Was Jesus God?

Jesus is popularly represented as God the Son, and as such, part of a three-fold Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.  It is a firmly held concept that is accepted by many to be a fact, although they would probably be at a loss to understand or explain exactly what is involved in the concept.  The following comments are typical of a message stated by a number of theologians regarding the Godhead,

“As a distinctive Christian doctrine, the Trinity is considered as a divine mystery beyond human comprehension to be reflected upon only through scriptural revelation.”

“The doctrine of the Trinity is an absolute mystery. It is primarily known, not through speculation, but through experiencing the act of grace through personal faith.”

Now, it would appear to me that both God and Jesus are summed up in these passages as beyond human comprehension and an absolute mystery.  If this is so, then what should we make of Jesus’ comment (during the closing day of his life) to his Father regarding his disciples?

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”   John 17:3

He had with him at that time all twelve of his disciples.

I have revealed you [the Father] to those whom you gave me out of the world.” John 17:6

So from these two verses it is plain and irrefutable, that Jesus has revealed the true nature concerning God to his twelve disciples.  Jesus plainly said that he had done this.  We should be able, therefore, to derive from the Gospel records, and from the Old Testament (which Jesus used as his reference text, as indicated by his frequent references from it) what Jesus taught concerning God.  God is one

Jesus’ own statement from the verse quoted above is a good starting point:“ that they may know you, the only true God” John 17:3

The word ‘only’ means ‘being the one specimen; single; sole’, and is a translation of the Greek wordmon~” [monos] meaning ‘alone, without a companion’(Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Thayer, 1977 edn, p418).  To provide backing to his belief, Jesus quoted from the Old Testament.

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  Mark 12:29

Jesus was here quoting from what the Jews referred to as the Shema, the relevant passage being:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”  Deuteronomy 6:4

(It is claimed that this passage supports the Trinitarian concept of deity, since the word translated as one [ehad] can express a compound unity, rather than yahid, which means a single one.  Such wishful reasoning however was never supported by the Jewish people, nor by Jesus’ own quotation as noted in Mark 12:29, and as further noted above.)

The person whom Jesus was addressing recognised this in his response.

‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.’ ” Mark 12:32

There are a number of passages in the Old Testament giving the same message.

  • You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:35
  • This is what the LORD says–Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6
  • How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 2 Samuel 7:22
  • To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” Isaiah 46:5,9
  • No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.” Jeremiah 10:6
  • I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”  Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11
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