The deity of Christ
In my last article we looked at the crucial doctrine of the deity of Christ. The deity of Christ has been and continues to be a source of controversy among all who seek to denude him of any real power. We want to make him a good moral teacher (though a good moral teacher would never have claimed what he claimed) or a mere religious teacher akin to Moses or Mohammad or others.
But Christ has not left us with such options. His claims are clear. C.S. Lewis sums it up nicely when he writes, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to,” [Martindale and Root, Editors, The Quotable Lewis, (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL 1989 p. 340)].
One of the clearest claims to divinity is recorded for us in John 8:58. Let’s look at this important verse. To put it into context, we need to read verses 57-59: “‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ the Jews said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘ before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:57-59 NIV).
Had Jesus wanted to claim simple pre-existence, he could have used the Greek word “was.” It is the word Jesus uses when he refers to Abraham. In the NIV the word is translated, “before Abraham was born.” The Greek word here is “genesthai” and means “to come into being.” By using this word, our Lord here locks Abraham into time. Not only does he lock him into time, but by use of this word, Jesus points to the temporal beginnings of Abraham.
Then he does something unheard of; he switches tenses completely. Instead of using a word which would indicate a beginning, regardless of if it was a beginning in the past or present, he uses the Greek word “eimi”, taking himself out of time and claiming eternality. What he actually does here is he takes the proper name for the God of the Covenant, and applies it to himself.
When Moses said, “Who shall I said sent me,” God answers him tell them “I AM” has sent you,” (Exo-