Is Jesus the Same as God?
By: Muhammad Qasem
In John 10:30 Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." This verse, according to Christians, shows God and Jesus Christ to be same. On the other hand, we read in John 20:17, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Here Jesus stated that there was a distinction between him and God. In other words that Jesus himself had a God. Also, Matthew 27:46 "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Here Jesus Christ cried in loud voice calling for his God.
These are two different and opposite ways Jesus relates himself to God. The first one, he and God are one, and the second, he refers to a higher authority than him which is God. Now assuming that both are correct statements then we have a contradiction. If, for example, Jesus Christ was God himself as in John 10:30 then it would be more appropriate for him to say "...and to myself, and your God." in John 20:17, or "Myself, Myself, why hast thou forsaken me?" in Matthew 27:46. If, on the other hand, one of them is wrong and the other is correct then we have to discard the one we believe to be incorrect! Since God does not make mistakes then we no longer believe the Bible is the word of God (because we believe there is a contradiction of Godís words in the Bible).
A third possibility is that we have to look at how we can interpret the words of Jesus in those verses. As far as John 20:17 and Matthew 27:46 it is very clear Jesus had a God whom he prayed to and Whom had a higher authority than his own. We can back this up with other verses from the Bible that say, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30). Also Jesus said, "...for my Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). If Jesus and God were the same then he would not have said what he said in the above verses.
Now, the only verse that can be interpreted is John 10:30. It is the only one that does not render itself clear. The only way John 10:30 could be interpreted such that it does not contradict all the other verses is by saying that Jesus meant he and God had something in common.
To find out what the common grounds were, we have to look at the context in which this verse came: John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Fatherís hand.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
As can be seen from John 10:28 and John 10:29 Jesus was telling the Jews that he and God share something in common, and it was: no one can pluck the faithful from either of their hands. This was the common factor between Jesus and God in this case, and not that Jesus was himself God, or that they were exactly the same.
Let us go on to see what Jesus says in John 10: John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, John 10:40 And went away again beyond JordanÖ In John 10:31 we see that the Jews misunderstood what Jesus had meant by "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30). And in John 10:33 they accused him of blasphemy. Now, had Jesus been God, or had he and God been one in a literal sense then he wouldnít have hesitated to clarify the matter at that point. Jesus at that point said, "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" What he was trying to say was that if the Jews called "I and my Father are one" blasphemy then they should call what was written in their law "Ye are gods" blasphemy too.
The reasoning behind this is "Ye are gods" does not mean that you, the Jews, are Gods, it is rather an expression. It just means that you are godly people. The same applies to "I and my Father are one." It does not mean that Jesus is God or that he and God are the same literally. Itís just an expression. (The same goes for calling himself "the Son of God." This statement should not be taken literally either).
The Holy Quran says, "...Nothing whatsoever (is there) like the like of Him, and He (alone) is All-Hearing and All-Seeing" (Ch 42: Vr 11). Nothing at all is like God, not Moses, not Jesus, not Muhammad, and certainly nothing of His creation.
What about all these verses?
After I discuss the above with my Christian brothers they ask me, "but what about the other verses that say Jesus is God?" and they show me some of them. Some of these verses are: John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." My Christian brothers associate this verse to the words God had said to Moses in the Old Testament when He said to him in Exodus 3:14 "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." What Jesus said is similar to what God said to Moses. Therefore they are the same.
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Here Jesus gives himself a divine quality, being present as God.
Revelation 1:17-18 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Jesus says that he is the first and the last. This is clearly a divine quality. He also says that he has the keys of hell and of death. This is also a divine quality.
I really donít know how many more verses like these are available, but let us assume that there are more. I reply to them that what they showed me proves my point even further, and before I explain how, I relate the following verse to them: Mark 13:32 "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." It is shown here that God and only God and not the son (Jesus) has the knowledge of the time of the Judgment day. Jesus here denies his divinity (since God knows everything).
John 5:19 "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Here Jesus also says that his powers do not belong to him, and he alone, without the help of God, can do nothing. Again Jesus is denying divine qualities.
John 5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." Here Jesus also denies any divine qualities. He (Jesus), without God can do nothing.
John 20:17 "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Also, in Matthew 27:46 "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Here Jesus, in the first verse, says that he has a God, and in the second he cries out for his God. Surely God does not have a god. Jesus clearly shows that he has a God and that he is not divine.
John 5:37 "And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape." Jesus clearly states that no one had even heard Godís voice, and not even seen His shape. This is Jesus talking, his voice heard, and his shape seen by those he is with at the moment, so it cannot be him that he is referring to as the divine character, and that means that they (Jesus and God) are not the same.
John 14:28 "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I." Here Jesus also says that God is greater than Jesus. Again he is disclaiming divinity.
Matthew 19:17 "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." When a man referred to Jesus by good master, Jesus replied to him by saying that there is only one good that is God. If Jesus cannot even claim that he is good, then why should he claim that he is God?
These are all verses from the Bible. Some show Christ to be God or having some qualities of God and others show that he is not God and that he does not have divine qualities. Which should we believe? Arenít these contradictions? I say to all my Christian brothers that brought me verses that claim Christís divinity, "now you have to explain to me how this is possible. What does all this mean?"