This argument has been amended slightly in response to feedback. Some of the comment replies are therefore redundant or irrelevant, but it didn’t seem right to delete them.
Because of the idiosyncrasies of Koine Greek, you could claim that the Bible never explicitly says Jesus is God.
Sure, John 1:1 says, “the Word was God”, but because Greek has no indefinite article, theos could be translated as either “God” or “a god”. (Needless to say, the latter is a supremely awkward translation given the structure of the sentence, but the JWs and other Arians are a determined bunch.)
Fortunately, proving that Jesus is God is very simply done. Here is one line of argument—enviably easy to memorize:
- Jesus made every created thing (John 1:1-3, Col 1:16-17)
- God alone made every created thing (Gen 1:1; Isa 44:24)
- Therefore, Jesus is God
Obviously I’m presupposing the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. But even if we don’t take inerrancy for granted, it’s simply unreasonable to imagine that John, of all people, was attempting to correct Genesis 1. Quite obviously he was assuming its truth so as to prove the exact conclusion I am proving also!
A corroborating argument
- A created thing cannot make itself (as a moment’s reflection will reveal)
- Therefore, since Jesus made every created thing, Jesus is not a created thing
- But if he is not a created thing, then he is an eternal, necessary thing (he exists because he must exist)
- Therefore, Jesus is either [i] something with the same attributes as God, although not God; or [ii] Jesus simply is God
- [i] breaks God’s omniscience and omnipotence, as well as being biblically unsupported; [ii] is theologically unproblematic and biblically attested
- Therefore, [ii]: Jesus simply is God
Why two gods breaks omnipotence and omniscience
Under [i], there are two necessary, personal beings (Jesus and God), and they are not the same being. But if omnipotence refers to how God has no external constraint on his power, then neither Jesus nor God can be omnipotent, because each would be an external constraint on the other’s power. Similarly, omniscience involves knowing every truth—but how could one of them know truths about the other’s thoughts? So if Jesus is not God, Christianity falls apart. If Jesus is God, Christianity is upheld.
Take that Arianism!