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The Contender
Pro (for)
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Deity of Christ

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,464 times Debate No: 15325
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (83)
Votes (5)




The Bible does not teach that Messiah Jesus is God come in the flesh; it does not teach in the doctrine of the hypostatic union, which says that within the person of Jesus there are two distinct, but not separate natures; this doctrine either makes Jesus a schizophrenic, or it makes him into two persons within one body, thus compromising the unity of his p. All of the verses which are used to prove the deity of Jesus are violently taken out of context, and can be much better explained in a way that does not make Jesus God. The deity of Jesus is a useless doctrine, in that it adds nothing to the Bible, the nature/character of God, salvation, resurrection, or any other important Bible topic. Those who believe in Jesus' deity think that calling him God exalts him; however, it actually demeans his person and accomplishments. Besides, if Jesus were God, then that would make at least two Gods, which completely contradicts monotheism.


I thank my opponent for this debate, and look forward to the interchange. Five rounds can lead to a lot of reading, so as a kindness to the voters, my first round will be concise. We can always expound further as the debate goes on.

Interpreting Scripture

When determining the truth of a doctrine, I submit the following rules:
  1. Implicit teachings should be interpreted in light of explicit teachings
  2. We should interpret scripture logically instead of rationalistically.
  3. We should avoid resolving tension unnecessarily.
A doctrine that adheres to these rules should be considered stronger than a doctrine that does not. I plan to argue that the doctrine of the deity of Christ is the best interpretation of scripture because it does indeed follow these rules.

Jesus is fully God.

Jesus is explicitly called God and Yahweh (LORD) in scripture. [1][2] He also takes on other names of God, such as Alpha and Omega, King of kings and Lord of lords, and “I am.” [3][4][5] Jesus receives the honors due to God alone: honor, worship, doxological praise, reverence, and so forth. [6] He also does the works of God, such as the act of creation. [7] Jesus even shares the incommunicable attributes of God, such as being eternal. [8]

It cannot be said that Jesus was partially God or simply had a “little” of God within him. Jesus claimed to be fully God when he referred to himself as “I am,” something his Jewish listeners would have not mistaken. In Acts [1], the church of God is set to be bought with his own blood, implying that Jesus was actually God, neither separate from God nor a simple piece of Him. I have cited only a handful of the scriptures that teach this part of the doctrine. I do not believe any of these scriptures have been “violently taken out of context,” but I’ll let my opponent attempt to show otherwise.

Jesus, while on earth, was fully human.

Jesus was born. [9] He had a childhood and grew into a wise man of stature. [10] He was not merely some manifestation of God. He was an actual human being that walked the earth until being physically murdered on the cross. [11] His resurrection was fully physical, not an apparition of ghost, as he had to prove to doubting Thomas. [12]

Resolving the Tension

My opponent is violating the third rule of interpretation when he claims that this dual nature makes Jesus schizophrenic. He is trying to resolve what appears to be a logical incompatibility. Schizophrenia is a disorder in which a single person exhibits multiple personalities. This is not the case with Jesus, as nothing in scripture implies that Jesus had dual personalities.


The dual nature of Christ is logically sound when you consider that God is far more complex than our existence. Just because we cannot conceive how Jesus can be both God and man, does not mean it’s logically incompatible. Scripture says he was God and it says he was man. The logical conclusion is that both are true. The rationalistic conclusion (which would violate the second rule of interpretation), is that he was one or the other.

I’ll let my opponent expound further before offering further defense of the deity of Christ.

  1. Acts 20:28
  2. Heb. 1:10
  3. Isa. 41:4
  4. 1 Tim. 6:15
  5. John 14:6
  6. Mat. 2:2
  7. John 5:19
  8. John 1:1; 12:45
  9. Luke 2:1-21
  10. Luke 2:41-52
  11. Mark 15:24
  12. John 20:27
Debate Round No. 1


In the first place, those verses said to prove the deity of Jesus cannot be considered to be in the explicit teachings category. My opponent's statement does not take into account the many clear verses that make this impossible. For example, in John 17:3, Jesus says that eternal life is "to know you [the Father], the only true God AND Messiah Jesus whom you have sent". There are clearly two categories here: the only true God, and the Messiah whom the only true God has sent. Unless you already believed in the deity of Jesus, it is impossible to see this verse as consistent with that proposition. Furthermore, after Jesus has resurrected, he tells Mary that he is ascending to "My Father and your Father, My God and your God" (John 20:17); here is a clear statement that Jesus has a God, and since Jesus identifies his God as the Father, then the logical conclusion is that God the Father is the God of Jesus. And since this is the same person referred to in John 17:3 as "the only true God", it follows that the "My God" of John 20:17 and "the only true God" of John 17:3 are the same person, meaning that the Father is both the God of Jesus and the only true God, and since Jesus would not have a God different than the only true God, his Father must be that one true God.

My opponent may try to argue that the phrase "My Father and your Father, My God and your God" is not the same as "Our Father . . . Our God", and thus Jesus was not identifying his Father as God the same way his Father would be God to Mary. However, any elementary English student can see that saying "mine and yours" is just another way of saying "ours". Besides, would Jesus have a different God than Mary? What exactly is the point of this argument? If there is only one true God and Jesus claimed to worship and serve that one true God, why would he turn around in this passage and tell Mary to worship a different God? Clearly, this explanation does not stand up to scrutiny, and the clear meaning of the passage is that both Jesus and Mary share the same God, that God is Jesus' God in the same way that he is Mary's God (i.e., the God of the whole person); this God is the Father of Jesus, and the only true God of John 17:3.

Another example of a clear teaching concerning the identity of Jesus is from Revelation 3:12, in which Jesus declares his Father to be his God no less than three times. Now, if as my opponent and I agree, there is only one God, then one person calling another person their God, would in its clearest expression have to mean that the person called "God" is the one God; otherwise if Jesus is God, and the Father is Jesus' God, then that makes at least two Gods: the Father (who is Jesus' God) and the Son (who is not Jesus' God-unless you want to argue that Jesus was his own God). However, if the Father and Son are both the one God, then there cannot be such a glaring distinction in which one is called the God of the other; two members of the same God are not Gods to each other. Any person of average intelligence with common sense would read this verse and instantly understand that is says that Jesus has a God, and since there is only one God, Jess must not be God.

My opponent may try to argue that Jesus said these things as a man, and Jesus has a God in his human nature, so he can refer to his Father as God when speaking in his human nature. Since my opponent said that all true Biblical doctrines should be founded on explicit teachings, the burden of proof is on him to show where the Bible teaches explicitly that: a) Jesus had these two natures that he spoke in, and b) that he was speaking in his human nature in John 20:17, John 17:3, and Revelation 3:12. If he cannot do this, according to the rules that he established, he must concede that there are no explicit verses that teach the doctrine of the hypostatic union, and thus to argue that in the case of these passages he is interpreting the implicit in light of the explicit, would be a flat-out contradiction of his own rule.

The passage in Acts 20:28 that he uses has two variant readings; it is true that some Greek manuscripts say "Church of God", but there are others which have the phrase "Church of the Lord". However, even if the reading "Church of God" was the correct one, the Greek phrase that follows it literally means the blood of his own, which of course could mean his own Son; and since there is no other passage in the Bible which speaks of God having blood, and yet there are many passages that speak of God's Son shedding his blood on the cross, as well as of the Son of God being the one who died (not God himself), both the text in question as well as the wider context of scripture agree with this alternative reading.

In reference to Hebrews 1:10-12, it is actually strong evidence against the deity of Jesus. In the first place, the context of this chapter is to demonstrate how Jesus is superior to the angels (verse 4). Now if Jesus was God, why would the author of Hebrews waste so much space trying to show he was better than the angels in other ways, when all he had to do was say "He's better than the angels because he is God"? The best explanation for that is the fact that the author wasn't trying to show that God (i.e., Jesus) was better than the angels, but that the exalted man Messiah Jesus was better than the angels. It makes much more sense in the context and in general to say that the reason the author of Hebrews had to argue Jesus' superiority to the angels at all was because he was dealing with two classes of created beings, and without explanation it would not be as clear why a man would be superior to angels. Therefore, whatever else the author may say about Jesus, it must be taken in context not to contradict his point in writing this chapter: to show that Jesus was superior to the angels.

The author of Hebrews connects the Son's exalted status to events that only occurred after his resurrection. He argues that the Son's "being made much better than the angels" (verse 4) as contingent upon his sitting down at the right hand of the majesty on high (verse 3). This is because he uses the word "so", in between the statements of him "sitting at the right hand of the majesty on high", and "being made much better than the angels". For anyone who has studied logic, the word "so" is a conclusion indicator, meaning that what precedes it is a premise, and what follow it is the conclusion. So, this means that the author is arguing that Jesus became much better than the angels because of the fact that he sat down at God's right hand, and not because of some preexistent deity he already attained. Also, after the phrase "having by inheritance, obtained a more excellent name than they" is the word "for". Unlike "so", "for" is a premise indicator, indicating that what follows it is meant to be the supporting evidence for the preceding conclusion. In this case, the evidence for the conclusion that the Son has obtained a better name than the angels is found in the passages that the author subsequently quotes. Assuming that the author is being consistent with himself, he will say nothing in the premises that contradict the conclusion. So if the conclusion is that Jesus has obtained a better name as a direct result of sitting at the right hand of the Father (which happened after his resurrection), then the premises used to support it CANNOT serve as evidence for his preexistent deity; because if the passages that he quotes prove that Jesus was preexistent deity, they would disprove his conclusion that Jesus obtained a more excellent name than angels because of his sitting at the right hand of the Father; this is of course because God by definition would have a more excellent name than the angels.

This is just a primer, I hope that in the rounds to come we can get into the meat of this issue.


Now that I have painted the deity of Christ in broad strokes, it is time to get down to details. As I indicated in my opening round, I used a small subset of scriptures supporting Christ's divinity. Now I will break it down more granularly in the hopes of making the clearest case possible.

Note: All biblical quotes are English Standard Version translation.

Con proffered three versus in favor of his position. Let's consider the raw data his sources provide:

1. Jesus Christ is distinct from the only true God. [1]
2. Jesus Christ is distinct from Father and God. [2]
3. Jesus Christ is distinct from God. [3]

Given only this data, Con is correct in logically concluding that Jesus is not the only true God, God the Father. Now let's consider more data:

1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [4] My opponent might object, but it is generally understood that "the Word" is referring to Jesus. If this scholarship is correct, then we have explicit data that Jesus was in the beginning, he was with God, and he was God. Assuming, however, my opponent objects to this interpretation, I offer the next for explicit citations.

2. "Thomas answered him, 'My Lord and my God!'" [5] Note that Thomas explicitly calls Jesus God and is not rebuked, despite the fact that Jesus was known to do this. [6]

3. "To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." [7] Paul explicitly calls Christ God over all.

4. "…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped," [8] Paul explicitly teaches that Jesus was in the form of God.

5. "…waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ," [9] Paul calls Jesus God and Savior.

So far, we have five passages explicitly teaching that Jesus is God, whereas there are no passages explicitly teaching the opposite. Con has of course given us scripture implying that Jesus is not divine, but given my first rule, my explicit verses outweigh Con's implicit ones. In order to preserve the explicit teachings of both mine and Con's citations, we must logically conclude that Jesus is both God and distinct from God. This is a valid logical conclusion given the data, even though the conclusion itself appears to be a contradiction.

Consider for a moment the science of light. [10] Evidence shows that light has both the properties of waves and particles. Science has not rationalized away one property in favor of the other because the evidence for both is simply too stark to ignore. In fact, wave-particle duality is now a central concept of quantum mechanics. [11] My point is this: the fact that Jesus is both God and distinct from God is an antinomy—a contradiction between principles or conclusions that seem equally necessary and reasonable; a paradox. [12]—but it does not preclude it from being true.

The bible has many antinomies, such as free will versus God's sovereignty, and they cause tension. Recall my third rule, that tension should not be resolved unnecessarily. The reason for this rule is simple, as it always leads to the breaking of rule two, favoring rationalization over logic. The only way Con draw his conclusions from the scriptures he cited is to rationalize that my citations somehow refer to something else. I invite my opponent to show how the verses I cited teach anything other than their most obvious interpretation, but I fear it will require exegetical gymnastics.

Now that I've shown explicit evidence in favor of my position, let's consider some evidence against Con's position. Consider when Jesus said to the Jews, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." [13] Jesus here is implying that he is eternal, an incommunicable attribute belonging to God alone. Furthermore, he does so using the very name God uses for himself when Moses asked his name. [14] His Jewish audience would not have mistaken this connection. So, if Jesus is not divine, then he was a deceiver, in which case God is not just in elevating a common sinner to the right hand of his throne. Moreover, his death would have accomplished nothing, and we are no longer justified by faith.

As for implicit evidence, Jesus is ascribed all the divine attributes:

1. Sovereignty [15], e.g., "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
2. Eternal [16], e.g., "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
3. Righteousness and Justice [17], e.g., "But you denied the Holy and Righteous One…"
4. Love [18], e.g., "…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end."
5. Omniscience [19], e.g., "…for he himself knew what was in man."
6. Omnipresence [20], e.g., "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
7. Omnipotence [21], e.g., Jesus calmed the storm
8. Immutability [22], e.g., "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
9. Veracity [23], e.g., "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."

Now, these versus are all supporting evidence, but the weight of all this data combined with the explicit teachings already mentioned is screaming in favor of a Christ divine. I cannot see how my opponent can truly expect to provide the sheer amount of counter-evidence needed to dismiss this teaching.

Before I close, I will respond to Con's criticisms of my earlier versus. To start, I will conceded that Con is correct that the interpretation of Acts 20:28 could also mean "blood of his Own," in which case, this is no longer an explicit teaching of the divinity of Christ. However, it still is a strong implicit passage since it begs the question: how can Jesus be God's "Own" and not be at all divine?

My Hebrews 1:10 citation suffers from an error on my part, as I meant to cite 1:8 instead. As Con pointed out, the passage is about the superiority of Jesus to the angels. It is here that Psalms 45:6 is quoted, saying that God says of the Son, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom." Thus, we have the author showing God calling his son God. However, since the author is quoting Psalms, I will reclassify this verse as implicit evidence and rely on my new citations for the time being. That being said, it is still one more piece of evidence in favor of my position added to the heap.

In conclusion, my opponent is right in that scripture teaches that Jesus is distinct from God, but I have shown that scripture is in overwhelming opposition to Con's hasty conclusions. The resulting antinomy creates tension, to be sure, but the conclusion is valid nonetheless. Is Jesus distinct from God? The bible says yes. Is Jesus God? The bible says yes. It may be difficult to accept both answers as true, but for this debate, all that matters is the second affirmative.


1. John 17:3
2. John 20:17
3. Rev. 3:12
4. John 1:1
5. John 20:28
6. Matt. 16:23
7. Rom. 9:5
8. Phil. 2:6
9. Titus 2:13
13. John 8:58
14. Exo. 3:14
15. Matt. 28:18; Rom. 9:5; 1 Pet. 3:22; John 3:27; Acts 2:36; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9,10; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5,6; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:16
16. Isa 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1; John 8:58; Col.1:17; Rev. 1:8; Rev. 22:13
17. Jer. 23:5,6; Luke 1:35; Acts 3:14; Heb. 7:26; Rev. 3:7
18. John 13:1,34; 1 John 3:16
19. John 2:24,25; John 16:30; John 6:64; John 13:11; Mat. 9:4; 1 Cor. 4:5; Rev. 2:23
20. Ps. 139:7-10; Deut. 4:39; Prov. 15:13; Isa. 66:1; Jer. 23:24; Act. 17:27; Mat. 28:20; Mat. 18:20; John 3:1
21. Mat. 8:25; John 10:18; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 7:25; 2 Tim. 1:12; Jude 24; Rev. 1:8
22. Heb. 13:8; Heb. 1:10-12; 1 John 1:9
23. John 14:2; John 14:6; Rev 3:7
Debate Round No. 2


Pro is incorrect in his characterization of the "raw data" that my verses provide; it is not so much that they mention Jesus as distinct from God as it is the fact that they say that he HAS a God (this is a very important distinction); if Jesus was simply "distinct" from God, then he could still be divine in the Trinitarian sense; however, if the whole person of Jesus has a God, then even in the Trinitarian sense he cannot be God. Pro has yet to provide any Biblical evidence as to how the God of the universe can have a God. Even if Pro tries to argue this on the basis of the hypostatic union, he has still failed to provide any explicit Biblical evidence for that doctrine either. Therefore, for his critique of my argument to be valid, Pro must not only furnish clear passages of scripture which teach that Jesus has two natures, he must also prove that Jesus was speaking in his human nature only (not the whole person) when he said "My God"; otherwise, Pro will have to explain how Jesus (as God) can both have a God and be God at the same time, without violating monotheism.
My original contention was that if he could not provide any explicit verses that teach the hypostatic union, he could not use that concept as a category by which to interpret the clear teachings of scripture that Jesus (the whole person) has a God, and thus could not be God. In other words, to be consistent with his first rule, he would have to base any implicit doctrines on the explicit declarations of scripture; but if the doctrine of the hypostatic union is not an explicit doctrine, then it must be either implicit or nonexistent; since Pro believes that it exists, then he must believe it to be implicit; and if it is implicit, how can he use it to counter the explicit teaching that Jesus has a God, without using the implicit to prove the explicit? And if the fact that Jesus has a God is an explicit statement, then it must be used to interpret any implicit statements that seem to make him God, because God cannot have a God; so there must be an alternative interpretation that is consistent with the explicit declaration that Jesus has a God. Thus, if the doctrine of the hypostatic union is not true, then that would mean that whenever Jesus spoke, he did not speak in one nature or the other but as a whole person, so that his statements about himself must be referring to his whole person, which means that if he says he has a God, then his whole person has a God, and if there is only one true God, Jesus must either be a false God, or not God at all.
Pro also did not address my main argument from the Hebrews 1 passage. My argument was not simply that the point of Hebrews 1 was to show that Jesus was superior to the angels; the main argument that I was making was that since the author of Hebrews puts Jesus being made better than the angels as a direct consequence of his sitting at the right hand of the Father, Pro cannot use ANY of the passages that the author of Hebrews quotes as evidence (even implicit evidence) for Jesus' preexistent deity. Like I said, if the author presents evidence of Jesus' preexistence as God (meaning he would have already had a name better than the angels), that would contradict his conclusion that the better name he obtained was a direct result of him having sat down at the right hand of the Father, thus invalidating his own argument. Assuming that the author of Hebrews did not contradict himself, the only reasonable way to understand this passage is that all of the verses quoted were meant to show why the resurrected Jesus had a better name than the angels, which of course would include verse 8 (in effect, removing this passage from Pro's "heap" of evidence).
Pro claims that it requires "exegetical gymnastics" to overthrow the evidence of his citations' "obvious interpretation". This statement assumes two things: the first is that what is obvious to him is obvious in general; and second, that those reading the texts that he cited in the time that they were written, would interpret them the exact same way he does. The problem with Pro's interpretive framework is that it is based on a 21st century understanding of the English text. If the Bible was originally written in modern English, then I would agree that Pro's interpretations are "explicit" and "clear". However, Pro seems to mistake what is obvious from the English reading as what would be obvious from the original Greek reading, and that is a problem. The question is not "what do these passages say and mean in English?" the question is "what did these passages say and mean in Greek to those who originally read them?" The fact that the answer to the latter question is not so clear cut is evinced in the way different translators and commentators render the verses in question, and all of the verses Pro uses to prove the deity of Jesus have alternative translations and interpretations when you read them in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGES that do not "obviously" and "explicitly" prove the deity of Jesus. One of the major weaknesses in Pro's line of argument is that he fails to comment on what the original languages say; all of his arguments have been based on the English translations, which is poor scholarship. If Pro really wants to make a case for the deity if Jesus, he MUST show how not only are his interpretations the best way of understanding the text in the original languages, but also that they fit the context of both the pericope that they are contained in, as well as of the chapter, book, and author who wrote them, BETTER than the interpretations that I will propose.

There are also issues with Pro's analogy using light. In the first place, to say that "Evidence shows that light has both the properties of waves and particles", is a far cry from saying that light is both a wave and a particle; Pro is committing the fallacy of the undistributed middle in claiming that having the properties of something makes you that something. Assuming particles and waves truly have contradictory characteristics, then no one thing can have ALL of the attributes of both at the same time and in the same relation; it is possible for it to have SOME of the attributes of each, but not all, because that would be like saying "I can draw a shape that is fully square and fully circle"; it is utter nonsense. Thus, if light exhibited the attributes of both, it would mean that it fits into a brand new category altogether, which is neither wave, nor particle, but a wave-particle. In the end, Pro's analogy fails to show that the same item can have two sets of contradictory attributes at the same time and in the same relation, and thus, this analogy can at most support the idea that Jesus had some of the attributes of God, and some of the attributes of man at the same time,. . . &c.

Even if Pro could prove that there were verses that said that Jesus was God, as well as those that said he was man, the only logical conclusions he could draw from those two propositions would be that either the Bible contradicts itself, or that Jesus was a God-man hybrid, who was half-god and half-man. The problem with his theology is that he does not say that Jesus was half-God and half-man, but that he was fully God and fully man; however, in order to prove this, he must find a passage in the Bible that makes the same distinction that Trinitarians do between being a God-man (i.e., half and half), and being a God-man (fully both). Unless Pro can furnish a passage that teaches PRECISELY what the doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches, or strongly implies it, he cannot claim that doctrine to be an explicit Biblical one. Therefore, the burden of proof is on Pro to show that when the Bible calls Jesus "God" it is calling him God in the sense that he is not the same person as the Father, but a coequal member of the same Godhead as the Father with all of the same attributes, but as a different person.

I will cover all of his verses in detail in the next round


I am thankful for my opponent's sharp intellect and thorough responses. With two whole rounds to go, this is a lot of dialog to take in, so I will write this round with an extra measure of sensitivity to the reader. I will begin by analyzing the state of my argument in light of Con's most recent round.

I provided three rules of interpreting scripture in the first round, and there has been no contention over these rules. I would like, however, to further point out that these rules are at their heart an effort to maintain parsimony. Thus, the debater that more closely follows these rules is the one whose arguments involve the least amount of assumptions.

I provided seven scriptures explicitly teaching the divinity of Christ. The first two, Acts 20:28 and Heb. 1:10 (which should have been Heb. 1:8), I downgraded to implicit evidence. The remaining five (John 1:1; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Titus 2:13) have not been refuted, though my scholarship has been criticized. My lack of commentary on the original language is an intentional omission, not a failure. I am tasked to provide evidence in support of my position, and Con is tasked to cross-examine it. Though no translation is perfect, the English Standard Version has solid academic backing. Still, if Con wants to oppose my verses using original Greek, then I will gladly respond, but I will not do his job for him. In the meantime, my five remaining verses remain unanswered.

I provided copious amounts of verses implying the divinity of Christ, none of which have been questioned or refuted. Granted, they hinge on the veracity of my explicit citations, but it is evidence nonetheless.

So, compare this with the only evidence for Con's position: three verses (John 17:3, John 20:17, and Rev. 3:12) that I have not disputed. I fully agree that Jesus and God are separate and distinct as made explicit in these scriptures, nor do I believe I have mischaracterized them. However one chooses to say it (such as, "Jesus has a God"), the data is the same. Jesus is separate from God, which IMPLIES that Jesus is not God whatsoever—an implication that does not stand against the explicit teaching that Jesus is indeed God. It is Con, not I, that insists that such a logical contradiction cannot be allowed. It is Con, not I, that wants to resolve the tension between these two biblical facts. In fact, he INSISTS that I resolve the tension in order to win the debate:

"Pro must not only furnish clear passages of scripture which teach that Jesus has two natures, he must also prove that Jesus was speaking in his human nature only (not the whole person) when he said 'My God'; otherwise, Pro will have to explain how Jesus (as God) can both have a God and be God at the same time, without violating monotheism."

I made no pretenses as to the mystery surrounding this antinomy. In fact, I spent a good portion of round two explaining that antinomies are not unusual in scripture and even used light as an example. Con objected to this example, thinking it was some kind of proof of dual natures in general. I was merely pointing out, given a limited amount of knowledge and perception, you go with what you have. Sure, we now have wave-particle theory, which is neither wave nor particle, but would we have gotten there if we ignored the evidence when they seemed logically incompatible at the time?

And this really strikes at the heart of Con's position. He wants to force the nature of God into something he can comprehend by resolving the logical tension, but scripture is adamant that God is quite beyond our comprehension. [1][2] He cannot be entirely described within the confines of our cosmos as he is separate from it [3][4], distinct from it [5][6], and create it [7]. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to accept that Jesus is both a distinct person and God himself, even though we cannot understand how this can be.

Here is an analogy (not a proof) that reveals how something complex cannot be understood by something simpler. Imagine a perfect cube that creates a 2D universe with life. He cannot say to his creation, "I am a cube," for such things cannot be fathomed in their existence. Depth literally has no meaning. To reveal himself, he intersects his corner with the plane of the universe, which appears to a creature as a point. He later intersects his edge, revealing himself as a line. He finally intersects his whole being, revealing himself as a square. While the simpler beings cannot comprehend how their god is simultaneously a point, a line, and a square, we can easily understand since we can perceive 3D space.

God has revealed himself to us in Jesus, who has done many things as a person separate from God. The scriptures are undeniable in this regard. However, the scriptures also depict him as God himself. Moreover, the scriptures are adamant that there is only one True God. What do we do with this conflicting data? If we resolve the tension one way, we take away the deity of Christ and have to accept that God lifted a sinner to his right hand side (an objection my opponent hasn't addressed). If we resolve the tension the other way, we end up with polytheism or modalism. But if we choose to accept the tension, we are one step closer to humbly accepting God as he has revealed Himself in his own diving words.

Con likes to arbitrarily creates rules I must follow to win. He states, "Unless Pro can furnish a passage that teaches PRECISELY what the doctrine of the hypostatic union teaches, or strongly implies it, he cannot claim that doctrine to be an explicit Biblical one." The simple answer is there isn't one, and I have NEVER claimed the Bible explicitly teaches the hypostatic union. I have, rather, provided scripture that explicitly teaches the divinity of Christ. That is all I am tasked to do, and I have done it. To say that the divinity of Christ is impossible because the Bible never precisely teaches the hypostatic union is to argue from silence.

I furthermore object to the notion that I have to "find a passage in the Bible that makes the same distinction that Trinitarians do between being a God-man (i.e., half and half), and being a God-man (fully both)." While Hebrews 1 is a possible example, I do not see the need to defend the Trinity itself. I am simply defending the deity of Christ, which I have done amply thus far.

Speaking of Hebrews, verse 4 indeed implies that Jesus became superior to the angels at a moment in time, namely "after making purification for sins." But the entire rest of the chapter speaks otherwise. Verse 2 says God "created the world through him," which is evidence of preexistence. Verse 3 says Jesus is "the exact imprint of his nature," evidence of his divinity. In verse 10, the author quotes Psalm 102:25-27, which—in the old testament—was spoken of Jehovah, thereby equating the Son with the Father, evidence for both the deity of Christ and his being fully God. The issue of timing in verse 4 is outweighed by the rest of the chapter, so I do not think that Hebrews 1 counters my case as much as Con would have us believe.

Which brings me to the conclusion that my position, thus far, is stronger. I have provided biblical evidence for the resolution both explicit and implicit. I have shown that antinomies do not necessitate that the resolution be negated. I have shown that God is expected to be beyond our comprehension. And I have shown Con's attempts time and again at needlessly resolving tension. I have done all this within the confines of the rules of parsimony.

In addition to seeing more biblical citations in Con's defense, I also would like to see him respond to my earlier criticism. Jesus implies his own divinity in John 8:58 when he said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." Did a merely human Jesus deceive us, and yet still rise to God's right hand?

1. Is. 40:18, 25
2. 1 Cor. 8:2-3
3. Is. 40:22
4. Acts 17:24
5. Ps. 102:25-27
6. 1 John 2:15-17
7. Gen. 1:1
Debate Round No. 3


I thank Pro for his gracious compliments. My aim in this round is to show that the verses he uses as "explicit" evidence are not explicit when considered in context, and that the conclusions he draws with them ignore fundamental principles of good exegesis (and even some common sense). And since Pro said the truth of his implicit evidence rests on the truth of his explicit evidence, this round I will focus my attention on his "explicit" texts; however, due to space constraints, I will only be dealing with the passages from the Gospel of John.

There are two fundamental problems with the proposition that the Gospel of John proves the deity of Jesus: first, it contradicts John's stated purpose (20:31); so Pro must prove that "Son of God" means "God" (without begging the question and assuming that because he seems to call Jesus God, "Son of God" must somehow mean "God"); otherwise none of the passages he uses from John can count as evidence for Jesus' deity. Secondly, that idea is inconsistent with the many statements of Jesus' inferiority, subservience, and utter dependence on the Father [1]. If we assume that the author does not contradict himself (and is not an idiot), then it makes no sense to think that he thought good evidence for the deity of Jesus would be showing how Jesus was dependent on God in every way. Conversely, that makes good evidence for his claim to be the Son of God, because all of God's children should rely on him for everything.

With that in mind, there is good reason to believe that the Gospel of John is written using a figure of speech called prolepsis. Prolepsis is used to describe a prophecy as already fulfilled, even when its fulfillment is still future [2]. This figure of speech helps in interpreting passages which seem to ascribe things to Jesus that would have been inconsistent with John's stated purpose. For example, in 3:13 Jesus says he is the only one who has ascended into heaven; if taken literally, this cannot make sense, because Jesus did not ascend until after the resurrection (20:17); however, if it is interpreted proleptically, it make sense that Jesus was describing a future reality as certain because it was promised by God. Also, in John 3:35, it says that the Father HAS placed all things in to Jesus hands; again, John is using the past tense; however, Jesus clearly does not have all authority until after the resurrection (Matt. 28:18). There could be many more examples given [3], but these should illustrate the point that interpreting these verses without a proleptic framework presents some difficulty.

In reference to Pro's arguments about the Gospel of John, his argument about 1:1 hinges on two major assumptions: that the "word" was a person and that the "beginning" refers to the creation of Genesis 1.There is however both good evidence against both of these assumptions, and that evidence comes from the most reliable source: John himself. In 1 John 1, John acts as his own interpreter, and explains what the "word" of John 1:1 actually was. In 1 John 1:1, he states "that which was from the beginning concerning the word of life" (1 John 1:1), compared with "In the beginning was the word" (John 1:1). There are even more parallels: "the word was with God" (John 1:1) and "the eternal life, which was with the Father" (1 John 1:2); "in [the word] was life, and the life was the light of all mankind" (John 1:4) and "this we proclaim concerning the Word of life"(1 John 1:1-2); "we have seen his glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father" (John 1:14) and "That . . . which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at . . . " (1 John 1:1). Clearly there are enough major parallels for us to conclude that these two passages are almost certainly talking about the same thing; if John calls the word a "what", and it is constantly referring to it as "that", "which", and even "it", then it cannot be God; and since he refers to "the beginning" as the time where he has seen and heard, it cannot be referring to Genesis. These observations, coupled with and understanding of prolepsis, provides a strong case against the idea that the word was an actual person, which of course would disqualify it from being God.

Pro also claims that 8:58 is evidence that Jesus both eternal, and the "I am" of Exodus. Firstly, Pro makes a hasty conclusion in asserting that "before Abraham was" implies "eternally existent", and that "I Am" implies "Yahweh". Secondly, Pro's interpretation does not to justice to Greek syntax or the immediate context of this passage; "ego eimi" is not a name, but a statement of identity. For example, in John 9:9 the man that was healed was asked if he was really the same man; he answered "ego eimi" or "I am ". This is the exact phrase used by Jesus in 8:58, and since no one picked up stones to stone that man, it is clear that this phrase in and of itself is NOT indicative of deity. Also, Jesus uses it this way several other times, and almost invariably it is in connection with him being the Messiah or Son of God* [4], and the context of 8:58 is no different; in verse 25, the Jews asked Jesus who he was, and he replied by saying "what I have been telling you from the beginning"; the "beginning" implies before the exchange of 8:58, and the only thing that Jesus is recorded as telling them before that is that he was is either the "Son of God" or "Son of Man"[5]; therefore, it follow in 8:58 his claim is no different. Furthermore, in verse 28 Jesus says ". . . then you will know that I am [ego eimi] and that I do nothing on my own . . ." It is clear from the context that he is NOT claiming to be God, because to argue that Jesus wanted the Jews to know that he was God, and that as God, he does nothing on his own, would be asinine. The EXACT same phrase is used by Jesus in verse 58, so if he didn't claim to be God in 28, then it follows that he didn't in 58; similarly, since Jesus WAS identifying himself as the Son of Man in verse 28, it would follow that the same was true in verse 58. Thus, in this passage Jesus is not claiming to be God, and Pro cannot use this passage to support the deity of Jesus.

Pro also cites 20:28 as explicit evidence. However, in 10:33-36, Jesus asked the Jews why they wanted to stone him, and they say it is because he makes himself "theos". Jesus' response counters any claim of deity: he denies claiming to be "theos", but instead claims to be "huios theos" (the son of God). If Jesus were God, and he could express it so clearly (as Pro believes) in John 8:58, why would he deny it here? The answer which makes the most sense is that he never claimed to be God at all. Therefore, if Jesus denied the charge in 10:33, it makes little sense that he would accept it in 20:28, from which it would follow that Thomas was likely not addressing Jesus as "God". Also, Thomas did not believe that Jesus even rose from the dead; therefore to expect that within seconds he would go from doubting the resurrection, to accepting without question that Jesus was God in the flesh (fully God and fully man), and thus part of a triune Godhead, requires a leap in logic that would scare Olympic long-jumpers, and is EXTREMELY unlikely. In light of this, as well as the fact that Jesus previously rejected assuming the title of "theos", the most probable explanation is that Thomas spoke about two separate persons "Jesus" (My Lord) and God the Father (My God), because the resurrection proved to him that the Father was "in" Jesus (14:9).

[1] 4:6; 5:19,26,31; 6:38; 7:18,28; 8:28,50; 10:18; 12:44, 49-50; 13:32; 14:10,28,31; 15:10; 17:2, 4, 6, 9-11, 14, 18, 22, & 24.
[2] E.W. Bullinger, "Figures of Speech Used in the Bible", pp 914-915.
[3] 5:20-23; 11:25; 13:3; 17:1-2, 4, 5, 11-12, 14, 22, 24
[4] *except in instances where he is referring to location*- 4:26; 8:24; 8:28; 9:37; 10:36; 13:13.
[5]1:50; 2:16; 3:14-18 (possibly); 4:26; 5:16-27, 39; 6:27,53.


My opponent has once again brought his "A" game, and for that I am appreciative. However, while his interpretations of the John scriptures are thorough and thought provoking, I intend to do show precisely where he has erred.

Before I do that, I want to point out that Con has so far only objected to the verses I cited from the Gospel of John. He has yet to respond to the Pauline versus I've cited. This is not a criticism against him, for he was explicit in his intentions. I only mention it so the readers will not forget the rest of the evidence still in my favor.

To start, note that Con says my verses are not explicit when considered in context. With that in mind, I will show how he breaks that very rule in his analysis.

The Word

Con's treatment of John 1:1 is a prime example of what I earlier called exegetical gymnastics. He leaps back and forth from John 1 to 1 John 1, cherry picking scriptures and using their similarities to conclude that "the Word" cannot be God because of the usage of terms such as "that,"which," and "it." There are two errors in this approach. First, he engages in the fallacy of equivocation by relying on the ambiguity of these words to draw hasty conclusions. By definition, the objects of pronouns are defined by the context in which they are found. Second, he strips all context, thereby breaking the very rule he intended to use against me.

Con quotes 1 John 1:1 as, "that which was from the beginning concerning the word of life." However, he omitted whole clauses that give that sentence vital context. The whole verse is, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life." In John's own words, the relative pronoun "that which" refers to something he and others heard, saw, and touched. In fact, as you read the opening paragraph, you get the sense the John is enticing the reader, withholding the object of these pronouns until the big reveal. What could it be? Given that 1 John is entirely about Christ and given that John personally touched "it," the reasonable conclusion is that these pronouns refer to Jesus. This is the most logical and least rationalized conclusion.

In fact, there is no need to parallel John 1 and 1 John 1 at all, or to even appeal to prolepsis, to make sense of the Word, because all the context you need is in John 1. John then tells us in verse 14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." As Con kindly reminded us, John's stated purpose in 20:31 is to reveal Jesus to us "that by believing [we] may have life in his name." So, given that the Gospel of John is entirely about Jesus, the most reasonable and parsimonious conclusion is that Jesus is indeed the Word. Thus, we have explicit evidence of Christ's divinity when John states, "and the Word [Jesus] was God."

John's Stated Purpose

While we're on the subject on John's stated purpose, how does the deity of Christ contradict it in any way? Verse 20:31 states in its entirety, "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." Nothing about the deity of Christ logically requires one to reject that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Unless of course one already presupposes that Jesus cannot be both Son of God and God himself.

I sincerely hope the readers catch on to this. I have tried desperately to allow the Bible to speak for itself. I have not rejected Con's scriptures teaching the distinct personhood of Christ, but I have also not rejected the seemingly contradictory evidence that Jesus is God. In other words, I am using exegesis whereas my opponent uses eisegesis. He keeps injecting his limiting view of God into the scripture, despite the fact that I already showed that the Bible teaches that God is not to be so limited.

Doubting Thomas

Con states that if Jesus is denying being God in 10:33, then it follows that Thomas did not mean Jesus to be "God." This line of reasoning is weak, since it's equally valid to go the other way. If Thomas did call Jesus "God" without rebuke, then it follows that Jesus was not denying being God in 10:33. I offer two reasons to accept John 20:28 as explicit evidence. First, the term Theos in 10:33 can validly be rendered, "a god," given the context of 10:33-36 and of Psalm 82:6 that is quoted there. [1] Thus, a possible translation could be:

"We are not going to stone you for any good deed, but for your blasphemy. You, a mere man, claim to be a god." Jesus answered, "Is it not written in your own Law, 'I said: You are gods'? Those are called gods to whom the word of God was delivered - and Scripture cannot be set aside. Then why do you charge me with blasphemy because I, consecrated and sent into the world by the Father, said, 'I am God's son'?"

This is in keeping Jesus' responses to Jewish leaders in other passages, as Jesus was known for using their own legalism against them. Still, this is just a possible interpretation. I suppose the same possible translation could be said of Thomas' words as well. However, consider Con's own verse, John 20:17, when Jesus also uses the exact same phrase (in Greek) of "my God." Thus, Thomas' words could mean no less than Jesus words, and what the Father is to Jesus, Jesus is to Thomas. Furthermore, the author uses the Greek plural construction ("our God") exactly as he used it in Rev. 4:11.

I feel compelled to point out that Con engages in eisegesis again when thinking it absurd that Thomas would have leapt from skepticism to belief that Jesus was "part of a triune Godhead." Just because Con thinks the notion is absurd to begin with does not mean that Thomas would have. Any argument based on what anyone might or might not do is purely speculative and inadmissible. Con simply assumes without warrant that people in John's time simply would not have grasped or accepted such a concept. Why not? The Apostle Paul taught it as a matter of fact.

Jesus said, "I am."

Regarding Jesus' use of "I am," Con again discards the context of the chapter. Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." Con concludes that, since no one picked up stones against the man in John 9:9, that all usage of "ego eimi" is a mere statement of identity. But in the verse immediately following my citation, the Jews "picked up stones to throw at him." Indeed, Jesus uses the "I am" throughout the entire conversation of Chapter 8, identifying himself as the light of world and the one that absolves all sins, something that all Jews understood to be God's jurisdiction alone.

What really matters is that Jesus, if he is not God, is taking God's name in vain. If he is not God, as Con insists, then he is sinning throughout this entire scene. How can Con justify that a mere human take credit for the work of God? My goal in citing this passage is not to prove the deity of Christ, it is to prove the absurdity of the contrary. How does a sinning human get lifted to the right hand of God? That is the question I want Con to address.


Having covered all of Con's latest objections, I think my explicit scriptures from the Gospel of John stand strong. I also still have the Pauline passages and the many supporting implicit passages still in play. Con's penchant for resolving tension has been repeatedly abused and I've caught him dropping context in his latest round. Thus, I think the doctrine of the deity of Christ is quite reasonably true and biblical.

  1. Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, p. 62
  2. Luke 5:21
Debate Round No. 4


Unfortunately, I underestimated the level of space I would need to respond to Pro's questions adequately; as a result, my responses may not have covered every issue he addressed, and for that I apologize. Perhaps at a later date, we can break this issue down into bite-sized pieces and delve a little deeper. Nonetheless, I did want to make an attempt to address the points that Pro brought up in his last round, and bring some closure to this debate.

To Pro's credit, he did point out a problem with my citation (the first passage should have read "that which was from the beginning . . . concerning the word of life."). However, Pro accuses me of "stripping all context", but he is guilty of that very thing by claiming that "all the context you need is in John 1". By what authority does he dismiss 1 John 1 as valid context for interpreting John 1:1ff? If Pro wants to argue that these two passages are NOT parallel, he must show why John would use such strikingly similar language otherwise.

Pro claims that being a "Son of God" is consistent with being God; however, for Pro's argument to be valid it has to work for any terms plugged into it: to say that being the son of God is consistent with being God, is exactly the same as saying "to be the son of President Bush is consistent with being President Bush"; the fact that this argument doesn't work proves Pro's claim of logical compatibility to be completely false. Pro claims that he has allowed the Bible to "speak for itself", but where does the Bible say that you can be the son of someone, and be that same someone at the same time, and in the same relation? Pro has provided no evidence that we should depart from the Bible's normal usage of language when it comes to Jesus, and since Jesus is called the "Son of God", we should interpret that to mean that God and his Son are two distinct persons who share the same relationship as a Father and a Son. To argue that my position requires the presupposition that one cannot be both the "Son of God" and "God himself" is to shift the burden of proof; since I am defining terms as per their Biblical usage, then the burden of proof is on Pro to show that in this case we must depart from the explicit, clear biblical usage of the term "Son of God", without begging the question, and assuming that Jesus is called God in John, so they must be compatible.

For John 20:28, I argued that since Jesus denied claiming to be theos in 10:33, then it is unlikely that he would accept that title in 20:28, and therefore it is unlikely that Thomas is addressing Jesus as theos. I never claimed that my argument was deductively valid, merely inductively valid. Also, Jesus clearly denies claiming to be theos, by saying that he claimed to be huios theos; so here are the options: he denied it in one instance and accepted it in the other, he accepted it in both instances, or he did not accept it in both instances. Since he denied it in 10:33, neither the 1st choice nor the 2nd can be true, so it must be the 3rd. Pro says that it is equally valid to argue the other way, but in order to do that, he would have to show two things: that Jesus' statement in 10:33 was not a denial of claiming to be theos and that Thomas was referring to Jesus as theos in 20:28.

Since the phrase ego eimi itself does not connote deity, and since the context of 8:28 makes it clear that Jesus did not claim to be God in 8:58, Pro is forced to use eisegesis and circular reasoning to prove his argument. Firstly, since the Jews gave no clear statement of why they were stoning Jesus, Pro must read into the text that it was because he claimed to be God. Secondly to argue that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus because he claimed to be God is circular reasoning (e.g., Con: "Why are they stoning him?" Pro: "Because he claimed to be God". Con: "How do you know he claimed to be God?" Pro: "Because they're stoning him"). Pro asked "How does a sinning human get lifted to the right hand of God?" That is clearly a loaded question because Jesus was NOT a sinner. Furthermore, the Jewish concept of Agency gives the agent the authority of the person himself; therefore, Jesus could be acting as God's agent, with God-given authority to do his works. If Pro tries to argue that a man cannot be invested with God's full authority, then he must concede, based on his own line of reasoning that even though he does not understand how God can give a man the power that Jesus had, it can still be true, because God is beyond our understanding, and we cannot inject our own limiting views of him into the scripture.

Pro claims Romans 9:5 calls Jesus "God blessed forever"; however, this text is grammatically ambiguous, and Pro's translation is inconsistent with Paul's use of language. In the first place, different versions dispute the translation of this text, and unlike the ESV, the RSV and the Moffat translation have this as a reference to God the Father, not Jesus, evincing the ambiguity of the Greek in this text. Also, Paul refers to God the Father as "God over all" and "God blessed forever" in several other places (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:15); however, he never refers to Jesus with that title. Not only does this make Pro's interpretation less likely, it shows that Pro's claim that this is an explicit proof does not take into account the ambiguous Greek and the wider context of Paul, while the interpretation I propose is consistent with both. Therefore, it is much more likely that this is a reference to God the Father, and not Jesus.

In regards to Philippians 2, Pro implies that "being in the form of God" means that you are "God". Again, he provides no evidence linking the two, and yet claims this is explicit proof of Jesus' deity. There is no passage that says that the Father is in the "form" of God, so to argue that Jesus is God because he is in the "form" of God lacks any Biblical precedent. For Pro's argument to stand, he must show that Biblically, to be in the form of God means that you are God, without begging the question and assuming that Jesus is God, so it is possible to be both "in the form of God" and "God" at the same time. Also, the word "form" is "morphe" in Greek, and it means "external appearance"; therefore, being in the morphe of God is like being the image of God. To say that to be in the image of God makes one God would be to say that Adam was God, being made in his image. Not only does this make sense lexically, but it also makes sense of the fact that Jesus is called the "image" of God elsewhere in Paul's writings, as well as the rest of scripture, and thus is consistent with the Biblical portrayal of Jesus.

In Titus 2:13, Pro argues that Paul is calling Jesus "God and savior". Firstly, the term theos was applied to men who were not deity; so even if this passage was referring to Jesus as theos, it would not make him God; the burden of proof is on Pro to show why theos must mean God. Also, it is not a unique thing for Paul to refer to God as Savior (e.g., 1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:3, 1 Timothy 4:10, Titus 1:3, Titus 2:10, and Titus 3:4), which shows that there is a precedent for what occurs at Titus 2:13, and to call God Savior in that verse and separate from Jesus would not only fit perfectly with the theme of the Titus (in which Paul calls God "savior" 3 other times), but also with the grammar of the passage which allows for there to be 2 different persons in view. Furthermore, this passage could also be referring to Jesus as "the glory of our great God and Savior", because Jesus said that he would appear in the glory of his Father (Luke 9:26; Mark 16:27), thus it would be perfectly consistent with Jesus' words to refer to his appearing as the appearing of the glory of God. In either case it would be out of context for Paul to refer to Jesus as God and savior, when the vast majority that he uses the term "God", it is a clear reference to the Father.


I thank my opponent for a long and engaging dialog. I also thank every reader that patiently read and considered all five rounds before voting. With that, I will start my final rebuttal, which will read like a blow-by-blow.

The "Word"

I did not say that John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1 are not parallel. I simply showed that it was fallacious to define "the Word" in the Gospel of John using ambiguous relative pronouns from 1 John instead of using the Gospel's own words, "and the Word became flesh." I also showed that it was unreasonable to think that those pronouns could not refer to a person when it was something that John personally witnessed and the pronouns appear in an introduction to a letter about Jesus Christ. The warrant for my interpretation is that it involves fewer assumptions.

The Apparant Contradiction

To say that being the Son of God is consistent with being God is not the same as saying "to be the son of President Bush is consistent with being President Bush." We are dealing with God, a being far more complex than President Bush. I explained how the apparent paradox can be the result of our limited perception of a more complex existence. Just as a single cube is perceived as three distinct entities in 2D space, The Son and the Father can both be the same God. Con uses eisigesis to conclude that because people cannot be both Son and Father, God cannot be both Son and Father. He is injecting his idea of what God ought to be into the scriptures. My interpretation, again, uses fewer assumptions.

Consider the differences in our approach to interpretation. My approach is, if the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God, then he must be the Son of God. Moreover, if the Bible says Jesus is God, then he is God. When I see the contradiction, I accept it. For Con, whenever he sees the contradiction, he is compelled to resolve it. So much so, that he is willing to spend paragraphs explaining away the plain meaning of the text. I ask the readers to consider which methodology is more honest to the text.

Did Jesus Deny Being God?

To be blunt, Jesus is not denying his divinity in John 10:33. Again, this is made plain in the context of the text immediately before it. Why did the Jews pick up stones? Because just three versus earlier, Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." The Jews want to stone him "for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." So, if Jesus is denying godhood in verse 36, then we was a liar in verse 30. Since Jesus must not be a sinner in order to preserve the doctrine of salvation, Jesus must have been truthful when he claimed to be one with the Father and also when he avoided stoning by claiming to be the Son of God. Thus, we have both John 10 and the account of Thomas confirming the deity of Christ.

"I am"

Regarding Jesus using the term, "I am," Con insists I am reading between the lines. How can I be guilty of this, when the lines are right next to each other? In verse 58, Jesus says "before Abraham was born, I am!" In verse 59, they picked up stones. The Jews were not permitted to stone someone for just any reason. They weren't doing it because they just didn't like him. Of the eighteen crimes warranting stoning[1], Jesus was guilty of blasphemy. To say that it could have been for any number of other unsaid reasons is to argue from silence. Mine is the most logical interpretation using the immediate context of the text. Notice also how Con says I engaged in eisigesis here but did not provide a more plausible interpretation. Ipse dixit.

Con finally answered my questions regarding the elevation of a sinner. He says the Jewish concept of agency fills the gap. But, the Jews wanted to stone him on multiple occasions for blasphemy. Why didn't the Jews understand that he was just an agent instead? After all, if it's a Jewish concept, it should have at least been considered. The reason is simple: because Jesus' claim to divinity was as plain to them as it is today.

Paul's Claims

Regarding Romans 9:5, I wonder if Con actually reads these passages. Paul does not call Jesus "God blessed forever." The exact text is, "To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." This directly contradicts Con's claim that Paul never refers to Jesus as "God over all." He does it right here. Now, I will be honest that the Greek's lack of punctuation leaves room for interpretations such as, "whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." (NASB) However, there are several good reasons to accept the ESV translation[2], including its historical acceptance and the fact that "God over all" was then an established formula of Praise. Even Paul used it regularly, as Con himself pointed out.

Con again ignores context in his treatment of Phillipians 2:6. Look at versus 6 and 7, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." Paul is using simple contrasting statements here. If "form or God" is the same as Adam's "image of God," then Jesus would not have had to choose to be "born in the likeness of men." Moreover, how can a mere human choose how he is born?

Lastly, the Titus 2:13 verse is actually the most explicit given the original Greek. The Greek translation is precisely "tou megalou theou kai sothros emon iesou christou," or "of the greatGod and Savior of us Jesus Christ." According to The Granville Sharp Rule[3], when a Greek phrase is in the structure the-noun1-and-noun2, then both nouns refer to the same person. Thus, the most parsimonious interpretation is that Paul is calling Jesus Christ both God and Savior. This is also harmonious with Isaiah 43:11-13, in which the LORD (YAHWEH) claims to be the only savior.

Consider the implications of Con's interpretations. If it is true that Paul did not consider Jesus to be divine, it would seem he would have not been as so ambiguous as Con wants to make him to be. Indeed, the plain reading of all these passages is to understand that Jesus was divine, whereas Con has to rely on possible alternative explanations that I require leaving out vital context.


Recall Con's claim in the opening round was that my position involves taking scripture "violently out of context," but I have repeatedly shown Con to be guilty of this through the omission of phrases or even the ignoring of verses immediately before or after a citation. I have defended my explicit passages using fewer assumptions and immediate context. I also still have the dozens of versus implicitly supporting my position as well. I have shown that Con's position is absurd; for if Christ is only a human, his actions make him a deceiver.

If the deity of Christ is on trial, then I believe I have defended it beyond reasonable doubt.


Debate Round No. 5
83 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago

The Gospel of Mark is often called the Gospel of Action. The reason is that it has very little "teaching" sections. It says very little about any kind of theology, and mostly is focused on what Christ did. However, that is not to say that it does not make implicit theological teachings.

Many have "rightly" pointed out that Christ walking on the water is an allusion to Yahweh taming the seas in the OT. In addition, in the Transfiguration account that Mark tells he says his "clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them." (Mar. 9) This is a statement that is used in Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature to describe Yahweh. Mark also uses the phrase "Son of Man" which is used in Daniel (7) to describe a ruler who's kingdom is eternal (Daniel also uses the concept of White Robes to describe Yahweh).

I think to say that Mark doesn't make any claims of Jesus' divinity is shortsighted and does not take not take the use of allusions and literary devices into account.

Beyond that, if we take a doctrine of inspiration... one Gospel does not overrule the other simply because of composition date or author. If we assert that the Gospel of John is inspired... the actual physical author doesn't matter.
Posted by trkwpb 6 years ago

You are correct. My apologies. I haven't touched a bible in almost 20 years so I am a bit rusty. Assuming that historians are correct and Mark is a collection of Peter's teachings, it still begs the question of why Jesus' as god incarnate is not mentioned.
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
@trkwpb, I'm glad you enjoyed the debate. It was one of the most enjoyable debates on theology I've had. It's a tough topic, and I appreciate your positive feedback.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago

Mark was not one of Jesus' disciple.
Posted by trkwpb 6 years ago
Great debate! I don't agree with KRF's conclusion but he did have the better argument. I am surprised that ezs did not address the idea that Christians are supposed to be sons and heirs with Christ. How can God be the heir to God? In addition, the authorship of the books attributed to John is highly suspect. Mark is the oldest known gospel and it does not make the argument that Jesus was God. I find it very telling that one of Jesus' closest disciples did not believe that he was God incarnate.
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
My most honest answer is, I don't know. I'm hardly a biblical scholar. My best guess is, literary style. For example, the Gospel of Mark is very matter of fact in its presentation whereas the Gospel of Luke has a lot more literary flair. Perhaps John was most interested in Christ's divine nature whereas others were motived by something else. But that's just my own hasty hypothesis. I'll have to give the question some study sometime.

Thank you Freeman for reading the debate. It's so long, I was curious how many people would take the time to read it.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
This debate was so incredibly fascinating. I'm more inclined to agree with Pro, though I do have my doubts.

KRFournier, just out of curiosity, why does only one of the Gospels, John, refer to Jesus as God?
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
There are several cases, sure, where it authority versus divinity isn't perfectly clear, but those are then interpreted in light of the few that are clear (implicit in light of explicit). That's my approach. Whenever there seems to be alternative interpretations, I ask myself which one keeps scripture in harmony. John 1:1 is pretty clear to me, and I think it takes a lot of bending to make it less explicit than it is. John 1:1 not only uses Theos, but in the same sentence, indicates Jesus is eternal. So, it's difficult to interpret other passages as in authority only without leaving John 1:1 in the dust.
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
I guess the issue is where ezs states that you would indeed need to show that theos does indeed mean God as in divinity rather than just authority.

The context does not denote more than authority in most cases. I was looking for that resolution.
Posted by KRFournier 6 years ago
ezs777, this was like two and half debates rolled into one. I appreciate how much you made me work for my rebuttals. I haven't done so much interpretation research for a debate in quite some time.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Gileandos 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate was basically two Non-Biblical Scholars trying to explain why their personal interpretation is accurate. Neither positioned a historical framework whereby their interpretation was more accurate. Pro attempted a process framework but con was able to show that even by that process doubt could be cast on a particular interpretation. Pro used good Sources and gaines the point for sources. KR had a more clear presentation and gaines the point.
Vote Placed by Freeman 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: There was a spectacular presentation from both sides; however, I feel obliged to cast a Pro ballot. The sheer volume of the scripture that Pro used to support his position could not be overcome by Con.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: KRFournier has at least as solid of an argument as ezs777 does, plus he has 1500 years of Orthodox Christianity backing him up. Con has a heafty burden of proof to overturn 1500 years of established orthodoxy, and did not fulfill it.
Vote Placed by TUF 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had alot of sources from the bible, great argumentation, while som of the bigger points were lefted un-refuted by con. KRF was better structured did great at argumentation. Both debaters did great!
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Excellent presentation, 1/3 to Pro simply due to clarity of presentation.