Christians and Muslims both believe in Jesus, love him,
and honor him. They are, however, divided over the question of his divinity.
Fortunately, this difference can be resolved if we refer
the question to both the Bible and the Quran, because, both the Bible and the
Quran teach that Jesus is not God.
It is clear enough to everyone that the Quran denies the
divinity of Jesus, so we do not need to spend much time explaining that.
On the other hand, many people misunderstand the Bible;
they feel that the belief in Jesus as God is so widespread that it must have
come from the Bible. This article shows quite conclusively that the Bible does
not teach that.
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is not God. In the
Bible God is always someone else other than Jesus.
Some will say that something Jesus said or something he
did while on the earth proves that he is God. We will show that the disciples
never came to the conclusion that Jesus is God. And those are people who lived
and walked with Jesus and thus knew first hand what he said and did.
Furthermore, we are told in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible that the
disciples were being guided by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is God, surely they
should know it. But they did not. They kept worshipping the one true God who
was worshipped by Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (see Acts 3:13).
All of the writers of the Bible believed that God was
not Jesus. The idea that Jesus is God did not become part of Christian belief
until after the Bible was written, and took many centuries to become part of
the faith of Christians.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, authors of the first three
Gospels, believed that Jesus was not God (see Mark 10:18 and Matthew 19:17).
They believed that he was the son of God in the sense of a righteous person.
Many others too, are similarly called sons of God (see Matthew 23:1-9).
Paul, believed to be the author of some thirteen or
fourteen letters in the Bible, also believed that Jesus is not God. For Paul,
God first created Jesus, then used Jesus as the agent by which to create the
rest of creation (see Colossians 1:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:6). Similar ideas
are found in the letter to the Hebrews, and also in the Gospel and Letters of
John composed some seventy years after Jesus. In all of these writings,
however, Jesus is still a creature of God and is therefore forever subservient
to God (see 1 Corinthians 15:28).
Now, because Paul, John, and the author of Hebrews
believed that Jesus was God’s first creature, some of what they wrote clearly
show that Jesus was a pre-existent powerful being. This is often misunderstood
to mean that he must have been God. But to say that Jesus was God is to go
against what these very authors wrote. Although these authors had this later
belief that Jesus is greater than all creatures, they also believed that he was
still lesser than God. In fact, John quotes Jesus as saying: “...the Father
is greater than I.” (John 14:28). And Paul declares that the head of every
woman is her husband, the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ
is God (see 1 Corinthians 11:3).
Therefore, to find something in these writings and claim
that these teach that Jesus is God is to misuse and misquote what those authors
are saying. What they wrote must be understood in the context of their belief
that Jesus is a creature of God as they have already clearly said.
So we see then, that some of the later writers had a
higher view of Jesus, but none of the writers of the Bible believed that Jesus
is God. The Bible clearly teaches that there is only one true God, the one
whom Jesus worshipped (see John 17: 3).
In the rest of this article we will explore the Bible in
more depth, and deal with the passages which are most often misquoted as proofs
of Jesus’ divinity. We will show, with God’s help, that these do not mean what
they are so often used to prove.