This is the second post in a series based on John Maisel’s lecture and book “Is Jesus God?” Click here to receive your free download of this resource.
If we gathered religious experts from all over the world from different faiths and different backgrounds and we asked them, “Who is God?” we would get many different definitions.
Some would say God is personal. Some would say that God is impersonal. But if we believe that truth is not relative, we would have to conclude that God cannot be both personal and impersonal at the same time. When we examine the questions about God, “Who is He?” and “How can I know him?” we encounter the limitations of a finite mind as it attempts to understand an infinite being, person, or God.
Because of our limited and finite minds, mankind has developed many different opinions.
Even when a person says there is no God, that person violates a basic philosophical principle. He is a person with a finite understanding making an absolute statement about the nature of infinity. It would be like asking how much total knowledge mankind possesses. Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize Winner in physics, has said that mankind grasps less than one percent of total knowledge.
If we have only one percent of total knowledge, would it not be possible for God to exist in the other ninety-nine percent?
You can see that it is impossible for a person with a finite mind to make an absolute statement that there is no God because to do so one would need to possess total knowledge; therefore, it is very difficult for people to think about what God is really like and be confident that their opinions are correct.
The following conversation between a professor at a university and a man who said he was an atheist helps illustrate this point:
Professor: How can you say you are an atheist (absolutely there is no God), when you agree that you have less than one percent of total knowledge?”
Man: I guess I need to say I am an agnostic. I don’t know if there is a God.
Professor: Are you a hard agnostic or a soft agnostic?
Man: What do you mean?
Professor: A hard agnostic says, “You can’t know if there is a God,” and a soft agnostic says, “I don’t think there is a God.”
Man: I guess you would say I am a hard agnostic.
Professor: Can you ever be sure that you can be sure that there is no God? Or do you know for sure that you can’t know anything for sure?
Man: No, I can’t say for sure that I can be sure there is no God.
Professor: So you are really a soft agnostic?
Man: Yes, I guess that is true—I don’t know if there is a God.
Professor: You sound to me like a man who is saying, I have never seen any evidence that there is a God, so I don’t know if there is.
Man: That’s right, I have never been exposed to any evidence about God, life, life after death or ultimate meaning in life.
And that is where we must start, with the question, “Is there sufficient evidence for me to conclude that there is a God, and that I can have a personal relationship with Him?”
Now back to our panel of religious experts.
Suppose someone on this religious panel of experts that we have gathered stood up and said, “I am God Almighty—I am the Creator of the heavens and the earth. I made you and if you are ever to experience true meaning in your life you must know me in a personal way and have a relationship with me.”
If this happened, we would at least have a place to start. We could look at the evidence of his life to determine the truthfulness or falseness of that statement. And that is exactly what we have in the person of Jesus Christ.
During His earthly ministry two thousand years ago, Jesus said, “I am God.”
He said that He was the Maker of the heavens and the earth and that only through Him could mankind experience true peace and be given eternal life. He not only issued this dramatic declaration, He had the credentials to back up those claims. The very uniqueness of Jesus is His claim to deity.
The scriptures address some of these claims in the following way:
- Speaking of Jesus Christ as God: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6
- A Declaration of Jesus as God: “Thomas called to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’ and he worshiped Him.” -John 20:28
- Jesus Returning as God: “While we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” -Titus 2:13
Let me stop right here to say that Jesus is unique among worldwide religious figures in His claim to be God.
Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God!
The record shows that Jesus was not crucified because He raised the dead or because He made the blind to see and the lame to walk. Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be God. That makes the question of His deity of utmost importance.
Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.”
Jesus said, “I am the Truth.”
Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.”
Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?”
Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.”
Jesus said, “Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus’ statements force the listener or reader to a choice. What you choose to do with Jesus Christ today is the most important decision you will ever make.