What Kind of Theos is Jesus?

In this post I am going to employ the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ (JWs) own perversion of the Holy Bible, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013 Revision), to prove that Jesus is the eternal Creator, namely Jehovah God Almighty, even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. I will be examining the New World Translation’s (NTW) rendering of John’s Gospel to make my case.

John begins his Gospel by stating that there were two divine Persons existing along with each other before the beginning of all things:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (een pros ton theon), and the Word was a god (theos een ho logos). This one was in the beginning with God (een pros ton theon).” John 1:1-2

The inspired Apostle identifies the God whom the Word was with as the Father:

“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name. And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God. So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of divine favor and truth… No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god (monogenes theos) who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.” John 1:12-14, 18

“So Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he came from God and was going to God (pros ton theon),” John 13:3

“You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father (pros ton patera), for the Father is greater than I am.” John 14:28

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have felt, concerning the word of life, (yes, the life was made manifest, and we have seen and are bearing witness and reporting to you the everlasting life that was with the Father (een pros ton patera) and was made manifest to us),” 1 John 1:1-2

“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not commit a sin. And yet, if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father (pros ton patera), Jesus Christ, a righteous one.” 1 John 2:1

Jesus himself speaks of his prehuman existence alongside of the Father before the creation of the world, and from whom he then came forth to become a man:

“‘Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man… For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.’  The one who comes from above is over all others. The one who is from the earth is from the earth and speaks of things of the earth. The one who comes from heaven is over all others.” John 3:13, 17, 31

“‘for I have come down from heaven to do, not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’… And they began saying ‘Is this not Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’… ‘What, therefore, if you should see the Son of man ascending to where he was before?’” John 6:38, 41-42, 62

“Jesus said to them: ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I have not come of my own initiative, but that One sent me… Abraham your father rejoiced greatly at the prospect of seeing my day, and he saw it and rejoiced.’ Then the Jews said to him: ‘You are not yet 50 years old, and still you have seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid and went out of the temple.” John 8:42, 56-59

“‘I have spoken these things to you in comparisons. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in comparisons, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will make request of the Father in my name; in saying this, I do not mean that I will make request for you. For the Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me and have believed that I came as God’s representative. I came as the Father’s representative and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and am going to the Father (pros ton patera).’ His disciples said: ‘See! Now you are speaking plainly and are not using comparisons. Now we know that you know all things and you do not need to have anyone question you. By this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them: ‘Do you believe now?’” John 16:25-31

“So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was… Father, I want those whom you have given me to be with me where I am, in order that they may look upon my glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the founding of the world.” John 17:5, 24

Hence, both the Father and Jesus the Word are said to be theos who existed from before the beginning, which John tells us is the beginning of the entire creation that God brought into existence through the agency of the prehuman Jesus(1):

“All things came into existence through him (di’ autou), and apart from him not even one thing came into existence. What has come into existence by means of him (en auto) was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light is shining in the darkness, but the darkness has not overpowered it… The true light that gives light to every sort of man was about to come into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him (di’ autou), but the world did not know him. He came to his own home, but his own people did not accept him.” John 1:4-5, 9-10

It is clear that the Apostle has the Genesis account of creation in view:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“Thus the heavens and the earth and all their army came to their completion. And by the seventh day God came to the completion of his work that he had made, and he proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made.” Genesis 2:1-3 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1984 Edition)

As can be seen, the Genesis account refers to the creation of the heavens and earth, and everything that exists within them.

The Hebrew word translated army (tsaba) is used in reference to the entire heavenly council, to all of God’s spirit creatures that stand before his throne ready to carry out his will:

“Mi·caiʹah then said: ‘Therefore, hear the word of Jehovah: I saw Jehovah sitting on his throne and all the army of the heavens standing at his right and at his left. Jehovah then said, “Who will fool King Aʹhab of Israel, so that he will go up and fall at Raʹmoth-gilʹe·ad?” And one was saying one thing while another said something else. Then a spirit came forward and stood before Jehovah and said, “I will fool him.” Jehovah asked him, “How will you do it? He replied, ‘I will go out and become a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” So he said, “You will fool him, and what is more, you will be successful. Go out and do that.” And now Jehovah has put a deceptive spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, but Jehovah has declared calamity for you.’” 2 Chronicles 18:18-22

“Praise Jehovah, all you his angels, mighty in power, Who carry out his word, obeying his voice. Praise Jehovah, all his armies, His ministers who do his will.” Psalm 103:20-21

“Praise Jah! Praise Jehovah from the heavens; Praise him in the heights. Praise him, all his angels. Praise him, all his army.” Psalm 148:1-2

What makes John’s proclamation rather remarkable is that the Hebrew Bible emphatically testifies that Jehovah alone created and sustains all things, since he is the source of all life and spiritual illumination:

“You alone are Jehovah; you made the heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens and all their army, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve all of them alive, and the army of the heavens are bowing down to you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“He spreads out the heavens BY HIMSELF, And he treads upon the high waves of the sea.” Job 9:8

“With you is the source of life; By your light we can see light.” Psalm 36:9

“This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb: ‘I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens BY MYSELF, And I spread out the earth. WHO WAS WITH ME?’” Isaiah 44:24

“I made the earth and created man on it. I stretched out the heavens with my own hands, And I give orders to all their army… But Israel will be saved by Jehovah with an everlasting salvation. You will not be put to shame or disgraced for all eternity.  For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.’” Isaiah 45:12, 17-18

The OT further states that God’s heavenly host were merely passive observers that beheld Jehovah fashioning the earth as a temple for his presence to dwell in:

“Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you think you understand. Who set its measurements, in case you know, Or who stretched a measuring line across it? Into what were its pedestals sunk, Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, And ALL the sons of God began shouting in applause?” Job 38:4-7

Thus, for Jesus to have been the active Agent whom the Father used to create all things he must be uncreated by nature. And yet the only way he could be uncreated is if Christ is also Jehovah God Almighty, a fact made explicitly clear by this next text:

“there is actually to us one God, the Father, from whom all things are (ek hou ta panta) and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are (di’ hou ta panta) and we through him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Note the logical implications of the blessed Apostle’s inspired statements:

  1. God the Father caused all things to come into being.
  2. All things refer to the entire creation.
  3. This means that the Father existed before the entire creation came into being.
  4. The Father must, therefore, be eternal by nature.
  5. Christ is the One whom the Father appointed to bring all things into being.(1)
  6. Since all things refer to the entire creation, this means that Christ existed before the entire creation came into being.
  7. Christ must, therefore, be eternal by nature.
  8. This shows that the Father and the Son are two eternal divine Persons that share the same uncreated essence completely and equally.
  9. This in turn proves that the one true God of Israel is a multi-Personal Being.

This helps us appreciate why the inspired NT writings took the following OT descriptions of Jehovah as the First and the Last who is the eternal King that created the heavens and earth,

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called. I am the same One. I am the first; I am also the last. My own hand laid the foundation of the earth, And my right hand spread out the heavens. When I call to them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48:12-13

But Jehovah is truly God. He is the living God and the eternal King. Because of his indignation the earth will quake, And no nations will endure his denunciation. This is what you should say to them: ‘The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth Will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.’ He is the Maker of the earth by his power, The One who established the productive land by his wisdom And who stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” Jeremiah 10:10-12

And applied them all to Christ, thereby identifying him as the very the First and the Last who is the eternal King that brought all of creation into being and who personally sustains it by his own powerful word!(1)

“who is image of the God the invisible, firstborn of all creation, because IN HIM (en auto) it was created THE ALL (things) in the heavens and upon the earth, the (things) visible and the (things) invisible, whether thrones or lordships or governments or authorities; THE ALL (things) THROUGH HIM (di’ autou) and INTO HIM (eis auton) it has been created; and he IS BEFORE ALL (things) and the ALL (things) IN HIM (en auto) it has stood together,” Colossians 1:15-17 The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures

“Now at the end of these days he has spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom (di’ hou) he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. And after he had made a purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:2-3

“In fact, in this way you will be richly granted entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

“When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the living one, and I became dead, but look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of the Grave.” Revelation 1:17-18

“And to the angel of the congregation in Smyrʹna write: These are the things that he says, ‘the First and the Last,’ who became dead and came to life again:” Revelation 2:8

And if that weren’t remarkable enough, the inspired writer to the Hebrews cites this particular Psalm,

“O Jehovah, hear my prayer; Let my cry for help reach you… But you remain forever, O Jehovah, And your fame will endure for all generations…  I said: ‘O my God, Do not do away with me in the middle of my life, You whose years span all generations. Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away. But you are the same, and your years will never end.’” Psalm 102:1, 12, 24-27

Where Jehovah is praised as the unchanging Creator and Sustainer of all creation, and has the Father applying it in reference to the Son!

But about the Son, he says: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your Kingdom is the scepter of uprightness…’ And: ‘At the beginning, O Lord [the Son], you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; and just like a garment, they will all wear out, and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as a garment, and they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never come to an end.’” Hebrews 1:8, 10-12

Since the Father himself glorifies and praises Jesus as that very unchangeable Creator and Sustainer of the entire creation, how much more should his creatures be doing so?

As such, the JWs styling Jesus “a god” no more disproves that he is Jehovah in the flesh than their describing Jehovah as “a God” disprove that he is the only true God:

“But concerning the dead being raised up, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account about the thornbush, that God said to him: ‘I am the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob’? He is a God (theos), not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.”” Mark 12:26-27

“But that the dead are raised up, even Moses made known in the account about the thornbush, when he calls Jehovah ‘the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob.’ He is a God (theos), not of the dead, but of the living, for they are all living to him.” Luke 20:37-38

Hence, the only kind of theos Jesus could possibly be is the only true and eternal one, namely, Jehovah God Almighty (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit):

“You yourselves have been shown these things so you will know that Jehovah is the true God; there is no other besides him… Know, therefore, on this day, and take it to heart that Jehovah is the true God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:35, 39

“See now that I—I am he, And there are no gods apart from me. I put to death, and I make alive. I wound, and I will heal, And no one can rescue from my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39

As Trinitarian apologist and Evangelical scholar Robert M. Bowman Jr. explains:

2. John 1:1. Even if Jesus is here called “a god” (as some have argued), since there is only one God, Jesus is that God. However, the “a god” rendering is incorrect. Other NT passages using the Greek word for God (theos) in the same construction are always rendered “God”: Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38; John 8:54; Phil. 2:13; Heb. 11:16. Passages in which a shift occurs from ho theos (“the God”) to theos (“God”) never imply a shift in meaning: Mark 12:27; Luke 20:37-38; John 3:2; 13:3; Rom. 1:21; 1 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 4:10-11. In context, the preincarnate Christ (called “the Word”) is eternal (existing before creation, 1:1-2), is credited with creation (1:3, 10), is the object of faith (1:12), and has the divine glory (1:14)—all of which shows that he really is God. (Bowman, The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity: An Outline Study, IV. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God.)

And:

John says that the Word was already existing 5 “in the beginning” (vv. 1–2). The opening words of the Gospel, “In the beginning” (Greek, en arche), are the same as the opening words of the Old Testament, “In the beginning” (Gen. 1:1). This is not mere coincidence, since both passages go on immediately to talk about creation and light (Gen. 1:1, 3–5; John 1:3–5, 9). John states that everything that came into existence—the world itself—did so through the Word (vv. 3, 10). These statements affirming the Word’s existence before creation and his involvement in bringing about the existence of all creation reveal him to be eternal and uncreated—two essential attributes of God, as we saw in part 2. John concludes this part of the prologue with a call for people to “believe in His name” (v. 12 NASB)—one of the divine honors that the New Testament often indicates we are to extend toward Christ. (Bowman & J. Ed Komoszewski Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 3: Name Above All Names: Jesus Shares the Names of God, 12. Immanuel: God with Us, pp. 138-139; bold and underline emphasis mine)

To sum up our discussion:

Jehovah is the only theos who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.

There was no other being who assisted Jehovah in bringing all creation into existence. There definitely was no other theos through and for whom Jehovah created all things.

Jesus is the theos through and for whom the Father created and sustains all things.(1)

Jesus must, therefore, be Jehovah God Almighty who became flesh.

At the same time, Jesus is not the Father who is also identified as theos.

This means that both the Father and the Son eternally exist as Jehovah God Almighty.

Jehovah, therefore, is not a singular divine Person but is actually a multi-personal Being.

 Further Reading

 The Book of Hebrews and Jesus as Creator

Jesus as “a god” alongside God Pt. 1

Jesus as “a god” alongside God Pt. 2

Jesus as “a god” alongside God Pt. 3

Jesus as “a god” alongside God

Endnotes

(1) It is of interesting to note that the same prepositions used to describe Christ’s role in creating all things are also employed for God himself:

“Because from him and by him (di’ autou) and for him (eis auton) are all things (ta panta). To him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

“For it was fitting that the one for whom (di’ hon) and through whom (di’ hou) all things exist (ta panta), in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Chief Agent of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Hebrews 2:10

All things are through and for God and Christ, highlighting the fact that the creation is just as much the work of the Son as it is the Father’s, and that it equally belongs to the Son as much as it does to the Father.

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