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This research paper sets to analyze the underlying truth between Jesus and God, while basing the analysis on the facet of Christology. The paper tries to offer a better understanding on the relationship of Jesus and Almighty God especially on the person and nature of God the Son. This is who Jesus is and what can be termed as him.
The Trinitarian believers puts the position of Jesus while trying to explain whom he was in comparison to the father in a better and more comprehensive fashion, that the Father is God, as well as the Son and the Holy Ghost. Both the three are termed as God. Amidst this, it continues to edify The Father, who is God, is not in any way the Son, nor is He the Holy Ghost.
Similarly, a distinction is made to clearly separate the son from the Holy Ghost while creating the impression that, there is only one indivisible and perfect God and not three Gods as might imply. As much as the trinity is criticized as having some ambiguity and clouded with concerns, it sets the best example as to who Jesus was.
However, the New Testament fails to offer a formal and clear doctrine concerning the Trinity while it hardly discusses it as it is. Nevertheless, Stagg (38) has categorically stated that the New Testament has repeatedly spoken about God the Father, Son as well as the Holy Ghost This is what compels a comprehensive understanding of God in the threshold of Trinity.
To demystify the relationship existing between God the Son and God the Father, it is important to look at all the references to God the Son and the Father (Torrance 10). This sets clarity on the kind of relationship that the Father and Son have. For instance, the baptism of Jesus gives a perfect distinction between them, as seen in the book of Matt. 3:16-17.
After baptism and while leaving the water, Matthew alleges the heavens opened and another God , a part of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, descended in the form of a dove, landing on God the Son. A voice came from the Heavens, of God the Father, stating Jesus was His Son whom He loves and pleased in (The Gideons International Bible). This seems to give lots of credibility to the Trinity, which seems to explain the complexity of the three Godheads.
Another clear demarcation of Father and Son is depicted by Stephen, whom after he was filled with the Holy Ghost set his eyes up into the heavens and saw not God but his Glory, while Jesus was standing on the right of God the Father.
This depicts the fact that according to the bible, there is a relationship of a father and son in existence between God and Jesus, while the reference of Trinity in the great commission even makes it clear (Erickson 23). Matt. 28:19 lays down the commission, and rather than speak of God as a single Head, it emphasizes the ‘Son’.
The verse instructs that we make disciples of all the nations, by baptizing them in the name of the father and the Son and Holy Spirit this therefore shows that there truly is God the Son, the Father and the Holy Ghost (The Gideons International Bible). The most significant thing about this verse is that even after countless translations the existence of Jesus as God is never lost, as the three are clearly explained.
It would not be enough to explain the relationship between the Father and Son without citing some examples of the same from the Old Testament. Many have the idea that it lacks in verses talking about God the Son, but it is not the case. In Isaiah 9, mostly considered a clear Messianic Prophecy, describes the coming Savior or Messiah in Verse 6 as a ‘Mighty God’ (Isaiah 9:6).
On the other hand, Psalm 110 describes that God who is the Father or the LORD shares his glory with the Lord in the Psalms (The Gideons International Bible) who in this case I understood as the Messiah or the Son. This therefore depicts the Son and Father relationship existing between God and Jesus and with vivid distinctions to elaborate the same, from the Old to the New Testament’s case of the Trinity.
If there is a question that not only baffles many, it is the enigma of whether Jesus was a human or not. While it is easier to say Jesus is human, since he was born by a woman and lived like a human, the fact is it runs deeper than this (Massey 23). To understand clearly the aspect of humanity in Jesus, it is important to draw again from the aspect of Trinity. In some passages in the Bible, it is clear that God the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit occur as equals but not really equal.
In fact, the Trinitarian doctrine has been able to assemble the deity of individuals as well as the distinctiveness existing in persons while maintaining that there is only one God. This is seen in John 14:27 where Jesus says that he leaves his peace with his followers and all in the world and his followers have no reason to be troubled in their hearts and also they had nothing to be afraid of (The Gideons International Bible).
In addition, the book of John 16:33 also lay strong emphasis on this distinctiveness as Jesus states that the things he had spoken to the followers, that they may find peace in Him. He advices them that in the world they will have tribulation; but they should of good cheer, as he has overcome the world (The Gideons International Bible).
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Jesus also said that he is also the way, the truth and the life, where in this case he is not trying to point towards a certain way or that type of truth that can be found in God the Father only. Jesus in this case is the personification of peace, truth, life and much more, the attributes of personification only possessed by God. Jesus is therefore in this case can be said to be the personification of God in actual flesh.
While it is clear that Jesus is not a human like anybody else around there is a question of the extent at which Jesus was human. It easier to say lamely he was human since he had a human body, born out of a woman and suffered just like any other human without making use of any Heavenly power to alleviate his suffering. He bore it all like any of the humans who were crucified at this time. This might be a fact but more can be deduced to the juncture at which he occurred as human.
There are many parameters of gauging the extent of Jesus as a human being. Firstly, there are traits that Jesus himself had, yet they were human in nature. This is what depicts Jesus as a human. The first thing is a human form. From the onset of the New Testament, Jesus is depicted as having a human body, as John 1:14 states the word became flesh and dwelt among us.
The initial test of orthodoxy is Jesus’ humanity, in 1 John 4:2, that states that every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God (Brewer and Sinclair 31). Other human attributes affecting the human body include the fact that Jesus “grew”, Luke 2:40 as well as “He grew tired”, John 4:6.
He also became thirsty (John 19:28), got hungry for food (Mathew 4:2) as well as suffered from physical weakness (Mathew 4:11 and Luke 23:26). In addition, Jesus also died like a human does (Luke 23:46) and more importantly, his resurrection saw him attain a real human body (Luke 24:39 or John 20:20)(The Gideons International Bible).
A human is not human when devoid of emotions and Jesus like any other human had emotions. After he had heard about the words of faith of the Centurion, Mathew 8:10 says Jesus “Marveled”.
As well as saying in Mathew 26:38, his soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. John 11:33-35 says Jesus was also moved and troubled by the events so much that he wept. Hebrew 5:7 also states that Jesus also prayed with tears and loud cries (The Gideons International Bible). To me, emotions are only for humans and non human are in no way are to feel these emotions therefore Jesus was indeed human as he depicted many human emotions.
If Jesus had human qualities, it is also expected that his mind was also human. In short, a human mind has characteristics that make it ‘human’, such as gaining knowledge and reasoning.
In this regard Luke 2:52 provides that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature to be like God and Man (The Gideons International Bible). This means that just as human mind gains knowledge so did Jesus’ when he was human and in the earth. Another undeniable text on Jesus’ human mind is Mark 13:32, which is also one of the most helpful verses in the formulation of Christology (Brown 17).
It says, “Concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (The Gideons International Bible). This might seem paradoxical but it is quite affirmable that Jesus definitely knows everything yet he does not know all things. This is a unique Jesus’ person of a two-natured form. It is not contradicting but a rather unique and peculiar God-man quality.
Another aspect of Christ’s humanity is human will. Jesus has both human and divine wills. The human will in this case is submissive to a more superior divine will as seen in Matt. 26:39, which states that “Not as I will, but as you will” (The Gideons International Bible). In the recognition that he did not come to carry out a human mission but a divine one, sent and not left to do his will, as much as he was the Son of God.
The divinity of Jesus in the realm of mainstream Christianity is depicted by the title given to Jesus, Son of God. It is clearly used in description of Christ as divine and one of the constituents of Trinity. In the Creed there is an interpretation of this aspect in the New Testament that refers or seems to imply to the deity of Christ, for instance in John 8:58 where Jesus clearly says, “Before Abraham was, I am”. In this case “I am” seems to refer to God, as seen in the book of Exodus 3:14 (The Gideons International Bible).
In addition, Jesus did demonstrate while on earth some eternal attributes and traits that only God Himself does display. In this case, he exercised fully his divine authority, such as knowing the deepest thoughts of a person (the Samaritan Woman), lived a life that can be termed as sinless while his sense of justice, love and righteousness remained very unchanged as he continued performing countless miracles in his own power.
To reinforce this, he revealed the true nature and trait of God in all his life, more so when he explained (in John 14:11, 9, 6), he is in the Father, and the Father is in Him and anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father and everyone who is to come to the father must come through Jesus (The Gideons International Bible). However, the divinity of Christ does leave one with more questions than answers to determine the truth one has to weigh a number of serious issues.
The divinity of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is a very important fact since if he truly was not divine or God the credibility of the holistic gospel would be futile.
If there was not a divine savior, who would be sacrificed for all the sins of all humanity, then the whole idea will be meaningless and rendered imperfect. The doctrine of a savior and redemption of humanity rests entirely on whether Christ was divine or not (Grudem 64). However, the same belief is not exclusively supported in the bible as many might portend to depict.
The first evidence of the doubts surrounding the divinity of Jesus are depicted by his own words, that he never claimed himself to be any equal to God. His utterance clearly shows that he was lesser than God and it goes without saying that a person who is lesser than God can hardly be God (MacLeod 21) whether by default or not.
In short, if Christ Jesus is not in any way God, there is no way he can be God. In Mark 10:18, Jesus says that why should “you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (The Gideons International Bible). This is tantamount to saying that Christ was hardly good enough for him to be perfect and earn the title of God.
It is also expected that God would definitely maintain his own traits and nature once He has assumed the human form, more so in terms of wisdom and knowledge. It is the belief of many in this case that God Himself is all-knowing. However, when Jesus was asked about the end of times, he said he did not know but only God knows. Mark 13:32 quotes Christ responding that nobody knows the exact day or hour.
He further indicates that, also angels in heaven and the Son do not know of the day or hour of end of times but the Father knows (The Gideons International Bible). The implied in this verse is that Jesus was not God to know any fact about the end of times and his return to earth. If at all he were divine in any way, the information would not have been a mystery even to him.
When you consider a divine God, the idea of omnipotent has to arise. This means God, who is omnipotent, has the ability to carry out anything by his own will yet Jesus denied this fact. Jesus in the gospel of John 5:30 do say that, he can do nothing by himself; he judges only as he hears and that his judgment are just, and all this because he does not do things because of his pleasing but to please the one who had sent him (The Gideons International Bible).
Still in the book of John in verse 8:28, Jesus claims that he does nothing on his own but he rather speaks exactly what the Father taught him. Here it is possible to presume that Jesus is not as divine as alleged as if was, he would understand everything that he was saying. In addition, he would have the power to do absolutely anything since to be divine implies omnipotence.
The story of divinity of Christ continues to be strange and conflicting once one has read the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. After being crucified, Luke 23:46 chronicles that Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (The Gideons International Bible). This seems to awaken the question whether the Spirit of Christ was really the same as the Holy Ghost.
In case the spirit was the same, it would not have been a similar spirit, since it means Jesus’ spirit would be living separately from the Holy Ghost and thus amounting not to be a part of the Trinity and part of the makeup of God. Another contradictory issue in the same would be a God, Jesus in this case, pray to himself seem not to be making any sense.
This is why the same references questioning the idea of Jesus as divine and God as utterly suspect. The logical explanation is that any true deity at all times would be in control, understand what he is carrying out while being present at all places within the same time. He would also be very powerful as to overcome any rising obstacle, such as carrying his own wish and volition.
As such, the few cited scriptures depict Jesus did have many shortcomings as all humans. It is the reason why the divinity of Christ is suspect and his deification must have happened after his own death.
As much as the divinity of Christ is highly suspect, more so from his own utterances while answering his disciples for example, his teachings do bear lots of importance. This is because their basis was found on love and believing God (Powell 27).
They represent instructive information to determine a better future in terms of morality and interaction. One controls a destiny by the use of good doctrine. What Jesus stood for stands firm and true. Only a small part in his deity clouds his teachings and works. In addition, love is guaranteed because such a doctrine is guided by teachings and values of a wise man, who respected God but was not God.
The relationship between Jesus and God is somehow complicated and in many cases they can be seen to be one and the same. However, given the above instances, it can be argued that Jesus and God indeed are distinct. Such is the relationship that is deciphered about God the Son and God the Father, largely on the truth of whom Jesus truly is.
Brewer, Marshall and Sinclair, Celia. A Guide through the New Testament. Westminster:John Knox Press, 1994
Brown, Raymond. An Introduction to New Testament Christology. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1994
Erickson, Millard. Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions (3 Crucial Questions). Michigan: Baker Publishing, 1998
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Michigan: Zondervan, 1994
MacLeod, Donald. The Person Of Christ: Contours of Christian Theology. Downer Grove:Intervarsity Press, 1998
Massey, Kundan. Tide of the Supernatural. CA: San Bernardino, 1980
Powell, Mark. Jesus as a Figure in History. Westminster: John Knox Press, 1994
Stagg, Frank. New Testament Theology. New York: Broadman Press, 1962
The Gideons International Bible.Nashville: TN, 2001
Torrance, Thomas. The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons. London: T&T Clark,1996