Section Two—Basic Doctrines of the
Chapter 14: The Divinity of Christ
Syllabus for Lecture 17:
1. Prove that Christ is very God, from what the Scriptures say of His preexistence. Turrettin, Loc. iii, Qu. 28. Hill, bk. iii, ch. 3, 4. Dick, Lecture 30. Watson’s Theol. Inst., pt. ii, ch. 10.
2. What is the doctrine of the Old Testament concerning the proper divinity of the Messiah? And was He the person revealed in the theophanies?
Hill’s Div., bk. iii, ch. 5. Hengstenberg’s Christologie, Vol. i, ch. 3. Dick, Lecture 31. Watson, pt. ii, ch. 11.
3. Are the divine names ascribed to Christ?
Turrettin, as above. Hill’s Div., bk. iii, ch. 7, Sect. 1. Dick, Lectures 30, 31. Watson, pt. ii, ch. 12.
4. Are the divine attributes given to Christ?
Turrettin, as above. Hill, as above, Sect. 2. Dick, Lecture 31. Watson, as above, ch. 13.
5. Are the divine works ascribed to Christ?
Same authorities. Watson, as above, ch. 14.
6. Is divine worship in the Scriptures rendered to Christ?
Turrettin, as above. Hill as above, Sect. 3. Dick, Lecture 32. Watson, as above ch. 15. See on the whole, Abbadie, on the Trinity. Wardlaw’s Socinian Controversy. Moses Stuart against Channing, Evasions and objections to be argued under their appropriate heads.
A Prime Article.
we come to the prime article of revealed theology, a doctrine of deep significance. What we think about Jesus Christ affects not only questions surrounding the subsistence of the Godhead, but it also delves into entirely relevant issues, such as whether or not one should trust, obey and worship Christ as God, the nature and efficacy of His atoning offices, as well as what constitutes a Church and what are its rites. He who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ is a Christian; he who does not, (whatever his profession), is a mere Deist. Without the Divinity, the Bible is, "the drama of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted."
Argued Scripturally Under Five Heads.
We have already established a Trinity of persons in the Godhead; and this alone, if validly proved, would show the divinity of Jesus Christ. For where else in Revelation, than in the persons of Him and the Holy Spirit, can the other persons be so naturally and plausibly found? But not to urge this: the general strain of the language of the Old and New Testaments produces an overwhelming impression, that they mean to represent the Messiah as divine. Note the contrast between their descriptions of Him and of Moses, the greatest of men; the fact that Jews have almost uniformly understood the New Testament as inculcating it, and have rejected it as idolatrous; the laborious evasions to which Socinians are obliged to resort; and the fact that the great majority of both friends and enemies have so understood it. If the Apostles did not intend to teach this doctrine they have certainly had the remarkable ill luck of producing the very impression which they should have avoided, especially in a Book intended to subvert idolatry.
There is, as has been intimated, a general testimony for this truth, interwoven with the whole texture of Scripture, which cannot be adequately presented in a few propositions, because of its extent. It can only be appreciated by the extended and familiar study of the whole Bible. But the more specific arguments for the divinity of Jesus Christ have usually been digested into the five heads: of His Preexistence, Names, Attributes, Works and Worship. This distribution is sufficiently correct. My purpose will be, to employ the very limited space I can allot to so extensive an argument, first in giving you a syllabus of it, which shall possess some degree of completeness; and second, in illustrating some of the more important testimonies, so as to exhibit, in a few instances, the manner in which they apply, and exegetical evasions are to be met.
If Jesus Christ had an existence before he was born of the virgin, this at once settles the question, as Hill remarks, that He is not mere man. And if this preexistence was characterized by eternity, independence, or divine works of Creation and Providence, it further settles the question that He was not a creature. The theophanies of a second person of the Godhead, if revealed in the Old Testament, (and if that person can be identified with Jesus Christ), as well as His works of creation, if ascribed to Him, will be parts of this argument for His preexistence, as well as fall under other heads.
But we find a more direct testimony for His preexistence contained in a number of passages, where Christ is said to have been "sent" to have "come from heaven," to "come into the world," to be "made flesh," etc, and so on. (John 3:31; 6:38; 16:28; 13:3; 6:62; John 1:14; Heb. 2:7, 9, 14, 16). Of one of us, it may be popularly said that we came into existence, came into the world; but those phrases could not be used with propriety, of one who then only began to exist.
Consult also, John 1:1-17, 15, 30; 3:13; 8:58; 17:5; 1 Cor. 15:47; 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 1:10, 11; Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 3:14.John 1:1-17, c.f. In the passage, from John 1:1-17, only two evasions seem to have a show of plausibility: First, to deny the personality of the Logo"; second, to deny that His preexistence is taught in the phrase, en arch. But the first is refuted by showing that the Logo" is the creator of all; that in verse 4, He is identified with the, Fw", which Fw" again, verses 6, 7, was the object of John Baptist’s preparatory ministry; which Fw" again was rejected by the world (verses 10, 11); and this Fw", identical with the Logo", was incarnate, (verse 14), was testified unto by John Baptist, (verse 15); and is finally identified, (verse 17), with Jesus Christ, the giver of grace and truth. That the phrase, en arch, does assert His preexistence is proved by the resemblance of it to the Septuagint rendering of Gen. 1:1. By the author’s use of hn, instead of egeneto, by His association with God, verse 2, showing a preexistence similar to God’s; by His creation of all things, (verse 3), and by the utter folly of the gloss which would make the Evangelist say that Jesus Christ was in existence when His ministry began. That John should have used the peculiar philosophic titles, Logo", and Fw", for Jesus Christ, is most reasonably explained by the state of opinion and theological language when He wrote His gospel. The Chaldean Paraphrase, and the Platonizing tendencies of Philo and his sect, had familiarized the speculative Jews to these terms, as expressive of the second person; and meantime, the impious speculations of Judazing Gnostics, represented by Cerinthus, had attempted to identify Jesus Christ with one of the Aeiwne" of their dreams, a sort of luminous emanation of the divine intelligence. It was to vindicate the truth from this folly, that St. John adopts the words Logo" and Fw" in this emphatic assertion of the Messiah’s proper divinity (1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).
Divinity of Christ In Old Testament.
That the Messiah was to be human, was so clearly revealed in the Old Testament, that no Jew misunderstood it. He was to be the Son of David according to the flesh. It may seem somewhat incompatible with a similar disclosure of His proper divinity, that the Jewish mind should have been so obstinately closed to that doctrine. But the evidences of it in the Old Testament are so strong, that we are compelled to account for the failure of the unbelieving Jews to embrace it, by the stubbornness of prejudice, and death in sin. The Messianic predictions of the Old Testament have formed the subject by themselves, of large volumes; I can, therefore, do little more than enumerate the most conclusive of them as to His divinity, giving the preference, of course, to those of them which are interpreted of, and applied to, Jesus Christ, by the infallible exposition of the New Testament. Compare, then, Numbers 14:22, and 21:5, 6, and Psalm 95:9, with 1 Corinthians 10:9. The tempting of the Lord of the Old Testament, is described by Paul as tempting Christ, in consequence of which they were destroyed of serpents. Psalm 102:26, ascribes to God an immutable eternity; but Hebrews 1:10-11, applies it to Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 6, the prophet sees a vision of Jehovah, surrounded with every circumstance of divine majesty. But John 12:41, explains: "These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him." (Isa. 14:22, 23); Jehovah says: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth"; but Romans 14:11, and 1 Corinthians 1:30, evidently apply the context to Jesus Christ. Also, compare Psalm 18:18 with Ephesians 4:8, 9; Joel 2:32 with Romans 10:13; Isaiah 7:14 with Matthew 1:22, 23; Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:6; and Malachi 3:6. with Mark 1:2 and Luke 1:76. The last three pairs of references contain a proof peculiarly striking. In Isaiah 7:14, the child born of a virgin is to be named "God with us." In Matthew 1:22, 23, a child, Jesus Christ, is born of a virgin, and receives, by divine injunction, through the mouth of an angel, the name "God with us"; because He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and was to save His people from their sins. In Micah 5:2, Bethlehem is destined to the honor of bringing forth the Ruler whose attribute was eternity; in Matthew 2:6, it is declared that this prediction is fulfilled by the appearance of Jesus Christ. In Malachi 3:6, the Angel of the Covenant is foretold. He is identified with Jesus Christ by his forerunner, John, who is expressly declared to be the person here predicted, by Luke 1:76. But that this Angel is divine, is clear from his propriety in the temple (his temple) which is God’s house, and from the divine functions of judge and heart searcher, which He there exercises. In Psalm 110:6. David calls the Messiah yn:doa} though his descendant according to the flesh. In Matthew 22:45, Christ Himself applies this to the Messiah ("What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?") and challenges them (in substance) to account for it without granting His divinity. And this eleventh Psalm, then proceeds to ascribe to this Being eternity of priesthood (verse 4), as expounded in Hebrews 7:3, as having "neither beginning of days, nor end of life," supreme authority, and judgment over mankind. Psalm 2, describes God as setting His King upon His holy hill of Zion: who is declared to be His eternal Son (verse 7), the Ruler of the whole earth (verse 8), the sovereign avenger of His opponents (verse 9), and the appointed object of religious trust. Surely these are divine attributes. Compare Jeremiah 27:5. But Acts 4:25–28, attribute the whole prediction to Jesus Christ. So Psalm 14:6, calls the king God, µyhil¿aÔ and attributes to Him an everlasting throne. But Hebrews 1:8, applies these words to the Son, afterwards defined to be Jesus Christ. So let the student compare for himself (for time will fail me to go into explanation of every text), Zechariah 12:10, with John 19:37, Isaiah 61:1, (Speaker calls Himself I, the LORD, verse 8) with Luke 4:18-21. Examine, also, Isaiah 4:2; 9:5, 6, 7; 11:4, 10; Psalm 72:17, 5; Daniel 7:13, 14. Zechariah 8:7 compared with 11:13; 12:10; Jeremiah 23:5, 6. Psalm 97:7 with Hebrews 1:6.
Argument From the Theophanies and Angel of Covenant.
But a second important class of Old Testament evidences for the divinity of Christ, will appear when we inquire who was the Person who appeared) in the theophanies granted to the Patriarchs. A personal distinction by which God the Father might disclose Himself to man in another person than His own, seems to be indicated by His nature. He is called the invisible God (1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27). It is declared that no man can see Him and live (Ex. 33:20). And we read, in the cases of some of the theophanies, that the persons favored with them were amazed at their surviving the fearful privilege (Gen 32:30; Judges 6:22, 23). But besides this concealed Person, who, though everywhere present, rarely makes Himself cognizable, and never visible to mortals, the New Testament, especially, informs us of another Person, the same in essence whose office it has ever been, since God had a Church, to act as the mediating Messenger and Teacher of that Church, and. bring man into providential and gracious relations with the inaccessible God. This function Christ has performed, both before and since His incarnation; and therefore He is the Word, the Light, the visible Image to man of the invisible Godhead (John 14:8, 9; 1:18; 1 John 1:1, 2; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3).
Yet this distinction cannot be pushed so far as though the Father never communicates with men, as the First Person. Some of the very places cited to prove the divinity of the Son, show the Father as such, testifying to the Son (Ps. 2, 110). And in Ex. 23:20; 32:34, language is used by a person, concerning another person, under the title of angel, which cannot possibly be identified as a single person, yet both are divine. It would be a great error, therefore, and would throw this whole argument into confusion, to exclude Jehovah the Father wholly from these communications to Old Testament saints, and attribute all the messages to the Son immediately. It so happens that Moses received these theophanies, in which we are compelled to admit the personal presence of the First Person per se, as well as the Second. May not this be the explanation, that He was honored to be the Mesith" of the Old Testament Church, in a sense in which no other mere man ever was; in that, He communicated directly with the person of the Father (Ex. 33:11; Num. 12:6-8; Deut. 34:10). Did not Jehovah Christ speak face to face to Jacob, Abraham, Manoah, and so on.?
Another seeming difficulty presents itself (said to have been urged with confidence by St. Augustine and other Fathers) from Heb. 1:1, 2and 2:2, 3. The Apostle, it is urged, seems here to teach, that the Old Testament was distinguished from the New, by being not communicated through God, (the Son,) but through creatures, as agents. I answer, if the texts be strained into this meaning they will then contradict the context. For the theophanies and other immediate divine communications must be imputed to a divine person, the Father, if not the Son; and then there would be no basis, on their premises, for the Apostle’s argument, that the New Testament was more authoritative, because the teaching of a divine minister. The truth is, that the Apostle’s contrast is only this: In the Old Testament, the Messiah did not appear as an incarnate prophet, ministering His own message ordinarily and publicly among the people. (His theophanic teachings were usually private to some one human agent.) In the New Testament, He did. Nor can it be supposed that The Angel of Jehovah, who presented these theophanies, is explained by the di aggelwn of Heb. 2:2. He was wholly a different Being; their ministry was only attendant, and cooperative, at Sinai (see Stephen, Acts 7:53; Ps. 68, 17).
Instances of Theophanies.
The Second Person seems to be identified in the following places: (Gen. 26:7) the Angel of Jehovah found Hagar (Gen. 26:7), He promises to exert divine power (verse 10), claims to have heard her distress (verse 11), Hagar is surprised that she survives the Divine vision (verse 13), Three men visit Abraham identified (Gen. 18), as angels (29:1). The chief angel of these three (18:1, 14, 17, and so on.), makes Himself known as Jehovah, receives Abraham’s worship, and so on. And in Genesis 48:15, 16, this Jehovah is called by Jacob, "the Angel which redeemed me from all evil," and so on, and invoked to bless Joseph’s sons, a divine function. Again, in Genesis 21:17, the Angel of God speaks to Hagar, promising her (verse 18), a divine exertion of power. In Genesis 22:1, µYhi/laÔ commands Abraham to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him (verse 11), when in the act of doing it, the Angel of Jehovah arrests, and says (verse 13), "Thou hast not withheld thy son from me"; and (verse 14), Abraham names the place Jehovah-jireh. In Genesis 31:11, the Angel of Jehovah appears to Jacob in a dream (verse 13), identified with God, the God of Genesis 28:11-22, the God of Bethel then declared Jehovah. In Genesis 32:25, Jacob wrestles with an angel, seeks his blessing, and names the place (verse 30), Peniel. This Angel is in the narrative called Elohim, and Hosea 12:4-6, describing the same transaction, Elohim, Angel and Jehovah of Hosts. In the same method compare Exodus 3:2 with verses 4, 6, 14-16; Exodus 14:19 with verse 24; Exodus 23:20 with subsequent verse; Exodus 32:34; verse 13 to verse 2, with 32:3, 4, 14, 15; Numbers 22:22 with verses 32-35; Joshua 5:13 to 6:2; Judges 2:1-4.
Compare Judges 6:11 with verses 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, and so on. Judges 13:3 with verses 21, 22. And Isaiah 63:9; Zechariah 1:12-15, compare 6:15. Compare Zechariah 3:2 with verse 1; Psalm 34:7; 35:5.
Now, the amount of what has been proved in these citations is, that two Persons, both having unquestionable divine attributes, yet sometimes employing the incommunicable name in common, appear on the stage. They are distinguished by unquestioned personal distinctions of willing, acting, feeling, One is the Sender, the other is the Sent, (a;l]m'). The one usually acts with a certain reserve and invisibility, the other is called the "Angel of His countenance" (Isa. 13:9; compare with Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). To this latter the phrase, Angel of Jehovah is so often applied, that it becomes at length a proper name. And the completing link of the evidence is given by Malachi 3:1–3 and Isaiah 40:3. The forerunner is predicted in the latter of these places, as a "voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of Jehovah," and so on. Malachi teaches that a forerunner was to precede, when the Lord whom the Jews were expecting, even the Angel of the Covenant, would suddenly come to His temple. And this Being is clearly shown to be divine, by his proprietorship in the temple, and the sovereign judicial functions he would perform there. But now, when we look into the New Testament, we find, that the forerunner was John the Baptist, and the person introduced was our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 1:76, 7:27). Jesus Christ was, therefore, the Angel of the Covenant, the owner of the Temple, the Jehovah of Isaiah 40:3, 5, whose glory John was to usher in. Hence, these theophanies not only disclose a personal distinction in the Godhead, but show the preexistence and divinity of Christ.
Names of God Given To Christ.
For objections and theories of evasion, see Hengstenberg. The argument from the application of the divine names to Jesus Christ has been in part anticipated under the last head. To comprehend its full force, the student must recall the evidences by which we showed that Jehovah, especially, was God’s incommunicable name. But in the New Testament this is not characteristically rendered, except by Kurio", which stands also for Adonai, and Adoni, (the latter applied to human masters). Therefore, it may be supposed that the Socinian evasion will be more damaging to all the argument from the cases in which the New Testament applies the terms, Kurio" Qeo", to Jesus Christ. That evasion, as you know, is, that the titles, God, Lord, are applied in Bible language to Magnates, Magistrates, and Angels; and, therefore, their application to Jesus Christ proves not His proper divinity, but only His dignity. But let it be borne in mind, that if the language of the New Testament is deficient in the power of distinguishing the communicable from the incommunicable titles of God, it also lacks the usage of applying His titles to exalted creatures. There is no example of such a thing in the New Testament, except those quoted from the Septuagint. Hence, when the New Testament calls Christ Lord and God, the conclusion is fair, that it attributes to Him proper divinity.
But we argue, first, He is also called God’s Son; and to show that this means more than when Angels, Church members, and others are called sons of God, He is called the beloved Son—God’s own Son—God’s only begotten Son (Ps. 2:7; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Dan. 3:25; Matt. 4:3; 26:63; 27:43, 54; Luke 1:35; John 3:18; 10:36; 9:35-37; Rev. 2:18; of verse 8). Here He is called Son, because He can work miracles, because begotten by the Holy Spirit. His title of Son is conceived by His enemies as a claim of proper divinity, which He dies rather than repudiate. The attempts to evade the force of the title Only begotten seem peculiarly impotent. One is, that He is so called, although only a man, because conceived, without natural father, by the Holy Spirit. Adam was still more so, having had neither natural father nor mother. Yet he is never called only begotten. Another is, that Christ is Son, because of His commission and inspiration. In this sense, Moses, Elijah, and so on, were generically the same (Heb. 3:1-6). The third is, that He is called God’s only begotten Son, because He enjoyed the privilege of a resurrection. But the dead man of 2 Kings 13:21, the son of the Shunemite, and the saints who arose when Christ died, enjoyed the privilege earlier; and Enoch and Elijah enjoyed one still more glorious, a translation.
For the arguments which rebut the Socinian evasions on this head, the student must, for the rest, be referred to text Books and Comments. The following proof texts will be found justly applicable: John 1:1, 2; 10:30; 20:31; Acts 20:28; (somewhat doubtful), Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20.
Texts Added By Dr. Middleton.
By the application of a principle of criticism asserted by Dr. Granville Sharpe and Dr. Wordsworth, of the English Church, and afterwards subjected to a most searching test, by Dr. Middleton on the Greek Article, this list of divine names applied to Jesus Christ, may be much enlarged. Dr. Middleton states it thus: "When two or more attributives (i. e., adjectives, participles, descriptive substantives) joined by a copulative or copulatives, are assumed of the same person or thing, before the first attributive, the article is inserted, before the remaining ones omitted: e.g., Plutarch; Rosko", o uio" kai klhronomo" tou teqnhkoto", where uio" and klhronomo" describe the one person Roscius. (Proper nouns, abstract nouns, and simple names of substances without descriptive connotation, are exempted from this rule.) Its correctness is sustained by its consistent rationale, founded on the nature of the Article, by a multitude of classical examples, and by the manner in which the Greek Fathers uniformly cite the passages in question from the New Testament. They are to be presumed to be best acquainted with their own idiom. For instance, Ephesians 5:5, we have, en th basileia tou Cristou kai Qeou. Instead of rendering ‘Kingdom of Christ and of God,’ we should read, Kingdom of Him who is Christ and God. In Titus 2:13, tou megalou Qeou kai zwthro" hmwn ihsou Cristou, is rendered ‘of the great God and (of) our Saviour Jesus Christ.’ It should be ‘of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’"
Winer (Gram. N. T. Greek. Article Sect. 19, 5), impugns this conclusion, as countenanced by Tholuck and other eminent Germans. His grounds are, that in Titus 2:13 Swthro" is sufficiently defined by the possessive genitive, hmwn, so that, although anarthrous, it may stand for a separate object; and second, that it is inconsistent with Paul’s doctrinal system to call Christ the "great God." To the last point we reply, that it is not a grammatical one, (as Winer admits); but a doctrinal hypothesis: and an erroneous one. Witness Romans 9:5. To advance such a surmise in exegesis of Paul is begging the question. The emptiness of the first ground is shown by a comparison of 2 Pet. 1:6. There, when the writer would separate Christ from the Father as an object of thought, he uses not only the genitive, but the article: en epignwsei tou Qeou kai Ihsou tou kuriou hmwn. Compare also, Jude 4, end.
The names of God may not be incommunicable, and the application of them might possibly be ambiguous therefore; but when we see the incommunicable attributes of God given to Jesus Christ, they compose a more irresistible proof that He is very God. This is especially strong when those qualities which God reserves to Himself alone, are ascribed to Jesus Christ. We find, then: Eternity clearly ascribed to Christ in Psalm 102:26, as interpreted in Hebrews 1:11, 12; Proverbs 8:23, and so on. Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:2; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:7, 8, 17; 3:14; 22:13; and the last three employ the very phraseology in which God asserts His eternity in Isaiah 13:10, and 44:6.
Immutability, the kindred attribute, and necessary corollary of eternity (Ps. 102:26, as before; Heb. 13:8).
Immensity and omnipresence (Matt. 28:20; 28:20; John 3:13; Col. 1:17).
Omniscience (Mark 11:27; John 2:24, 25; Heb. 4:12, 13; Luke 6:8; John 16:30; 21:17; Rev. 2:23, compared with 1 Kings 8:39; Jer. 17:10). Here Christ knows the most inscrutable of all Beings, God Himself; and the human heart, which God claims it as His peculiar power to fathom.
Sovereignty and power (John 5:17; Matt. 28:18, Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:8; 11:15–17; Col. 2:9; 1:19). The last subdivision will suggest the next head of argument, that from His divine works. But upon the whole, it may be remarked that these ascriptions of divine attributes to Christ leave no evasion. For it is in the nature of things simply impossible that a finite nature should receive infinite endowments. Even Omnipotence cannot make a part to contain the whole.
Divine works are ascribed to Christ. Hill, with an affectation of philosophic fairness, which he sometimes carries to an unnecessary length, seems to yield the point to the Arians, in part: that as God has endued His different orders of creatures with degrees of power so exceedingly various, He may have given to this exalted creature powers which, to man, appear actually boundless; and that even the proposition, that God might enable him to create a world, by filling him with His mighty power, does not appear necessarily absurd. But it seems clear, that there is a limit plain and distinct between those things which finite and dependent power can, by a vast extension, be enabled to do, and those for which all measures of created power are alike incompetent. There are many things which are superhuman, which perhaps are not super-angelic. Satan may perhaps have power to move an atmospheric storm, before which man and his mightiest works would be as stubble. But Satan is as unable to create a fly out of nothing, as is man. For the performance of this kind of works, by deputation, no increase of finite power can prepare a creature. Moreover, to create a world such as ours, to direct it by a controlling providence, to judge its rational inhabitants, so as to apportion to every man according to his works; all this implies the possession of omnipresence, infinite knowledge, memory, and attention, as impossible for a creature to exercise, as infinite power. But, however, this may be, Scripture always ascribes creation to God as a divine work. This is done, first, in many express passages (Jer. 10:10-12; Ps. 95:4; Rev. 4:10, 11); and second, by all those passages (Ps. 19:1-7), in which we are directed to read the greatness and character of God in the works of creation. If He used some other rational agent in the work, why is Creator so emphatically His title? And why are we so often referred to His works to learn His attributes? And once more, the most noted passages (John 1:1–3), in which creation is ascribed to the Son, contain most emphatic assertions of His partaking of the divine essence; so that it is plain the divinity of the work was in the writer’s mind.
The space allotted to this argument will forbid my going into the Socinian evasions of the several texts, tortuous and varied as they are. The most important of them may be seen handled with great skill by Dr. Hill, Bk. iii, ch. 3 and 4. But we clearly find the following divine works ascribed to Jesus Christ: Creation of the world (Prov. 8:23, 27, and so on.; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:1, 3, 10). And along with this, may be mentioned his sustentation of all things, asserted in the same passages.
Miracles, performed, not by deputed, but by autocratic power (John 5:21; 6:40; Acts 4:7, 10; 9:34; cf. John 5:36; Mark 2:8-11; John 2:19; 10:18; Rom. 1:4).
Forgiving sin (Mark 2:10).
Judging men and angels (Matt. 25:31, 32; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; Acts 17:31; John 5:22). True, it is said that the Twelve shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 14:28), and that the saints shall judge angels; but other Scriptures explain this, that they shall be merely assessors of Jesus Christ.
Finally. The peculiar worship of God is given to Christ (Matt. 28:19; Luke 24:52; John 5:23; Acts 7:59, 60; John 14:1; and Ps. 12 compared with Jer. 17:5; Acts 10:25, 26; 1 Cor. 1; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 1:5, 6; 7:10; 5:13).
In connection, weigh these passages, as showing how unlikely the Scripture would be to permit such worship, (or Christ Himself), if He were not proper God (Isa. 13:8; Matt. 4:16; or Luke 4:8; Mark 12:29; Acts 14:14, 15; Rev. 19:10; 22:9). Remember that the great object of Scripture is to reclaim the world from idolatry.
The Arian and Socinian evasions are well stated and refuted by Hill, Bk. iii, ch. 7, Sect. 3.