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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,  and perfect, will of God."   -Romans 12:2


 

A Short Defense of the Divinity of Christ

by Rusty Entrekin

It seems as though it is becoming more and more common for Christians to be challenged regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. We are told that the doctrine is irrational or illogical, or are referred to scriptures which teach the oneness of God. In addition, there are well meaning Christians who do not properly understand the doctrine and teach erroneous conceptions of it. For instance, a common, but improper illustration of the Trinity is "A man can be a father, a son, and a grandfather all at the same time." The problem with this illustration is that if Jesus and the Father are the same person, then who was Jesus praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? The idea that Jesus and the Father are the same person is the ancient heresy known as Modalism or Sabellianism.

This article concentrates on demonstrating the divinity of Christ, an essential aspect of the doctrine of the Trinity.

The doctrine of the Trinity is aptly summarized in the words of the old hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy: "God in three persons, blessed Trinity".

We do not believe, as Muslims and Arians claim, that three persons are one person, or that three Gods are one God. Rather, we believe that God is one being in three persons.

If we seek an interpretation that harmonizes with all of scripture, rather than emphasize a few select verses to deny the plain meaning of other verses, we must inescapably come to the conclusion that God is Triune.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, believe that Isaiah 9:6 teaches Jesus is "a" mighty god, but not God (with a big "G").

If Jesus is a "mighty god," but is not a part of the Godhead, then what do we make of the following scriptures:

Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 44:8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is noG od.

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.

A Jehovah's Witness once contended with me that it is the Father, not Jesus, who is the Alpha and Omega.

Letís consider Isaiah 44:6, above. It sounds much like Revelation 1:17: "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"

If it was the Father speaking to John, then how did John "see" him? For John 1:18 says: "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]." No fleshly man can see God the Father!

Lastly, there are many scriptures which testify that the Messiah is God:

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son [He saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Note that the Son is called God in this verse.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Jesus did not refuse this title from Thomas.

Luke 18:19. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Compare this with last verse with John 10:11:

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [Again, how could God the Father "appear" so that he may be seen by fleshly eyes?]1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 

Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. { The Hebrew word is Jehovahtsidkenu}Why would Jesus be called "Jehovahtsidkenu"? Food for thought!

Lastly, consider the account in Genesis 18. Note that every place we see the capital letters LORD, it represents the Hebrew word Jehovah (or Yahweh).

1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9  And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear achild, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD...... 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; How could Jehovah have "appeared" to Abraham?

Isaiah likewise wrote in Isaiah 6:5:

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts."

Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

I Timothy 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen

Notice in the last verse that Jehovah is called the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords". Then why is Jesus also called this in Rev 19:13-16?

"And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a  sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

Who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Yahweh, of course! But why is the "Word of God" also called this in this verse?

If we take some of the above Bible verses in isolation, it may seem that some of the scriptures I used actually disprove the Trinity. But taken together (not separately), it appears to me that they logically lead to the conclusion that God is both One and Three.

Don't you agree that we must reason from the whole counsel of scripture, not just portions of it?

Someone once asked me in response to the above, "In one sentence you say that 3 does not equal 1 and the next you say that 3=1. Which is it? "I replied that perhaps without realizing it, he left out a few words that I used. without those words, there does seem to be a contradiction in what I said. But with them, there is no contradiction. What I said was, "We do not believe that three persons = one person, or that three Gods = one God. Rather, we believe that three persons make up one God." To illustrate how this can so, consider that three make up one when there are multiple dimensions or realms of reality involved. To illustrate, consider the dimensions of space: 1 foot X1 foot x 1 foot = 1 cubic foot.

God the Father dwells in unapproachable light which no man has seen or can see (I Timothy 6:1). That light is not the realm of reality in which we dwell, for it is unapproachable.

But the only begotten Son has made God the Father known to us in the realm of reality in which we dwell (John 1:18). The translators of the NIV believed that the best and oldest Greek manuscripts say, "No man has ever seen God, but God the only [Son], who is at the Father's side, has made him known." (NIV) The scriptures reveal that within Yahweh, there are three persons. 

No doubt, Jesus IS a personal manifestation of God:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (AV)

Both Old and New Testaments have many indications that God is triune. The above verses are not at all an exhaustive list of these, and a much more thorough study of the doctrine can be made.

For those who would like to study this doctrine more, I highly recommend Robert Morey's book, The Trinity: Evidences and Issues. It is commonly, but falsely taught, that the doctrine of the Trinity did not develop until hundreds of years following the birth of the church. Although this can perhaps be accurately said about the name of the doctrine, it cannot be said about the doctrine itself. Morey provides many examples of early Christian writings which plainly demonstrate that the early church regarded Jesus Christ as God.

~

Rusty Entrekin is a theology graduate of Louisiana College. He and his wife Julie have seven children, with four still at home, and four grandchildren. Currently, he resides in Kennesaw, GA. He writes apologetic and theological articles to help people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. If this article has blessed you, and you would like to free him up to write more, you may make a donation below.

Rusty previously decided not to apply for 501c3 ministry status, so that he can write about political matters without worrying about government interference. Because of this, your gifts will not be tax deductible. However, you will receive a far greater reward for your donation:  treasure in heaven!