Wednesday, April 7, 2010

God is Jesus?

I had to get a copy of Brian McLaren’s "A New Kind of Christianity" to see what the flap was all about. On the one hand, I have found the book addressing many of the discomforts and uneasiness I have with the theology of my past, while on the other hand, turning me on my head leaving me reeling, trying to consider what he is saying from another paradigm! Last night the question came up, “What if instead of saying Jesus is God, we said God is Jesus!” Does this make a difference? Thank about it!


  1. If a=b and therefore b=a, what's the difference? They are both equally true.

  2. I just finished reading a great book on Christology by Martin Parsons, "Unveiling God, Contextualizing Christolgy for Islamic Culture". Although this book is about explaining Jesus to a Muslim, it is also great in helping those of us who have not thought deeply about the trinity outside of "Greek" patristic creedal statements. "God in 3 persons, blessed trinty" is not found in the Bible. the book is available from the William Cary Library. Phil

  3. It seems that "Jesus is God" easily rolls off my tongue, but "God is Jesus" causes some hesitation.

    I think it may be that I somehow consider Jesus an incomplete revelation of the Father and The Holy Spirit in his human form, and therefore, something of his deity is held back, restrained, invisible or unstated in the Biblical account.

    But to say "God is Jesus" makes Jesus the reference point for rethinking what I read about God in the Old Testament,and in the New Testament beyond the gospel accounts, and how I think about God in general.

    For example, it is Jesus that tells Saul to wipe out the Amalakites. That causes some cognitive dissonance for me.

    Does that make sense?

  4. I don't think those two terms (Jesus and God) are dynamic equivalents. I'll try to clarify this way: God - the overarching principle of deity consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Eternally in harmony, eternally one, and yet distinct.

    I often think some of our difficulties of discussing deity / trinity is in trying to consider a spiritual truth from a physical persective. But since physical is all I understand, let me say it this way. IF we say the term God = diety, then Jesus is God - since Jesus is deity. However - again from a physical perspective - God is not Jesus. In my mind I have Augustine's triangle of the trinity (, with the Father, Son, and Spirit at the corners. Linking those persons of the trinity are lines on which are written, "not God". But together, the three "are God". Again, I think you can only carry these physical ideas so far in discussing Deity, but put in a crass/physical way - Jesus is "a part" of God. Thus we cannot say, as the first responder did, that A = B. Put back in Augustine's terms, A + B + C = God. Therefore it would be incorrect to say B = God.

    In regard to "Jesus telling Saul to wipe out the Amalakites"... I feel the dissonance. Personally, I find it easer (though not theologically correct) to divide the attributes of God among the persons of the Godhead - The Father representing Justice while the Son represents Mercy. God is both perfectly Just and Perfectly loving/merciful. God's perfect justice calls for the death of the sinner while God's perfect love calls for mercy to His creation. So, at the Father's request, Jesus the Son takes our place to fulfil both perfect justice and perfect mercy.

    Because I tend to think of certain attributes of God as being primary characteristics of one of the persons of the Godhead (though, in fact, there is no division in the Godhead), it also causes me dissonance to think of Jesus the merciful condemning the sinner Amalakites. But I have no dissonance saying God/Deity commands such a thing, for we are all desperate sinners deserving of death. Mercy alone stays His hand. God demonstrated His great love for us in this, while we were yet sinners...

  5. A thought...a tree is a plant but you cannot really say a plant is a tree....the grammar implies that all plants are trees... At first I thought A = B but if you look at it from a language standpoint, A is somehow inclusive of B just as the category "plant" includes "trees." After analyzing the statement "God is Jesus" I began to wonder how other belief systems or even language groups wod interpret this?

  6. God is Jesus... I don't think that I have a problem believing that Jesus is God, but I agree that it appears to be "limiting" to say God IS Jesus. And as the blogger above said.. we do have a tendency to see God as the executor of justice, and Jesus as being the merciful one, and I think the Holy Spirit would be the relational one. The three make the whole.

    But, as I think about it now, maybe we limit Jesus this way... as if he was somehow LESS than what He was/is. I think most of us think of it this way: Father is wholly God; but that Jesus is only partly God (since he shares his Being with that of a human). Also we tend to think that the Father > Son > Holy Spirit. Am I making sense? (I'm far from being a scholar!)

    David, I'm going to have to think on this more... now I get your post. ... why it set your mind reeling!!!!

  7. If I ever figure out where I laid this book, I'll finish the last third of it... it has been interesting. Some of what Brian finds as "new" is not new...just new to him. No burning hell promised at death for the majority of unbelievers... that's what my Bible says and always has. That is great to see another has found it and is sharing it. I do plan to put something together about this book in time, if I can only find time