(WDGR Lesson 2: “Who Is God?)
Is Jesus “a god” or is He the one true God? If Jesus is God, why does the Bible say “No one has ever seen God”? How can Jesus be the Son of God and at the same time be God? Should Jesus be worshipped?
CINDY: Hello, Karen, how was your week?
KAREN: Not too good, Cindy. My nephew just returned to the U.S. after spending a year in Japan and evidently he has decided to become a Buddhist. When he was a teenager, he turned his back on God and now he thinks that by following the path of “enlightenment” through his good deeds, he can reach nirvana.
CINDY: I’m sorry to hear that, Karen. Can you see why it’s important to know who God is? We’ll be studying about Him today in the Watchtower brochure, What Does God Require of Us? As you are seeing in your nephew, Karen, “People worship many things. But the Bible tells us there is only one TRUE God” and “He is the only One we should worship.”1. Did you know that “God has many titles but has only one name”?2.
KAREN: I know the Watchtower Society teaches that God’s only name is “Jehovah,” but doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus is God at John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ?3.
CINDY: No! Karen. That is what your Bible says—Mine says: “the Word was a god.”4. How can Jesus be “with God” and at the same time be God? Does this make any sense to you?
KAREN: You’re right, Cindy. It wouldn’t make any sense if I believed that Jesus and the Father are the same person. Obviously, Jesus is God’s Son, and as such, He is not the Father; but yet, He shares God’s nature as the only true God.5. It’s like two separate persons who are one God.
CINDY: But that doesn’t make sense, Karen. How can Jesus be the Son of God and at the same time be God?
KAREN: Well, it’s like this. My father Jim is the son of his father John; but the fact that Jim is called a “son” does not make him any less human, than his father is, right?
CINDY: Yes. . .
KAREN: So, just as Jim, as John’s son, doesn’t make him any less human than his father is; so Jesus as God’s Son is not any less God than His Father is. If the Bible says that Jesus is God and there is only one true God, then we must conclude that Jesus is either the true God by nature or is He a false God. Does this make sense to you?
CINDY: I guess it does, Karen, but isn’t Satan called “a god”?6. And what about Moses? Doesn’t the Bible say he was “a god” to Pharaoh?7. Couldn’t Jesus be just “a god” in the sense of having “divine” qualities, but not be the true God?
KAREN: Cindy, is Satan a true “god”? Did Moses save anyone?
CINDY: Well, no.
KAREN: Then, wouldn’t you agree that they are in reality false “gods”? In other words, don’t you think that Satan is called “a god” — not because he is one — but because people falsely worship him as such? Just look at 1 Corinthians 8:5-6: “For even though there are those who are called ‘gods,’ whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords,’ there is actually to us one God the Father…and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.…”8. Calling Satan a “god” hardly makes him a real “god,” does it?
CINDY: Well, no, Karen. So are you saying that Jesus is either a false “god” like Satan or he is the true God?
KAREN: That’s exactly what I’m saying, Cindy. Either Jesus possesses the attributes of God that make him the true God by nature, or He is some sort of created being, like Satan, that pretends to be “a god” but really isn’t. Which category are you going to put Jesus in?
CINDY: Well, I guess I’d have to put him in the category of being the “true” God, because a false god cannot save anyone. But I don’t understand, how can Jesus be God? Doesn’t the Bible say, “God is a Spirit” and “No human has ever seen God”?9.
KAREN: Yes, Cindy, but notice the last part of that verse here in John 1:18: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”10. As you can see, Cindy, it is “God the One and Only”—Jesus—“who is at the Father’s side” and who has revealed God to us. Just as Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God,” Jesus is the visible aspect of God that we can see.
CINDY: But, Karen, haven’t you heard the saying, “He’s the spittin’ image of His father”? Don’t you think Jehovah gave Jesus all these qualities that make Jesus appear as if He has God’s nature— thus, making him “like” Jehovah? But such hardly proves that Jesus is God, does it?
KAREN: That’s a good point, Cindy, but how do we reconcile that belief with Jehovah’s statement that He is the only God and there is no God “like” Him. If Jehovah gave his qualities to Jesus and made Jesus a separate and “mighty god,” “like” Him, how can Jehovah say there is no one like Him. Why don’t you read Isaiah 46:9 from your Bible—The New World Translation.
CINDY: “Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me.” Are you saying, Karen, that Jehovah could not have made Jesus a “mighty god” “like” himself or He would be contradicting His statement here in Isaiah?
KAREN: Yes, Cindy, and if “Jehovah says that we must worship only him” and that “He will not share his glory with anyone or anything else,” wouldn’t you agree that if the Bible says Jesus is worshipped and that He shares Jehovah’s glory, this proves Jesus is God by Nature?
CINDY: Yes, but doesn’t Jehovah say in Isaiah 42:8: “I am Jehovah. That is my name, and to no one else shall I give my own glory.…”11. Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus share’s Jehovah’s glory and is worshipped?
KAREN: Cindy, one passage is here in John 17:5 where Jesus states: “So now you, Father, glorify me alongside yourself with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.”12. Not only do we see the Father sharing His glory with the Son; but in Revelation, we read that Jesus is honored in song and worshipped along with the Father. Would you read Revelation 5:11-14 in your New World Translation Bible, Cindy?
CINDY: Sure! “And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders…saying with a loud voice: ‘The Lamb that was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature that is in heaven and on earth…I heard saying: ‘To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures went saying: ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshipped.”
KAREN: Cindy, you know the Lamb is Jesus and here the Lamb is receiving the same glory and worship that the Father is receiving. Can you see why Christians believe that Jesus possesses the nature of the only true God?
Friends, do you give Jesus the same honor and worship that you give the One and only true God? Jesus said that if we do not “honor the Son” we “do not honor the Father who sent Him”13.
1. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 4:1
2. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 4:2
3. New International Version
4. John 1:1, New World Translation
5. Galatians 4:8; c.f. Philippians 2:5
6. 2 Corinthians 4:4
7. Exodus 4:16
8. New World Translation
9. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 4:3; John 4:24; John 1:18
10. New International Version, Note: Some Bible translations have the term “only begotten” at John 1:18. However, this does not mean that Jesus was created. When Jesus is called the “only begotten God” at John 1:18, this term is used to refer to Christ’s uniqueness as God. Originally, it was thought that the term monogenese came from monos meaning “only” and gennao meaning “begotten.” But further research has determined that the term genese is derived not from gennao, but rather from genos which means “kind” or “type.” Therefore, when certain Bible translations refer to Jesus as the “only begotten God,” they are literally saying that Jesus is the “one and only unique God”—hence the clearer translation “God the one and only” found in the New International Version Bible.
11. New World Translation
12. New World Translation
13. John 5:23