When, in Christian theology, did Jesus become God?

I didn’t know where else to slot this question, so I put it here in GD. If Mods want to move it, so be it.

According to Catholic Theology, Jesus is God, just as the Father and the Holy Spirit are God. And like the other Two, Jesus always was and always will be. So when He speaks in the Bible, I think he is speaking as an infallible, omniscient Being.

But when I asked a priest,“If I went back in time and met Jesus while he was on earth and asked him for all the math of the Big Bang would he be able to rattle it off like it was child’s play?”

The priest thought for a bit and then replied mystifiedly, “I don’t know!” But Jesus as God knows everything. So, when he came to earth, was His Godhood temporarly suspended?

It was as if the priest believed that Jesus becomes God (again) later in His life. But the Nicene Creed, which we recite at Mass on Sundays, says in part:

“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father…”

In other words, Jesus is God. Always was, always will be.

What’s nagging at me is that Jesus makes some very troubling statements in his temporal life, such as people who don’t follow him will die, i.e., not get to heaven (which was the subject of another recently started thread which also bothered me).

For such statements, the theologians all jump into Jesus’s psyche to tell us what he meant. For example, “…that if you live a good life according to your creed - other than Christianity, then in effect, you will know Christ, and thus you will go to heaven,” which is the way I was taught as a child. Which can cause an explosive argument here, especially in view of the turmoil in today’s world, so maybe we should stay away from it. Or perhaps we shouldn’t. Your call.

So I guess the question comes down to this: When Jesus speaks in the Bible, is he talking as God - not just as some prophet, who could be right about this, but not about that?

I implore all of you to be respectful. If you want to do a Hate Jesus post, please start your own thread. I’m looking for considered opinion, not vitriol.

The question should read: When, in Christian theology, did Jesus become God?

Sorry.

Good question. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I will come along to post a more authoritative answer or link.

Orthodox Christian doctrine asserts that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine (while realizing that this is paradoxical and hard to reconcile). As a human being, he would have been subject to human limitations. Some things in the Bible, including the story of Jesus’s temptation in the desert (Matthew 4 or Luke 4) suggest to me that Jesus would have been able to transcend his human limitations by using “divine super powers” had he choisen to but that he often chose not to do so.

The picture we get of Jesus in the Bible is of someone who has a direct line to God the Father, and who is able to speak authoritatively on things; but there are some things he does not know: “But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not even the Son; only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)

The word used in Philipians 2:7 is '[symbol]ekenwsen[/symbol] ('ekenôsev), to be made nothing or to be emptied out. This led several of the early church fathers to develop the idea of kenosis, or “pouring out.” In this view, Jesus, while fully divine, “poured out” his divinity during the period that he was on earth, living as fully human and only gradually become aware of his own divinity, even though he possessed it.

The relevant passage from the New International Version:

and from the KJV:

and from the New American Bible:

Jesus never “became” God. He always “was” God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: three separate entities, but the same being.

I know, it doesn’t make logical sense. You just have to accept it on faith.
Which is sort of the point.

That’s the theory. If we take it that Jesus’ divinity was “poured out” as Tomndebb suggests then it would logically follow that his advise on morality and knowledge of an afterlife are human, all too human. If the words attributed to Jesus are divinely wise, then you are stuck with the hateful stuff he said which does, and should, cause you pause. Just cherry picking your favorite parts of the bible and calling that wise, while ignoring ignorant and hateful stuff, may not be the most logically sound option, but it does seem both popular and pleasing to most Christians on this board so at least you will have company.

I’d bet $50.00 that Jesus would start talking about 6 day creation and wouldn’t have a clue about the big bang.

I think the most rational answer here is that both premises are incorrect. There is far insufficient reason to think that Jesus ever was, or ever will have godlike qualities, or that the beliefs of the Catholic church as depicted by the Nicene Creed are in any way correct. This is just stuff that fools people who don’t like to think about it too much.

Sorry, here’s all my response.

That’s the theory. If we take it that Jesus’ divinity was “poured out” as Tomndebb suggests then it would logically follow that his advise on morality and knowledge of an afterlife are human, all too human. If the words attributed to Jesus are divinely wise, then you are stuck with the hateful stuff he said which does, and should, cause you pause. Just cherry picking your favorite parts of the bible and calling that wise, while ignoring ignorant and hateful stuff, may not be the most logically sound option, but it does seem both popular and pleasing to most Christians on this board so at least you will have company.

I’d bet $50.00 that Jesus would start talking about 6 day creation and wouldn’t have a clue about the big bang.

I think the most rational answer here is that both premises are incorrect. There is far insufficient reason to think that Jesus ever was, or ever will have godlike qualities, or that the beliefs of the Catholic church as depicted by the Nicene Creed are in any way correct. This is just stuff that fools people who don’t like to think about it too much.

It’s been my impression that Christian theologians will say whatever seems immediately expedient to their purposes and that truth, objectivity, and the removal of contradictions, are values they don’t hold too dear.

I could cite verses that support either position. Together it is just another irreconcilable contradiction that most Christians would prefer you just ignore in the name of faith.

How’d I do?

There is also a strain of Xtian theology that goes by name “adoptionist”, that is to say, Jesus was such an exemplary and pure human being that God “adopted” him as Son of God at the time of His baptism by John the Baptist, symbolized by the dove alighting on him and the Voice announcing “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased”.

On this and other theological topics, I recommend the Ebla Forum, here:
http://www.eblaforum.org/

(For a secular humanist, I am inordinately fascinated by the obscure and arcane twists and turns of theology. I would prefer to study xenobiology, but, well…)

Very well!

I can easily appreciate your impatience, badchad, andyou showed admirable retraint in your post. There are times when I feel the same way you do.

Thanks very much.

You really belief that? I’ve practiced that option most of my adult life with friends, teachers, family, writers, philosophers, etc. and I have found that to be a very souond principle. All-or-nothing-at-all-thinking is gullible.

I don’t think you have established yet that “most Christians” prefer that others (or “you”) ignore contradictions in the Bible specifically because of their Christian faith.

As for my own beliefs, I think that Jesus and Jesus Christ have different connotations. Although I don’t think that Jesus ever lost his divine nature, I don’t think he really accepted the Incarnation until he was in the wilderness. And I think it’s important that he had a choice. I think that he came out of the desert as Jesus the Christ – the Messiah.

I still think that he was not the same as God the Father, however. One of the things that makes me think so was when he prayed to the Father to “…let this cup pass from me.” He didn’t have the power to get out of all the trouble and pain.

I also believe that the human Jesus made mistakes.

If you maintained that one of you friends, teachers, family members, writers or favorite philosophers were so wise as to personify the creator of the universe, and you maintained that you followed any one of their teachings to such an extent that you took their name as a descriptor of your beliefs, then yes, I think you should do more than cherry pick their statements according to your own prejudices. If on the contrary you considered Jesus to be a man like any other you know; like your friends, teachers, family members, writers or favorite philosophers and you consider much that he said in error and that he does not speak in accordance with that of the almighty then, and only then, do I think your cherry picking appropriate. If you think that the recorders of Jesus’ words are mistaken or dishonest, then you are again in position of believing in extraordinary claims on far less then extraordinarily evidence.

I don’t think I need to establish it. Most Christians admit it when pressed. Suburban Plankton just did, and you sure did in my pit thread, with regards to the problem of evil.

Why?

badchad, you seem to have misinterpreted what I said. I am not asking, nor do I expect, you or anyone else to accept anything. When I said “you just have to accept it on faith”, I did not mean to imply that *everyone *was required to accept it; only that * I as a Christian *must accept it.

You can choose to believe or disbelieve anything you want. I am not here to convince you otherwise. I was merely giving my answer to the OP’s question, and pointing out that I was aware that the answer I gave did not make logical sense.

And what exactly was the “hateful stuff” that Jesus said?

I hesitate to reply to the OP because (a) my library is in storage, so I don’t have citations handy, and (b) I’m not entirely sure what is the subject of the inquiry. OTOH, I have a few thoughts on what I think might be the subject, so I will share those. With the caveat that, to me, this is a historical rather than theological question. To wit, how and when did the idea of Christ as divine arise. And with the further caveat that I approach the question as an atheist (or strong agnostic, depending on how one defines terms).

In my understanding, the notion of Christ as divine arose, in the first instance, from the Gospel of John. His (whoever “he” might have been) describing The Word as eternal was the thin edge of the wedge in establishing Christ as eternal and on equal terms with the Father. More important, though, was later Christian apologia, which addressed why Christ’s sacrifice was necessary and, more importantly, why it was effective. In sum, it was concluded - I’m talking late second and early third century (as distinguished from Constantine’s conversion, which comes early fourth century) - that Christ’s sacrifice could save all mankind because it was infinitely good. To be infinitely good, Christ had to be divine. QED.

Plainly, this is a simplification. But I believe it’s the correct answer. IOW, Christ became God somewhere around the turn of the third century. Others who regularly post on topics like this, e.g., **Diogenes ** and Polycarp, may disagree, and I am happy to be “learned” better.

However, the passage I quoted from Philipians is already associating Jesus with the divine and that passage appears to have been borrowed from a hymn. Given that Philipians was written in the mid-50s, that sentiment expressed in a hymn (one borrowed by the letter’s author as a way to reinforce his message by pointing to common, shared belief), would seem to indicate that idea was rather older than the Gospel of John, much less the third century.

This is not to say that the concept was fully formed or agreed upon that early. First Thessalonians, written not many years earlier, does not have a fully formed notion of Jesus as divine and there were many battles, (later many of them bloody), before a single idea was adopted by nearly all of Christianity. However, I believe that idea germinated by the middle of the first century.

I avoid future confusion I suggest you use the word I when you mean the word I and not use you when you mean the word I. But still it seems when you say “I as a Christian” you are implying that other Christians have to accept things on faith as well.

I’m merely telling you that it is not a virtue to believe in things that make no logical sense, and more importantly, are contrary to logical sense. I think that I should not believe in such nonsensical stories, and more importantly I think that you and everyone should also not believe in things that make no, or are contrary to, logical sense.

Are you really unaware?

I appreciate your responses here. It really helps clarify your position to me. You’ll get no argument from me about there being plenty wrong with Christianity. It’s humanity and we’re not Vulcans. Lots of things are emotionally driven and illogical. That’s part of the process.

Here’s the thing about your comments here. Some who follow Jesus realize that the Bible has been altered down through the centuries. You can call it cherry picking but IMHO it can also be trying to sort out the spiritual teachings of JC from what men have left us. Not all the words attributed to JC are his. Because I know this doesn’t mean I should throw out everything that’s said. I value the gospel of Thomas as much as I do Mark or John. None of them are perfect.

I’m not clear on how “poured out” leaves to a logical conclusion that his advise was human. Poured out doesn’t mean he was emptied. His source was limitless and he poured out continually.

He might know that even if he rattled it off there was non one to comprehend it so why bother? Or he might advise us to try to pay attention to the eternal qualities and not worry about the details of time in which moth and rust corrupt.
Oh wait…he did that.

I think the way in which Jesus, God, you and me and everybody else is connected is a beyond our ability to understand. I see the life of JC as the example of what we are, or can be. I think that is conrtained in his words.
Christian tradition is very powerful. Mythology and tradition take on the status of truth. It’s unfortunate. Jesus taught that the truth would set us free and that we looked for that within rather than in a set of rules. When he says “He who believes in me will have eternal life” I don’t think he was demanding worship. He was saying “if you have faith in the spirit you feel from me, and claim that as your own , then you are on the path to God”

That is true for the most part. Surrendering a concept you hold as very important or even sacred is very difficult. It’s not just an intellectual exercise but an emotional one as well. If a person sees their church as a place of emotional solace and support for themselves then it will be hard for them to let go. They will justify and rationalize in order to keep what they value.

The fact is that there is plenty of evidence for us to know that we can’t be sure which words in the Gospels he actually spoke. I see JC as a high spiritual being with a very clear connection to the source through the Holy Spirit.
Did he fluctuate with some moments being more divine than others? We don’t know and it’s not that relevant. But knowing what we do about the Bible, if we want to know the meaning of his words we can look to the same source he did.

He was elected to the position by the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.

You’re not getting your church history from The Da Vinci Code, are you?

Have you ever considered the possibility that while some words in the bible may or may not have been spoken by jesus, that none of them were divinely inspired? Cherry-picking aside, is it possible that he was simply a guy with a few good ideas? I always get hung up with that part. Why would a good idea have to come from god? I just don’t understand why you would have to begin examination from the standpoint of* any * of it coming from a higher power when it could just as easily (in fact, more easily…and more believably) have been generated during moments of deep contemplation.