The Deity of the Risen Christ

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We often hear this criticism from evangelicals: "You creationists are causing controversy and division among Christians; you should just be preaching Christ and the gospel, not creation!"

But that would be impossible. The "everlasting gospel" includes the worship of "Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (Revelation 14:7). That One who made all things is Jesus Christ, "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth" (Colossians 1:16).

Since this "everlasting gospel" is to be proclaimed by an angel from heaven (Revelation 14:6), it cannot have been any different from the gospel of Christ as preached by Paul (note Galatians 1:8).

These and similar Scriptures ought to be enough to convince Bible-believing Christians that the Lord Jesus Christ is the God of creation, and that He must be worshipped as Creator as well as Savior.

The problem is, however, that many Bible-believing Christians have allowed themselves to be influenced by Bible-rejecting skeptics, who not only deny the fact of creation, but also the gospel and the deity of Christ. These unbelievers deride such beliefs, saying that they depend entirely on the teachings of a long-outmoded, error-filled book that has little relevance to our modern scientific age.

These teachings are found in the Bible, of course, but the Bible is the inspired Word of God, whether people believe it or not. However, there are certain overwhelming proofs of the truth of the Bible, and of the deity of Christ, that do not depend on whether the Bible was inspired by God or not, or even whether its records are historically accurate.

For example, consider the words attributed to Jesus (whether or not the reporting of them was correct) in Matthew 24:35. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," He is said to have said, "But my words shall not pass away."

What an arrogant, foolish statement that seems to be, reputedly spoken by an outwardly uneducated, unpublished, itinerant preacher, with a small band of ignorant followers in an insignificant captive state in the Middle East! Why, the man must have been mad to make such a claim! Or so it would seem, unless it were somehow true.

As a matter-of-fact, for almost 2000 years His words have not passed away!

This claim constitutes an amazing prophecy, fulfilled in worldwide outreach, with the words of Christ probably read and believed by more people than any other words ever spoken. He may never have written a book, but His Bible is the world's all-time best seller, and more books have been written about Him and His teachings than those of any other man in history.

And consider also His claim in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." How could an uncultured carpenter from a despised village in a small province ever presume to assert that he was the very light that would enlighten the entire world? Absurd!

Yet there have been millions down through the centuries who have testified that He was, indeed, the light of their world! Furthermore, He has been the inspiration for the world's greatest music, its finest art, multitudes of hospitals, schools, and charitable institutions of all kinds. The world today would, indeed, be in gross darkness had it not been for the multitudes of concerned and caring men and women who have followed Him.

Still another remarkable fulfilled prophecy is found in Matthew 16:18. "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Unbelievers may be able to find various problems with His church (that is, with all those believers who stand upon the Rock of Peter's great confession, in Matthew 16:16, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God), but they cannot ignore the fact that the church exists! That small body of twelve unpromising disciples has somehow become a great host of millions in every age, in spite of intense opposition and persecution continually seeking to destroy it. How could such things be, unless Christ really is the Son of God?

That is not all. In John 12:32, Jesus is quoted as saying? "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." The writer then comments that, in saying this, He was "signifying what death He should die." It may not have taken a great deal of prophetic insight to predict that He would die by being lifted up on a cross, for that was a common method of executing those convicted either as common criminals or as enemies of their Roman rulers in those days.

But how could Jesus be so presumptuous as to prophesy that His crucifixion would "draw all men" to Him! Such an ignominious and excruciating death would seem to repel men, not draw them. How would they even hear about it?

But they have heard about it, all over the world. Though not all individuals have believed on Him, multitudes have believed, and the rest have at least had to make a decision about Him. If "all" is understood to mean "all kinds," it is literally true that men and women of all nations and all walks of life have been irresistibly drawn to His cross and to Him as the One who died there for their sins. As the hymn writer sang: "That old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me." The cross also has come to adorn thousands of pulpits and church steeples, as well as ladies' pendants and many other places.

Christ made many other such claims (or at least those who wrote the records say He did) which seem either utterly false or impossibly presumptuous or completely mad, but which have turned out to be remarkably fulfilled prophecies for 2000 years. They provide an impregnable testimony to His deity, for only God knows the end from the beginning.

We shall consider just one more of these claims. To His small band of disciples, He predicted: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).

That was quite an order for such a motley and seemingly insignificant group. The task was clearly impossible, even if they were willing to try. But then, the account says they watched Him ascend up to heaven, and a few days later they received power when the Holy Ghost came on them, and somehow the absurdly impossible prophecy is really being fulfilled.

The gospel has penetrated the remotest parts of the world, and at least some converts "of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues" (Revelation 7:9) will one day stand before the Lord Jesus Christ praising Him for His great salvation.

These amazing claims of Christ all have become marvelously fulfilled prophecies, even though they seemed insanely arrogant and impossible when they were first spoken. Further, as noted before, they do not even depend on the inerrancy or historicity of the accounts in the Bible where they are recorded. They are true and fulfilled prophecies regardless of the authenticity of the records.

As a matter of fact, these and other such claims also themselves become yet another evidence, not only of the deity of Christ, but also of the veracity of the Scriptures, because it is the Scriptures that tell us that this was what Jesus taught.

"Search the Scriptures," He said, ". . . they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). ". . . And the Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).

If Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, as He claimed, then He is a member of the eternal triune Godhead, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In the days of His humanity, He could pray in full confidence to the Father who had sent Him. "Now, O Father, glorify thou me . . . with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5).

He was there before the world was, and the Scripture says that "all things were made by Him" (John 1:3). He is, as the ancient creeds have said, "very God of very God." He is our Creator and it is He who had to pronounce the great curse on His whole creation when man brought sin and death into the world (Romans 5:12; 8:20-22).

But then, in the fullness of time, He came forth from the Father to bear the great curse Himself, because of "His great love wherewith He loved us" (Ephesians 2:4). He suffered and died in payment for both the universal "sin of the world" (John 1:29) and also for the individual "sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). The great Creator has become our forgiving Savior!

The final and compelling proof of His deity, of course, is His bodily resurrection, demonstrated by "many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). For a summary of the compelling evidence of his literal resurrection from the grave, see the ICR booklet, The Resurrection of Christ: The Best-Proved Fact in History. Christ has defeated sin and death once for all and made effective forever for every person who receives His great gift of salvation through repentance and faith in Him.

* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry Morris, Ph.D. 1999. The Deity of the Risen Christ. Acts & Facts. 28 (4).