On September 4, 2013, I posted “Jesus Had To Be Made Like His Brothers To Die For The Sins Of All Us Others.” (See below.) But I keep getting comments to the contrary, so I will now blog about this again.
Christians who believe Jesus is God sometimes assert, “Jesus had to be God to save us.” I hear this argument from them more than any other, including offering any particular Bible verse to support their belief. Yet they are not able to offer any rationale for this argument or scriptural support for it.
The author of Hebrews says just the opposite, that Jesus had to be totally man, and thus not God, to save us. He writes, “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers’. . . . For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God” (Heb 2.11-12, 17). But if Jesus was a God-man, he was not like other men. Thus, how could any of them be his brothers since they are not both God and man?
So, the author of Hebrews says Jesus was totally human “in every way.” Yes, Jesus had a Virgin Birth due to his virginal conception, but that doesn’t make him God. It merely allowed him to come into this world without sin, as Adam did. That is why the Apostle Paul calls Jesus “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15.45; cf. Romans 5.14). And Jesus being without sin doesn’t make him God either; rather, it makes him the archetypal human being that God intended humans to be when he made the first two.
Furthermore, Jesus could not have been God because he was tempted. All three synoptic gospels record that Jesus was genuinely tempted by Satan at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry (Matt. 4.1-11; Mark 1.12-13; Luke 4.1-13). And the author of Hebrews again says of Jesus, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2.18). And this author soon adds, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (4.15; cf. 7.26). By being sinless, Jesus was qualified to go to the cross to bear our sins and thus become the Lamb of God who can save us. But if Jesus was tempted to sin just as we are, how could he have been God? For Jesus’ own brother in the flesh, James, writes, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1.13).Not only is this concept–that Jesus had to be God to save us–not in the Bible, it is not in the writings of the earliest post-apostolic church fathers. It appears in the writings of fourth century church father Athanasius, known as the foremost defender of the Nicene Creed of 325 CE. I do not know if it originated with him. But in my opinion, Athansius was not a model Christian with his very caustic rhetoric against Arius, constantly calling him an “ariomaniac” and other degrading words. Sir Isaac Newton (discoverer of gravity) and William Whiston (translator of Josephus’ works)—both brilliant men, friends, and devout Christians who lived mostly in the seventeenth century—wrote a book apiece about Athanasius in which they were extremely critical of him to the point that they did not believe he was a genuine Christian.
So, Jesus had to be fully man to save us. If he was God and man, a God-man, he was not fully man.
To see a list of titles of 130+ posts (2-3 pages) that are about Jesus not being God in the Bible, with a few about God not being a Trinity, at Kermit Zarley Blog click “Chistology” in the header bar. Most are condensations of my book, The Restitution of Jesus Christ. See my website servetustheevangelical.com, which is all about this book, with reviews, etc. Learn about my books and purchase them at kermitzarley.com. I was a Trinitarian for 22 years before reading myself out of it in the Bible.