Was Jesus Christ God? (Part 1)
I have given four proofs for God’s existence so far, and there are many more. (See here if you missed them). Now, most people would see that it is very reasonable to believe in God, and that there are good reasons for doing so. But, how do we know who this God of the universe is??
Because He was revealed in and through Jesus Christ! Jesus is proof that God exists, and Jesus reveals who God is in a unique way. Did any sane religious leader or philosopher in history actually claim to be God? Never; rather they claimed to be a prophet of God, or a way to God, etc. For example, Abraham was a prophet of the Lord. Buddha came preaching a way to enlightenment. Muhammad asserted that he was a prophet, a messenger of God, and so on.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth differed from everyone else before Him. He exploded on the scene, not claiming to be yet another way to God, but the way to God – the only way. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.” In short, Jesus taught that He was the fullness of truth and life for all time, the only way to heaven (Jn. 14:6, Acts 4:12). People scratched their heads at first. Jesus also taught that He came down from heaven (Jn. 6:51) and had the authority to forgive people’s sins (only something God can do); He also taught that He had the power to raise people from the dead at the end of time (Jn. 11:21-26) and even proclaimed to people that He could give eternal life (Jn.4:13-14; Jn. 10:24-25).
Can you imagine Jesus going up to people in His village and telling them with a straight face that He is really from heaven, not earth, and that He had the power to bring their mortal bodies back to life after they die? People would be like, “Ummmm, no.” Can you imagine someone making any of the above claims with a straight face? Jesus’ outrageous statements shocked people, intrigued people, and certainly created controversy, because to some, they were bordering on crazy talk! People who make outrageous claims like this are usually seen as odd, or not fully there, or a few French fries short of a Happy Meal!
But, then Jesus takes it all to a whole new level by actually claiming to be God, the one God of the universe (Jn. 5:17-19; Jn. 8:58, etc.). Moreover, He actually believed it!
Now, there are only two possibilities here. Either Jesus was God, as He claimed, or He was not. There is no in between. People who truly believe that they are almighty God are certifiably crazy. These unfortunate people end up in strait jackets or in nicely padded rooms. Yet, when Jesus makes the claim that He is God, while some people accused Him of blasphemy, others believed Him because of the authority He had and the powerful miracles He works.
Who is Jesus… Really?
Everyone knows that Jesus existed. Duh! No argument here. Only people on the fringe try to disprove His existence along with the fact that the Holocaust happened. They can’t be taken seriously.
With that being said, not everyone believes that Jesus is God. Some postulate that He was a good person; others accept him as a good teacher, and some even a prophet or enlightened master. But the inescapable reality is that Jesus claimed to be God. So, either He was or He wasn’t. If He is God, then all of His controversial claims make sense. But, if He was not God, then we have a few options. Either He was: a liar, a lunatic, or a prophet/good teacher/enlightened master.
Jesus as a Liar? If Jesus told the masses that He was God but wasn’t, then He was a liar, plain and simple. But, no one really believes Jesus Christ was a pathological liar. Most everyone in history, whether they accept Jesus as God or not, believed that He was at least a wonderful teacher and a good moral leader.
If Jesus was lying about being God, then He was intentionally deceiving people and therefore, was not a good, moral, or praiseworthy person in the least. Rather, He would be one of the most evil people in history, intentionally duping billions into buying the greatest lie of all time.
But in reality, Jesus was sincere, kind, helpful, selfless, loving, and inspirational, everything a liar is not. He is also world-renowned for being one of the greatest moral teachers of all time, something He could not be if He was just a liar, an imposter. Proving that Jesus was a pathological liar is extremely difficult if not impossible. It doesn’t fit the historical record. Therefore, it can be ruled out.
Jesus as a Lunatic: Another possibility is that Jesus was crazy, though very few would actually believe or argue this. But was Jesus who was one of the greatest moral teachers of all time, just a poor crazy person? The question answers itself.
Lunatics don’t have the moral compass Jesus had, nor do they command large amounts of people and inspire them to lead better lives. Rather, they are usually pitied. They are often self-absorbed and don’t living in reality. Moreover, everyone realizes that they are crazy, different, and they are usually pitied. They also don’t often care for others, love them deeply, or seek what’s good for them, all the polar opposite of Jesus Christ. Not to mention, crazy people don’t work miracles on command and live a completely normal, rational life. Thus, with the facts we have, Jesus was not crazy – unless someone can provide more that just an assertion or hypothetical circumstances to prove it. Thus, this option also can be ruled out.
Jesus as a good teacher? There are many who assert that Jesus wasn’t God but only a preacher or good moral teacher. But, if Jesus wasn’t God, then He could not have be a good teacher because He would either be lying or crazy, as stated above. Crazies are not good teachers and people who lie are not either.
What does the historical record show us about Jesus Christ. No one on earth before or after Jesus spoke as He did, forgave sins, or worked countless miracles on command. The miracles he worked back up His claims and demonstrate that everything He said was true. In other words, He taught that He was God and backed it up with powerful miracles to prove Himself. This will be examined in Part 2.
 Kreeft and Tacelli, Christian Handbook for Apologetics¸ Pg. 185