APOSTLE PAUL PROVES DEITY OF CHRIST (1 of 4)
By Dr. Eusebio A. Tanicala
How does the Apostle John prove the deity of Christ in his gospel account in relation to the position of some Bible students who say that Christ is man only?
There are several ways how the Apostle John proves the deity of Christ. We go into the text of the Gospel of John and notice several passages. In the very first lines of John’s account, directly he states that the Word who is Christ is God. But in the verses, we submit below, he employs different ways, like events before the creation in Genesis 1:1. He also employs Christ’s personal presence and actions before He became flesh. This is the first of a series.
Suggestion: When you study the deity of Christ based on the Gospel of John, state your proposition like this: “Resolved that Christ is God before He became flesh.” Because in John 1:14, we read that the Word (referring to Christ) became flesh. Stating the proposition like this will avoid the strategy of the opposing side by clouding the issue. Their position is that Man is not God, and vice versa, God is not man. However, you can insist that God can become man if He wants to. Angels can become man when situations warrant by their being servants of God and coming down to earth to deliver a message to humankind. Satan can become a snake or dragon when he wants to. Satan can become an angel of light if he wants to. Christ became a Rock that supplied water for 40 years during the Exodus from Egypt to Canaan, says Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 10:1- 4. High probability that Yahweh in Genesis 18 who appeared to Abraham and Sarah as a male person is very strong. That could be the period referred to in John 8:56-58. It is best to study privately or one on one and let your friend himself read the passages.
Observe the attributes and actions assigned to Christ if these were acts of mere human being in the flesh after Christ became flesh in 1 A.D..
Read John 1:1-2, 10 - This refers to a moment or a duration before the time of Genesis 1:1. Christ is the Word. He is called Word because normally, communication is by word of mouth and later through the written word. A word or a group of words encapsulates an idea, information, or a message. Christ, even before becoming flesh in the year 1 Anno Domini (A.D.) of the Christian Era, had been communicating ideas and information to mankind. This Word who is Christ has been with (in the company of God the Father) God. Note the preposition “with” which means in the company of, besides, or in the presence of another. Beware of the Tagalog term “sumasa” because we could illustrate it as “inside” or “within.” Stick to the Greek preposition “pros” and its English translation “with” which means kasama. The preposition in the Greek is not “EN” which could be in the locative case (location). Then Apostle John states that the Word (Christ) is God (Theos). The form of the word Theos has the first letter as Theta. This Greek letter Theta is written one way. The word Theos, who is the companion of the Word, who is the Father, is written Theos, and when Theos refers to the Word, the Greek text is Theos as well. So, we should write both Theos in capital letter G in the English translation. Christ, the Word, was in the beginning before creation of the cosmos and He was there during the creation of the cosmos. He was the creator. That was before He became flesh. Christ’s name in the beginning was Word. And Christ’s name in Revelation, now that He is seated on His throne in heaven, is Word. Please read Rev. 19:13.
Christ was the creator of the material world. Is Christ who was born in 1 A.D. the creator spoken of in John 1:1-3? Certainly not his humanity. Was Christ who was born in 1 A.D. with God in the beginning before the world was created? Again, the answer is No. It is like asking, “Was Satan a dragon before entering the Garden of Eden?”
John 1:14 – The Word (Christ) became flesh. This point in time refers to the year 1 A.D. when the spirit person of the Word (Christ) descended from above, from heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit, a body, a fetus, was formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary. And the spirit person of the Christ (Word) lodged into that flesh body. This agrees with Hebrews 10:5, where it says, “a body You have prepared for Me.” The fusion of spirit person and flesh person is one of its kind that is why 1 Tim. 3:16 says it is a “mystery.” We don’t have any illustration or demonstration in the material world of how this is possible. So, let’s receive it by faith.
John 1:15 and John 1:30 – “He was before me,” says John the Baptist. The phrase “before me” refers to time, not referring to location or being in front of John. In point of time, Christ the Word existed before the time John the Baptist was born. What existed before John was born was the spirit person of the Word. We should insist that if Christ is a flesh person, man only, then Christ the Word would mean He existed as human in heaven before He became flesh. And that is not the meaning of this passage we are studying. Did Christ in the flesh predate the birth of John the Baptist? No, because John was born about 6 months before Christ was born as a baby in 1 A.D..
John 1:18 – No one has seen God . . . only the Son has seen God because the Son has been with the Father in a close fellowship or close relationship from eternity. “Bosom” does not suggest physical form or material existence. This expression is an idiom. It means fellowship or a close relationship. The naked eyes of man cannot see what the glorious nature of God is. The appearance of Christ in the transfiguration in Matthew 17 witnessed by Peter, James, and John was a limited glory. The appearance of Christ to Saul, who became Apostle Paul in Acts 9 was more glorious than the transfiguration appearance because Saul was knocked down to the ground and he became physically exhausted.
More God’s glory is illustrated in Exodus 12:12-18. Moses stayed on Mount Sinai 40 days and 40 nights. When he came down, the physical face of Moses had absorbed God’s glory so that Moses’ face glowed with intense light, which made the naked eyes of the people painful in looking directly at the face of Moses. The intensity of that light that glowed from the face of Moses was like that of metal welding fire that is painful to the naked eyes. Moses had to put a cover on his face. See 2 Cor. 3:7. If I would illustrate it through electric bulb wattage, the transfiguration wattage would be 500 watts, the appearance to Saul was one thousand watts. Moses’ face was five thousand watts. The wattage of God’s natural glory in heaven could be the strength of a hydrogen bomb. Which is why the Bible says no one in our material, physical nature’s eye could see God’s glory and live.
Man must graduate into the highest spiritual level to possess a quality that is enabled to see the extremely glorious glow of Deity in heaven. This explains the need to put on the celestial body discussed in 1 Cor. 15 before we ascend to the heavens to surround the glorious throne.
Is the humanity of Christ that was born of Mary in 1 A.D. the one that saw God and was at the bosom of the Father before the Word became flesh? No, not His humanity. It is the Deity of Christ that was in close fellowship with the Father in heaven.