Is Jesus Half-God and Half-Man?
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to him.
Our topic for today centers around the question, “Who is God?”, which we’ve been considering for the past few weeks. We’ve been drawing upon Dave Hunt’s book, In Defense of the Faith, which features some great questions regarding some critical spiritual issues that Dave has been asked over the years. So our listeners who desire to can pick up the book, and they will avail themselves of much of what we’ve been discussing.
Question, Dave: “Our adult Bible class teacher says Jesus was half-God and half-man. He insists that God can only act in response to our prayers and that when the one prayed for isn’t healed, it’s because there hasn’t been enough prayer and fasting. Are these ideas biblical?”
Dave, two parts, and I think the one we really want to zero in on at first is “Jesus is half-God and half-man.” I mean, our main topic here is . . .
Dave: Right. Tom, can we deal with the easy ones first?
Tom: Dave, that’s the way I take tests. I go for the easy ones first. So we’ll do that.
Dave: All right. Well, we can certainly say that because a person isn’t healed does not necessarily mean he didn’t have the faith or he didn’t pray enough. If that were the case, then it would always be God’s will to heal everybody every time. And if we “just had enough faith,” He would do it. We know that’s not true, because that would mean that people would live forever. There ought to be somebody around there that has faith enough to ask, and we know that God has a higher purpose, and that one day there’s going to be a resurrection and there will be new bodies and so forth.
Tom: Also, God then would be dependent on us. We would be manipulating Him; we would be . . .
Dave: Well, that’s true. That’s the other question. If God doesn’t answer unless we pray . . . Well, you can deal with that one . . . Yeah, God can’t act unless we pray.
Tom: Well, that’s the God of the mind sciences, the Force out there, that we actually, through our meditations so called, manipulate it, not Him, certainly, because it’s not a personal God.
Dave: Well, it’s very simple. I think God was acting before we were around. He did create the universe, and nobody asked Him to do it. So, that is just obviously not true. So we can get those out of the way real fast.
Now, is Jesus half-God and half-man?
Tom: Well, Dave, I want to come back to prayer, because that opens up another . . .
Dave: Okay, okay.
Tom: You know, what exactly is prayer then? What’s—how does it work? I don’t want to make that sound like a methodology, but if God knows, if God is omniscient, He knows the beginning from the end, how does prayer really function, then, in terms of our relationship with God? It’s not for His sake—we know that!
Dave: First of all, I don’t think anyone who has any common sense would imagine that we know more than God knows. That we are smarter than God. You said He’s omniscient and He knows everything that’s going to happen. We don’t. I could be asking for something in a prayer that wouldn’t be the right thing to have. Therefore, I think that we would want to pray according to God’s will.
Well, then, why even pray? Well, because God gives us the opportunity to mold our wills to His, and as we pray He challenges us. We can think in our hearts, “Now wait a minute—what I am praying, is that what God would want?” We are told to pray in Jesus’s name—Jesus himself said that. Now, that doesn’t mean that the name of Jesus is a magic formula, like “open sesame.”
Tom: Some kind of mantra.
Dave: Yeah, well, I just say “in Jesus’s name,” and that makes everything happen, makes it so. No! If I pray in the name of Jesus, I’m praying as He would pray. I don’t know whether we’ve given the illustration on the air, but I have, sometimes, when I speak. Many years ago, when I was sort of the alter ego for a multimillionaire, I had power of attorney to sign his name, and it was registered in many counties and states. So you would say, “Well, I could write out a check, and I could sign his name! I could write out a check for $100,000 and put it in my bank account.” Uh-uh! There was nothing in the documents that said I couldn’t do that, but he could take me to a “court of equity,” it’s called, because it is the understanding that when I sign his name, I am doing it on his behalf, for his benefit, as he would act—not for my benefit. Therefore, I am acting for him in his name, and unless it was his will, unless he wanted to give me $100,000, I could not do that.
[It’s] the same thing when I say in prayer “in the name of Jesus.” It’s not throwing out His name so that I can get what I want, but I am praying as He would have me pray, for His purpose, for His work and His will. So that changes everything. Is this really what God would have for me? I don’t know, very often, and I would have to say, “Lord, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” And even Jesus prayed that way when it came to the cross, and so did Paul when he besought the Lord to take that thorn in the flesh away from him.
Tom: You know Dave, I think about Jesus and his relationship with the Father. Now, this Jesus—and we’re going to get into this in a minute—Jesus, who is God . . .
Tom: . . . if people out there—if this is new to them—we’re going to demonstrate that pretty quickly, but Jesus, the man, the perfect man, God incarnate . . .
Tom: . . . we look at His relationship with the Father. Here He is, praying to the Father, and at the same time saying, “Of mine own self I can do nothing . . .”—totally dependent on the Father, but it has to do . . . what I am underscoring here is that it has to do with wills. He was submitting His will in perfection to the will of the Father. And as part of the Godhead, he could do no other—because they always act in perfect harmony and in a relationship that is perfect.
Dave: Right. So the Bible teaches, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we’ve gone into that in the past. You cannot escape that there is a plurality and a singularity in God all through the Old Testament. He reveals Himself to Moses as . . . well it’s Elohim who is speaking. That’s the plural for God. Genesis 1 begins, “In the beginning Elohim, “Gods,” created the heaven and the earth.
Well, why then doesn’t it say “Gods”? Because “created” is in the singular. So, when He reveals Himself—Elohim reveals Himself to Moses at the burning bush—He doesn’t say, “We are that we are”; He says, “I AM that I AM.” And you remember the Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord.” It’s “Yahweh, our Elohim is one Yahweh,” and the word for one is echad, which means a unity. Man and woman became echad, one flesh, and so forth, okay?
So now, the Son, even before He is incarnate as man, as you just said, He doesn’t run off and do something on His own. They work in conjunction with one another, because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. So that’s quite a lesson to me, because in John 17, which we will get to one of these days if the Rapture hasn’t occurred and the Lord still allows us to be on the radio, Jesus is praying for unity for His followers, that they may be one “as thou art in me and I in thee, that they may be one in us.”
So, we are to be one. Isn’t that wonderful? Brought into the family of God, and we are to be one as they are one—one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Well then, we don’t act on our own either. So, therefore, we wouldn’t want to pray in order to get what we want.
Tom: See, Dave (and I’m serious), I never thought about that aspect of it with regard to prayer, but it’s really simple. The example is there, but I’ve never applied the example to my own life, and to my own prayer life, but Jesus gave us the example. Wow!
Dave: Well, as a Man, He was only doing what He would do as God—except as the Son, before His incarnation, He didn’t pray to the Father, because they are one. But now as a man, it says He left us the example that we should follow His steps. But now, as the perfect Man, He is showing us what men should do. So then, back to that question, I guess, is He half-God and half-man? Is that where you want us to go?
Tom: Yeah, we can go through that now.
Dave: Well, that would make him some kind of hybrid—half-God, half-man—then He’s really neither, God nor man. He’s a half-breed. That’s not right, that’s not what the Bible teaches, and common sense would tell you.
Tom: Yeah, now, before we get on with this, you sort of—in your answer here in the book, you said, “Well, it could be that this Sunday school teacher—he just didn’t express it correctly. He may have had the right idea.” But still, it doesn’t fly that He could be half-God and half-man.
Dave: No. Well, Tom, I guess I was . . . well, I don’t remember what I said in the book, but I am trying to be generous, because I am accused of always putting people down and correcting everybody and being so negative and so forth. No, I think we should give people the benefit of the doubt that they meant to say what they didn’t say. I mean, I’ve had that problem! I intended to say something and it didn’t . . .
Tom: Yeah, communication is a tough thing sometimes.
Dave: Right. . . and it didn’t come out the way I intended. So, if I were sitting in the class, I would have just raised my hand and said, “Now, what did you mean by that?” And give him a chance to say, “Well, I didn’t really mean half-God and half-man. What I meant was that He is God and man, met together in one person.” Jesus is fully God and He is fully man. Now, can I explain that? No, I can’t explain that. I don’t even know . . . I can’t explain God, and I certainly can’t explain man. I don’t know what a soul is. I don’t know what a spirit is. I don’t understand anything really, but we know that He has to be God, because you can’t cease to be God.
Tom: Dave, I just want to throw this in. You’re saying you can’t fully comprehend these things, but you accept them, because there is a logic there. There are reasons for this that you can’t . . . anybody rational or logical can come to no other conclusion, if you look at the facts objectively.
Dave: Right. Well, the Bible teaches it, and secondly, logic, rational thought, common sense, demands it, since Jesus is God. He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM. He didn’t say, “I was.” We have Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. God does not cease to be God, so when Jesus—this is now the eternal Son of God, one with the Father. We’ve gone through this before also: Isaiah:9:6: “Unto us a child is born.” That’s the babe born in Bethlehem. Mary was the mother of the babe born in Bethlehem—the body that was given, that was “prepared for Jesus” in the womb of a virgin.
Tom: Not the mother of God.
Dave: She’s not the mother of the eternal Son of God, who was around a long time before she was. And He came into this body, joined with it. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how a human soul and spirit are joined with the human body.
Tom: But an infinite God can become a finite man.
Dave: Yes, that’s amazing! He couldn’t become a chimpanzee, He couldn’t become a rock.
Tom: A finite man can’t—that’s sort of what I was getting at. We have some religions that teach—Mormonism for example—that a finite man can exalt themselves to become an infinite God.
Dave: Yeah, of course that’s absurd. Finiteness—where’s it going to get the infinitude to add to itself to become infinite? And you cannot go from less than infinite to infinite. It’s a bridge, a chasm that cannot be bridged. But Jesus, the eternal Son of God, the eternal One, who is God, became a man. Now, I don’t understand that; I know it must be. The Bible says it, and, being God, He cannot cease to be God. So, He doesn’t say, “I was,” He says, “I AM.” Then He’s a man. He called himself the Son of man.
Tom: Can we start with John:1:1? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now, Revelation:19:13 tells us who this Word is: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God,” speaking of Jesus Christ.
Dave: This is when He returns at Armageddon.
Tom: Right, and again picking up with John:1:14, “And the Word was made flesh. . . .” “This Word, (Jesus Christ, the eternal God, the Son), was made flesh and dwelt among us. It’s pretty simple.
Dave: That word, “Word,” is interesting, Tom. I did what I think is a fascinating article in our newsletter in January 2001 about the Word, and maybe some listeners would care to ask for it and we’d be happy to send it to them.
Tom: Of course.
Dave: But it’s just amazing what the Bible says about “word,” and we know that without word, without language, there’s no life, because the language is written right into the DNA, for example. You cannot get information out of matter. And what the Bible says—I mean we’re born again by the Word of God, as you quoted in John:1:1. Jesus is the living Word. You could go back to Isaiah:40:16, where the one who is obviously God says, “You go back as far as you can go—there I am, and I am the one who speaks.” So this is the Word of God, and then He says, “and the Lord God and his Spirit sent me.”
So one who is God, who has eternally spoken for God, who is obviously the Word of God—He says, “God and his Spirit sent me.” So there you have the Trinity, right there in that scripture!
Tom: Dave, you quote in this section in your book—you quote Isaiah:43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me [there is] no savior.”
Tom: So there’s only one Savior; and the Savior, according to Isaiah, the prophet, claims to be God.
Dave: Yep, Yahweh.
Tom: Now, as you go through the New Testament, then, particularly Titus—that would be a terrific scripture. Well, Paul—you mentioned Paul, Peter, Jude—they all talk about Jesus being God. And I’ve had people tell me, “Well, Jesus never claimed to be God.” You’ve had the same thing. And I’m wondering if they’re reading the New Testament—it is so clear! For example, Titus:1:3-4: “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me [this is Paul, referring to himself] according to the commandment of God our Savior; [we just quoted Isaiah 43, “God.” There’s only one Savior and that’s God]. . . to Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.” Now, they’ve got to be one.
Dave: You mentioned that people say Jesus never claimed to be God, and indeed, He did—in a number of places, like John 8, He said, “Except you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” It says in the King James, “I am he,” but the “he” is in italics. “I am,” of course, is the name of God. This is how Yahweh revealed Himself to Moses: “I am that I am.” Then, later on in that chapter, around verse 58, I think—somewhere around there—Jesus says, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
They knew what He was saying, and they took up stones to stone Him. They know that He is claiming that He is Yahweh. Then, in John 10, of course—I think it’s around verse 34—I don’t remember all these verses. But they take up stones to stone Him again, and Jesus says, “I’ve done many good deeds. For which of these good deeds do you stone me?” They say, “For a good deed we stone thee not, but because thou, being a man, makest thyself out to be God.” Jesus was, in fact, crucified for claiming to be God, so how can anyone say that He never claimed to be God? And furthermore, back to John 8 again, “Except you believe that I am,” He says. “you will die in your sins, and where I go, you cannot come.” In other words, if you do not believe that Jesus is God, but you claim to believe in Jesus as your Savior, then you are trusting someone less than God to be your Savior, but God, in the Old Testament, as you have quoted, and there are many other scriptures where He says that, “beside me there is no Savior.”
Yahweh is the only Savior, so Jesus says, “Unless you believe that I am Yahweh, you are trusting in a false Savior. You are trusting in a man. You think I am just a man, and you deny that I am God, then you are trusting in a man to save you, and a man can never save you. I am Yahweh, and I have come to this earth to become a man in order to save you.”
Tom: Dave, that’s why it’s so tragic that people think there’s something good about those who say, “Well, I kind of believe in your Jesus. He was a good man. He was a prophet. He was a good teacher.” They have to stop those people in their tracks and say, “Well, do you believe that he is God? Because only God can save us.”
Dave: Yeah, well, Tom, He couldn’t be a good man and make the claims that He made. He would be a liar or a lunatic, unless He really is God. But He claimed to be God, and He said he would rise from the dead; He said He came from the Father; He said He came to reveal the Father, and so forth. No! You cannot say Jesus is a good man and then, “Well, but I don’t accept that he is God. I don’t accept this, I don’t accept . . .”
Well, wait a minute! What did Jesus say about Himself? I can’t take part of what He said and then throw some of it out and accept some of it, and then say, “He’s a good man.” He’s a liar, or he’s a lunatic—he’s sincere, but he’s an egomaniac. So, I have to face the issue here, the facts, and I think that’s what you are trying to get us to do, Tom. Who is Jesus?
Tom: Yeah, and anyone struggling with this, I think if they go to the book of Titus in the New Testament, they’re going to see clearly Jesus’s claim based on what Paul writes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite verses is Titus:2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” That’s not two different people here. Both of those statements refer to Jesus himself, who is God and who is our Savior. There is only one Savior.
Dave: Jesus said, “I came to seek and to save the lost.” He said, “The Son of man came to give himself a ransom for many.” Now, no one could do that but God himself.
Tom: Yes, Dave, to sort of wrap up this question, because we’re just about out of time in this segment, 1 Timothy:2:5 gives the other side. We started off with the Sunday School teacher who inadvertently (hopefully) said “half-God, half-man.” But Jesus is fully God and fully man, and 1 Timothy:2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Unless He were a man, He couldn’t die for our sins; unless He was God, He couldn’t pay the full penalty that infinite justice demanded.
Dave: Now, if anyone out there thinks this isn’t important, then let’s go back to what Jesus said, “Except you believe that I am; [that is, I am God], you will die in your sins. You must believe in me for who I really am.” And you can’t just say, “Well, Jesus was a good man, and so forth, and He left a great example. Wait a minute—He is God, who became a man. He didn’t cease to be God and He’ll never cease to be a man. He’s the one-and-only God-man; because of who He is he was able to die for our sins on the cross and pay the penalties that His own justice demanded.