This is my third installment about a letter about Jesus and the issue, “Was Jesus God?” If you have not read the first two installments, this may not make much sense to you.
To emphasize: as a Christian, I affirm that Jesus is “the Word of God” and “the Word become flesh,” that is, the Word incarnate, the Word embodied in a human life. In Jesus, we see what can be seen of God in a human life. This affirmation goes back to the first Christian century and is orthodox Christianity.
For those who want to say more than “Jesus is the Word embodied in a human being,” namely that “Jesus was God,” a challenge. What do you mean? Do you mean that Jesus as a historical person had the mind and power of God – that he was omniscient as God is commonly thought to be? And that he had divine powers – that like God he was omnipotent and could do anything? And if you don’t mean that, what do you mean?If what you mean is that Jesus as the Word of God embodied in a human life is the decisive revelation of what can be seen of God in a human life (namely, God’s character and what God is passionate about), then our disagreement may be about words rather than substance. But if you mean more than that, what do you mean?
Finally, I recognize that for some Christians, Jesus has become one of the names of God. People praise and pray to Jesus. I have no problem with that – unless that is projected back on the historical Jesus so that he becomes a super-human and thus not one of us. The Word become flesh – the incarnation – means that he was one of us.