A critic commented on one of our webcasts on logic.  He apparently believes that Jesus is not God.  That’s a problem because declaring Jesus as Lord (as Yahweh) is a requirement for salvation (Romans 10:9-13; Joel 2:32).  Let’s examine Jake’s (not necessarily his real name) comments in purple text with my response in black text.

Jake: Speaking of logic….God is eternal, immortal, has lived forever and will continue to live forever.

Lisle: So far so good.

Jake: How do you explain your assertion that Jesus, the only begotten {dictionary definition: (of offspring) generated by procreation; “naturally begotten child “.} son of God, IS GOD?

Lisle: A better question would be, “If Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, how could He not be God?”  All living things have the same nature as their birth parents.  Dogs beget dogs, birds beget birds, and humans beget humans.  Every man alive today is the son of a man. Begotten sons always have the same nature as their father – not a lesser nature.  The Bible itself teaches this. In John 5:18 when Jesus called God His Father, He was “making Himself equal with God.” If Jesus is truly the only begotten Son of God, then He must be God in nature since His Father is.

Furthermore, while the dictionary can certainly be helpful when reading an English translation of the Bible, we need to keep in mind that (1) context determines meaning, and (2) the meaning of the words in the original language is paramount.  The phrase “only begotten” is translated from a single Greek word: monogenes.  This word has the meaning of “unique” or “one-and-only.”  Jesus is the unique Son of God, and therefore must be God by nature.

More importantly, the Bible specifically teaches that Jesus is God in many places.  In Hebrews 1:8, God the Father calls Jesus “God.”  In Hebrews 1:10, God the Father quotes Psalm 102:25 and applies it to the Son.  But from Psalm 102:21-22 we see this is a Psalm praising Yahweh – the Lord.  God the Father is therefore declaring that the Son is Yahweh.  For other verses that show that Jesus is God, see our article on The Trinity Part 2: The Three Persons.

Jake: Since God is immortal, He cannot die, any more than He can Sin.

Lisle: In the essence of His divine nature, God is an immaterial Spirit (John 4:24).  Since a spirit is non-physical, a spirit cannot physically die.  However, there is nothing to prevent God from adding a physical nature to His divine nature.  God the Son created a body for Himself and became man (while also remaining God) for the purpose of dying to pay for our sins.  That’s the entire point of the incarnation.  God took on human nature so that He could die!  He then rose again, establishing that He is God (John 10:17-18).

As God, Jesus never sinned.  And since all humans who are not God have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this proves that Jesus is indeed God. 

Jake: Also remember that Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, but God cannot be tempted.

Lisle: This is an equivocation fallacy involving the word “tempted.”  This word has two distinct meanings in Scripture as determined by context.  But Jake has conflated those two different meanings.  First, to be tempted can mean “to be tested” or “to be put to the test.”  God does tempt (or “test”) people in this way (Genesis 22:1).  Furthermore, people sometimes put God to the test in this way (although this is sin).  See for example Psalm 78:41, 56; 106:14.  So, according to the Bible, God both tempts and is tempted in the sense of “testing.”  This is the sense in which Jesus was tested in the wilderness (Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2).

However, to be tempted can also mean to be “enticed.”  God never tempts people in this way (enticing them to sin), nor is God ever tempted in the sense of enticed (James 1:13-15).  Jesus, being God, never attempted to entice anyone to sin, nor was He ever enticed to sin.  He was tempted in the sense of being tested, but Jesus was never tempted in the sense of being enticed by sin. 

Jake: Why don’t Trinitarians believe these facts presented by the Bible, and instead believe things they have been told by priests and others who claim to know what the Bible really means when it says something other than what it plainly says?

Lisle: This is the fallacy of the complex question – asking a question in a biased way that assumes something questionable.  The Trinity is what the Bible plainly teaches.  See the three-article series beginning here: https://biblicalscienceinstitute.com/theology/the-trinity-part-1-monotheism/  The Bible plainly says that Jesus, the Word, is God (John 1:1).  Moreover, the Bible applies Old Testament passages that are about Yahweh (the LORD) and applies them to Jesus (e.g. Isaiah 45:23 & Philippians 2:10-11; Psalm 102:25 & Hebrews 1:8-10).  Acts 20:28 reveals that the blood of Jesus is the blood of God.  Moreover, the Bible refers to Jesus as our great “God and Savior” in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1.

Jake: I think it is because humans are very protective of our egos and we don’t want to be shown that we have been wrong about something, especially something this important.

Lisle: This is the circumstantial ad hominem fallacy. When people cannot establish their point on rational grounds, they sometimes attempt to question the motivations of their opponent.  But this is a distraction and is logically irrelevant to the claim.  Christians believe that Jesus is God (Yahweh) because the Bible teaches this and it is in fact a requirement for salvation.  The Lord Yahweh Himself declares that there is no Savior besides Him (Isaiah 43:11; Hosea 13:4).  Thus, if Jesus is not Yahweh, then He is not your Savior.  We must declare that Jesus is LORD (Yahweh) in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-13; Joel 2:32). 

Jake: It is extremely important to Satan that we believe his lies. We each have to make up our own minds, but we don’t want to keep believing something we have been deceived into believing.

Lisle: This begs the question.  With respect, Jake has been deceived into believing that Jesus is not God.  And that is a shame because Jesus can only save us if He is God (Isaiah 43:11, 45:21, 49:26; Hosea 13:4). 

Jake: If you want to understand better “whether these things are true” as the Bereans did, i suggest the following for your investigation: {Link}

Lisle: Well, the Bereans searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so, rather than a website.  It is the Scriptures that teach that Jesus is God.  No website can change that truth. 

This issue is even more important than the details of creation because it is a salvation issue. No one comes to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). Declaring Jesus as Lord (as “Yahweh” according to Romans 10:13 citing Joel 2:32) is required in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-13).