Jesus is God
From the earliest times, Christian texts and traditions concerning the nature of Jesus have been consistent and unambiguous. In numerous accounts, Jesus claimed equivalence with the God of Abraham using such titles as “Christ” and “Messiah” and the “Son of Man” . Indeed, this understanding of Jesus’ divine essence is the fundamental rationale for all of Christian moral philosophy.
While Christianity has revolutionized the world, it is not revolutionary in the sense of being entirely novel. It is rather a continuation, or indeed a fulfillment, of an even more ancient tradition which embodies the concept of a “God the Father” who was the Creator of the Universe as well as each human soul and as described in the Old Testament. In particular, the book of Genesis describes mankind’s fall from grace because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, a covenant with the Patriarch Abraham (who nominally came from the Sumerian city of Ur in about 2000 B.C.) to found the nation of Israel as a cradle for a Jewish ideology, and the promise of the eventual redemption of mankind through the agency of a Messiah.
As Christ and Messiah, Jesus thus needed to die on the cross expressly for the salvation of mankind and finally to rise from the dead after three days as supernatural evidence of his role. In consequence, Jesus is understood by mainstream Christians as being necessarily divine or consubstantial (of the same substance) with God the Father. The idea is that only a divine aspect of God (e.g. God’s offspring or son made man), not a created being, would be able to atone for offenses against an all-powerful and supernatural Creator of everything.
After the death of Jesus on the cross in about 33 A.D., and some forty days later at the “Pentecost”, the Apostles began to evangelize the world. The New Testament describes the lives of Jesus and the Apostles and was compiled over the next 60 or so years from as early as 43 A.D. (James) to as late as 85-96 A.D. (Revelations). It claims to be the direct testimony of Apostles who had personally travelled with Jesus and who afterwards scattered to the four corners of the world to “convert all nations” .
The consistent teachings of so many widely dispersed disciples, tends to dispel criticism that there were any discrepancies in their representations of Jesus’ message.. Also, it is hard to imagine that so many different and wide-spread eyewitnesses would uniformly attest to the divinity of Jesus and be so willing to suffer torture and death for the truth of a concept of which they had any personal doubts.
In spite of overwhelming evidence, Islam nevertheless claims that Jesus never said he was Christ or the Messiah; and further that he never died on the cross either . Unfortunately, an illiterate Muhammad managed only a superficial acquaintance with Biblical theology from his early days on trading caravans about the Levant. But apparently Muhammad was impressed enough with the explosive growth of Christianity over most of the known world and the obvious devotion of Christian communities, that he desperately wanted a similar famous role for himself.
Initially Muhammad copied Jewish dietary restrictions, prescribed a similar rite of circumcision, and declared daily prayers should be oriented towards Jerusalem. These were later modified somewhat and the prayer direction changed to point to Mecca. At one point, Muhammad actually claimed to be the Messiah described in the Bible but was laughed out of the local Jewish tribe in Medina when his ignorance of basic scripture was exposed.
From another point of view, one might suggest that Muhammad acted not out of divine inspiration but rather at the instigation of Satan, who, as explained in the Bible, bitterly resented the redemptive gift of Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind. As evidence, Muhammad himself admits to having been tricked at least once by Satan, i.e. in the “Satanic Verses”. In these, Muhammad affirmed the existence of a pantheon of Arabic pagan deities ruled by the moon god Allah recanting his earlier monotheism . These verses remain enshrined in the Qur’an and are supposedly literal revelations dictated directly to Muhammad. Unfortunately the Old Testament books of the Pentateuch, which Islam also accepts, state that anyone claiming to be a prophet and making such a mistake is a liar and a fraud .
LEGACY OF CHRIST VERSUS MUHAMMAD
In general, Christianity is motivated by a respect for each individual without precondition, especially women, as well as for the unconditional forgiveness of injury. On the other hand, Islam is motivated by adolescent sexual excess to include the isolation of tribal women forced to wear tents and the mass rape of captive unbelievers treated as sex slaves.
Nor is the attempt by Muslims to find a moral distinction between harsh 7th century pagan tribal disciplines and the existence of pornography in a modern democratic society a criticism of Christianity, as Christians strongly condemn all such sinful acts.
Christianity is governed by a reasonable God or “logos” from the Gospel of John with moral absolutes and in a rational universe evolving under natural law by “Secondary Causation.” Under Islam, fellow believers are to be treated with respect. But rather than this being an Islamic moral principle, it is an example of “moral relativism” in that unbelievers are to be butchered if they at all resist invading armies. And every Muslim is to submit to the command of a tribal leader with absolute authority guided only by the literal word of the Qur’an and his personal interpretation rather than by any logical principles. In addition, the existence of natural law is an Islamic heresy as it infringes on the prerogatives of the moon god Allah.
CHRIST’S OWN WORDS
According to written eyewitness accounts in the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly claimed he was the Messiah, or Christ, who he equated with God the Father, as follows [from the King James Version]:
And he [Jesus] said unto them “But who say you that I am?” And Peter answered and said unto him, “You are the Christ.” And he [Jesus] charged them that they should tell no man of him.
But he [Jesus] held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am and you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
The woman said unto him [Jesus]. I know that the Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus said unto her, “I that speak unto thee am he.”
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him [Jesus], because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things so ever he does, these also does the Son likewise.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he [Jesus[ that talks with thee.
And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
I [Jesus] and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of these works do you stone me?” The Jews answered him, saying “For a good work we stone you not, but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make thyself God.”
Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have thou not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?
In other verses, Jesus claimed supernatural power and divine authority [from the King James Version]:
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
And he [Jesus] said unto them, “You are from beneath; I am from above; you are of this world; I am not of this world.”
Then said the Jews unto him [Jesus]. You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily I say unto you. Before Abraham was, I am."
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I [Jesus[ have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen
The Apostles were so convinced of the divinity of Jesus, that after the resurrection they devoted the remainder of their lives to preaching this same identical message. Neither did their faith waver, as according to both written accounts and to tradition, most if not all offered up their lives as martyrs for the cause .
Several New Testament quotes supporting the initial and widespread belief in Jesus as Christ and Messiah with divine authority include:
John 1:1, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…
And the Word [Jesus] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Nathanael answered and said unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel
I Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh [Jesus], justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:
But unto the Son [Jesus] he said, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
John 20: 27-31
Then saith he [Jesus] to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him [Jesus], saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
And they worshipped him [Jesus], and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
Nor is there any doubt as to their early success in spreading the faith. Christian communities were established throughout the Roman world during apostolic lifetimes; and in 325 A.D., after a victory inspired by a vision of Christ’s cross, the Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the entire Roman world.
EARLIEST CHRISTIAN CATECHISM
One of the earliest written records on the fundamental beliefs of Christianity, used for the instruction of convert, was the “Didache” dating from somewhere between 50-70 A.D. or some 17 to 37 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The list of mandated beliefs is exactly the same as those found in the New Testament with which it is contemporaneous .
There can’t be any doubt as to the accuracy of the Christian belief that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, or Christ, and was uniformly believed to be so by followers from the very earliest times. And please note, this well-document historical fact is manifest and undeniable regardless of one’s particular religious persuasion .
1. The word “Christ” is not strictly speaking a proper name but rather an honorary title derived from the Greek word “Christos” [meaning “anointed”] and equivalent to the Hebrew word “masiach” [literally meaning Messiah]. In numerous instances Jesus claims divinity as the “Son of Man” which is associated with a Messiah from God the Father in the Old Testament book of Daniel 7:13-14.
This is the basis for the concept of the “Trinity” or one indivisible God, but with three different aspects, or qualities, or “persons.”
3. In the Qur’an in Surah 18:4-5 and 23:89-90, Muhammad said that claiming Jesus was the Son of God was blasphemy to be severely punished; and in Surah 4:157, Muhammad denied that Jesus was even crucified.
4. Qur’an Surah 53:19-22 and official biography in “History of al-Tabari”, Vol. 6, page 111, Suny Press, N.Y.
5. From the Bible, Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:20.
8. Much after the life of Jesus Christ, the heresy of Arianism [from the Alexandrian priest Arias from 250-336 A.D.] unsuccessfully contested the meaning of the word “Christ” as not implying divinity. Even later the heresy of Nestorius [Patriarch of Constantinople from 386-450 A.D.] unsuccessfully advanced the idea of Christ having two natures, one human and one divine.