A Series of Answers to Common Questions
Christians make a big deal over Jesus being called God in several NT passages (cf. John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1) but overlook the fact that there are other persons who are also called God like Moses (cf. Exodus 4:16, 7:1). If being called God proves that Jesus is the Almighty then wouldnt this same logic have to be applied to Moses? Wouldnt this prove that Moses is also the Almighty?
The problem with the question is that it isnt merely that Christ is called God which leads Christians to believe that Jesus is fully God in essence. Rather, it is the way in which the NT writers use the term God for Jesus which indicates that the inspired authors truly believed and were convinced that he is the Lord God Almighty. More on this later.
Moreover, when we examine the specific passages which call Moses God it will become clear that the inspired author (who happens to be Moses!) wasnt claiming that this blessed and holy prophet was somehow divine in essence; nor was he using the term in the same manner that the NT writers use it in reference to Christ. Here are the OT citations, quoted within their immediate contexts, to illustrate the point:
"But Moses said to the LORD, Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue. Then the LORD said to him, Who has made mans mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak. But he said, Oh, my Lord, please send someone else. Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak FOR YOU to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs." Exodus 4:10-17 ESV
"On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the LORD said to Moses, I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you. But Moses said to the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me? And the LORD said to Moses, See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land." Exodus 6:28-30, 7:1-2 ESV
As the readers can plainly see, the above texts are calling Moses God in the sense that he is Yahwehs spokesperson, his agent who is given his divine authority to speak to Pharaoh on his behalf. Thus, when Moses speaks to Pharaoh its as if God is speaking to him. In a similar manner, Aaron is called Moses mouth in the sense of his being Moses agent who speaks on behalf of his brother. This example of Aaron being Moses agent shows that Moses was no more God in essence than Aaron was actually his very own mouth!
Coming to the issue of Christ the question that we will seek to answer is do the NT writers identify him as God in the same sense that Moses is called God? In other words, are the authors of the NT simply asserting that Christ is God merely in a representational sense, because he speaks on behalf of God as his Agent?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, Jesus is Gods supreme Agent who acts in perfect accord with his Fathers will, who speaks only what his Father commands:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." John 6:38
"Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." John 7:16-17
"So Jesus said, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." John 8:28-29
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." John 12:49-50
And no, Jesus is not just Gods Agent but is infinitely more than that. According to the NT, Jesus is fully God in essence and has all of the essential characteristics of Deity.
For the sake of brevity we can only briefly summarize the data here.
1. Christ is the Creator and Sustainer.
The Holy Bible identifies Yahweh as the Creator and Sustainer of all created things:
"For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;" Psalm 95:3-6
"Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture." Psalm 100:3
The NT writers ascribe these roles and functions to the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." John 1:3, 10
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:16-17
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven He [the Father] also says, In the beginning, O Lord [th Son], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." Hebrews 1:1-3, 10-12
2. Christ shares Gods incommunicable or unique attributes.
As we alluded to earlier, there are certain attributes, specific characteristics, which God alone has and which distinguish him from every created thing. Some of these qualities which separate God from creation include: omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresence (present everywhere) and eternality (timeless, having no beginning and no end).
According to the NT, Jesus has all of these unique traits of God.
- Christ is omniscient:
Jesus knows whats in a heart of a man:
"Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?" Matthew 9:4
Jesus knew that the first fish that Peter would catch would have a four-drachma coin in its mouth:
"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." Matthew 17:27
The disciples came to the conclusion that their Lord knows all things:
"Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God. You believe at last! Jesus answered." John 16:30-31
"The third time he said to him, Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, Do you love me? He said, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said, Feed my sheep." John 21:17
- Christ is omnipresent:
Christ is in the midst of a gathering of two or more individuals:
"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20
Jesus further tells his followers that he is personally present (spiritually, not physically) with all believers wherever they are at till the end of the age:
"and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20
He even claims to be present with every individual Christian believer in the same sense and to the same degree as his Father is:
"Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and WE will come to him and make OUR home with him." John 14:23
- Christ is omnipotent:
Christ is so powerful that he will raise the dead, both spiritual and physically, simply by the sound of his voice:
"I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear HIS VOICE and come outthose who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." John 5:25, 28-29
The same power which enables Christ to raise the dead and transform them is the very same power which enables him to bring everything under his perfect and complete control:
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21
As if this werent amazing enough, Chris is personally sustaining the entire created order by his all-powerful word!
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17
"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word " Hebrews 1:3
And because Jesus is Almighty he can grant eternal life and guarantee that no one will ever be able to snatch away his flock:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30
- Christ is eternal:
The Holy Bible says that Jesus existed before creation, that he was existing in eternity in loving fellowship with God the Father:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-3, 14
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
3. Christ is worshiped as God.
The Lord Jesus expressly stated that people must give him the same exact type of honor which they render to God the Father:
"Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." John 5:22-23
The reader needs to pay careful attention to the fact that Christ didnt tell his audience to honor him as they would honor a prophet, teacher, or a parent. Rather, he plainly tells them to honor him just as they honor the Father.
No creature can ever demand such an honor without committing blasphemy since such reverence can only be offered to the one true God:
"Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only." Matthew 4:10
"As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. Stand up, he said, I am only a man myself. Acts 10:25-26
"At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10
"I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Revelation 22:8-9
Seeing that the NT affirms that Christ is fully God in essence, and not just Gods Agent, it is not surprising to find the inspired Scriptures teaching that all creation (which would include Moses) worships him just as they worship his Father:
"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! The four living creatures said, Amen, and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:8-14
The foregoing explains why Jesus could say that seeing him was to see the Father since he wasnt only an Agent, but also fully God in essence. As such, he is unlike other agents since he alone is capable of perfectly revealing God since whatever God is by nature he happens to be, and whatever God does he can also do:
"So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will." John 5:19-21
"And Jesus cried out and said, Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me." John 12:44-45
"Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. Philip said, Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus answered: Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." John 14:6-11
No wonder the NT says that Jesus is greater than Moses and is deserving of greater honor:
"For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Mosesas much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all Gods house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over Gods house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." Hebrews 3:3-6
Unlike Moses who merely spoke on Gods behalf, Jesus is infinitely more than that seeing that he is the unique Divine Son of God who perfectly reflects and reveals the infinite God to man:
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Hebrews 1:1-3
With the foregoing in perspective, it is quite evident that this is simply a case of comparing apples and oranges since what the NT says regarding the Deity of Christ goes way beyond what the texts in Exodus say about Moses being God. According to the NT, Moses (in the words of John the Baptist [cf. Mark 1:7; John 1:27]) was not worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of Jesus sandals since he was a slave who only represented God whereas Christ is the Divine Son who is the perfect image of his eternal Father.
If the reader is interested in reading the overwhelming Biblical case for the absolute Deity of Christ and to see where Jesus claimed Divinity we recommend the articles that can be found all throughout these specific links:
We also encourage consulting our refutations to specific Muslim attacks on the Deity of Christ rebuttals which are posted in our Rebuttals section.
We further recommend the following book which is a full length treatise on the Biblical evidence supporting the full Deity of Christ, "Putting Jesus In His Place: The Case For The Deity Of Christ".
A Series of Answers to Common Questions
Answering Islam Home Page