Some Christians have interpreted the story of Jesus as God becoming man to bring salvation to his people. Other Christians have, however, viewed it as man becoming God. This has appealed to Christians and biblical and historical scholars who are still trying to understand how Jesus became God.
The gospel books do not explicitly mention that Jesus was God, and throughout the various narrations of the story of Jesus, he doesn’t refer to himself as God, nor do his disciples. This is except for John 10:30, which hints so. Jesus becoming God is a gradual development, and much of his exaltation came after his resurrection.
Was Jesus always God in the Old Testament? Where did the Trinity come from? Was Jesus an incarnation of God on earth? Did Jesus call himself God? Read on to get the answers to these and other questions.
Was Jesus always God in the Old Testament?
Though the story of Jesus is officially told in the New Testament, certain verses in the Old Testament speculate the existence of Jesus way before creation and further suggest that Jesus is God. Genesis 1:26, “The God said, ‘let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea…” this verse has made Christians wonder whom God is referring to as ‘us.’ Genesis 1:2 speculates that the earth was formless, empty, and filled with darkness, and the spirit of God was hovering over the water. Theologians and scholars have concluded that ‘us’ in this case is God, Jesus, and the spirit of God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 also mentions that the Lord is one. Isaiah 43:10. “…so that you may know and believe and understand that I am he. Before me, no god was formed, and nor will there be one after me.”
These verses imply that there is only one God, and if during creation Jesus was as is suggested in John 1:1, then Jesus, the spirit of God, and God are one. This means Jesus was always God in the Old Testament.
Where did the Trinity come from?
As shocking as it may sound, the word trinity is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. It came about at the first Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. A lot had changed about Christianity then, and there were debates on the monotheism of Christians concerning Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit . It was during the First Council that the Nicene Creed came about, and it held onto the existence of only one God but in three eternal aspects, which is what the Trinity stands for.
The Trinity, however, references the Bible, especially the New Testament. Matthew 27:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” There are similar peculations in Ephesians 4:4-6 and 2 Corinthians 13:13.
Was Jesus an incarnation of God on earth?
Since it is already set that Jesus and God are one, there is the question of the incarnation of God on earth as Jesus. Incarnation means making into flesh, and theologians have used the Word to indicate God’s son taking on human flesh and living among humans. John 1:14, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.”
The Word, in this case, is God as implied in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Therefore Jesus was indeed an incarnation of God on Earth.
Did Jesus call himself God?
Jesus did not explicitly call himself God, but there are instances when he made claims that were understood by His disciple and other people as Him calling himself God in John 10:30. The scripture suggests that he is God and led to the Jewish opponents accusing Him of blasphemy. John 10:33, “‘we are not stoning you for any good work,’ they replied, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”
Also, John 8:58, “’ Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” this statement speculates, regarding the statement God made to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ that Jesus is God. These and other instances in the New Testament suggest that Jesus called Himself God.
How Jesus’ transfiguration made him God
The transfiguration significantly gave glory to the human body of Jesus and showed His disciples His divine glory. This event further proves the deity of Jesus. “…this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” Matthew 17:5. The appearance of Moses and Elijah shows the fulfillment of prophecies and the law. The transfiguration showed to the disciples that Jesus’ human body was a mere incarnation of flesh, and as His body shone as bright as the sun, His true glory was shown, and his identity as God was proven.
How the resurrection of Jesus made him God
Romans 1:4, “and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” This verse suggests that Jesus proved He is God through His resurrection. His resurrection also fulfilled the prophecies that had been told of His death and resurrection.
Death itself did not prove that Jesus was God, even though the events that followed his crucifixion made the centurion realize His innocence. What proved that he was God was his ability to beat death and claim his place in the Heavens, as implied in Ephesians 1:6.
How Jesus’ ascension made him God
Jesus’ ascension, just like His resurrection, marked his glorification and exaltation as God. Ephesians 1:20, “which he worked in Christ when he raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right Hand in Heavenly places.”
He sojourned earth in the human body and faced the same challenges humans face. He walked in the flesh and died, and when he resurrected, ascended into heaven in the literal sense and visibly to his disciples. The Bible further speculates that as the disciples struggled to get a better view, He was hidden from them by a cloud that symbolizes God’s presence. So, Jesus left the flesh during His ascension and took his divine form.
If Jesus is God, does that mean there are many gods in Christianity?
It has already been established that Jesus is God, and the Trinity references God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This does not, however, mean that there are many gods in Christianity. Christians embrace monotheism, and the belief in the Trinity basically embraces the existence of one God in three eternal aspects. God the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit are one.
Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God; the Lord is one! This shows that Christianity has no gods but only one Sovereign God.
Isaiah 43:10. “…so that you may know and believe and understand that I am he. Before me, no god was formed, and nor will there be one after me.” This clearly shows that there has been and will always be one God.
1 Timothy 2:5, “For there I one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” This shows the distinction between the Trinity with only one Sovereign God.
The above verses imply that there is only one God, but Matthew 27:19 acknowledges the Trinity. So, there is only one God in Christianity, and this God is three eternal beings working in unity.
Bible teaches Jesus is God – Old Testament
What is the meaning of the incarnation of Christ?
Why the resurrection matters to you
What Was the Significance of the Transfiguration of Jesus? by Don Stewart (blueletterbible.org)
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.