Know this: It’s a gross twisting of facts anytime someone claims that 4th century Christians hijacked Bible verses to impose a belief in Jesus as God on the church.
However, the framers of the creeds did have an agenda…
Their agenda was to protect the clear teaching of the deity of Jesus in a way that did equal justice to three other clear teachings of the Bible:
1. There is only one God.
2. Jesus is the Son and not the Father.
3. Jesus is also a human being.
In their book Putting Jesus in His Place, Bowman and Komoszewski articulate a comprehensive case for the deity of Christ with an easy-to-remember acronym, HANDS: Jesus shares the Honors, Attributes, Names, Deeds and Seat of God.
Here’s a breakdown of each element.
Jesus Shares in God’s Honor
The Bible teaches–with abundant evidence–that we are to honor Jesus by glorifying, worshiping, praying to and even singing hymns to and about him.
Bowman and Komoszewski make the case that the early church community gave Jesus religious and spiritual devotion reserved for God alone…entirely dangerous in a monotheistic society.
But the truth remains: Disciples and angels worshipped Jesus. People in the New Testament even prayed to Jesus. These are acts reserved for God alone. You can draw this conclusion: Jesus and God are a single object of worship.
Jesus Shares in God’s Attributes
Omnipotence in Christ, for example, shows up in his miracles, mastery of nature, healing of the sick, his incarnation and resurrection.
Again, abundant biblical evidence, but Colossians speaks most succinctly about Christ as God in body where all the fullness of deity dwelt.
Jesus Shares God’s Name
Bowman and Komozewski continue their push for Jesus’ deity by explaining the New Testament’s intense and persistent treatment of the name of Jesus.
Jesus’ name was used to cast out demons, perform miracles, baptize converts, save lost souls and bear dishonor and persecution for his followers. All uses typically identified with God.
Then there’s the monotheistic confession of Jesus as Jehovah, LORD. The authors write:
The basic confession of early Christianity that Jesus is Lord turns out to entail the most radical and astonishing claim that any 1st century Jew might have made: That the crucified Christ, Jesus of Nazereth, was Jehovah.
Jesus Shares God’s Deeds
There are at least 3 ways Jesus shared in God’s deeds: As creator, sustainer and judge.
In one of the more profound observations in PJiHP, the authors argue that the OT demonstrated that Jehovah created and that the NT demonstrated that Christ created. Therefore, Jesus is creator like Jehovah.
Furthermore, Jesus will one day be the judge of mankind, a deed performed solely by God in the Old Testament.
Jesus Shares God’s Seat
The authors concludes that the reason Jesus shares God’s honor is because he sits in God’s seat.
What do they mean by that? Throughout his ministry Jesus claimed equality with God. In fact, the Jews didn’t see him as simply a lunatic claiming to be the earthly king of Israel. No, they saw him as something more dangerous.
For example, when Jesus said, “I am…And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven,” Caiaphas knew this was a sophisticated way of saying that Jesus functions as God. Flat-out blasphemy for a man to utter.
But here’s the deal: Because Jesus shares God’s very position of divine ruler over all creation and sits on God’s throne in a unique, unparalleled position of authority we now have direct intimate fellowship with God.
Why I Recommend Buying This Book
Putting Jesus in His Place is a scholastically dense, but easy-to-read case for the deity of Christ. And while at times the pace slows down as the authors navigate through the exegetical maze of different biblical texts and Greek words, it’s a superb resource to have on hand when talking to anybody who disputes the deity of Jesus because most disagreements occur at the word level.
And you can’t go wrong with it’s dense Scripture index, overwhelming amount of footnotes and some of the most recent scholarship on the defense of Jesus’ deity.
I’d almost go as far to say you should steal the book–if it were morally permissible, that is. Let me know what you think.