Church history records many attempts to explain the Trinity by qualifying-diluting Christ’s deity. It led to Subordinationism, i.e., the idea that Christ’s deity is less than the Father’s deity. “Unqualified Deity” affirms the opposite of such Subordinationism. What is paragraph two’s witness to the Deity of Christ? It comes in these phrases: “…being very and eternal God, … of one substance and equal with him who made the world … which person is very God …” (1689 8:2)
How does the Bible bear witness to the unqualified deity of Christ? If the evidence for the Son’s deity is to be appreciated, we must not forget that OT monotheism was a jealous monotheism.
- Isa 48:11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
- Isa 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
When the names, attributes, and prerogatives of God are attributed to another, and when God the Father is closely associated with other persons in a way that connotes equality of deity, and when others receive worship with the Father, the significance of this can’t be over-estimated. It is shocking because, in this way, God’s glory is given to other persons. The only justification for this in context with a jealous monotheism is that such persons must be the one God!
Systematic theologies cite much evidence for the deity of Christ. Central to the deity of Christ is the fact that the names of God are given to Him. Christ is called both God (Theos) and the LORD (Yahweh). Thirteen times the New Testament calls Christ God. The evidence begins with John 1:
- John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
Even more conclusively, the New Testament describes Jesus as Yahweh. John 8:58 reads: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Leon Morris says of this passage: “It should also be observed that He says “I am,” not “I was.” It is eternity of being and not simply being which has lasted through several centuries that the expression indicates.” The Old Testament background to John 8:58 confirms the truth of Morris’ comment. Jesus’s “I am” echoes Exodus 3’s revelation of the name Yahweh.
- Exodus 3:13-15: “Now they may ask me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said…”I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever.”
Four times at least, the New Testament applies to Jesus Old Testament passages which refer to Yahweh. Why did Jesus have to be God to be the Mediator? To Atone for a World of Sinners! To Unite Us with God! To Create a New Creation! To Deserve Our Worship! To Preserve God’s Glory!
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.