Presentation on theme: "Who was Jesus Christ – God or man?. What did the early New Testament writers think of Jesus?"— Presentation transcript:
Who was Jesus Christ – God or man?
What did the early New Testament writers think of Jesus?
In the first two hundred years, the Christians summed up their belief in the “Apostles’ Creed” I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into the grave. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from here he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy universal church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
So, in the first 200 years, Christians believed: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into the grave. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, to the right hand of God from here he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
Enter Constantine AD325
As a political move, he needed a united Christian Church – and so called Church Bishops to the Council of Nicea – 325AD
THEY PRODUCED THE NICENE CREED I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
So, compare what was originally believed about Jesus (in the first 200 years of Christianity), to what it became in AD325 Apostles’ Creed Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary…. Nicean Creed Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man;…………..And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
So, in 325AD Jesus became God, and the Holy Spirit became a person. The Trinity was born it got worse…..
The Athanasian Creed (Circa 400AD) …..the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord; so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say: There are three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is afore, nor after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three persons are co-eternal, and co-equal.
The word Trinity never appears in the Bible. The phrases “God the Son” or “God the Holy Spirit” never appear in the Bible. The whole of the Old testament is based on God’s command Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: Deuteronomy 6:4 not one in three – or three in one but one.
What did Jesus say about his relationship to God? John 14:28 I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. John 10:29 My Father,……is greater than all No equality here!!
1 Corinthians 11:3 The head of Christ is God John 5:19-20 The Son can do nothing of Himself no equality here either!
The nature of God and Jesus are incompatible NATURE OF GOD God cannot be tempted (James 1:13) God cannot be seen (1 Timothy 6:16) God knows all – all powerful (Jer 23:24) NATURE OF JESUS Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 2:18, 4:14-15) Jesus was seen by many (John 21:14) Jesus learnt and grew (Luke 2:52, Heb 5:8, Mark 13:32)
NATURE OF GOD God cannot die (Deut 32:39-40,1 Tim 6:16) God is subject to no one. (Isaiah 42:8) God is everlasting (1 Tim 1:17) God is all powerful Jer 32:27, Isaiah 45:11-12) God is perfect. (Matt 5:48) NATURE OF JESUS Jesus died. 1 Cor 15:3, Rev 1:18) Jesus is subject to God. (John 14:28, 1 Cor 11:3, 1 Cor 15:28) Jesus was created (Gal 4:4, Heb 1:5) Jesus is not all powerful (John 5:19-20, Heb 5:7) Jesus had to be made perfect. (Hebrews 5:9)
NATURE OF GOD God does not change (Malachi 3:6) God has no god above him. (Isaiah 44:6-8) God is not a man (Numbers 23:19) NATURE OF JESUS Jesus did change (Hebrews 2:7) Jesus has a God (John 20:17) Jesus is a man (1 Tim 2:5)
Paul says that Jesus, in heaven, is NOT one with God, but a separate being: “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1Corinthians 8:6)
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:5-6
But the most remarkable verse tells us that Jesus has a separate role from God. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim 2:5) Even in heaven, Jesus is a man – not God
Finally – the Ultimate proof that God is superior to Jesus – not co-equal “24 Then the end will come, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. …. 27 …..Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15
But what of the “Trinity verses”
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one." Does this mean Jesus and the Father are part of the one God? John 17 “I pray also for those who will believe in me ……, 21 that all of them 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…. 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Well this must mean the millions of saints are also part of one Godhead. No – it simply means that Jesus, God and all disciples of all ages, share a oneness of purpose, character and plan. Jesus and God are one is purpose and Character.
John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." Did Jesus claim to be God? 34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? 35 If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came ….36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.” The priests of Israel were given the title because they acted on God’s behalf, and represented God to the people. How much more Jesus. Jesus did not claim to be God – but God’s son. 38 ………you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." Jesus represented God in all fullness!
John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made….. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. ….10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him…..14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. The Greek word translated here as WORD literally means ‘purpose or plan’ of God. Jesus was always God’s plan…from creation. The world was created with this plan in mind. This purpose was made into a man – Jesus, who was sent to live amongst us. V18 says, although we have never seen God, Jesus displays his character.
Compare: In Proverbs, God’s plan is called ‘wisdom’. This exact plan was embodied in Jesus. John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. …. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him…..14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. Proverbs 8:22 "The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; 23 I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. 24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; 25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, 26 before he made the earth …. 27 I was there when he set the heavens in place…. 30 Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. …34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. 36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death."
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Now, not even a trinity believer would say that Jesus is God the Father. Jesus was God’s representative – and as such bore God’s name and title.
John 20:28-31 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" ….31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Thomas saw Jesus as the very embodiment of the character of God
Philippians 2:6 “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Jesus was so loved, that at his triumphant resurrection, he was allowed to share God’s name and status - and shared the immortal form of God. However – he did not try to grasp equality with God. If Jesus was already co-equal to God, this sentence would be meaningless.
SO, WHY DOES IT MATTER IF WE THINK JESUS IS GOD OR MAN? John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
To believe the Trinity diminishes the gift God gave to us. I may give my life for a person, but it would be much harder to give the life of my child. I have a 13 year old boy – how could I let him die on a cross, knowing that I could save him. How could I turn my back on his plea “My father, my father, why have you deserted me?’ This is what God did for us. He did NOT give himself – but a greater gift – his child.
Genesis 22 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Abraham became the friend of God, by accepting God’s request in faith. God did not ask Abraham to sacrifice himself – but his only loved son of promise. God did not ask what he was not prepared to do Himself. God did not sacrifice Himself – but his only beloved child.
God’s justice “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 Where is the Justice of a God who says “Follow in Jesus footsteps – oh, and by the way Jesus is a God, so you will not be able to follow him so I’ll judge you guilty of sin, and sentence you to death for not following him.” God will only ask us to do what we are capable of doing – following a man.