Several years ago, a certain Jehovah’s Witness would come to my door one or two Saturdays a month to give me magazines and pamphlets and to try and explain what the Bible really teaches, at least according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although I disagreed with him on most things, he was a very kind older gentleman and I enjoyed hearing his perspective. There came a point, however, where I became restless and could no longer sit in silence while he twisted the Word of God out of context.
One Saturday, while hearing him out, I decided this would be the day I stood up for my faith. Instead of smiling, nodding, and graciously accepting his reading material as I had done so many times before, I reached for my Bible instead. What followed was an hour-long discussion on what I considered to be the most controversial and important piece of doctrine that we differed on – the Divinity of Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with other cults such as Mormons, teach that Jesus was God’s Son, but they reject the idea that He Himself was actually God. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that He was an angel, God’s favorite heavenly child, and that He and Michael and archangel are actually the same person.
They have indeed developed some fine-sounding, and at first seemingly Biblically-rooted arguments for their stance. But when you examine the whole of Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, you will see many explicit references to Christ’s Divinity with no room for debate:
- “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” (Philippians 2:5-6).
- “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
- “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. . .For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 1:15, 2:9).
- “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
- “And He (Jesus) is the radiance of His (God’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. . .But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever’ ” (Hebrews 1:3, 8).
- “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).
- “Thomas answered and said to Him (Jesus), ‘My Lord and my God!’ ” (John 20:28)
- “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13).
- “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9).
- “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
- “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
- “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
- “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
- “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. . .He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?. ..Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:7, 9-10).
How then, one might wonder, can Jesus be the Son of God and God? How can He serve the Father, pray to the Father, be seated at the right hand of the Father, and yet be “one” with the Father?
Although Scripture doesn’t elaborate all the minuscule specifics of such a concept, it makes it very clear that it is so. Hebrews 1:3 reminded us that Jesus is “the exact representation of His (God’s) nature“. Christ is, therefore, simply a part of God made into flesh. He is the Son of God because He is begotten of God; He comes from God’s actual Being.
C.S. Lewis described the concept wonderfully well in his book, Mere Christianity, by explaining the difference between “beget” and “create”. To beget is to produce something that is of your kind, while to create is to produce something different than yourself. For instance, a man begets human babies and a beaver begets little beavers, but a man creates a building and a beaver creates a dam. In that light, then, just as what man begets is man, what God begets is God.
He goes on to acknowledge, though, that such a concept still suggests that the Father existed first, before the Son. If Christ is truly God, as Scripture says, then He could not have come into existence after God the Father. The Son exists because of the Father, but there was never a time before the Father produced the Son. It’s difficult to understand how one thing can be the source, or cause, or origin, of another without being there before it.
But Lewis offers a rather good analogy to gain some sort of comprehension of such a fact. Use your imagination to create a mental picture of a book in your mind. That act of imagining was the cause and the mental picture was the result, but one did not come before the other. They both occurred at the same time, even though one was the cause of the other. In the same way, God the Son is, as Lewis puts it, “always, so to speak, streaming forth from the Father, like light from a lamp, or heat from a fire, or thoughts from a mind. He is the self-expression of the Father – what the Father has to say.”
Lewis does an exceptional job of relating such concepts into human terms, as best as they can physically be understood. But as he himself points out, they are simply human attempts to understand the Great Divine; we can never fully understand the things of a God who is outside the time and space of this physical world.
We trust the Bible on many other things that we can never understand; for instance, how could God always have been there, without having a beginning? We can never truly comprehend such an idea while we’re restricted by the bounds of this physical, mortal realm, but we trust it to be so because Scripture makes it clear.
In the same way, although we will never truly and completely understand how Jesus can be the Son of God and God at the same time (although there are some very good explanations and analogies to help our understanding), we trust it as fact because Scripture tells us it is so.