Monday, February 8, 2010

The Trinity, Part III - More on the deity of Christ

This is starting off as a wonderful day.  I had two cups of coffee brought to me this morning as I was reading Calvin and watching the snow fall.  Can it get any better than this?

Calvin focuses on evidence from Scripture regarding the deity of Christ in today's reading.  He intentionally avoids highlighting passages which speak of the role of Christ as our Mediator, saving that for book 2 of the Institutes.  First, he turns to the Old Testament where he selected passages primarily from Isaiah and Psalms to illustrate his point.  These passages show that the coming Messiah will be equal with God.  He also highlights the objections by the Jews for these passages.  For instance, the beautiful passage from Isaiah which must be read to Handel's tune "and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6b KJV).  The Jews want to change the word order and attribute the first four titles to Jehovah and only "The Prince of Peace" to Christ.

In the next section, Calvin discusses passages where Jehovah revealed himself to people in the person of an angel.  One example of this is in Judges when an angel of the Lord visited Manoah and his wife, Sampson's parents.  They realize after the angel left that it was God himself: "'We are doomed to die!' he said to his wife. 'We have seen God!'" (Judges 13:22 NIV).  Calvin believes along with the church fathers that the times when God revealed himself as an angel to people in the Old Testament, it was actually Christ.  Therefore, Christ had been worshiped as God long before he was born in the flesh.

Christ's divinity is defended by the writings of the apostles.  Several passages from John's gospel and Paul's letters demonstrate that the only way to properly interpret Old Testament Scripture is to attribute the prophecies to Christ.  John wrote "Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him" (John 12:41 NIV) when referring to Isaiah 6:1 (NIV) "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple."  Paul wrote "Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen." (Romans 9:5 NIV).  This clearly shows that Paul believed in the deity of Christ.  Many more examples are shown by Calvin.

Christ demonstrated his own divinity in his works that are recorded in the New Testament.  One example that Calvin cites is from John 5.  On the Sabbath, Jesus healed a paralyzed man by telling him to "get up, pick up your mat, and walk."  Since this occurred on the Sabbath, the Jews were not too happy with Jesus.  John explained later: "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.' For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God" (John 5:16-18 NIV).  The Jews recognized that Jesus was calling himself equal with God which was upsetting to them.  To us, it is further clarification of who Christ really is.

Tomorrow we will examine the final section that Calvin wrote in this chapter about the divinity of Christ.  We will then look at the deity of the Holy Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Presbyterian Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf