The Basics: The Deity of Jesus Christ
The coming Messiah is repeatedly identified as the almighty God and eternal father, the wisdom of God, righteous, highly exalted, yet to be born of a lowly virgin. These prophetic verses can only be speaking of one person, Israel’s coming Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who is the God of Abraham (cf. John 8:58).
Like Jews and Muslims, Christians are monotheists. But unlike Jews and Muslims, Christians are also Trinitarians. We believe that the one God is triune, and is revealed as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When it comes to the Son (Jesus Christ), the Bible everywhere affirms that Jesus is true and eternal God, uncreated, without beginning or end.
Given Jesus’s central place in Christian theology and his importance in the history of Western Civilization, non-Christian religions often attempt to co-opt Jesus and make him one of their own. But this is not easy to do since the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ differentiates Christianity from all other religions. If Jesus is true and eternal God as taught in Scripture, then the Christian doctrine of God is unique among world religions. The irony is that while virtually all religions honor Jesus as a prophet or teacher, nevertheless they all reject (implicitly or explicitly) the key points the New Testament makes about Jesus–that he is the second person of the Trinity, and that he is the eternal Son, and he possesses the same divine attributes as the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God in human flesh, something Jesus personally believed and proclaimed about himself (and a matter to which we will return in a subsequent essay in this series when we discuss Christ’s incarnation).
That the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ is not the invention of the early church as often claimed, can be seen by merely scanning the pages of Holy Scripture, with its substantial teaching regarding the deity of Jesus in both testaments. One of the most powerful lines of evidence for the deity of Jesus are those texts in the Old Testament, such as the well-known messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” The Messiah will be miraculously conceived, and given the title “God with us.”