Last week, in my post Does It Matter if Jesus Is God?, I wrote:
In particular, it’s far from clear whether the gospel authors themselves considered Jesus to be God…as it turns out, this belief is never explicitly stated anywhere in the Bible.
I thought I knew all the verses that were used to justify Jesus’ Godhood. Verses such as: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” All these were, in my opinion, veiled and indirect references. I thought there was nowhere in the Bible that came right out and said it.
But as commenter (and longtime friend) Jimmy Taco pointed out, I was wrong. There are at least two places where it’s spelled out pretty clearly.
First, there’s the famous John 1:1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
I knew this verse well, and knew it had been used as an argument, but I wasn’t convinced “the Word” really referred to Jesus, as mainstream theology claims. What I did not remember was this later verse, John 1:14.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Clear as day. Of course, there are questions about the translation of John 1:1 as well: some say the Greek phrase for “the Word was God” is better translated as “the Word was a god,” or “the Word was divine.” But saying a Bible verse is controversial is like saying an ocean is wet, and I’m far from knowledgeable enough to puzzle that one out on my own. I’m willing to accept the standard translation.
Another quote worth quoting is Colossians 2:9.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…
This is from one of Paul’s letters. I like this one even more, because Paul is (to me) much more reliable than the anonymous author of the so-called Gospel of John. The Gospel of John is believed to have been written around 90 AD, sixty years after the death of Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, probably wrote just twenty years after Jesus died.
So the Bible does make a clear statement that Jesus is God. But of course, that wasn’t my question. My question was: does it matter?
Based on the comments I received, the answer seems to be that it does indeed matter – insofar as Jesus must be God in order to act as Savior.
In other words, we all agree that the central point of Christian theology is the salvation offered by Jesus. The question of Jesus as God, on the other hand, is only important as a corollary: because (it is argued) he must be fully God in order for Grace to make sense.
I don’t necessarily accept this latter argument, but I’m not sure it’s the kind of question that debate can properly resolve. The mechanics of the Divine seem largely inscrutable.
So, that’s my latest attempt at armchair Biblical analysis. Thoughts?