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Deity of Christ

DEITY OF CHRIST. The clearest and fullest expression of the deity of Christ is found in the Nicene Creed which was originally presented at the Council of Nicaea, a.d. 325. In the Eng. Book of Common Prayer the tr. appears as follows: “...one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made.” Set forth in this statement is every possible effort to make clear that Christ is “Very God of Very God.” Closely allied with the word “deity” is the more general word “divinity.” Deity is the stronger word, the absolute one. It can be argued that there is a “spark of divinity” in every man; not so with the word “deity.”

Only one person has ever made such claims for himself—Jesus Christ. His claims embrace the idea that what He teaches God Himself teaches, that what He has done only God could do, and that in His full personality there is an absolute oneness with God. To assert Himself in any way at all, is to assert God. Anyone making the claims for himself that Jesus Christ makes for Himself must be either mad and perverted or his claims must be true. Since the former simply cannot stand in the light of other evidence available one is forced to conclude that the latter is established. Jesus Christ is what He claims to be: “Very God of Very God.” The character portrayed in the gospels and reflected in the epistles will not allow man to believe that the one “altogether lovely” is a deceiver or self-deceived: “Si Non Deus, Non Bonus.




Every person who knows himself to be saved and who has the assurance of communing with Christ is by the nature of the experience driven to give his Redeemer the highest place and bow before Him in worship. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb 13:8) is not only a description of Christ’s eternal essence but is also a useful description of the unanimous report in every age and in every place of the presence of Christ. Christian experience, rather than speculation, compelled the formulation of the doctrine of Christ’s deity. Indeed it may be said that one does not think so much of the attributes of God and then apply them to Christ as that he sees Christ and knows what God must be like.

Bibliography

See Creeds, Systematic Theologies (Hodge, Strong, Berkhof); Dorner, History of the Development of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, 5 vols. (1863); Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols. (1877); Bruce, The Humiliation of Christ (1881); Sanday, Christologies Ancient and Modern (1910); Mackintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ (1912).