Imagine this scenario. A Jehovah’s Witness comes to your door and challenges you to prove from Scripture that Jesus is God. You point out some passages that explicitly call Jesus “God,” like John 1:1 and Romans 9:5, and you pat yourself on the back for having stepped up to the plate.
But then something unexpected happens. The Jehovah’s Witness goes through all of your passages one by one and gives alternative translations for each of them. He shows that your case isn’t nearly as airtight as you thought, and he challenges you once again to show without a doubt that Jesus really is God. So what do you do now?
At this point, you have two options. First, you can try to debate the finer points of Greek grammar and show that those passages do in fact call Jesus “God.” That may sound like the heroic thing to do, but for most people, it’s not really feasible. Unless you’ve studied the language and you have the resources at hand to back you up, this is usually a dead end. Instead, you should switch gears and look at some other ways the New Testament teaches the divinity of Jesus. Those other ways are often pretty subtle, so they’re not easy to catch, but once you see them, they’re impossible to miss.
Jesus the Creator
For example, take a look at these passages:
“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 were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:15-16)
“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
On the surface, these texts don’t appear to pose a problem for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can say that God created Jesus first and then chose to make the rest of the world through him, much like how he chooses to create new people through their parents. That seems perfectly reasonable, so we’re back to square one yet again, right?
God the Creator
Not quite. Take a look at this verse from the Old Testament:
“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
‘I am the Lord, who made all things,
who stretched out the heavens alone,
who spread out the earth—Who was with me?’” (Isaiah 44:24)
When we put this text next to the ones that say Jesus created the world with God, we have a problem. In Isaiah, God explicitly tells us that he did it “alone.” There was nobody else with him, so how can Jesus have played any role in it?
Jesus Must Be God
If we say that Jesus isn’t God, then there’s no way to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory teachings. Either Jesus had a role in creation, or God did it all by himself. Those are mutually exclusive alternatives. However, if Jesus really is God, then the problem disappears. He played a role in creation and God did it all by himself because Jesus is God. This is the only way to resolve the tension, so Jesus can’t just be a created being. He must be truly divine.
So the next time a Jehovah’s Witness shows up at your door and asks you where the Bible says that Jesus is God, you know what to say. Don’t waste time arguing about the passages they’re prepared for. While you might break through eventually, it’ll take a long, hard battle, and it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth. Instead, you should show them the subtler yet more decisive clues like this one, and you’ll likely have a lot more success.