical proof. It is essentially, scriptural and cumulative proof.
It is the result of the agreement of many different kinds of evidence, all of which bring us to the same conclusion. This is the strongest kind of proof, for it does not rest on only one line of argument, but on the agreement of many different lines.
Even if one or two of these lines were unsound or doubtful, the rest would hold fast.
But all these lines of argument cannot do more than convince the mind that Christianity is more likely to be true than any other system or world outlook, including the view that no such system can be known, or that objective truth does not exist (Agnosticism).
We may be convinced that the Christian religion is true, but this does not make us Christians. It is quite possible to believe all the right things and remain unsaved.
For example, Augustine was intellectually convinced before his conversion, but his conversion was still necessary for salvation.
There is a forum of thinkers, who object to the Christian Faith, on any ground. These I would term, as atheists.
Does the bible have anything to say of the divinity of Christ? Yes, It certainly does.
We apologists hear every fable, myth, and tall tale regarding theology that anyone could ever imagine. I've heard (and so will have the reader) for over thirty years that "the Bible never says that Jesus is God."
The Bible presents a portraiture of Christ. Firstly it tells us Christ is the creator of the cosmos. We glean this from a number of Old Testament passages.
For instance, we present the following as proof of His deity.
Then there are the two famous prophecies of Isaiah, quoted so frequently at Christmas time. "Behold, a (literally 'the') virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning 'God with us')" (Isaiah 7:14). "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). However exposited, the outcome is the same. There is no way around the truth– Jesus is God. What a glorious truth, what a mighty thought.
There is a clutch of texts which obviously point to Jesus as God. We cite as one; Colossians 2:9 which reads "For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily",
Next we point to 2 Peter 1:1 which makes mention of 'our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.Paul uses the same phrase in Titus 2:13 as well.
Hebrews 1:8 is a key text in establishing the deity of our Lord. But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous sceptre of thy kingdom."This is a remarkable passage, in which God the Father calls His Son "God." It is a reference to the Old Testament passage, Psalms 45:6-7.
In Hebrews 1:6, God the Father also says that all the angels should worship God the Son. Worship can only be rightly applied to God, as we know from Exodus 34:14 and Deuteronomy 8:19. Yet Jesus accepted worship of Himself on many occasions (e.g., Matt 14:33; 28:9) and stated that He should be honored equally with the Father (John 5:23). In Revelation 5:8, 12-13 and Colossians 2:6-7, we find that Jesus is worshiped in every way that the Bible specifically describes worship of God the Father, with all the same words used (see: Rev 4:9-11, 5:13; 7:11-12, and Rom 11:33).
Jesus possesses the attributes of God. For instance the attribute of a ball is its roundness. Take away its roundness, and it would cease to be a ball.
Jesus is all powerful or omnipotent (possesses all power): Take away His omnipotence and He would cease to be God. But Jesus possesses the whole panoply of Godness eternally. There is or never will be a time when He won't. This statement also applies to the past.
Philippians 3:20-21 ". . . the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.
He's omniscient (all-knowing):
Colossians 2:2-3" . . . Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
He's omnipresent (present everywhere):
Ephesians 1:22-23 "the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all" (cf. Col 3:11)
Another astonishing passage along these lines is one where Jesus speaks about historical events described as being done by God the Father in the Old Testament. He casually applies them to Himself (what might be called "the Divine 'I'"):
Matthew 23: 34, 37:
Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, . . . O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
Many attributes that are said to belong only to "God" are applied to Jesus in Scripture. God the Father said, "besides me there is no savior" (Is 43:11; cf. 1 Tim 4:10), or Redeemer other than me. Yet Jesus is called the "savior" of mankind in passages like Luke 2:11 and many others.
God the Father stated, "To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear" (Isa. 45:23). The same exact description is also applied to Jesus (Phil 2:10-11)
At every turn in the Bible, only one conclusion is possible, to make sense of all these statements, taken together as a whole: Jesus is God the Son. He is the eternal, all-powerful, all-loving, self-existent Creator God. To end on a high note. The "elephant in the corner of the room" is Jesus, God of God, Lord of Lords. In short, the Bible presents the unavoidable truth that the 'lowly Lord Jesus Christ is in fact, the Almighty Lord Of heaven and earth. This is the Christian Message.
Garry is a 69 year old proud Welshman, now living on the west coast of Scotland in Paisley, Renfrewshire, just outside Glasgow. He suffered two (2003 & 2005) life threatening and life limiting strokes, which have left him with mobility, coordination and some memory problems. In addition, Garry experiences issues with his fine motor skills, which means, he can't write or even sign his name. He is a student of the Reformation and the Puritans. Garry is a keen supporter of his favourite football teams: Glasgow Rangers FC and F.C. Barcelona. He is also an avid fan of Welsh and New Zealand rugby. And he loves rugby union, which He believes is the sport of heaven. Garry also enjoys the singing of Frank Sinatra, the poetry of his compatriot Dylan Thomas and the films of Al Pacino. Prior to his first stroke, Garry has been a social worker, a senior Social Care Planner, and a business strategist. Garry has written numerous articles on a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, theology, sport, social work and business.
|This article is provided as a ministry of Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill). If you have a question about this article, please email our Theological Editor. If you would like to discuss this article in our online community, please visit the RPM Forum.|
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