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Jesus Shares the Attributes of God
In this series of 6 blog posts, I show that, using only historical data that critical/skeptical scholars grant, it is possible to build a cumulative case demonstrating that Jesus not only was considered God by his followers and the early church, but that he claimed to be divine and acted consistently with such claim.
In the previous post, we argued that Jesus is God because he Received the Honors due to God.
Now we follow along the same line, arguing that Jesus is God because he Shares the Attributes of God:
PART 3. Jesus Shares the Attributes of God
God is sui generis as attested in numerous passages in the Old Testament; there is no one like Yahweh.1 Yet, in 2 Cor. 4:4 Paul states that the “Christ” is the “image” of God. The use of the term (eikôn) indicates that Paul is equating the Son with the Father. “Whereas God created and made human beings in his image (Gen. 1:26-27), Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, is the image of God.”2
We have also analyzed Philippians 2:5-11 at some extent. What we haven’t mentioned is that this passage implies that Jesus pre-existed in heaven as deity. Similarly, in Luke 12:51/Matt. 10:34—a “Q” passage—Jesus affirms his preexistence,
“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!”3
If Jesus has come to earth, then if follows that he existed beforehand elsewhere. Setting this in context with Jesus’ salvific mission, role as judge4 of humanity, and worthy of worship, we have to conclude he is claiming to have existed with the Father in heaven before his earthly life as Gal 4:4-6 affirms:
“God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem…”5
Not only was Jesus “sent” but he has always existed.6 In another “Q” passage,7 Jesus says that he “often wanted to gather together” the people of Jerusalem “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” but they “were not willing.” This is a reference to the past epochs when the Jews killed the prophets sent forth by God. Jesus is basically saying “I sent prophets to warn you and protect you, but you rejected me.” Accordingly, the metaphor of a hen protecting her chicks comes from the Old Testament.8 This implies that Jesus is the same God who sent the prophets, but Paul affirms in 1 Cor. 8:6 that
“there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
This is an affirmation that the Father is the Creator of all things, and that Jesus Christ exists at that same level of Creator of all things, including humanity. Creation is always a divine work. Therefore here Jesus is considered divine.
In another “Q” source passage,9 Jesus shows omnipresence through the remote healing of a man’s servant. Jesus did not even have to see the ill person. It is also evident that the Apostles recognized Jesus’ ability to discern people’s hearts as recorded in the first prayer addressed to him in Acts, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart’ (Acts 1:24).10 Another “Q” passage affirms that Jesus knew counterfactuals about people from Sidon, Sodom, and Tyre.11 He would have to be omniscient to know what people would have done hundreds of years before his birth.12
So far we have reviewed the historical sources from which we get the passages we analyze. We saw that Jesus is God because he received the honors due to God alone and because he shares the attributes of God.
In the next post, we argue that Jesus is God because he shares the names of God.
To be continued…
- See Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chron. 17:20; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Mic. 7:18. Bowman, 703. Kindle. ↩
- Ibid., 754. ↩
- Ibid., 833. Emphasis in the original. ↩
- See “L” passage Luke 19:10. ↩
- See also Rom 8:3: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son…” ↩
- Bowman, 926. Kindle. ↩
- Matt. 23:37; 13:34. ↩
- See Deut. 32:11; Ruth 2:12; Ps. 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4. ↩
- See Matt. 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. ↩
- Bowman, 1236. Kindle. ↩
- Matt 11:21-23; Luke 10:13-15. ↩
- A Molinist would recognize this as an affirmation of Middle Knowledge. For a deeper analysis of this passage and Molinism in general see Christophe A. Du-Pond, “Predestination and Free Will: Is Molinism Biblical?” Personal Blog https://veritasfidei.org/en/predestination-and-free-will-is-molinism-biblical/, (accessed November 30th, 2015). ↩