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Is Jesus God?


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Is Jesus God?

 

The answer to this question depends, entirely, on how you define 'god'.

 

When people try to answer this question, the biggest roadblock in a positive affirmation is the bizarre idea that 'god' refers to a being somewhere. It is hard enough to accept this 'god' in our post-modern world, it is harder to conceive of this 'god' becoming a human--it just sounds weird.

 

When people try to conceive of Jesus as God, they often feel as though they are being told to accept mythology (and indeed, sometimes we have been guilty of presenting it mythologically). One would rather read about Zeus coming down from Mt Olympus, having sex with a human, and then making a demigod as a result: because that is exactly what people feel is being said when we say "Jesus was God" and/or "Jesus was the Son of God". The importance that we place on the "virgin birth", making it a fundamental doctrine, doesn't help either.

 

I say we scratch our pre-conceived notions of what or who god is, and work it the other way.

 

What does it mean, for me, to say "Jesus is God". The word god means ultimate reality, ultimate existence, that which is beyond all understanding and existence and yet IS. God is IS-ness, being itself. To say Jesus is God, is to say that in the person of Jesus, perfect being is found: Jesus is the way to construct an appropriate image of God. Although Jesus was bound by finite constraints, the infinite was in him. I agree with St Paul, God was in Christ. In Jesus we see perfect love, perfect life, perfect light, etc. Take it a step further, for Jesus, God was Abba, Jesus was at one with God. This means that 'Abba' is the best, most accurate human anthropomorphism to understand existence beyond existence. Abba does not just mean parent, existence is not just from/of God; Abba implies intimacy, love and closeness--the God beyond god is intimate, loving and close to us. God is not personal, God is transpersonal. God is immanent, emmanuel, God with us. Transcendence is caused, not by the separation of a being from his creation, but by sin that blocks the heart to love.

 

When we enter into the being of Jesus, his love, his acceptance, his giving, we enter into what it really means to be. And, of course, we enter into the being of Jesus through the Spirit. The trinity need not be a mythological mystery: it is God in perfect relationship to creation. The Spirit teaches us who Jesus is and Jesus gives us the courage to be who we were always meant to be.

 

The word 'god' means so many different things to so many different people. It no longer works to conceive of god entering into human existence. We must look at Jesus, who he was, what he did; his compassion and his acceptance of martyrdom...and then we must be still, we must rest at peace, and know that this is God.

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I believe in God. I believe God created the Earth and the Human race. I also believe, based on certain acts of divine behavior in the old testament that he didn't understand us very well. I'm sure I've said somewhere else in this forum that I believe God is smarter than we are and he knew he was going to have to come here and inhabit our flesh if he was ever going to understand what we were really all about. This wouldn't mean necessarily trhat he would have to have the experiences of all men, some things, like greed for example, are easy to figure out but to have the experience of being a man and knowing all that basic human stuff that drives us without our even thinking about it no doubt was something of a spiritual awakening even to the almighty. So yes I believe Jesus is God. I don't think everyone who doesn't follow him is going to fry in a lake of fire, that's not why he was here. I think God was smart enough to know rule one of being smart: know that you don't know it all. Thank you God for caring enough about all of us to want to find out. :D

SP

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Shinypebble:

 

Certainly the Council of Nicaea thought so. Arias, who didn't, got shunned.Karl Barth seems to say something different in his "Dogmatics", claiming the Trinity is relational, not substantive as the Council had decided. And the debate goes on!

 

The Westar Institute, in seeking the historical Jesus, tends to stress his humanity, and so do I. For what it's worth, Jesus is God in exactly the same way "everyman" is: God "is" and created "us". In Jesus'case, he was grown to perfection, as each of us will be if we choose to be. The Bible writers thought so, writing that Jesus said we would be even greater in deeds than him. But Gods? No! Co-creators? the jury is still out on that one. Dualities? no way, at least not in the sense the Fundamentalists would have us believe.

 

In God I Trust,

 

Jeep

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Jeep, I agree that Jesus was" grown to perfection" I feel this was by divine intention for the purpose stated below:

I think humanity was the mission of Jesus. The more Human and the less "Godlike" he was, the more successful he would be in his mission to understand the limits of an imperfect creation, as well as to exemplify the possibilities within us all. I think he tried to show it to Peter when he called to him to walk out to him across the water. He said it plainly to the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of his garment: "Your faith has made you whole".

I guess maybe what Jesus is trying to get us all to see is it's not what's in him, it's what's in us already. Each of us are individuals, sketched within the divine template. The potential for each of us to grow spiritually knows no limit or bound, but somewhere along the way that little drop of poison was slipped into our cereal and we all got the idea that if we looked at the face of GOD we would die or we were unworthy because we were full of sin and worthless. I hear it said all the time that sin is what separates us from God but I think it is our shame that keeps us away. But I digress, maybe that would be a good subject for a thread all its own.

Thanks for starting this thread, PG13, I'm enjoying the discussion.

SP :D

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There are some things in the NT that can lead one to belive that Jesus was "God Himself." For example, in John 20:28, Jesus did not corrected Thomas for calling Jesus “my Lord and my God.” And Jesus did say things like, "I am in the father and the father is in me," expressing the fact that he realized he was one with God. However, those things have been misunderstood.

 

Long before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah, expressing the "voice" of God's word, wrote: “He is my witness and my servant whom I have chosen, so you may know and believe me, and understand that I am the Holy One. Before me there was no God formed, and neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord God, and beside me there is no Savior.” – Isaiah 43:10-11

 

Jesus knew and understood that, because the OT says as much many times. That is why Jesus made it clear that he was a servant of God, and that’s why he indicated that people should not worship him, but only God. That’s why he said things like, "They worship me in vain," and “Why call me good? There is but one who is good, and that is God.” (Matthew 19:17) And this truth is expressed in other ways, such as in John 14:28 and Acts 2:22.

 

Jesus knew the truth, but he didn't write it down. Others did, and they were interested in building a new religion. They wanted to elevate the status of the Christ, and thereby elevate the status of Christianity. And whether the doctrine of preeminence was actually created by the original authors of the gospels, or whether it was created in the 4th Century when Christianity became the religion of a military empire, it is not true Christian doctrine.

 

God alone is the Holy One, the Lord God, the Lord of Hosts. And Jesus was a host, as many other human beings have been. But he was special. He was a Christ, a spiritually anointed son of man. And that is what all Christians must realize if we are to have peace and harmony in the world, and mutual respect among religions.

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Joshuanunn:

 

I am right with you on this posting. In reviewing the entire thread, I am thrilled by the understanding demonstrated by all.

 

I would like to clarify one point: It seems to me that "Special" as a description of Jesus is inaccurate. He may be special because of his obvious perfection, but I don't feel he is special as a man, as a "Reality of God". As affirmations of the terrain of all "being", we are all, male and female, "Sons" of God or of man, creations of God, however defined. God is not an eternal "Other", forever separate from the human species. Quite the opposite is true in my view.

 

Jeep

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There are some things in the NT that can lead one to belive that Jesus was "God Himself." For example, in John 20:28, Jesus did not corrected Thomas for calling Jesus “my Lord and my God.” And Jesus did say things like, "I am in the father and the father is in me," expressing the fact that he realized he was one with God. However, those things have been misunderstood.

 

Long before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah, expressing the "voice" of God's word, wrote: “He is my witness and my servant whom I have chosen, so you may know and believe me, and understand that I am the Holy One. Before me there was no God formed, and neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord God, and beside me there is no Savior.” – Isaiah 43:10-11

 

Jesus knew and understood that, because the OT says as much many times. That is why Jesus made it clear that he was a servant of God, and that’s why he indicated that people should not worship him, but only God. That’s why he said things like, "They worship me in vain," and “Why call me good? There is but one who is good, and that is God.” (Matthew 19:17) And this truth is expressed in other ways, such as in John 14:28 and Acts 2:22.

 

Jesus knew the truth, but he didn't write it down. Others did, and they were interested in building a new religion. They wanted to elevate the status of the Christ, and thereby elevate the status of Christianity. And whether the doctrine of preeminence was actually created by the original authors of the gospels, or whether it was created in the 4th Century when Christianity became the religion of a military empire, it is not true Christian doctrine.

 

God alone is the Holy One, the Lord God, the Lord of Hosts. And Jesus was a host, as many other human beings have been. But he was special. He was a Christ, a spiritually anointed son of man. And that is what all Christians must realize if we are to have peace and harmony in the world, and mutual respect among religions.

I totally agree. Thanks to all for the thoughtful posts.

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I've been reading writings on the 1st Council of Nicea, as well as Elaine Pagels' Beyond Belief. It is so interesting how current orthodox beliefs on this subject were formed over 1,600 years ago. The notion that "the Father begat the son and thus the son had to have a created beginning" (rough paraphrase of comments from Arias at the council) was snuffed out as a result of the 1st council. Also, comments from Arias and any existing secret writings (writings that were deemed uninspired by the majority) were declared evil and supposedly destroyed at the command of Constantine.

 

The gospel of John is unique (though some would say that Paul alludes to it in Php. 2) in that it portrays Jesus as God. Is this a fact, or simply a creative/poetic way of portraying Jesus? I think that the answer hinges upon each individual's view of the inspiration of scripture. What writings existed at one time that may have depicted a different Jesus? Some would say that everything that was inspired by God was preserved at this 1st council. Were the decisions of these men those of God? As you can tell, I have all sorts of questions as a result of looking into this.

 

I am therefore in a state of indecision on this question. I am attempting to unlearn everything that I have been taught so that I can look at this objectively.

 

RB

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Ressurectionbeliever:

 

I am finding answers these days from the man himself. I am facinated with the material to be found in "The Course in Miracles" published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. Check it out!

 

Jeep

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Jeep,

 

Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll check it out.

 

'Jesus is God' is a proclamation of faith, not a statement of belief.

 

Zenchiku,

 

How are you defining the words "faith" and "belief?" What is the difference between these words?

 

I agree with Zenchiku that Jesus was an icon of God (of sorts). I agree that the gospels (not just John's) portray Jesus as "God with us." The arrival of the Jewish messiah was representative of God returning to Zion, God coming to deliver his people, God intervening to save mankind, God bringing judgement, etc. In this way, Jesus did arrive as the image of God.

 

Now (of course much of this is semantics), to say that Jesus = God and to say that I can use the words interchangably whenever I wish is a different matter.

 

It is somewhat difficult for our linear mind to grasp the way of the ancient mind. To say "Jesus is God" or "Jesus = God" are two different things, in my opinion. Jesus was God in the sense that I mention above. Jesus does not equal God, as Jesus himself points out.

 

RB

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