In the Trinity theory God is three Persons in one Being, but Jesus is not God.

God is the invisible Source of all things, but Jesus is visible.  God refers to Jesus as “My Son”, but Jesus refers to God as “My God”, and He prayed to God.  Jesus is at the right hand of God.  While Jesus was on earth, God spoke from heaven.  The Bible categorically states that God is One, and consistently distinguishes between God and Jesus.  Jesus is not God.

Not GodThis article is one of a series related to the question whether Jesus is God.  See the list at the end of the article.  This article discusses the evidence that He is distinct from God, and therefore that Jesus is not God.  Another article will explore the evidence that He is God.

Jesus is not God.

Trinity – Many people think of God as a Trinity, consisting of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is thought of as three Persons in one Being.

Distinct – In contrast this article shows, in a variety of ways, that the Bible draws a distinction between God and Jesus.  The following are some introductory examples:

Jesus as babyWhen Jesus was still a baby, His father Joseph was “warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod” (Mt 2:12).  “After being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee” (Mt 2:22).

Paul introduced His letters with statements such as, “Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1:3; Eph. 1:2).

Jesus asked the Young Ruler, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

The book of Revelation several times makes a distinction between Christ and God.  For example, “these have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (14:4).

Revelation 4 describes a throne in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.   In Revelation 5 the Lamb takes the scroll from the right hand of His who sits on the throne.  Revelation 22:3 therefore refers to “the throne of God and of the Lamb (Christ).”  See also 11:15; 21:22-23; 22:1, 3).

Jesus was fully human.

Jesus was truly and fully human.  He was born as a baby (Luke 2:7; Gal. 4:4) and had to grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52).  “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).  He became weary (John 4:6), thirsty (John 19:28) and hungry (Mt. 4:2).  He marveled at the faith of the centurion (Matthew 8:10) and experienced sorrow when Lazarus died (John 11:35).  He had a human body, even after His resurrection (Luke 24:39).  He grieved deeply, to the point of death, in Gethsemane (Mt. 26:38), and died the next day (Mark 15:37).  Jesus does not just look like a man; He was truly and fully human.

There is but one true God.

The Old Testament teaches that only one true God exists.

BibleThe great Shema of Israel—the foundation of Judaism—is, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4).  (Shema is the Hebrew for the first word; “Hear”.)

Through Isaiah “the LORD” (Yahweh) declared,

44:6I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.
45:21-22There is no other God besides Me … There is none except Me … I am God, and there is no other.
43:10-11 Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

The New Testament confirms that only one God exists.

When the scribes asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, He started His explanation by quoting from Deuteronomy: “The foremost is, ‘hear, o Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:28-30).

James similarly wrote: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19).

Jesus is distinct from the only true God.

The Trinity theory agrees that God is One, but argues that God is one Being, consisting of three Persons.  This section therefore continues to quote verses that confirm that God is one, but these verses make a distinction between Jesus and God:

John 17:3

Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
(Note that God sent Jesus, which means that Jesus was subordinate to God before he was born as a human being, and therefore always will be.)

There is but one God, the Fatherand one Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 8:6).  (Note: “The Father” always refers to God.)

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

If Jesus prayed to the “only true God” (John 17:3), how can Jesus also be God?

Jesus is at God’s right hand. 

Stephen saw Jesus
Stephen saw Jesus

God the Father sits on His throne in heaven (1 Kings 22:19; Ps 11:4; 47:8). Various scriptures speak of Christ as being at the “right hand of God“:

Ascension – Jesus “was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

Stephen – Just before he was stoned, Stephen said, “I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

Revelation – Jesus said that He “sat down with My Father on His throne” (Rev 3:21), where He took the sealed book from “the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev. 5:1).  See also Mt. 26:62; Acts 2:33; 7:55 or Rom. 8:34.

The fact that Jesus sits at the right hand of God confirms that He is both distinct from God and subordinate to God.  In other words, Jesus is not God.

God calls Jesus “My Son”,
but Jesus calls God “My God”.

This is My Beloved SonAt Jesus’s baptism “a voice came out of heaven”, saying, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22; Mt. 3:17, cf. Col. 1:13).

Jesus said, “I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God” (John 20:17).

Hanging on the Cross, Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?“ (Mt. 27:46).

How can the Father be His God if Christ is God? How can God have a God?

Jesus prayed to God.

Consistent with the concept that God is also Jesus’ God, Jesus prayed to God:

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death” (Heb. 5:7).

The entire John 17 is a record of Jesus praying to the Father.

A while later Jesus “fell on His face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’” (Matthew 26:39).  This indicates that the Father and the Son have separate and distinct wills.

God is invisible.

The Father is unknowable, invisible and incomprehensible:

God, the Father, “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).

No one has seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12).

God is Spirit” (John 4:24), and as such cannot be seen.

Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father” (John 6:46). (Note: “The Father” refers to God.)

God is the Source of all things, and exists outside our physical realm of time, space and matter.  The unseen is the source of everything that is seen.

The Son is the visible image of the invisible God.

There is only one true GodThe Son “is the (visible) image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).

“Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4)

He (His Son) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).
(Some protest that the word “exact” is not in the text and should be deleted, but “exact representation” is simply the translation for the underlying Greek word.)

When Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father“, Jesus responded as follows: “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’?” (John 14:8-9)

Human beings cannot comprehend a Being that is everywhere, that exists without cause, and is not limited by time and space.  The Son is the visible image of the invisible God.  In His Son, appearing in a form that we can comprehend, God becomes known, visible and audible to the creatures of the universe:

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He (“The Word”)has explained Him” (John 1:18).  (Here Jesus is called God.  He is called God about five times in the Bible; also in John 1:1.  For a discussion, see The Bible calls Jesus God.)

Jesus is God’s visible face and the God’s audible voice.  For that reason, He is called the Word of God (John 1:1, 14).  However, since the Father is invisible, the Son is not the image of God in physical terms, but an image of God’s character.

If God is invisible, while Jesus was certainly visible, then Jesus is distinct from God and therefore Jesus is not God.

Jesus and the Father are one in purpose and effort.

In John 10:30 Jesus said, “I and the Father are one”.  In John 14:9-11 Jesus similarly says, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”.  Some people read into such verses that Jesus is the Father.  The Catholic view is that Jesus and God are synonymous.  To be “one“, however, does not mean to be literally one Person.  Jesus, in His prayer, defined the term to “be one”:

That all of them (His followers) may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me … that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me“ (John 17:21-23).

Christian believers must “be one” as God and Christ are one; united in purpose and unified in effort.  To “be one” therefore does not mean to be literally to be one and the same, but describes a relationship between different autonomous beings.  As Jesus said, He did the works of the Father (10:32) and He only did what pleased the Father (8:28:29).

God is the Source of all things, but always works through His Son.

This section continues to quote verses that make a distinction between God and Jesus, but these verses emphasize the different roles of God and Jesus:

There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).

All these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ … God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:18-19).
(Note: Here we have the phrase “God was in Christ”.  But as discussed above, this does not mean that Jesus is God.  Rather, it indicates a unity of purpose and action.)

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 6:13).

God … in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, … through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1; cf. John 1:3)

In the article Jesus in Colossians it is furthermore shown that God, the Father, is the Source of Power in creation and in salvation.

Summary

UnmisinterpretingThe Bible consistently and clearly teaches a distinction between God and Jesus.  This article has shown this in a number of ways, for example:

When Jesus was a baby, God spoke to His father Joseph.

Paul speaks about “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.  Revelation similarly refers to “God and … the Lamb”.

The Old Testament teaches that God there is only one God.  The New Testament confirms this, and draws a distinction between this One God and Jesus, for instance, “the only true God, and Jesus Christ”.

Various scriptures speak of Christ as being at the “right hand of God“, which means Jesus is not God.

God calls Jesus “My Son”, but Jesus calls God “My God.”  Jesus Himself referred to “God” as a Person apart from Himself, and prayed to God.

God is invisible, while Jesus was and is visible.

God is the Source of all things, but He works through His Son in creation and salvation.

Since the Bible makes a distinction between God and Jesus, Jesus is not God.  We should not think of God as one Being consisting of three Persons. The next article provides further evidence of the distinction between God and Jesus by showing that God is the Head of Christ.

Articles related to the question: Is Jesus God?

The three views of the Son
Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God.
Jesus in Colossians
Does Philippians 2 say that Jesus emptied Himself of equality with God?
Who is the Word in John 1:1?
Jesus is not the same Person as God
God is the Head of Christ.
The Bible calls Jesus God.
Only Begotten Son of God
God created all things through His Son.
We must worship Jesus.
Is Jesus God? 

John 17:3 – God is One; The only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent

John 17:3 summarizes this article, for it makes the three points discussed in this article:
      1 –  God is One; There is but one true God.
      2 – Jesus is contrasted with the one true God.
      3 – The Father is greater than the Son, for He sent Him.

The previous article explains the three views of the Son of God:

(1)   A created being
(2)   Derived from the Father
(3)   Always existed; co-equal with the Father.

The current article compares the Son to the Father.

This is an older article, and has been replaced with two other articles, namely Jesus is not the same Person as God and  God is the Head of Christ.

God Is One.

God is OneThe Bible declares that God is One;

There is no other God besides Me …
For I am God, and there is no other
” (Isaiah 45:21-22).

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”. (Deut. 6:4-5)

When the scribes asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, He started by quoting this truth from Deuteronomy:

The foremost is, ‘hear, o Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:28-30).

And James also wrote God is One:

Christianity and Judaism are monotheistic religions, compared to the surrounding cultures with their multitudes of gods.

The Bible clearly and repeatedly distinguishes between God and Jesus.

For instance, while Joseph and Mary were still carrying the baby Jesus around, God told Joseph where to go (Mt 2:12, 22).  And Jesus said:

John 17:3

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

This verse confirms that God is one, and then continues to contrasts Jesus to God.  Paul similarly wrote:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)

Image of the invisible GodHe (Christ) is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), which implies He is not “the invisible God“.

God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 6:13).

The book of Revelation several times contrasts Christ with God, for instance “the throne of God and of the Lamb (Christ)” (Rev. 22:3; see also 14:4; 11:15; 21:22-23; 22:1, 3).

These are merely a few examples of the many, many instances where the Bible contrasts God with Jesus, implying that Jesus is not equal to God.  One may protest by noting that these quotations all apply—not the Son of God before He became a human being—but to the human being named Jesus.  We must also remember the point made in the previous article, namely that “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7).

The Father is greater than the Son.

The names Father and Son imply that the Father is greater than the Son.  The quotations below also indicate that the Father is greater than the Son.  As stated, to become a human being, the Son emptied Himself (Phil. 2:6-7).  It may therefore be argued that the statements below have been made in the context of the Son after He emptied Himself.  However, the phrases in bold orange seem to say that the Father was greater than the Son even before He became a human being, and will always remain greater than the Son:

The Son can do nothing of HimselfThe Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19; cf. John 14:31).

I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (John 8:28; cf. 5:30).

The works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).

My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16, cf. 17:3).

The Father therefore told His Son what to do and the Father has sent His Son to this world.  These things happened before He became a human being and provide evidence of the Son’s eternal subservient position, relative to the Father.

the Father is greater than IJohn 14:28 records Jesus saying, “If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I”.  He made this statement while talking about going to the Father, implying that the Father will be greater than Him even after He has returned to the Father.

The Father … has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35).

The Father has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).

Paul concluded, “the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (I Cor. 11:3).  Paul made this statement long after Jesus ascended to heaven.  We therefore need to accept that the Father always has been and always will be greater than His Son.

Conclusion

This article states that God is One and that the New Testament contrasts Jesus with that one true God.  The New Testament also claims that the Father is greater than the Son.  If this was all we knew about Jesus, we would have had to conclude that He is not divine.  But in the articles to follow statements will be analysed which seem to confirm the Son’s divinity.  The last article in the series combines all this evidence into a conclusion.

Series of Articles

This is the second in a series of seven articles:

(1) The three views of the Son of God.
(2) God is One, the Son contrasted with God and the Father is greater than the Son.
(3) What the Son does: He created and upholds all things.
(4) What the Son is: fullness of Deity
(5) The Son is worshiped.
(6) The Son is Yahweh of the Old Testament.
(7) Conclusion: Is He created, derived or eternally co-equal?

If God is One, is Jesus God?

The Bible teaches that God is One and clearly distinguishes between God and and His Son of God, but also says that all the fullness of Deity dwells in Jesus. How do we reconcile these facts?

This article has been replaced and expanded into a series of articles.  Please see Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God.

Summary

God is OneThe Bible does refer to the Son of God as “God”, but the Bible also refers to created beings as gods.  Could Jesus be “a” god, and not “the” God?  This article analyzes what the Bible says about the Son of God.

We must firstly acknowledge that humans are unable to understand God, for “His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable“.  It is our privilege to study about Him, but we must do it with humility.

Jesus is God’s “beloved Son”.  The name “Son of God”, by itself, does not mean that Jesus is God, because human believers are also called “sons of God”.  However, Jesus is the “one and only Son” of God.  He is God’s Son in a unique sense.

His Son descended from heaven.  He existed before he became a human being.  He is “from … the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2); “before the world was” (John 17:5).

The Father is the Source of all creative power and wisdom, but He created everything through His Son, both things in the heavens and on earth.  The Son also “upholds all things by the word of His power”.  The Son is therefore very different from the created sons of God.

Since His Son created all things, he is before all things (Col. 1:17).  The Bible writers refer to the mysterious “beginning”, saying that His Son was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2).  More emphatically, it is said that He isthe Beginning“ (Col. 1:18).

It was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him” (Colossians 1:19).  This means, in the first place, that the Son is completely dependent on the Father.  The Father has sent Him (John 5:36; 7:16), the Son can do nothing of Himself (John 5:19, 30) and also does nothing on His own initiative.  He only says and does what the Father tells Him to do (John 7:16; 8:28, 30; 14:31).  But secondly it means that “all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).  This means, amongst other things, that the Son is the Judge, with “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2), and that He has “life in Himself” (John 5:26) to give “life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21).

All things have been created … for him” (Col. 1:16).  All must honor the Son even as they honor the Father (John 5:23).  God commanded all the angels to worship His Son (Hebrews 1:6-8).  While we are instructed to worship only God (Rev. 19:10), the Son is worshiped on earth and by heavenly beings (Rev. 5:8-9).

No one has ever seen God at any time, but His Son, who is the visible image of the invisible God—the exact representation of God’s nature, has explained Him (John 1:18; Col. 1:15; Hebr. 1:3):  In His Son, appearing in a form that we can comprehend, God becomes known, visible and audible to the creatures of this universe.

YHVHAdam and Eve heard the sound of the “LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8).  The name LORD is YHVH, pronounced as Jehovah or Yahweh.  Yahweh also appeared to Abraham in the form of a man (Genesis 18:1).  It is proposed here that YHVH, who walked in the garden, and who appeared to Abraham, is the Son of God, that later became the human named Jesus.  This proposal is based on the following:

God is the Creator, but His Son created everything.

Since the Son created the world, He would logically remain intimately involved in events on earth.

No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).  It therefore was not God who appeared in the form of a man; it must have been His Son.

God gave His name to Moses as “I AM” (Exodus 3:1-16).  This name implies He exists without cause.  By claiming, “before Abraham was born, I am”, Jesus identified Himself as the great “I Am” (John 8:58).

The voice calling, “Clear the way for the LORD (YHVH)” (Isaiah 40:3) is applied to John the Baptist (Mat. 3:1-3; John 1:23), who cleared the way for the Son.

Psalm 102:25-28, which says that the creation will wear out like a garment, but God—the Creator—will endure, is applied by Hebrews 1:8-12 to “the Son”.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 indicates that Christ followed the Israelites through the wilderness and provided for their spiritual sustenance.  He is the One with which Moses spoke on Mount Sinai.

Jesus said that “the Scriptures … testify about Me” (John 5:39).  The Scripture refer to the books of the Old Testament only.

Names used for YHVH in the Old Testament are also used for His Son.  These include Bridegroom, Shepherd, Savior, Rock, True and Faithful Witness, Light, Alpha and the Omega, and the First and the Last.

It is therefore proposed that it was His Son that created the world in six days, that rested on the seventh day and whom Adam and Eve “heard … walking in the garden”.  It was also the Son that gave the Law to Moses, and who led the Chosen Nation to the Promised Land.

In conclusion, the apparent contradiction that we have to explain is that the Bible maintains a clear distinction between God and His Son, but also says that “all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).  There are things that we humans do not know because it has not been explained to us.  There are also things that we humans simply are unable to understand, even if it is explained to us.  With the knowledge that we do not understand God, the following is proposed:

This universe consists of time, space and matter, but God the Father exists outside time, space and matter.  It is impossible for us to imagine what exists outside time, space and matter, but that is where the wisdom and power, that created our universe, came from.

Scriptures identify the Son as “the Beginning”.  This is understood to say that He is the Beginning of time, space and matter.  Consequently, one cannot separate the universe from the Son; God brought the universe into being by bringing His Son into being.  His Son is that immense explosion of Energy that brought this universe into being.  He is the “big bang”; not an uncontrolled explosion, but an incomprehensible planned and guided explosion.  But He is also a Person, by which I mean that He is aware of Himself and aware of other living beings.  He is not only a Person; He is an intensely loving Person.  He was willing to become a human being and even to die at the hands of evil men, because He loves His sinful creatures.

It is hoped that this explanation maintains the distinction between God and His Son, but also explains the Son’s divine attributes: “By him all things were created” (Col. 1:15, 16).  “He is before all things” (1:17).  He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13).

(1) The Bible declares that there is only one God; God Is One.

God is OneThere is no other God besides Me …
For I am God, and there is no other
” (Isaiah 45:21-22).

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”. (Deut. 6:4-5)

When the scribes asked Jesus what the most important commandment is, He quoted Deuteronomy:  “The foremost is, ‘hear, o Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:28-30).

And James wrote: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19).

The Bible is a monotheistic religion.

(2) The Bible maintains a clear distinction between God and Jesus.

Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)

He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

The book of Revelation several times contrasts Christ with God, for instance “the throne of God and of the Lamb (Christ)” (Rev. 22:3; see also 14:4; 11:15; 21:23; 21:22; 22:1).

Paul also distinguished between “God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 6:13).

There is therefore a definite difference between Jesus and God.  This implies that Jesus is not God.

(3) The Bible refers to Jesus as God.

The prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6, given hundreds of years before He became a human being, refer to Him as “Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”.

He would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

The Word was God” (John 1:1). A little later John refers to the “Word” as “the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18)

When Jesus showed his wounds to Thomas, Thomas responded: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

Titus 2:13-14 refers to Him as “our great God and Savior”.

How do we reconcile these facts?

So, on the one hand the Bible indicates that God is one and clearly distinguishes between God and His Son.  But on the other hand Jesus is called “God“.  The Bible does sometimes refer to created beings as gods (Psalm 82:6; John 10:34).  Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Could it be that Jesus is “a” god, and not “the God?  What is the relationship between God and Jesus?  Is Jesus another God, subordinate to the Father, but of the same nature?  Or is He a created being?  We will now analyze the Bible text to provide answers to these questions.

This subject requires humility, for it is impossible to understand God.

The first thing we have to say is that we microscopic human beings are unable to understand God.  The Lord warned:

as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts
”. (Isaiah 55:9)

Humans should therefore not think that they are able to understand God.  His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are unfathomable (Romans 11:33).  When this document talks about God, let it be with this knowledge. It is our privilege to study about Him, but we must do it with humility, for “the secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons” (Deut. 29:29).

Colossians 1:15-19

Colossians 1:15-19 is Paul’s most comprehensive explanation of the Son of God.  This article often refers to this passage:

Col. 1:13 … His beloved Son … 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

John 5

John 5 is another important chapter when discussing the Person of the Son.  In that chapter Jesus heals a man who had been ill for 38 years (vv1-9).  He told the man “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk” (v8).  But it was the Sabbath (v9), and the Jews stopped the man, saying “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet” (v10).  The man told the Jews that Jesus healed him (v15).  When the Jews confronted Jesus, He responded, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (v17)  “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He … was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (v18).  Jesus then responded to the claim that He made Himself equal to God. This article also frequently draws from this explanation.

He is the One and Only Son of God

Paul referred to Jesus as “His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).  Similarly, during His baptism, God called Him “My beloved Son” (Mat. 3:17).  Jesus also called Himself the “Son of God” (Mat. 16:16, 17; 27:43; John 9:35-37; 10:36).  By itself the name “Son of God” does not mean that Jesus is God, because human believers are also called “sons of God” (for instance Luke 20:35-36; 1 John 3:1; Phil. 2:15; John 1:12; Mat 5:9; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:19; Galatians 3:26).  The man Adam and certain heavenly beings are also called sons of God (Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Luke 3:38).  However, Jesus is the one and only Son of God:

John 3:16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 – NIV).

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9 – NIV).

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father” (John 1:14 – NIV)

The NASB translates the phrase “one and only” in these verses as “only-begotten

His Son existed before He became a human being.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Before Abraham was, I amHe is “from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2), “before the world was” (John 17:5).  He “descended from heaven” (John 3:13; 6:38, 62).  Jesus also said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) and “I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (John 8:23).

God created and still upholds everything through His Son.

John refers to Jesus as “the Word” (see John 1:14), and wrote that “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3).

Colossians refers to “His beloved Son” (1:13) and reads, “by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (1:16-17).”

Hebrews 1:2 refers to “His Son … through whom also He made the world” and in Hebrews 1:10 God said of His Son: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands”.  “He (His Son) … upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebr. 1:3).

The presentation of the Creator as consisting of more than one Person is not unique to the New Testament.  On the first page of the Jewish Scriptures, describing the creation of this world (Gen. 1:1), God refers to Himself as “Us”, saying “Let Us make man in Our image”, which therefore included His Son.

The Father created “all thingsthrough His Son.  The word “through” indicates that the Father is the Source of all creative power and wisdom, but His Son created everything.  His Son created this universe, including this world.

Since the Son created all things (not all “other” things, as some suppose), He is very different from the created sons of God.  For this reason, and because He is God’s one and only Son, we may refer to Him as “the Son of God”, with a capital “S”, to differentiate Him from the sons of God.

He is The Beginning

Since His Son created all things, He “is before all things” (Col. 1:17).  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).  Colossians 1:18 is more specific, saying that He isthe Beginning“.  This implies a high level of unity between the Son and this universe.

Fullness Of Deity

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Colossians 1:19).  This may be analyzed into two points.  The first is that the Son is fully dependent on the Father

The Father is greater than the Son; God is the head of Christ.

The names Father and Son imply that the Son is not equal to God. 

The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19).

I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (John 8:28).

I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).

The works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).

My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16).

Jesus said, “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28) and “I do exactly as the Father commanded Me” (John 14:31).

Paul concluded, “the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (I Cor. 11:3).

All the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form.

All the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). 

The Son has “life in Himself” (John 5:26) and “gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21). 

“The Father … has given all things into His hand” (John 3:35).  He has “authority over all flesh” (John 17:2).  

The Father has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).  The Son has “authority to execute judgment” (John 5:27).  As stated in Matthew 25:31-33, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”.

Just like a human son is brought forth by his human father, the heavenly Father—the Source of everything—brought forth His Son.  The Son received His power from the Father.

We must worship only God, but His Son is Worshiped.

In the book of Revelation John twice tried to worship an angel, and in both instances the angel’s response was the same:

Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God” (Revelation 19:10; compare 22:9).

Notice this is an instruction to worship God alone.  Also in Revelation 14:7 we are told to “worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters”.  But then we find that the Son is worshiped:

Jesus said, “All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

God commanded all the angels to worship His Son (Hebrews 1:6-8).

The “four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a … golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8-9).

Jesus was worshiped by His disciples after He walked on water (Mat. 14:28-33), after He was resurrected (Mat. 28:8-9; 16-17), and He did not prevent them from doing so.

God highly exalted Him … so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:5-11).

This is related to the concept that “all things have been created … for him” (Colossians 1:16).  He will always be King of this universe.  The Father “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (1:13).  His “kingdom … will never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44).

Christ Reveals God. 

God, the Father, “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).  “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).  The Son “is the (visible) image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).  His Son in all respects looks exactly like His Father.  Since the Father is invisible, the Son does not physically look like the Father, but “He (His Son) is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His (God’s) nature” (Hebr. 1:3):

The Son is the Father’s visible image.  He is God’s visible face and the God’s audible voice; the Word of God (John 1:1, 14).  God is unknowable, invisible and incomprehensible.  Human beings cannot comprehend a Being that is everywhere, that exists without cause, and that is not limited by time and space.  In His Son, appearing in a form that we can comprehend, God becomes known, visible and audible to the creatures of this universe.

When Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father“, 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’?” (John 14:8-9)

YHVH

Adam and Eve heard the sound of the “LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8).  The name LORD is translated from YHVH (Strong 3068)—the proper name of the God of Israel—pronounced as Jehovah or Yahweh.

Yahweh also appeared to Abraham in the form of a man (Genesis 18:1). Abraham was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day (v1).  When he looked up, he saw three men (v2).  One was the LORD and the other two were angels (19:1).  He invited them in (18:2-5).  Sarah made bread cakes (18:6) and Abraham slaughtered a choice calf (18:7).  After they ate, the Lord promised that Sarah would have a son within one year (18:9-15).  The LORD also promised Abraham that he will become a great and mighty nation (18:16-19).  The LORD further said that Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin is exceedingly grave (18:20-21).  The two angels (see 19:1) went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the LORD (18:22), negotiating with the LORD about Sodom and Gomorrah (18:23-33).  The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate (19:1).

It is proposed here that YHVH, who appeared to Abraham, was the one and only Son of God, that later became the human named Jesus.  This proposal is based on the following:

When God said, Let Us make man in Our image” (Gen 1:26), He included His Son.

Our Lord and our God … created all things” (Rev. 4:11; Eph. 3:9).  “Fear God, and give Him glory … worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev. 14:7).  But, as we have seen, God created everything through Jesus.

Since the Son created the world, He logically remained intimately involved in events on earth.

No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).  He “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).  It therefore was not God who appeared to Adam or Abraham in the form of a man; it must have been the Son.

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” and gave His name to Moses as “I AM” (Exodus 3:1-16).  This name implies that He exists without cause.  By claiming, “before Abraham was born, I am”, Jesus identified Himself as the great “I Am” (John 8:58; also 8:24, 28).

The voice calling, “Clear the way for the LORD (YHVH) in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3) is applied in the New Testament to John the Baptist (Mat. 3:1-3; John 1:23), who cleared the way for the Son, which implies that the Son of God is YHVH.

Psalm 102:25-28 says that the creation will wear out like a garment, but the God, the Creator will endure.  This is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-12, but the God, the Creator, is replaced with “the Son”:

Psalm 102:24 O my God … Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says …
25 Of old You founded the earth 10 You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth
And the heavens are the work of Your hands. and the heavens are the works of Your hands
26 Even they will perish 11 they will perish
but You endure but You remain
And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing and they all will become old like a garment, 12 and like a mantle You will roll them up
You will change them and they will be changed. like a garment they will also be changed.
27 But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. but You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”

1 Corinthians 10:1 reads “our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea … 4 and … were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ”.  This refers to the exodus from Egypt, where they passed through the red sea (Exodus 14:29) and the LORD went before them in cloud by day to show them the way (Exodus 13:21).  Once, when the Israelites became very thirsty, the LORD told Moses to “strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink” (Exodus 17:6).  In 1 Corinthians 10 that rock is used as a symbol of Christ, saying that it was Christ that guided and taught them through Moses in the wilderness.

Jesus said to the Jews, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39).  The Scripture refer to the books of the Old Testament, and Jesus therefore said that the Old Testament testifies about Him.

Names used for YHVH in the Old Testament are also used for His Son:

  • In Hosea 2:19 the LORD (YHVH – v16) said “I will betroth you to Me forever”. In Mark 2:19 Jesus described Himself as the bridegroom.
  • In Psalm 23:1 YHVH “is my shepherd”. In John 10:14 Jesus calls Himself “the good shepherd“.
  • In Isaiah 43:11 YHVH says “there is no savior besides Me”. In John 4:42 the Samaritans declare that Christ is “the Savior of the world”,
  • Psalm 18:31 describes YHVH as a rock. In 1 Corinthians 10:4 the spiritual rock from which Israel has been drinking in the wilderness, was Christ.
  • In Jeremiah 42:5 YHVH is the “true and faithful witness”. Revelation 3:14 describes Christ as such.
  • In Psalm 27:1 “the LORD (YHVH) is my light and my salvation”, but in John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the Light of the world”.
  • The Lord God said “I am the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 1:8), but the one who is coming quickly (Rev. 22:12), namely Jesus (Rev. 3:11), said “I am the Alpha and the Omega ” (Rev.22:13).
  • The LORD, the King of Israel, said, “I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me” (Is. 44:6; see also 48:12, Rev. 1:8). But in Revelation Jesus said “I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Rev. 1:17-18; 2:8; 22:13, 16).

It therefore was His Son that created the world in six days, that rested on the seventh day and whom Adam and Eve “heard … walking in the garden” (Gen. 1:8).  It was also the Son that gave the Law to Moses, and who led the Chosen Nation to the Promised Land.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the apparent contradiction that we have to explain is that the Bible maintains a clear distinction between God and His Son, but also says that “all the fullness of Deity dwells in Christ in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).  There are things that we humans do not know because it has not been explained to us.  There are also things that we humans simply are unable to understand, even if it is explained to us.  With the knowledge that we cannot understand God, the following is proposed:

This universe consists of time, space and matter, but God the Father exists outside time, space and matter.  It is impossible for us to imagine what exists outside time, space and matter, but that is where the wisdom and power, that created our universe, came from.

Since God created everything through Him, the Son of God came into being before the universe.  Scriptures identify the Son as “the Beginning”.  This is understood to say that He is the Beginning of time, space and matter.  Consequently, one cannot separate the universe from the Son; God brought the universe into being by bringing His Son into being.  His Son is that immense explosion of Energy that brought this universe into being.  He is the “big bang”; not an uncontrolled explosion, but an incomprehensible planned and guided explosion.

Since the Son created everything, He also created time.  Scientists estimate the age of the universe at 13.8 billion years.  Time started at the moment the universe came into existence.  There was therefore NO time that the Son did not exist, because there is no such thing as time before He created time.

But He is also a Person, by which I mean that He is aware of Himself and aware of other living beings.  He is not only a Person; He is an intensely loving Person.  He was willing to become a human being and even to die at the hands of evil men, because He loves His sinful creatures.

The Son is the Word of God (John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).  The Son is how God appears in this universe defined by time, space and matter.  He is the revelation of God with whom His creatures may communicate as with a fellow creature; to be “God with us” (Mat. 1:26).

God brought the universe into being by bringing His Son into being, but the invisible God remained intimately involved in the universe.  God was intimately involved in the creation of life on this planet, billions of years after the universe came to be (Gen 1:26).  It is God that sent His only-begotten Son to become a human being, so that everybody that believes in Him would not die, but inherit eternal life (John 3:16).  God is the Savior; the Son is the means by which He saves.

It is hoped that this explanation maintains the distinction between God and His Son, but also explains the Son’s divine attributes: “By him all things were created” (Col. 1:15, 16).  “He is before all things” (1:17).  He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13).

TO: General Table of Contents