Church Education Trust

Christian Belief



The Deity of Christ.

In a theological study of this nature there seems to be no other way to produce substantiation of the fact of the deity of Christ except by accumulating and systematizing certain texts and pages of Scripture which point to His deity.

Quite apart from proof texts, however, the whole atmosphere of the New Testament and of early Christianity makes any other belief almost impossible. Also the teaching, triumph and finality of the New Testament revelation is pointless and invalid unless Christ is God.

In considering the subject in the more formal way we must not only deal with the fact that the New Testament claims that Christ was God when He was on earth, but also that He was existent as the glorious Second Person of the Trinity from eternity. He was always God and His incarnation was only His manifestation on earth for the redemption of mankind.

To understand the proofs and implications of Christ's deity we must therefore consider His pre-existence and the fact that He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament and then we must give attention to the fact that Divine Names and Titles are given to Him, that Divine characteristics are attributed to Him and that He makes unique claims for Himself.

(a) The Pre-Existence of Christ.

The Church has always held the fact of the pre-existence of Christ, and not only so, but also that in His pre-existence He was truly God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Messiah of the Old Testament, and the Christos of the New Testament.

Christ said of Himself, "Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58), and also that He came down from heaven (John 3:13 & 17:5). Mere pre-existence however does not necessarily mean deity. The Arians believed in Christ`s pre-existence but not in His deity.

Also it may be asked whether His pre-existence was as sole God or whether He existed as "one of the essential and infinite Persons in the Triune Godhead." The clear statements of the Scriptures and also the early creeds of the Christian Faith maintain that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Second Person in the Trinity.

Dormer points out that the Church maintains that "in the Trinity there are three Persons subsisting in one divine essence or nature; and that it was not that which was common to the three Persons who assumed our human nature, but that which marks the distinctions in the Trinity.

It was not the Godhead which became incarnate but one of the Persons of the Godhead. It was not the Father or the Spirit who became incarnate, but the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.

The Pre-existent one, therefore, is not a mere abstraction or idealization; He is not a pre- existent creature, whether human or divine; He is the "Only Begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made,''(Syst, Christ. Doct.. Vol.1 p.415).

The Prologue to St.John`s Gospel is quite clear in its statement that "In the beginning was the Word. and the Word was with God and the Word was God". The Eternal Son is the Eternal Word and the Eternal Word is God. See also Phil. 2:5; Heb-5:5,6.

(b) Christ the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

"Jehovah", was peculiarly the name of God to His people in the Old Testament in connection with redemption. The connection with Christ as Redeemer in the New Testament can be seen in the following ways:-

i. The quotation of Isa.40:3 in Matt.3:3..
ii. Stephen's declaration in Acts 7:37 ff. to the effect that Deut.18:15 was fulfilled in Christ.
iii. The claim of Christ in John 8:58 & Luke 7:27.
iv. The fact that Christ took to Himself the reference in 'Malachi ch.3 to the Angel of the Covenant coming suddenly to His temple. He did this when He entered the temple and claimed to be its Lord„
v. A comparison between 1 Cor.10:9 and Dout.6:l6 where the Jehovah of the Old Testament is clearly the Lord of the New Testament.

(c) The Divine names and titles of our Lord.

Divine Names and Titles are consistently given to Christ. He is called "Lord" (Matt.3:3 and Acts 10:36). He is likewise referred to as "God". ( John 1:1; 20:28; Rom.9:5; Tit.2:13;1 John 5:20).

(d) Divine Characteristics attributed to Our Lord.

These can be divided into three,Divine Attributes, Works and Worship.

i. Divine Attributes.

Some of the Divine Attributes mentioned concerning Christ are as follows:


Col,1:17; Hebrews l:8; Revelation 21:6. The words of Our Lord,"Before Abraharm was' I am", are applicable here again. The reaction of the hearers makes it clear that they understood Christ to be claiming eternity and the very name "Jehovah".


Matthew.18:20; 28:20; Eph.l:23. The immanent side of Christ's omnipresence is brought out in Collosians.1:17.

Omniscience and Wisdom

Mark 2:8; Col.2:3. Christ's healing miracles show clearly that even in His Incarnation body His knowledge went beyond the limits of normal bodily presence and power. Both in the case of the centurion`s servant and the Syro-Phoenician woman`s daughter, our Lord healed without going to them, He knew too that Lazarus was dead before He went to Bethany.

In addition to this there are His frequent prophecies of His death and resurrection, Much has been made of the words in Mark 13:32 where Christ denies knowledge of the end of all things, and a whole theory has been built upon it. This is one isolated instance, however, and whether we fully understand it or not, it cannot be alloyed to contradict all the other evidence.


Matt.28:18; Eph.1:22. Again the miracles and the Transfiguration reveal the divine power which lay within His being to be used only in accordance with the will of His Father.


Heb.1:11-12; 13:8.


Luke 1:35p Heb.7:26.

ii. Divine Works.

The Divine Works attributed to Christ are as follows: Creation John 1:3,10; Collosians.1:16. Hebrews l:2, tells us that Christ was the medium, of the Godhead by whom the worlds were made.

Preservation and Conservation. 

Collosians 1:47 (the word "consist" means "cohere" or "hold together"); Hebrews 1:3.

Forgiveness of sins.

Mark 2:5, 10-11. Only God can forgive sin and Christ`s critics were right in claiming this, but they were wrong in thinking Christ to be only a man. (Acts 5:31).


John 5:22; Acts 17:31. If God alone can forgive sin, then final judgment necessarily belongs to Him alone. Christ therefore claims deity in claiming that God has committed judgment into His hands.

His Gift of the Holy Spirit to Believers.

The fulfilling of Luke 24:49 on the Day of Pentecost was the final, undoubtable proof of the essential deity of our Lord.

iii. Divine Worship.

Christ accepted worship without any query or embarrassment and His followers easily and unhesitatingly gave it to Him. See Matthew 14:33; Heb.1:6 and Mark 5:6. Also the New Testament claims the essential oneness and equality of Christ with the Father. See John 5:18; Matt,28:19. Philippians 2:6.

(e) The unique Claims of Christ for Himself.

Though it will mean a repetition of some of the references, it is worth noting afresh the actual claims which Christ made for Himself. All cannot be mentioned but the following will suffice. He testified to His own deity and to His oneness with the Father.(John 8 14-18,58).

He claimed divine prerogatives, such as to forgive sin, as mentioned above, and to be Lord of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:10?28). He claimed to know the Father in a direct manner in which no other human being knew Him. (Matt.11:27; Luke 10:22).

(f) The Importance and signifcance of the Doctrine of the Deity of Christ.

The doctrine of the deity of Christ is exceedingly important and must be recognized as such. Two quotations will help clarify this still further.`Christ made and left upon His contemporaries the impression that He claimed to be God. The New Testament has left upon the great mass of those who have read it the impression that Jesus Christ claimed to be God.

If He is not God, He is a deceiver, or self-deceived, and in either case 'Christus si non Deus, non bonus'" (Strong, Syst.Theol. p.313). The last words mean 'Christ, if He is not God, is not good'.)

"The whole plan of human redemption through the merits of Jesus Christ rests upon the doctrine of Christ's supreme divinity, or that He was truly and properly God manifest in the flesh. Remove this corner stone from our holy Christianity and immortality and eternal life disappear.

Allow Jesus Christ to be God and we have a solid rock upon which to build our hope of heaven. Deny this and hope vanishes. The divinity of Christ, the divine Sonship: the deity of the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity are all more or less wrapped in mystery.

Like the existence of God, the fact is revealed to us, but who can comprehend this eternity and spirituality? Concerning the mode of the divine existence we know nothing. That there are three distinct, but not separate persons in the one only true God the Scriptures abundantly teach.

If it were a condition upon which our eternal salvation depended that we must comprehend these great truths, we could never be saved. Happy for us that in coming to God we are not required to know what He is, but to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Jesus Christ, the divine Son, the second Person in the Holy Trinity: is God manifest in the flesh and by this condescension is become the only medium through which eternal life can be secured." (Bishop Weaver).

< back to previous page >

©2008 Church Education Trust