QUICK ANSWERS GUIDE TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST
Below is a list of common questions raised by Jehovah’s Witnesses and other anti-Trinitarians. Following the questions are brief Biblical responses and references to chapters and sections within this book that will aid further research on the topics being addressed.
How can Jesus be God when He can only do what He sees the Father do (John 5:19)?
Just as a human “son” is able to physically do what a human “father” is able to do, so Jesus demonstrates His power as the “Son of God” by claming that He can do everything His “Father” God does (John 5:19, 21-23).
If no man has seen God at any time, how can Jesus be God (John 1:18)?
Colossians 1:15 states that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” Thus, the Jehovah that Isaiah saw (Isaiah 6:5) is Jesus (John 12:41). John 14:9 explains: “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”?’ ”
- 4 REASONS THE SOCIETY’S TRANSLATION OF JOHN 1:1 IS UNTENABLE: 4. Scripture Calls Jesus “The God” Which Indicates He Is Jehovah: JOHN 1:18
How can Jesus be God if He has a God over Him (John 20:17)?
Just because a human son is subject to the authority of his human father, does not make him any less human that his father is. In the same way, the subjection of Jesus to His Father God does not make Him any less “God” (Colossians 2:9; John 5:23).
If Jesus is God, why does He submit His will to the Father (Luke 22:42)? How can Jesus surrender the Kingdom to God if He is God Himself (1 Corinthians 15:28)?
The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity teaches that Jesus and the Father are distinct Persons, even though they share the same Being and essence of nature, unified as the one and only true God (1 John 5:20). Just as Christ’s subjection to Mary and Joseph did not make Him inferior to them (Luke 2:51), so Christ’s subjection to the Father does not make Him inferior. These Scriptures where Jesus surrenders His will to the Father and the Kingdom to the Triune God are not denying the Godhood of Christ, but rather revealing the functional hierarchy within the Persons of the Trinity. As Christ reigns until the end of this age, when everything (including death) is subject to Christ, He will turn over His rulership of the Kingdom to the Triune God where all three Persons will reign eternally together as one God (Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Hebrews 2:8; Psalm 110:1-2; Hebrews 1:13; 10:12-13).
If Jesus is God, did God die when Jesus died?
No, the divine nature of Jesus and the deity of God the Father did not die when the man Jesus died. Philippians 2:5-11 states that although Jesus existed in the form and nature of God, He “emptied Himself” to take upon Himself the additional nature of humanity and thus, brought manhood into His divine Person. So, while the human nature of Jesus died, His divine nature raised His physical human body from the dead (John 2:18-22; 10:17-18)
If God can’t be tempted by evil, how could Jesus be God (James 1:13; Matthew 4:1)? How Could Satan tempt Jesus with something God already possesses (Matthew 4:8-9)?
Since God, in His divine nature, cannot be tempted (James 1:13), Jesus took on the additional nature of a man (Philippians 2:6-7) to experience all the temptations of humanity (Hebrews 4:15) and atone for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Thus, the divine nature of Jesus remained veiled while the human nature of Jesus was tempted and prevailed without sin, so that He could become our advocate with the Father (Hebrews 4:15-16). It is true that Christ, as God, is Himself the ultimate ruler of the world (Daniel 4:17). Yet, for a limited time, Satan has control of the kingdoms of the earth (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 14:30). So the temptation Satan offered Christ at Matthew 4:8-9 was to take back the kingdoms of the earth and begin reigning before it was time. Indeed, it wasn’t until Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and rose from the dead that He was able to say: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Although we do not yet see all things in subjection to Christ (Hebrews 2:8), the Father has fixed a day when the world will be judged by the “Man” Jesus Christ Whom He raised from the dead as proof of Christ’s authority (Acts 17:31). Therefore, Jesus affirmed His Deity, not only by refusing to fall for Satan’s “If you are the Son of God…” prove it temptations, but Jesus affirmed His Deity at Matthew 4:7 when He quoted to Satan, Deuteronomy 6:16 which says: “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test…” Indeed, Satan was breaking this commandment by tempting Jesus because Jesus is Himself the LORD God!
How can Jesus be God and at the same time be the “Son of God” (John 1:1; 3:16)? If Jesus is “begotten,” how can He be God Himself (John 1:18)? Since angels are called “sons of God” (Job 38:7), does this prove Jesus is a created angel?
Why is Jesus called the “Son of Man” (Matthew 26:64)? He was not begotten by a man (Matthew 1:18) as God is not a man (Hosea 11:9). In Scripture, the phrase “son of…” is often used to denote, “order and nature of….” Thus, Jesus as the “Son of Man” is claiming to be “of the nature of man.” In the same way, the Jews understood Christ’s claim to be “the Son of God” as a claim to possess “the nature of God” (John 5:18; 19:7; Matthew 26:63). Likewise, the word “begotten”has several meanings. When it is used of Jesus Christ, it refers to His “uniqueness” as the one and only “Son of God” by nature (Hebrews 1:5). While other beings (including Adam and angels) are called “sons of God” (Luke 3:38; Job 38:7) because they are creations of God, Jesus is the “only begotten” (unique) “Son of God” because He is by nature, fully God. Hence, no angel is called the “Son of God” in the way that Jesus is called God’s Son (Hebrews 1:4-5). In fact, angels are commanded to worship Christ (Hebrews 1:6) as He is eternal (Isaiah 9:6), without “beginning of days” (Hebrews 7:3) and is their Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 explain: “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him … For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
If Jesus is God, wouldn’t His ransom sacrifice be far greater than what was required to pay for Adam’s sin?
This question assumes that the covering of Adam’s sin is all that is necessary for justification before God, but Adam’s sin was just the beginning of human iniquity as it infected every human with a sin nature that leads to all the wickedness found upon the earth. The cumulative weight of the sin of all mankind is far greater than the sin of the single man Adam. Thus, a perfect man serving as the equivalent of Adam, could not possibly atone for the sins of all mankind (Psalm 49:7). This is why Romans 5:16 says: “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned…” Thus, it took the Christ, the Perfect Son of God who was not just a perfect human, but far greater as God in the flesh, to atone for the sins of the whole world (Romans 5:16-17). Acts 20:28 states: “Be on guard …to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 also says: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” And 1 Timothy 3:16 in the King James Version reads: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” **
Why does Jesus say the Father is “greater” than Him (John 14:28)?
When Jesus lived upon the earth, He operated under the limitations of His humanity. Thus, He spoke of the Father as being in a “greater” position because the Father was in Heaven while He was humbly living under the weakness of frail humanity. Regarding this, the Athanasian Creed states that Christ was: “Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood…”
If Jesus is God’s “Firstborn” Son, was He created (1 Corinthians 1:15)?
“Firstborn” does not necessarily mean “first-created.” When used of Christ, “firstborn” denotes Christ’s preeminent position over creation as the supreme Creator of “all things” (Colossians 1:16-18). Jesus is not part of the creation which He began (Revelation 3:14) because John 1:3 states: “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” If “nothing” was created apart from Christ, Jesus could not be part of creation or He would have had to create Himself! Indeed Isaiah 44:24 in the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses reads: “This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb: I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?” Since no one was with Jehovah when He created the earth, Jesus must be Jehovah God Himself.
If God is not a God of Confusion, how can God be a Trinity (1 Corinthians 14:33)?
It is true that God is not the author of confusion in our worship, but this Scripture says nothing about whether certain aspects of God’s character and nature should or should not be “confusing” to the human mind. God is eternal and infinite (Psalm 90:2). Can we comprehend that? We are temporal, created and finite beings. If our finite minds were fully able to comprehend our infinite God, how could He be worthy of our worship? Consequently, the fact that certain aspect of God’s nature such as His eternality and His Triune Being cannot be fully comprehended by our finite minds, should not pose a threat to the validity of these Biblical doctrines.
If the Bible calls angels and humans “gods” because of their authority (2 Corinthians 4:4; Psalm 82:6; John 10:34; Exodus 7:1), why can’t Jesus be just “a god” (John 1:1, NWT) serving under the authority of Jehovah, the Almighty God?
It is true that some creations of God are called “gods” in Scripture due to their authority, but 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 makes it clear that only one true God exists. Since there can only exist one true, Almighty God at a time (John 17:3), Jesus must be the same “God” as the Father because He is called “Almighty” at Revelation 1:7-8 and “the true God” at 1 John 5:20. Isaiah 46:9 in the New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses: “Remember the former things of long ago, that I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is no one like me.”
- COMBATING THE HENOTHEISTIC BIAS OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
- JOHN 10:30: “I and the Father are One… ”
- JOHN 10:34: “…‘I said you are gods’?”
- JOHN 5:18: “Making Himself Equal To God”
- JESUS IS ALMIGHTY!
** Some translations say “He was manifest…” instead of “God was manifest…” This is due to a scribal error in some of the Greek manuscripts where the Θ in Θς (God) was accidentally misread as Ο in ὃς (He).