Mere Prophet? Mere God?

If Jesus was just a mere prophet, then to which god was He a prophet?  Certainly, Jesus cannot even be a prophet to the Judeo-Christian God if he was indeed a mere prophet.  This is because Jesus didn’t claim to be a prophet – He claimed to be God.  However, the Judeo-Christian God claims that He is the one and only God – Isaiah 44:6, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.'”  The Judeo-Christian God doesn’t leave any room for Jesus to be God or even a god.  That is, of course, unless Jesus is that same God, which He very clearly claimed to be, and was the very reason why He was crucified – John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM;'” and John 10:30, “I and My Father are one.” 

During this Easter season, I encourage you to think about God’s claims of Himself and the implications of His claims.  If Jesus isn’t the Judeo-Christian God, then don’t you think the Judeo-Christian God would find Jesus fully less than Himself and no prophet at all?  If the Judeo-Christian God isn’t God, than isn’t He fully less than His claims and even no god at all for the very same reason?  Whether we like it or not, the claims of the Judeo-Christian God, and Jesus – God incarnate – are black and white, cut and dry, either/or.  So, although you may not agree that the Judeo-Christian God is indeed God, and that Jesus is indeed that same God, then at the very least you should agree that our decision to be made is clear: the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus are either the Number-1, Grade-A Jackbutts or truly God.

Sidebar: The words of Isaiah, an 8th century BC prophet, that preceed the words of God in Isaiah 44:6 are beautiful and paramount – they are the acknowledgment of the Holy Trinity and God being the same yesterday, today and forever (also see Hebrews 13:8).

-Terrence

*Origin of Discursion: Thinking about Easter, America’s general numbness to its significance, meaning and implications, and Relativism.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Mere Prophet? Mere God?

  1. GCC

    This decision is actually not an either/or in the way it is presented here. There are at least two other options. One of which happens to be the most elegant solution to the problem.

  2. Perhaps, what do you suggest?

  3. GCC

    I don’t care for the term Judeo-Christian in many contexts and this is one of them. So for clarity, I’ll refer to what is referred to above as the Judeo-Christian God just as God, and Jesus just as Jesus without implying one way or the other as to their actual deity. Feel free to insert your own thoughts about a trinity when I refer to Jesus or leave them out. I don’t think it matters for this. OK, here goes:

    1.) Jesus is God and so is God.
    2.) Jesus is God alone and God is not God. (The terminology here is a real pain.)
    3.) Neither Jesus nor God are God
    4.) Jesus is not God and God is God.

    One could probably come up with other solutions, but my guess is they’d be just more highly detailed versions of these.

  4. I’m not particularily fond of the term Judeo-Christian God either, because to me it’s just God. But, I thought I’d use the term to avoid reader confusion. Also, to me the names Jesus and God are synonomous.

    At any rate, our decision to be made is actually an either/or proposition – there are just multiple either/or decisions to be made. When I said, “the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus are either the Number-1, Grade-A Jackbutts or truly God,” these were precisely the four options I inteded to present. The phrasing “Judeo-Christian God and Jesus” does not inherently tie both together, although it may be natural for some readers to do as some believe them to be the same… God. Our decisions to be made are still fully intact.

  5. GCC

    I see what you mean now. I think the confusion arises at the point when Jesus and God are made synonymous. And then to help be clear for readers you have to separate the two on the page and use terms that get confusing, etc. etc. etc.

    I think you’re the perfect example of assuming they always run together (or in your words above “inherently tie both together”). For Christians this makes sense. It makes sense for Atheists too – only backwards, of course. But for Muslims it’s problematic. And probably for eastern religious people too.

    Whatever, I think it’s understood that any person’s claims to deity (or prophecy) have no bearing on the deity of a true God. We should come up with a good term for that Judeo-Christian god we’ve been talking about though. God of Israel? Or maybe God of Abraham is better. Thoughts from the peanut gallery? We could make it an official, defined term here on Los Discursionistas and then always capitalize it or something like in a contract. And that gives us some real flexibility in our creativity of coming up with a good term.

  6. Yes, it is obvious and accurate to say that one’s claim to be deity does not alter one’s status of being or not being deity. I did not intend to suggest otherwise. The claims of the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus to be the one and only true God are no exception. Claims don’t change reality, which in this case doesn’t change whether or not the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus are indeed the one and only true God.

    However, the claims of the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus to be God do have bearing on whether or not we believe them to be God. I don’t know of any person who is all-knowing, so it is natural and necessary for the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus to claim to be God. In fact, I would argue that they’re not claiming, they’re telling. In doing so, they present all people with a decision to make, which is whether or not they believe that the Judeo-Christian God and Jesus are indeed the one and only true God.

    My God already has so many names. Where should we start? Yahweh; Adonai; El; Elohim; Elyon; Eyaluth; El-Berith; El-Gibohr; El-Olam; El-Roi; El-Shaddai; Jehovah; Jehovah-Jireh; Jehovah-Rophe; Jehovah-Rohi; Jehovah-Nissi; Jehovah-M’kaddesh; Jehovah-Shalom; Jehovah-Elohim; Jehovah-Tsidkenu; Jehovah-Shammah; Jehovah-Sabaoth; Shaddai; Shalom; Shekhinah; Abhir; Gaol; Kadosh; Kanna; Magen; Melekh; Palet; Shaphat; Tsaddiq; Zur; Adir; Adon Olam; Aibishter; Avinu Malkeinu; Boreh; Ehiyeh sh’Ehiyeh; Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak ve Elohei Ya’aqov; Elohei Sara, Elohei Rivka, Elohei Leah, ve Elohei Rakhel; El ha-Gibbor; Emet; E’in Sof; HaKadosh; Kadosh Israel; Melech HaMelachim; Makom; Magen Avraham; Ribbono shel ‘Olam; Ro’eh Yisra’el; Tzur Israel; I AM, Alpha & Omega, and the list goes on…

    I’d rather focus on the discussion at hand.

  7. i am not sure i understand the use of the word ‘mere’ before prophet. Jbap and Jesus come on the scene after 400 years of no prophets in Israel. Prophets were a big deal. Jesus consistently copies Moses because Moses was a really big deal. 🙂

    I think you got to the heart of your question at the end when you invoked the ‘holy trinity’ discussion. How does God remain the father, while also being the son? It is certainly worth exploring with more words and thoughts.

  8. Paulo – I used the word “mere” to describe something as “pure and unmixed” and “absolute,” not as something that is no big deal. Also, I used the word “mere” as a bit of a tribute to C.S. Lewis.

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