The Person of Christ (8): His Undiminished Deity (1)

Over the past few articles, we have pondered a great miracle; that a Person could be born without a human father. Now we go on to contemplate another great miracle in connection with the birth of Christ; that God could become a Man, and yet still be God.

As far as the title “His Undiminished Deity” is concerned, we must establish the fact of His deity, before we deal with the issue of whether or not it was diminished. Thus, our happy task for this month is to consider evidence from the Scriptures for the deity of the Lord Jesus.

Actually, we have already seen abundant proof of His deity in earlier articles, those entitled “His Underived Eternal Sonship.” There, we saw Him to be the eternal Son of God. This alone is more than sufficient to prove His deity since eternity is an attribute of deity. Although humans will never cease to exist, all have a time when their existence began. Not so God; not only will He exist forever, but He never began to exist. He and He alone is eternal. And, since the Lord Jesus is the eternal Son, He must be God.

But our conviction as to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ does not rest solely on the fact of His being the eternal Son. It is also based on clear references in the Scriptures.

Consider Isaiah 9:6 which previously we have observed to be pertinent to our study, with its references to the Lord Jesus as the “Son … given” and the “everlasting Father.” It has another highly instructive phrase: “His name shall be called … The mighty God.” That this verse is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ is undeniable, and the reference to Him as God could not be clearer. Yet, in the face of such evidence, so determined are some to deny His deity that they go to desperate lengths to try to explain away this verse. This is how: they say that He is “the mighty God,” but not “the almighty God.”

It does not need much analysis for us to see the folly of such a statement. For one thing, if One is called “God,” then that establishes the Person as “God” whether the adjective used to describe Him is “mighty” or “almighty.” In addition, there are other references in the Old Testament to “the mighty God,” and in each case there is not the slightest doubt that it is the LORD, Jehovah, Who is being referred to. Indeed, one of these references is only one page away from the verse currently under our consideration. In Isaiah 10:21 Jehovah is called “the mighty God,” and no one would suggest that it is a diminution of His deity that the word “mighty” is used of Him instead of “almighty.”

Then we come to the first verse of John’s gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The ensuing verses show beyond all doubt that “the Word” is the Lord Jesus. What could be clearer than the statement “the Word was God”? This verse shows that He is God, distinct from the Father, but one with Him in essence. Both Father and Son equally possess deity.

Indeed, it is so clear that, as with the Isaiah reference, cultists clutch at straws to try to do away with it. They translate it as “the Word was a God.” Their excuse for doing so is that (in the Greek) there is no definite article before “God.” However, this explanation does not hold water. As with the Isaiah passage, we do not have to go far from the verse under consideration to see how empty it is. Consider verse 6 of the same chapter: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” There is no article before “God” there, yet they do not insert the word “a.” And it is so for verses 13 and 18 also. In both those verses, “God” has no article before it, yet no one thinks the phrase should be translated “a God” in either case. Their only reason for doing so in verse 1 is in an (highly dishonest) attempt to dilute this unequivocal statement of Christ’s deity. Moreover, they claim to believe in only one God, yet, by inserting the “a,” they are, in effect, teaching that there is more than one God.

In Psalm 45:6, we read, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” This verse is quoted in Hebrews 1:8, indisputably referring to the Lord Jesus: “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” In the light of New Testament revelation, it is clear that the Psalm is messianic, speaking of, and to, our Lord Jesus, Who is directly addressed as “God” in both the Psalm and its New Testament quotation.

In John 8:58, the Lord Jesus says: “Before Abraham was, I Am.” This was quoted in an earlier article to show that He is eternal. But, just as surely, it shows His deity, with the use of the words “I am,” the title which God used of Himself in Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Those who heard the Lord Jesus using the term “I Am” of Himself, certainly understood it as being a claim to deity, for we read in the following verse that they took up stones to cast at Him – the punishment for blasphemy.

From these Scriptures, and many others, an honest inquirer will conclude that the Bible teaches the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we are ready to move on: did He retain His deity when He came to earth? That will be our consideration next month, in His will.