Three things that demonstrate the deity of Christ
There are three things that demonstrate the deity of Christ: His preexistence with God, His coexistence with God, and His self-existence with God. He is pre-existent, co-existent, and self-existent. I don’t want you to get tangled up in terms. Those are not complicated, and I’ll hope to be able to make them easy for you to understand.
Why God says ‘I AM’
At the point that everything began, He already was, describing continuous existence before creation–the eternal pre-existence of the One called the Word. So very important and unmistakably clear. That is why Jesus, and we’ll see this all the way through the gospel of John, borrows a title that God uses to describe His own eternality. When Moses wanted to know the name of God, God said, “My name is I AM that I AM. My name is the verb ‘to be.’ My name is Eternal Being.” And repeatedly in the gospel of John, Jesus will say, “I AM, I AM, I AM, I AM”–the verb “to be”–and He will even be so bold as to say to the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58), I AM. He only speaks of Himself in the present, continuous tense because there never was a time He didn’t exist.
How Jesus can be God and be beside God at the same time
There’s a beautiful illustration of this relationship that could well be the intention of the writer of the Proverbs, if you listen to the eighth chapter of Proverbs where there’s a record of creation from a most wonderful perspective – verse 27, “When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundaries so that the water wouldn’t transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world, His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men.”
Could this be the testimony of the One who is the Word who was with God when God was doing the creation? We know from Genesis 1 that the Holy Spirit was there brooding over the face of the waters and bringing shape into the creation. The whole Trinity is involved in this creative work. Yes, God the Father is the Creator, of course.
Yes, the Holy Spirit participates in creation, of course. The Holy Spirit is the One who moves over the inanimate creation and brings life to it.
Pre-existing outside time and space
If He’s uncreated, He has to be God. All angels were created. All fallen angels fell from a creation in which God had made them holy, and they defected and rebelled and fell. Every person in the universe, every person in the universe is a created being except the Creator Himself.
This is a powerful expression, by the way, a very powerful expression. “The Word was God”–four words: theos an ho logos; literally in the Greek, “God was the Word,” “God was the Word.” Powerful Greek expression.
Jesus in John 17 talks in His prayer to the Father in verse 5 about the glory that He had before the world began when He was pros ton theon, “on equal level with God.” Something, as I said, in Philippians he says, He did not hold on to but gave up for the sake of incarnation. Colossians 2:9, “In Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.” He is full deity; God was the Word, God was the Word. Four words in Greek: the clearest, most direct declaration of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ in all four gospels–God was the Word.
So He is pre existent, outside time and space before anything that is made is made. And He is co-existent, He is fully God. These are essentials for salvation faith.
Places in scripture where God is identified as a creator
Listen to 1 Corinthians 8:6, “There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things…and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” It’s the same thing–God is the Creator; the Holy Spirit is an agent in creation; but at the end, God does all His creating through the Word, the
Lord Jesus Christ.
This doesn’t deny God as Creator. It doesn’t deny a role that the Holy Spirit plays in bringing order to the creation. But it says that the Son of God is the agent by which the creating is done.
We know the Old Testament says that God is Creator. You can read it all through the Psalms.
Read, for example, Psalm 102, a wonderful testimony of God’s identity as Creator.
Read Isaiah 40, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 45–lots of places in the Old Testament talk about God as Creator, to say nothing of Genesis 1 and 2. Mark 13:19 speaks of God creating.
Romans 1:25 talks about God as the Creator, and all through the New Testament God is referred to as the Creator. And so, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ by whom God made everything that He made, as we read here and in Hebrews chapter 1.
Life = Light
People come along with some nonsense about Jesus being a created being. This is where you want to take them. He is not the Jesus of the cults; He is not the Jesus of the liberation theology realm; He is not the Jesus of liberalism.
He is the Jesus who is fully God, fully Man, who is the means by which everything that exists. And not only is He the means that came into existence, but Hebrews 1 says, “By His power He upholds all things.” He not only gave life, but He sustains life. He not only created, but He sustains the creation because in Him was life.
And then John makes a wonderful statement, “The life was the Light of men.” And while you might distinguish between life and light, you can’t do it here.
What John is saying is the life is the same as the Light of men. It’s the same phrase–the life was the Light as the Word was God. It’s the same Greek construction. And John is connecting life and light.
The one who was the life became the Light of men.
That’s why He was incarnate, right? That’s why He came into the world, to shine light into the darkness, to reveal God. The life was the Light. That’s an equal statement; that’s a parallel statement. The life and the Light in this case are the same, the same.
The Light is the revelation of the life. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world,” right? Whoever “follows Me will not walk in darkness,” John 8:12. “I’m the Light of the world”–we’ll see that when we get to John 8. It’s an amazing statement.
Light overcomes darkness
You probably have a marginal reading. I don’t know why they don’t replace this word “comprehend” because comprehend is an old English word. For us it means to understand, and that’s not what this is saying in the original language. What it is really saying is the darkness doesn’t katalambano.
Katalambano, the most vivid way to explain that would be “to pounce on and overpower, pounce on and overtake, overcome.” And what its saying is the one who is life has come into the world and is the Light of the world and the darkness cannot overpower it, cannot overwhelm it. You know that, darkness cannot overcome light. Light always overcomes darkness.