Posted by: mystic444 | January 20, 2010

Is It Necessary To Believe That Jesus Is The One True God In Order To Be A Christian?

‘Orthodox’ Christianity, especially of the Evangelical and Fundamentalist variety, fervently maintains that Jesus is “the one true God”, and that this belief is absolutely essential to Christianity. They will maintain that anyone who denies this ‘fundamental doctrine’ has ‘missed the boat’ and is destined for eternal hell – no matter how much such a person professes to believe in Christ and love him, and no matter how much his life shows the fruit of obedience to the commands and teachings of Jesus. Is this true, though? Is it Biblical (since the Bible is the professed main source from which Christianity is derived)?

Actually, the Bible itself is quite specific in answering this question. In John 17:3, while Jesus was praying to his Father, he said this: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you [his Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Jesus was very plain and unequivocal in his statement: the Father is the only true God. This plainly means that Jesus Christ, whom God sent, is not “true God”. To say that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus – the son of God – also is “true God” is a plain contradiction. There simply can’t be 2 “true Gods” when the Father is the only one. If the Father is the only true God, then the son is not “true God”. If the son is “true God”, then the Father is not the only true God.

The apostle John confirmed this in 1 John 5:20, where he wrote: “And we know that the son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His son Jesus Christ. He [He who is true, whose son is Jesus Christ] is the true God and eternal life”. This confirms that the Father is the only true God, and He sent His son, Jesus Christ.

Paul also confirmed this in 1 Corinthians 8:6, when he said: “… yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” Here again, it is the Father who is the one God, and Jesus is the one He has made to be Lord and Christ (as Peter said in Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah [Christ], this Jesus whom you crucified”).

Any Christian who is at all familiar with the New Testament knows that Jesus is over and over called the son of God, and God is the One who sent his son into the world. The only true God is the Father of the one who is his anointed (Christ). They are always distinct. Jesus came to bring us to God, not to himself. (See my previous article, Faith in God?) I know I’m being repetitious when I say this, but it is important to note that the Father is not just one of three “Persons” within the “Godhead”, but the Father is the only true God; and the only true God is the Father of Jesus Christ.

It would be foolish to try to refer to all the many passages in the New Testament that refer to God as distinct from His son, Jesus. Jesus prayed to God, did the works which God gave him to do, was sent by God, and returned to God (John 20:17 – …”But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’”). One of the favorite expressions of the apostles was “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

It is rather instructive to see Jesus’ own defense when the Jews wanted to stone him – because he, being human, made himself God, they said (John 10:31-39). “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, I said, you are gods? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, You are blaspheming because I said, I am the son of God?’” The Hebrew Scriptures (Psalm 82:6) referred to human beings, to whom the word of God came, as ‘gods’ – which is the very same word (Elohim) which is used to refer to the One True God (even though it is a plural word). The Scriptures spoke in this way because men are “children of the Most High, all of you”, made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore have the nature of God. So why were they upset when Jesus called himself God’s son? Jesus had never said he was God (or a god), though he would be perfectly justified in that claim, for the same reason Psalm 82:6 referred to men who were “children of the Most High” as gods. Yet he always made it a point to distinguish himself from “the only true God”, his Father, and insisted that his Father was greater than he (John 14:28). The Father had knowledge that he, the son, didn’t have (Matt. 24:36 – “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the son, but only the Father”; and Acts 1:7 – “He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority’”); and the Father had authority which Jesus did not have because it had not been given to him (Matt. 20:23 – “He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father’”).

Now it would be foolish to assert that Jesus is the son of God, prays to God as distinct from himself, and refers to God as “my God”, and yet is at the very same time the God who is his Father, and that he prays to himself, and is referring to himself as “my God”. So how did it come about that such an absurd notion became ‘orthodox’ Christianity, which to deny will cause one to be ‘eternally damned’? Well, of course, it is well known that there are a handful of verses in the Bible which seem to teach that Jesus is indeed God. It is a fairly frequently quoted adage that a person can ‘prove’ anything by the Bible, through mistranslations and misunderstandings of individual verses taken out of their context. That is what has happened with that handful of verses that are quoted to prove Jesus’ Deity. In this article I’ll only refer to one of them, but will probably return to this subject in a future article or two.

One of the first verses that the ‘orthodox’ refer to is Jesus’ statement in John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one”. There! You see? Jesus himself said that he is ‘one’ with the Father, which surely means that Trinitarian Unity whereby Jesus is the Second Person of Three Persons who are all together One God! Yet, if one is not dogmatically predisposed to see that as the meaning of Jesus’ statement, he will never see that in this text. Both in the immediate context of Jesus’ metaphor of himself as ‘the good shepherd’, and in the wider context of John as a whole, Jesus’ meaning is clearly that he is one in mind, purpose, and will with his Father.  His authority to lay down his life for the sheep, and then take up his life again, comes from the commandment of his Father (verse 18) – and he always obeys his Father’s commands. Verses 27-29 tell us that Jesus calls, gives eternal life to, and protects his sheep (and no one can snatch his sheep out of his protection), because the Father had given him the sheep; and no one is able to snatch them from the Father, because He (the Father) is greater than all (including Jesus himself, John 14:28). He and his father are perfectly united in aim, purpose, and will. Yet they are obviously distinct from each other (what part of “and” in “I and my Father are one” don’t you understand?), and the Father is greater.

The unity which Jesus claims for himself and his Father is also to be enjoyed by all those who believe in him. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-23). We believers share such a complete unity with the Father and the son that we share the glory which the Father gave the son, and we even share the very same love which the Father has for the son. We are to be “completely one”. Is God then not only Trinitarian, but ‘Omnitarian’? Are all believers “Persons” in the One God, co-equal and co-eternal? I think it is clear that Jesus is neither more nor less “God” than are all the rest of his ‘brothers’ (and ‘sisters’)!

As I said, I’ll return to the subject of verses which appear to say Jesus is the one true God at another time. To sum up here, though, as to whether or not it is necessary to believe in the Deity of Jesus in order to be a Christian, the answer is ‘NO”! According to Jesus (John 17:3), eternal life consists in knowing the Father as the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom the only true God sent. And John summarized the purpose of writing his Gospel (John 20:31) in this way: “But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name”. Anyone who believes that Jesus is God’s son, and that he is ‘anointed’ (Christ) by God to be His representative to men (as ‘prophet, priest, and king’) will have eternal life. Belief that Jesus is “God, the Son”, is not necessary at all!

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Responses

  1. Hello,
    i will say you are mistaken cos you need to read the bible carefully cos right from the gospel of john THE WORD WITH GOD IS ALSO GOD as john says in john 1vs 1.the bible does not contradit itself,the fact that jesus made that statement in john 17 vs 3 does not make jesus to deny his diety cos he is one GOD with the father,the goespel of john woild not contradict itself.
    Even before jesus came to the world the prophesy about him to us that the one coming his GOD,I GUESS YOU DID NOT READ THAT HERE ARE THE VERSES:Isaiah 9vs6,Isaiah 7vs14 confirm in matthew 1vs23,Jeremiah 23vs5&6.
    And the important verse carefully ready and see for yourself its ISAIAH 40 VS 3.The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,prepare ye the way of the (LORD)make straight in the desert a highway for our GOD.this is obviously a prophesy about john the baptist,the fore runner of jesus but here is this verse it shows us that john is to prepare the way for our GOD and who was out GOD thats came that john prepared the way for? ANSWER IS JESUS CHRIST confirmed in the same gopsel of john,read john 1vs23.john himself confirmed the prophesy of isaiah.
    There are many old testament verses that i can tell you but i believe this vereses above is enough to convince you about the deity of JESUS except if you dont want to be sincere and now let me go to the new testame and give you verse declaring JESUS DEITY THAT HE IS GOD:
    phillipians 2vs 6,,titus 2vs13,colossians 2vs9.i believe thats also ok for you though there are many verses.
    Even in colossians 1vs15 it says jesus is the visible aspect of the invisible God that we can see then how can he not be one true God with the father.even the father called his Son(jesus) GOD in hebrew 1vs8&9.now if the FATHER calls his Son God,should you have problem to call JESUS GOD too?

    If Jesus is not God then he cannot save a single soul,cos in Isaiah 43vs11,God said there is no Savior beside him and Jesus is the only Savior of the WHOLE WORLD.see verses Luke 2vs11,philippains 3vs20.even the Father sent his Son to be the savior of the world(1john4vs14)as i have said before there are many verses but i believe this ok for you if you are sincerely interested in know the truth more.

    1john 5vs7 confirms the word TRINITY and lastly 1jhon3vs16 says hereby perceive we the Love of God,becuase he died for us.can you now see that this is referring to Jesus,it says GOD died for us but will all know that the God in this verse is Jesus,also see act 20vs28.

    If you are a sincere Christian and not a deceiver then you will agree that Jesus in on True God with the Father and so is the Holy spirit.you will need to read the bible through to telly establish the truth about christ.please do email cos i love as a brother in Christ and put in the subject line – Jesus is God,so that i can know the email is from you.

    JESUS BLESS YOU

    • Daniel – I appreciate your taking the time to write out that reply to my article. If I send you an e-mail, I will most certainly not put the subject line you requested in it. I may copy this reply into an e-mail with the subject line something like “Jesus is NOT God” though. 🙂

      Most of the objections you make I have covered in other articles. First, I will state that Bible inerrancy is no part of my belief system. There are many errors and contradictions in the Bible. Two articles I wrote about this (I think they were my first two articles, other than the “Hello World” article) are: Bible Errors and Bible Absurdities and Contradictions.

      In the “Bible Errors” article, the very first error I dealt with was Matthew’s handling of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. Any honest reading of Isaiah will show that he was not talking about a child to be born several hundred years in the future, but rather one of his children to be born very soon – certainly within the lifetimes of the two kings the Jewish people feared. The child was to be born in their lifetime, and before he reached the age to distinguish good from evil those kings would be defeated and their land deserted. The name “God is with us” (Immanuel) was a symbolic name (as were the names of all of Isaiah’s sons); it did not indicate that the child was “God incarnate”, but was a sign that would remind the Israelites (every time the name was mentioned) that God was indeed with them.

      I’m not going to respond here to all of the Bible references you gave, because many of them are covered in my articles. You can look at the right side of the page under the “Categories” section, and click on the “Unitarianism” category to see the various articles I have written about this subject. John 1:1-3 is commented on in the first of my “Bible Verses That Seem To Teach That Jesus Is The One True God” series. I will respond to some of them that I don’t believe I’ve commented on before.

      Isaiah 9:6 is an interesting verse. As it reads in most English versions (“his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – English Standard Version), the child is said to be the “Everlasting Father” (or “Father of the ages”). If the child is Jesus, and he is the Father, that would destroy the doctrine of the Trinity which insists on the ‘personal distinctions’ in the Trinity: the Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit; etc. The three constitute one “God” or “Godhead”, but they are not to be confused with one another.

      However, the verse might perhaps be somewhat freely rendered this way: “his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellior [sent from] the Mighty God [Who is] the Everlasting Father; [he will also be called] the Prince of Peace.” On the other hand, it’s instructive to see how the 70 Jewish scholars who gave us the Greek Septuagint version rendered this verse (again using the Brenton English version of the Septuagint): “and his name is called the Messenger of great counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him.” Now that would give quite a different perspective on the verse, wouldn’t it?

      When Titus 2:13 is properly translated it does not in fact say that Jesus is God. Literally rendered, the verse says “looking for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”. Notice that it does not say the great God will appear, but that His glory will appear, and our savior Jesus Christ will appear. The apparent meaning is that the glory of God will be manifested when Jesus Christ appears. This is not a statement that Jesus is God, but that God’s glory shines in the man Jesus Christ – as it ought to shine (and one day will shine) in each of his ‘brothers’. Indeed, the glory of God shines in all of creation.

      As for Jesus being the ‘savior’ of the world, consider Nehemiah 9:27 and Obadiah 1:21; where it is said that God sends ‘saviors’ (plural) to His people. While God is ultimately the “only savior”, nevertheless the judges, kings, prophets and other messengers whom He sends are called ‘saviors’ since they deliver God’s messages of warning and deliverance, and powerfully bring God’s salvation to His people from time to time. So Jesus was and is one of those saviors sent by God (indeed, among the greatest of them), who spoke and acted as God’s representative to humankind.

      The prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 40, as fulfilled in John the Baptist, is also easy to understand: he was to call upon the people of Israel to “prepare the way for the LORD” in their hearts and lives. Another messenger followed him who did the same thing: Jesus Christ whom Christians see as the “messenger of the covenant” prophesied by Malachi (3:1). Despite the (apparently deliberate) mistranslation of this passage by the Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Malachi wrote: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before ME: and the Lord,” [‘adon’, used of both God and men] “whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD” [‘YHWH’, used only of the One God] “of hosts.” Just as John was to call upon the people to prepare the LORD’s (YHWH) way, so the “messenger of the covenant”, “the lord whom ye seek”, would prepare the way of the LORD. So, assuming that Jesus Christ is that “messenger of the covenant” and “lord”, his ministry was the same as John’s: “prepare the way of the LORD”. He was not the LORD, but he prepared His way.

      The gospel writers mistranslated Malachi to force it to be a message addressed to “the messenger of the covenant” (rather than about him) about another messenger who would prepare his way – not “My” (YHWH’s) way. I consider this to be deliberate mistranslation, inasmuch as the Greek Septuagint version itself does not back up their mistranslation. It reads: “Behold, I send forth my messenger,” [‘aggelos’/angel) “and he shall survey the way before me:”[literally “my face”] “and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into his temple, even the angel” [same as the word previously translated “messenger”: aggelos] “of the covenant, whom ye take pleasure in: behold, he is coming, saith the Lord Almighty.” (The English translations of the Septuagint used by me are those of Brenton, with my comments in brackets.)

      As to 1 John 3:16, the response to that is quite simple. You will notice that “of God” is (in the KJV which you apparently use) in italics, indicating that the phrase is an interpretive addition by the translators.. The verse actually says that we can perceive love by the fact that “he died for us”. Who is “he”? Obviously it is “the man Christ Jesus” (whom John had referred to as God’s son – who is one among many, as the Psalmist had said in Psalm 82:6, “you are all sons of the Most High”). He died for us as an example of how we can find the life of God: by metaphorically taking up our own crosses and ‘following him’ in giving up our attachment to the things of this world in favor of the things of God.

      The verse about the “three witnesses in heaven” (the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit) – 1 John 5:7 – is admitted by virtually everybody to be a deliberate (and wrongful) interpolation by Trinitarian scribes in order to bolster the man-made doctrine of the “Trinity”. Even the New King James Version acknowledges in a footnote that the Majority Text does not contain that verse; it appears only in 4 or 5 very ‘late’ texts. It is said that the original editor of what has become known as “the Received Text” (I believe it was Erasmus) was not going to include that verse in his edition. When orthodox scholars protested, he challenged them to produce just one Greek text that contained the verse and he would include it in his edition. The scholars did manage finally to produce one such text, so Erasmus kept his end of the bargain. 😆 However, even then real scholars recognized that the verse was completely spurious.

      As usual, I don’t seem to be able to be brief. 😀 I hope these comments, together with my other articles about the Unity of God (and Bible errors), will be sufficient to show that the teaching of the “Trinity” and the “Deity of Christ” is simply not in the Bible. Those are simply man-made errors.

  2. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him…

    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this topic here on
    your internet site.

    • You’re certainly welcome for the meal. 😆 A free meal is always to be accepted (unless of course it is being used as a bribe to get you to do something unethical or immoral). 🙂

      I am delighted whenever anyone is able to see that Jesus Christ (peace be with him) is NOT the One God Who is his Father – at least no more so than other human beings who are called “gods”.

      I must make this disclaimer though: I watched the video you posted on your site, and I am definitely not in agreement that Jesus Christ is exclusively “the way, the truth, and the life”. This is as much a metaphor as when he said he is the “door of the sheep”; or when he said that a person must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have life. His meaning is that by his message and his life he showed the only true way to God, his message is the truth, and the life he lived manifests the Life of God. But he was not the only messenger of God who taught, showed, and manifested “the way, the truth, and the life”. “The way, the truth and the life” which he manifested is indeed the only way to God – and this is what he meant when he said “no man comes unto the Father but by me” (that is, by the message I teach and the way I show); but he is not personally the only one who has shown us that way.

      I used to say I am a Hindu-Buddhist-Jew-Christian-Muslim. I now delete “Jew” from that listing, as I find Judaism (which is simply Phariseeism) to be the antithesis of true religion and spirituality (certainly the antithesis of the teaching of Jesus Christ, who said that “the devil” was the ‘father’ of that religion – not God). However, the rest of that phrase still applies to me.

      Perhaps you will think that I must “go to hell” for denying the exclusivity of Jesus (PBUH) as “the Way”. 🙂 I, of course, disagree. But then I am also a “universalist” who believes in reincarnation, and I deny the very concept of a literal burning “hell”. I believe the “fire of hell” is a metaphor, the meaning of which is the same as “karma” in reincarnationist teaching.


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