Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?
Lots of individuals are accepting that Jesus was God’s son but less clear on his divinity. Actually, the two phrases do not teach different things. Even while Jesus is called the “son of God” it does not mean He is not divine. So, how was Jesus divine? Let’s look at two solutions to what some think is a big problem.
First, there are many passages that clearly state that Jesus was divine (i.e. God in the flesh). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Verse fourteen portrays who “the Word” was when it says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word was Jesus Christ and John 1:1-4 obviously shows that “the Word” was “God.”
Second, Paul in the Philippian letter reconfirmed this truth. He wrote, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). Christ existed in the form of God before He decided to lay that off and come to earth. He did not take the mindset that being divine was something that He was to grasp and continue to hold onto.
Again, Paul stated very clearly that while Christ was on earth He was divine. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). The Greek word for “Deity” means “the state of being God” (Bauer 452). It was not that He had some features or characteristics of God. No, He was the very essence of God. We can have characteristics, but we simply cannot have the essence of God.
The uncertainty comes when we think about the phrase “son of” in human terms. In human relationships “son of” means one who is younger than the one who is the father. But, the phrase “son of” carries with it one “who has the nature of.” To illustrate, Barnabas was called “Son of Encouragement.” This doesn’t mean that his father was “encouragement.” But rather, Barnabas had the nature of being an encourager. So it is with Jesus Christ. How was Jesus divine? When He is spoken of as the “son of God” it just conveys that He had the nature of God —the essence of God (Colossians 2:9).
(Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd Edition. Ed. Fredrick Danker, W. Arndt, and F. Gingrich. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Print.)
This article was written by Wayne Burger. Wayne is a local preacher in Conifer, Colorado and an instructor at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with over 30 years of preaching experience. Wayne holds a B.A. in Bible from Abilene Christian University and a M.B.S. from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Wayne’s methods have published four books, and he is a regular writer for the Rocky Mountain Christian Newspaper. If you’d like to learn more about how to be saved and other similar Bible topics, please check out www.alivewithchrist.com.