Is Jesus God? If you answered with a quick, firm “yes,”? read on. Recent polls show a whopping 96% of Americans believe in “God.”? Obviously, considering the state of American Christianity, something doesn"t quite add up. Dare we assume that 96% of Americans believe in the Christian God? Do we all have the same “god”? in mind when we confess faith?
Now think about the center of Christian apologetics: that Jesus Christ is God. Please don"t excommunicate me just yet, but if you were to ask me, “Is Jesus God?”? I would respond with another question. “Which ”?god" are we talking about?”? Most evangelical Christians, when sharing the Gospel, assume that Jesus" identity is in question, while God"s isn"t. In other words, we think everyone basically agrees with us about who God is, and so all we must do is simply proclaim Jesus" divine link to Him.
Declaring the divinity of Jesus by stating matter-of-factly that He is God does not really resolve anything until we have painted the biblical picture of the true God. Yet in the past 200 years, fundamentalists and evangelicals have defended Christ"s divinity without stopping to consider how God"s identity is also under attack…
…Here"s the statement that I recommend you chew on a little bit: GOD IS JESUS. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God, not just because Jesus is God, but also because God is Jesus. Jesus is the One who shows us who God is and what God is like. [read the whole post]
Perhaps his most interesting assertion is that we make a mistake in saying that Jews and Christians both worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
…you might say, “Jews and Christians share the same God! It"s just about Jesus that we don"t see eye to eye.”? By saying this, Christians make a glaring misrepresentation of Yahweh – the Great I Am.
God is not God apart from Jesus. It is pointless to try to define the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob apart from Jesus Christ.
I’ll have to think on that some more, but it’s certainly an interesting notion: what do we say about Jesus—who we claim is God (i.e. of one substance with Him)—when we say that we worship the same God as Jews or even Muslims, both of whom do not recognize Jesus in the way Christians do?
The kicker is that we must at least assert that the Jews used toworship the same God, because Christianity is based on and grew out of Judaism. How could things suddenly change? It’s important to note, of course, that the author’s concern is with how the “same God” position relates to our understand of Jesus: does such a position undermine the Christian assertion that Jesus is God?
Confusingly, last summer I read a convincing editorial in Faith Today, which argued that Muslims and Christians do, in fact, worship the same God (with certain caveats ):
there are…reasons to think that, from a Christian perspective at least, the answer is: “Yes, Muslims and Christians worship the same God.”? In case this assertion sounds strange, let me assure you that I am outlining the position of historic Christian orthodoxy…
To explain further: if the Christian God ”? the Father, Son and Holy Spirit ”? is the true God, then God is worshiped, however incorrectly or incompletely, by many who do not embrace Christianity. For the Christian God is the creator of everything and, as such, is implicitly known and sometimes worshiped by all people.
It is on this basis, says Paul, that God judges the nations (Romans 1:18-32). It is from this basis that God may acquit some people on the Last Day (Romans 2:13-15). This assumption also seems to underlie Paul"s conviction that the Athenians" dim awareness of God was given expression in their altar dedicated to an unknown God (Acts 17). Paul proclaimed to them that the God and Father of the Lord Jesus was their unknown God. And he invited them to come to know him through Jesus.
The writer of the Hebrews says that God welcomes all who believe that He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
For these reasons, I think the Bible teaches that Muslims (alongside adherents of other faiths and none) and Christians worship the same God. [read the whole thing, along with the author’s response to reader feedback]
Both authors make good points, I think. Perhaps key to the Faith Today article is that the author asserts that while non-Christians may worship the same God, they do so with an incomplete or incorrect notion of who He is, as did the Greeks who worshipped the idol “to the unknown God”.
In the end, I don’t think we can make a definitive statement in this regard. In any event, that isn’t really our business. As the Faith Today author suggests in his response to reader concerns, humans are all brothers and sisters in spite of the various faiths, and all deserve love and dignity.