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>>Christadelphians often ask how come Bible distinguishes between God and Jesus instead of ONLY distinguishing between Father and Jesus. They imply that distinguishing between God and Jesus is equivalent to distinguishing between human and wife.<<

"Jesus" (earthly name) emphasizes his manhood ['made flesh' Jn.1:14 'came down from heaven' Jn.6:42]. So as man, He called his Father - "My God" [Jn.20:17]. Yet God was His Father differently than ours. God is His Father from all eternity [Jn.17:5]. Christ is the Son by eternal generation. We are sons by adoption - a relationship that began when we were saved. As sons of God, we are not equal with God and never shall be. He is equal with the Father [Mk.2:5-7, 27-28 Jn.5:21 -23,26 8:58].

We are not making up anything by drawing these conclusions. But reflecting on the Biblical evidence for His deity from self-consciousness. He never disputed the charge that he claimed to be God [Mt.26:65-66 Jn.19:7 & 20:28]. By His own direct statements to have power over life and death, the Sabbath, sin etc. In fact, Jesus "claimed" the highest title which only God could have: note these -

1. He claimed to forgive sin [Mt.9:1-8]
2. He claimed to judge the world [Mt.10:32]
3. He claimed to give eternal life [Jn.3:26]
4. He claimed to be sinless [Jn.8:29]
5. He claimed to be the object of faith [Jn.8:24]
6. He claimed to answer prayer [Jn.14:13]
7. He claimed to be worthy of worship [Mt.14:33]
8. He claimed to be the truth [Jn14:6]
9. He claimed to have all authority [Mt.28:18]
10. He claimed to be one in essence with God [Jn.10:30]
11. He claimed to have equal authority to the Old Testament [Mt.5:21-22 27-28].

These claims made Him different from all others in history. Moses did not claim to be God; Paul was horrified when people tried to worship him; Confucius was confused on the nature of God; Zoroaster was a follower of God; Buddha never identifies himself as God; Mohammed did not claim to be Allah but, Jesus Christ did - He claimed to be God in the flesh. This set him apart from every man. As C.S. Lewis says, differences between Christ's claims and those of other religious leaders:

"There is no halfway house, and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, 'Are you the son of Brahman?' he would have said, 'My son, you are still in the vale of illusion.' If you had gone to Socrates and asked, 'Are you Zeus?' he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Mohammed and asked, 'Are you Allah?' he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off. If you had asked Confucius, 'Are you Heaven?' I think he would have possibly replied, 'Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste." [CS Lewis 'God in the Dock' ed. W.Hooper [Grand Rapids 1970 pg.157-158]

Most of the world's religious founders stressed importance of their teaching but Christ focused on himself. He made it clear that man's eternal destiny depends on how we regard him. "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24).

These claims are amazing. Few leaders have made the kind of claims He made. They even dazzled his disciples and still puzzle many today. Henry J. Heydt said:

"No founder of any religion has dared to claim for himself one fraction of the assertions made by the Lord Jesus Christ about himself. No religion has claimed for its founder what Christianity has claimed for the Lord Jesus Christ. No founder of any religion has been as highly acclaimed by those of other faiths as has the Lord Jesus Christ". [A Comparison of World Religions. Christian Literature. Crusade 1976 pg.92-93].

In Mt. 26:63 & Jn.5:25 the phrase "Son of God" does not mean that he is less than deity as some wrongly believe. Theologian Oliver Buswell, in his "A Theology of the Christian Religion" points out:

"In Jewish usage the term 'Son of . . .' did not generally imply a subordination, but rather equality and identity of nature. Thus Bar Kokba, who led the Jewish revolt 132-135 A.D. in the reign of Hadrian, was called by a name which means 'Son of the Star.' It is supposed that he took this name to identify himself as the very star predicted in Numbers 24:17. The name Son of Consolation (Acts 4:36) doubtless means, 'The Consoler.' 'Sons of Thunder' (Mark 3:17) probably means 'Thunderous Men.' 'Son of Man,' especially as applied to Christ in Daniel 7:13 and constantly in the New Testament, essentially means 'The Representative Man.' Thus for Christ to say, 'I am the Son of God' (John 10:36) was understood by His contemporaries as identifying Himself as God, equal with the father, in an unqualified sense." [pg.105 Grand Rapids 1962].

John R.W. Stott writes:
"So close was his connection with God that he equated a man's attitude to himself with the man's attitude to God. Thus, to know Him was to know God (John 8:19; 14:7). To see Him was to see God (12:45; 14:9). To believe in Him was to believe in God (12:44; 14:1). To receive Him was to receive God (Mark 9:37). To hate Him was to hate God (John 15:23). And to honor Him was to honor God (5:23)."[Basic Christianity. Chicago Inter Press 1964 pg.26].

Any sensible person facing these claims has 4 possible conclusions -

1.Jesus claimed to be God but knew he was not:
So was a liar.
2.Jesus thought he was God but he was not:
So was a lunatic.
3.Jesus never claimed to be God but his followers created the idea:
So is a legend.
4.Jesus claimed to be God because he was God:
So He is Lord.

A serious reflection on this leads any rational person to the fourth position. Christ does not fit in the position of a liar or a lunatic. Fisher and Hawley's remarks are interesting:

"If you were to take the sum total of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene, if you were to take the whole of the meat and none of the parsley and if you were to have all of these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge precisely expressed by the most capable poets you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount and it would suffer immeasurably through comparison". [J.A.Buell & Q.Hyder Jesus: God, Ghost or Guru? Grand Rapids 1978 pg.101]

The character and teachings of Christ make it difficult to classify him as lunatic or liar. Even those who deny his divinity admit He was moral teacher. Even the atheist Lord Boothby admits, "I believe the teachings of Jesus are the best that have been offered to mankind." [A. Hayward God Is (Thomas Nelson 1978) pg.175.]

The overwhelming testimony of the world is that Jesus of Nazareth was a perfect man. When it comes to principles of morality the world knows of no superior principles than Christ's. So how could he be a great moral teacher if lying about the nature of his true being? If He is wrong on the crucial area of his life, he cannot be a great moral teacher. Prof A.M. Hunter of Aberdeen University wrote:

"No mortal man makes such a claim, or we know him to be mad. We are driven back on the words of wise old 'Rabbi Duncan': Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded, or He was divine. There is no getting out of this dilemma" [J.Young. The Case Against Christ. Lon. Church Pastoral Aid Society 1978 p.83].

Rousseau asks, "Can the person whose history Gospels relate be himself a man? ...yes, if the life and death of Socrates are those of a philosopher, the life and death of Christ are those of a God". [F.Ballard Miracles of Unbelief Edinburgh Clark 1904 pg.251]. If we accept Jesus as a man we must also accept him as God. Why? John H. Gerstner answers:

"...because the perfect man says He is God. And if He is not God, then neither can He be a perfect man. We despise Father Divine as a man for claiming to be God, which we know he is not. If Jesus Christ is not God, we must despise Him also, for He claims far more clearly than Father Divine that He is God. We must, therefore, either worship Christ as God or despise or pity Him as a man" [Reasons for Faith Grand Rapids 1967 p.81].

As we observe Christ's life, we see no evidence of mental illness or psychological disturbance. The facts will not permit us to conclude that he was schizophrenic or paranoid. As C.S. Lewis writes:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying really foolish things that people often say about Him: 'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God" [Mere Christianity NY 1952 p.40-41]

Hope this is helpful.



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