The Bible Denies the Divinity of Jesus (part 5 of 7): Paul Believed That Jesus is not God
Description: Many people use Paul’s writings as proof that Jesus is God. But this is not fair to Paul, because Paul clearly believed that Jesus is not God.
- By Shabir Ally
- Published on 24 Dec 2007
- Last modified on 24 Dec 2007
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In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: “I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions...” (1 Timothy 5:21).
It is clear from this that the title God applies not to Christ Jesus, but to someone else. In the following chapter, he again differentiates between God and Jesus when he says: “In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession...” (1 Timothy 6:13).
Paul then went on to speak of the second appearance of Jesus: “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time.” (1 Timothy 6:14-15).
Again, the title God is deliberately turned away from Jesus. Incidentally, many people think that when Jesus is called “Lord” in the Bible that this means “God.” But in the Bible this title means master or teacher, and it can be used for addressing humans (see 1 Peter 3:6).
What is more important, however, is to notice what Paul said about God in the following passage, which clearly shows that Jesus is not God: “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever.” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
Paul said that God alone is immortal. Immortal means he does not die. Check any dictionary. Now, anyone who believes that Jesus died cannot believe that Jesus is God. Such a belief would contradict what Paul said here. Furthermore, to say that God died is a blasphemy against God. Who would run the world if God died? Paul believed that God does not die.
Paul also said in that passage that God dwells in unapproachable light — that no one has seen God or can see him. Paul knew that many thousands of people had seen Jesus. Yet Paul said that no one has seen God, because Paul was sure that Jesus is not God. This is why Paul went on teaching that Jesus was not God, but that he was the Christ (see Acts 9:22 and 18:5).
When he was in Athens, Paul spoke of God as “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Acts 17:24). Then he identified Jesus as “the man he (i.e. God) has appointed.” (Acts 17:31).
Clearly, for Paul, Jesus was not God, and he would be shocked to see his writings used for proving the opposite of what he believed. Paul even testified in court saying: “I admit that I worship the God of our fathers...” (Acts 24:14).
He also said that Jesus is the servant of that God, for we read in Acts: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.” (Acts 3:13).
For Paul, the Father alone is God. Paul said that there is “one God and Father of all...” (Ephesians 4:6). Paul said again: “...for us there is but one God, the Father . . . and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ...” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
Paul’s letter to the Philippians (Philippians 2:6-11) is often quoted as a proof that Jesus is God. But the very passage shows that Jesus is not God. This passage has to agree with Isaiah 45:22-24 where God said that every knee should bow to God, and every tongue should confess that righteousness and strength are in God alone. Paul was aware of this passage, for he quoted it in Romans 14:11. Knowing this, Paul declared: “I kneel before the Father.” (Ephesians 3:14).
The letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:6) says that the angels of God should worship the Son. But this passage depends on Deuteronomy 32:43, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. This phrase cannot be found in the Old Testament used by Christians today, and the Septuagint version is no longer considered valid by Christians. However, even the Septuagint version, does not say worship the Son. It says let the Angels of God worship God. The Bible insists that God alone is to be worshipped: “When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: ‘Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.’” (2 Kings 17:35-39).
Jesus, on whom be peace, believed in this, for he also stressed it in Luke 4:8. And Jesus too fell on his face and worshipped God (see Matthew 26:39). Paul knew that Jesus worshipped God (see Hebrews 5:7). Paul taught that Jesus will remain forever subservient to God (see 1 Corinthians 15:28).