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How can Jesus be God and the Son of God?

Question:  The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the Son of God.  The Bible also teaches Jesus is fully God and fully man.  How can He be both?

Answer:  Historically, Jesus being called the “Son of God,” a Jew would have equated this title to calling Jesus the one true God. The Jews were monotheistic  and would never have believed God the Father had an offspring called the Son. Jehovah’s Witnesses contend, Son of God points to Jesus being a “lesser” god; a created being. Isaiah 43-48 clearly teaches there is only one God and refutes the idea of “a lesser god.” The Jews during the time of Jesus would never have believed in a lesser god, a belief that was not monotheistic. Therefore, when Jesus was called the Son of God or called himself the Son of God He was claiming to be fully God. This of course was blasphemy, worthy of death.

I will use Scriptures to support this argument. We read in John 5:15-18; 25 “The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus not only called himself the Son of God in verse 25 but in verse 17 he called God His Father; to the Jews this was blasphemy, making himself equal with God.

Additional support can be found in John 10:29-33 [Jesus speaking] “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.” 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Again Jesus calls God His Father, indicating He is the “Son of God” (John 5:18) and making an obvious claim to being one true God. The penalty for claiming to be God was death (blasphemy); hence the Jews wanted to stone Jesus.

Lastly, we read in John 20:28-31 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said* to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” 30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”  Here we see Thomas a monotheistic Jew calling Jesus God. In fact the actual translation Greek to English in verse 28 Thomas said “The God of me and the Lord of me.” Notice Jesus does not rebuke Thomas for calling him God; instead he commends him for his belief. This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible where Jesus is called God. The Apostle John states that much more could have been written about Jesus, but these particular writings were to help people come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

In summary the title Son of God is given to Jesus to establish He is fully God and fully man.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Randy August 21, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Though I don’t have a problem with your article, how do I reconcile Jesus being fully God but the Bible saying that only the Father knows the day and hour that Christ will arrive. How does Jesus fall into that scenario?

  • Steve Bruecker August 21, 2014, 6:22 pm

    Randy,
    What we have is Jesus is speaking 100% from His human nature. Similar to how Jesus is in the form or nature of God (Phil. 2:6-8) but did not consider equality with God (Father) something to be grasped. In His humanity Jesus limited himself. As a human Jesus got tired and his divine nature never does. In his humanity he got hungry and as God He never does. He set self-limitations of His knowledge but His divine self is omniscient. Therefore, His divine self knows the day and time of the end but in his humanity he did not.

    Steve

  • kandy April 24, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Why does it say in the Bible that Jesus was the first born of all creation? It also says that God and his son worked together to create the angels and mankind.
    Also, when Jesus was being baptized wasn’t it God the Almighty speaking from heaven saying this is my son the beloved whom I have approved?
    How can it even remotely be possible Jehovah and Jesus are the same person?

  • Steve Bruecker April 29, 2015, 11:07 am

    Kandy,
    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    How can Jesus be the firstborn over all creation and still be God? The Greek word used in Colossians 1:15 is “prototokos” which can mean birth order, first in rank, preeminent one, or heir. So how do we know which definition is the best? We can study the context of the passage. Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” The definition “preeminent one” makes the most sense since verses 16 and 17 say he was the creator of everything and all things were created for Him. Jesus cannot be created if He is the creator; He cannot create Himself.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses still want to strongly assert the best definition is birth order in spite of the context of the passage. They say Pharaoh’s first born indicates birth order and it should be applied here. However, David was called firstborn in Psalm 89:27 and yet he was the youngest of seven brothers. In Psalm 89 he was the preeminent one or heir of God’s promise. The Messiah would come from the line of David. In addition firstborn was used when speaking of the priority of Israel in Exodus 4:22 (Israel my firstborn son). Again this doesn’t have anything to do with birth order. In addition when Paul uses firstborn he does not mean “first-created.” Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe Jesus was born in a human sense but that He is a created being. In the Greek the word for “first-created” is protoktisis. Paul avoided this term because he was not teaching that Jesus was a created being. The verses that follow strongly support Jesus as the uncreated creator.

    In an attempt to bolster their case and change the context of the verses that follow verse 15, the New World Translation [NWT] added the word “other” four times. This was done to avoid calling Jesus the preeminent one, the uncreated creator. The word “other” was added in brackets in the NWT because it is not in the original. In verses 16 -17 the NWT writes, “…because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist.” The other was added to deny that Jesus created everything. Any word additions to the Bible that change the meaning of the text violate the rules of interpretation and in this case are heretical. The word “other” is not in the Greek manuscripts according to their own textbook called the “Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures.” They claim it helps clarify the verses. However, it actually changes what Paul intended. Words cannot be added if they change the meaning of the passage. Luke 13:2 is an example of where “other” is added in many translations but doesn’t change the meaning of the passage. This is an acceptable practice.

    Kandy you also said the Trinity teaches the Father and Jesus are the same person. This is not what the Trinity teaches. A definition of the Trinity is one God subsists in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal. The Father and the Son are distinct persons of the one God. So if you understand the doctrine of the Trinity you can see how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all involved in the creation of the universe. Also at the baptism Jesus all 3 persons of the Trinity are present in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is exactly what we would expect if the one God was Triune.

    Kandy you have major problems making Jesus a lessor god, a second god. Isaiah writes this: Isaiah 43:10 (NASB) “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.” No god was formed before or after the one God. How can Jesus be a created god? Also God knows of no other god, Isaiah 44:8 (NASB) ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.‘”

    One more point I’d like to make. You say two persons created the angels and mankind. For you this means God the Father and god the Son. However, we read in Isaiah 44:24 (NASB) Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone.” Two gods cannot work together because God says He created the universe by Himself. Only the doctrine of the Trinity can solve this problem. On my web site my suggestion is for you to read my series called, “Loving the Trinity.” You can find it at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/4-loving-the-trinity/

    Steve

  • Brian October 22, 2015, 1:06 pm

    With respect, you haven’t really answered the question, “How can Jesus be God and the Son of God?”

    You’ve established that the New Testament TEACHES that Jesus is both God and the Son of God, but you haven’t explained how that can be so…

  • Steve Bruecker October 23, 2015, 9:25 am

    Brian,
    My purpose was to establish the New Testament teaches Jesus is both God and the Son of God. Jesus calling himself the Son of God is a claim to be God. If you agree I established that, then what are you asking for?

    Steve

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