Divinity of Jesus

Is Jesus Divine?FAQ-Divinity-of-Jesus

Jesus is recognized as one of the most admired and influential people of all time.  But is he God or simply a great moral teacher?  Let’s look at the evidence for the divinity of Jesus – his claims, his credentials, and his historical effect on people.

His Claims

In the Bible, Jesus makes many claims about himself.  For brevity, I will address only those claims which I find most compelling.  Jesus claims that He is sinless (John 8:46) and that He forgives sins (Mark 2:1-12).  He claims that He is eternal (John 10:30, John 17-5) and that He is equal with God (John 8:58).  He claims that He fulfilled the Old Testament Messianic prophecies (Mark 14:49), (Luke 7:20-23, John 5:46) and that he will come again to judge the world (Matthew 16:27).  And He claims to be the exclusive way to the Father (John 14:6).

His Credentials

Jesus also has the credentials of God.  He has power over nature – walked on water, calmed a storm and multiplied the bread and fishes.  He also cured diseases, restored sight to the blind, and raised the dead (e.g., Lazarus).  He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies.  Most importantly He overcame death Himself with His resurrection.

Effect on People

Jesus’s resurrection turned the disciples from a cowardly, fearful group to those who, upon witnessing the resurrection, dedicated their lives to telling people about Jesus.  The Apostle Paul before he became a follower of Christ was a high-ranking Jewish official who was known as a fierce persecutor of Christians.  All that changed after Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).  He became an ardent follower of Christ, is credited with writing thirteen and possibly fourteen books we find in the New Testament and was killed for his faith, as were most of the other original disciples.

It should be noted that the disciples were different than people today who are martyred for what they believe, because they were eyewitnesses.  People do not allow themselves to be persecuted or martyred for what they know is a lie.  The disciples witnessed Christ and testified to the truth of His words and resurrection.  As a result of the testimonies of Paul and the disciples, the growth of Christianity exploded.

Historically and today, people live transformed lives as a result of their relationship with Jesus.  This Website gives examples of changed lives among prominent people in Silicon Valley.

Several former atheists had their lives transformed when they looked at the evidence for Christ, including C.S Lewis, Charles Colson, Lee Strobel, and Josh McDowell.  Books by these authors are listed on the Resources link on this Website.

Three Choices

In Part 2 of Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis concludes that there are only three possibilities for Jesus.  He was a lunatic (deceived himself as to who he was), was a liar (lied about who he was) or is who he says he is – the Lord of all creation.

It does not make sense to say that Jesus was a great teacher, but deny that he is God.   For if he is just a teacher, he misrepresented himself to the world.  The evidence points to Jesus as both God and a great moral teacher.

2 thoughts on “Divinity of Jesus

  1. This is an issue that I struggle with: can you call yourself a “Christian” without believing that Jesus was God? I believe that being a Christian principally means that you sincerely believe in and want to follow his teachings. Why isn’t that enough for me to consider myself a Christian? Who but God himself can judge whether I am or not? To me, Jesus represents human perfection, someone who demonstrated what it means to be truly good and whose lessons are the path to goodness. I don’t know exactly what happened 2,000 years ago and challenge the credibility of anyone who says that they do. What’s written in the 4 official Gospels that survive today may or may not relate the accurate, definitive life and teachings of Jesus. But, just as no one can say that Shakespeare definitely wrote all the words to all the plays ascribed to him (and that was only 500 years ago!), no one can say with certainty who originally wrote the Gospels, how many translations and re-writes they went through, how the stories may have been changed or embellished, or even how many other “gospels” or alternative versions of Jesus’ life were suppressed or simply ignored. That doesn’t mean that the “official” gospels aren’t valuable lessons about the life of Jesus and his teachings, and it doesn’t take anything away from from their value if I don’t believe they have to be the true “Word of God”. Claiming the Bible is “divinely inspired” doesn’t prove that it’s 100% accurate or truthful or that its authors didn’t have any ulterior motives in their writing and editing. Undoubtedly, the Christian Church, like all religions, has always had a vested interest in its own interpretations of God’s words and stories about Jesus; and, I think we still can admire the Bible as a book filled with great lessons and parables without having to accept it as the unblemished Truth. Likewise, while I have little doubt about the existence and example of Jesus Christ I don’t feel compelled to accept the mythology of Adam and Eve, Original Sin, the Virgin Birth, Tongues of Fire and the Trinity in order to accept Jesus as my spiritual guide and, yes, savior if he leads me to fully love God.

    • I suggest that those, like Chuck, who are questioning the divinity of Jesus continue to investigate the evidence by reviewing the other FAQs and looking at the listed Resources available elsewhere on this site. We are all on a spiritual journey and, in the end, must make a decision on where the evidence leads.

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