There is a lot of talk about this subject, naturally. One tenant of the Christian faith is that Jesus IS God and is also Man, both 100%. This seems to be a paradox that only the Godhead can understand. I am ok with that. This, of course, brings up controversy. Many people suggest that Jesus really is not God, just a good man. (There are many problems with this argument, I am only going to discuss one.) People will support this claim by saying that Jesus never actually said “I am God.” There are actually many instances where Jesus actually does claim that He is God just not in the way that we want Him to. Claiming authority over the temple is just one example of his claim that He is God (only God can claim authority over the temple), and this is only one of the examples. I would like to point to John chapter 8 as a full on claim that He truly IS God.
John 8.58 – Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
Please do go read this passage in context and it will have even more impact. Jesus states a few things in this passage. First, he is claiming that he has been around since before Abraham, this should make it very obvious that He is more than just a man. What really make this an “I am God” statement is his use of the phrase “I am.” Any good Jew would realize that this is a direct allusion to the burning bush. Exodus 3.14 “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM'; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”‘” Jesus is making a full allusion to something that the Jews would know about. Claiming “I am” is putting himself as God, as the burning bush, as the God of Israel. To further support the claim that Jesus is indeed claiming to be God, directly after Jesus says this, the Jews pick up rocks to stone Him as, in their eyes, he was a blasphemer and should, by law, be stoned to death. “I am” is not a simple statement. The OT אֲדֹנָי (Adonai) is used to replace the unspeakable YHVH יהוה.
Anyway, this isn’t really the entry that I had been planning on tonight. Had a good Bible study and this stuff was brought up so thought I would think about it a bit more. I will hopefully get an entry up about stuff pertaining to age of the Earth and such things.
Addendum in response to a question about Mark 10.18:
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’”
20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
I am assuming you are asking because this passage seems to suggests that Jesus is not God, yes? To me, and I haven’t done much research into this yet as I am at work, hopefully I can get more indepth later, I would say that Jesus is essentially speaking on behalf of all humans. Jesus is suggesting that humans are lacking and only God is complete. Humans fail and sin, God does not. Jesus is 100% man and could therefore speak on our behalf, but he is also 100% God and, unlike us, can resist temptation and sin. I hope that makes sense, and like I said, I will hopefully be able to look more into this one.
Let me quote William Lane as he put it better than I can.
Jesus responded by directing attention away from himself to God, who alone is the source and norm of essential goodness. The apparent repudiation of the epithet “good” only serves to radicalize the issue posed by the question of verse 17. The inquirer’s idea of goodness was defined by human achievement. He undoubtedly regarded himself as “good” in the sense that he was confident that he had fulfilled the commandments from the time he first assumed their yoke as a very young man…. Jesus’ answer forces him to recognize that his only hope is an utter reliance upon God, who alone can bestow eternal life.
Which I suppose is somewhat similar to what I stated above, just more eloquently. Jesus’ statement is not about being separate from God, it is about humans relying on God. I think this verse, along with the others you address are part of what makes the Trinity so confusing (and often a matter of faith). The Godhead IS indeed three separate “pieces” if you will. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are distinct in their attributes, but still God.
The Trinity should be kept in mind when reading Acts 7.55 (well and always I guess). Stephen is under the same persecution as Jesus was essentially, blasphemy. As he looks to Heaven he sees God who is bringing him into His kingdom because of the sacrifice of the “son of Man” in Jesus. The are two separate beings partly because they ARE separate beings in the Trinity but also because they have each played an important role in Stephen’s role and are important to the context of Stephen’s story.
I don’t feel that 1 Cor 11.3 is meant to contrast God and man in a similar way you would contrast man and woman. The passage is to convey a relationship between the two parties. Gordone Fee suggests “Paul’s understanding of the metaphor, therefore, and almost certainly the only one the Corinthians would have grasped, is “head” as “source,” especially “source of life.” … Thus Paul’s concern is not hierarchical (who has authority over whom), but relational (the unique relationships that are predicated on one’s being the source of the other’s existence).” So this passage directly relates to the Tiniity in that God truly is the Godhead and is the source of everything, including Jesus. But Jesus has a very close relationship with the Godhead being a member along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
“Godhead” is merely a term used when talking about all three persons in the Trinity – God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Passages you have pointed out, and others, point to the fact that God and Jesus are separate, this is true. THere are also numerous passages where Jesus is indeed claiming to be God, the specific one I have used in this thread comes from John. The way this dichotomy is resolved is where the Trinity comes in. The Trinity is One being – God – that has different aspects to it that have different “roles.” “Roles” is a somewhat bad term to use because the lines are blurred a bit, but I will use it none the less. Some think of it like this (again, this can’t be done to strictly because each “role” does all of this things as well, but that is another issue): The Father is the one in charge, Jesus is our salvation and God’s “represenative” to us, Jesus is also able to relate very closely to each and every one of us because he is Man, the Spirit is, as you said, God’s “active force” essentially, the Spirit also is somewhat of a moderator between us and God the Father. Individual pieces of one God.
Let me (loosley) use a metaphor that Hugh Ross used in helping to understand the Trinity. If God exists He would have to be outside of our dimensions as He is all encompassing. There are probably 11 dimensions (at least that is what current String Theory tells us) and God resides over all of those dimensions. For simplicity’s sake, I will only make reference to our three space dimensions. If God is above all 11 dimensions, he is definitely over our three space ones. Let us go down even farther and imagine that we are two dimensional beings (this will help in understanding the three dimensional version becase it is difficult, even impossible, to imagine a 4 space dimensional being or object). As a two dimensional being you are constrained to a surface and can go left and right, forward and backward, but not up and down, you don’t even have any thickness. You are gliding along one day and all of a sudden three dots appear in front of you . . . seems odd that they would randomly appear, then those dots start to grow and turn into circles o o o they keep growing O O O until they get larger and they start to touch OOO as they continue on they actually merge into one large oval ( ) . This all seems very odd as they came out of nowhere, but none the less they were still in your two dimensions. Now, if you, being a two dimensional person, had the capacity and comprehension to visualize and see a third dimension you would have seen that it was merely a three dimensional person sticking three of his fingers through your two dimensional plane. (for this to make a little more sense, imagine the 2-d plane is your desk and imagine pushing your fingers through it, what the plane of your desk sees is a dot where your finger starts and then growing into a larger circle. Make sense??) Now, to the two dimensional being it seems very odd for this to happen but to the three dimensional being it was just normal, the 3-d person has a higher range of motion. Let us carry this over to our three dimensions. How would a 4-dimensional being interact with our 3-dimensions (or a much higher order dimensional being even)?? To us, it might look very strange, but to them it is normal. The other, and very important, thing to note here is that the two dimensional being saw three distinct circles. If the person had not continued to push his fingers through they never would have merged into one shape (part of the hand). To the 2-d person those three O’s were COMPLETLY separate, individual objects. It is only with the knowledge and understanding of a higher dimension that you would be able to see that those three separate pieces were indeed all part of the same unit – the hand. While the Trinity’s different pieces may seem completly separate, even if closely related, they may actually be part of the same object but because of our limited understanding, we cannot see the entire piece. Wow, I hope that made sense, I hope Hugh Ross doesn’t read this and plot my death.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is from a previous blog so the original comments no longer exist.