The majority of ‘Christian’ denominations believe that Jesus is God. Some say he became God at the moment of his creation inside Mary, the immaculate conception of God by God. Others believe Jesus became God when he was physically born. Still others think it was at his baptism by John the Baptist. If so, John was one powerful guy! And lastly, some point to his resurrection. As Jesus ‘raised from the dead’ he simultaneously became divine or God. But there is a fifth, much overlooked, point in time when Jesus actually ‘became’ God. Want to know when that was?
Before we go there, the belief that Jesus is God is a critical component of most ‘Christian’ statements of faith. These statements identify the beliefs of that specific denomination. The overlap in beliefs between all ‘Christian’ denominations is, as one would expect, significant. These faith statements have a lot to do with our original question of ‘when’ Jesus became God. For that reason, it is important to look at the specific belief statements of various church’s in America.
“Mega” Church Beliefs
Starting with a few of the “mega” churches in the US, this is what they believe:
“… Jesus is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father and Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and will return again someday to earth to reign as King…”Life Church – Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) with 100,000+ weekly attendees in 35 + locations
“… Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. On earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He is the only man ever to have lived a sinless life. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, died on the cross for mankind and thus, atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood. He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return again in power and glory…”Church of the Highlands -Non-denominational with 50,000+ weekly attendees in 20+ locations
“We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit… We believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sin. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again.”Lakewood Church – Non-denominational with 50,000+ weekly attendees
The “mega” churches above are relatively new on the scene when you consider 2,000 years of history. Next are three denominations that stem from the protestant reformation 500 years ago.
“… The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being… Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ he was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary…. in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead… He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God…”Southern Baptists Convention, statement of beliefs – over 16 million members
“When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we join millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity – three persons in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons…”United Methodists, – over 7 million members
“We believe… In one God eternally existing in three persons; namely, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. That Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. That Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. That He ascended to heaven and is today at the right hand of the Father as the Intercessor….”Church of God – over 5 million members
Last but not least, what does the big fish, Catholicism, teach their 50 million baptized members in the United States? The Catholic belief is the Nicene Creed. Here are a few excerpts:
“I believe in one God… I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages… begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father… he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man… he suffered death and was buried, and rose again the third day… He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father… I believe in one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic Church…”The Nicene Creed, Council of Nicaea 325 AD
The Council of Nicaea I, in 325AD, wrote and adopted the Nicene Creed with Constantine at the lead. The “statements of faith” summarized above show the “non-denominational”, Baptist, Methodist and evangelical churches are still very much Catholic in their beliefs. Before the reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had the monopoly on so called Christianity. After the reformation in 1517, the beliefs, for the most part, between the denominations remained the same, the organization names just changed.
The Nicene creed is the evidence of the deep roots most christian denominations still have intertwined with Catholicism. So are the common holidays, sacraments and worship practices. Most Christian denominations have some form of a physical baptism, include a Eucharist or communion in their services and celebrate the major holidays of Christmas and Easter.
The Council of Nicaea was a turning point in Christianity. Prior to this event, numerous christian sects existed. Just under 15 years earlier, they were persecuted by Constantine’s predecessors. Then, as now, religious differences caused division among the people. Constantine defeated his last political rival in 324AD. He was looking for a way to unite his kingdom. He looked to his newly adopted “christian” religion as the answer. But which version? Christians were not united, specifically in regards to “the essence” of Jesus. Was Jesus a man, a god or both? Constantine needed an answer in order to unify his kingdom.
“Constantine wanted his pagan subjects to be won over as he himself had been – by seeing the benefit to the Roman world of a unifying affiliation with the Christian deity. But how could they see that if Christians themselves were not unified? Christians could not even agree on how to calculate the date of Easter, much less on how Jesus was God.
Thus Constantine’s political problem opened immediately into his religious one… Constantine asserted the right to exercise absolute authority over the entire Church…. Suddenly tolerance of theological disagreement and ecclesiastical particularities…was now deemed unchristian… If that multiplicity (of understandings) became an unacceptable choice – “heresy” comes from the Greek word for ‘choice’ – it was more because of a political requirement that a religious one. The aim was E. pluribus unum (Out of many, one). … How is Jesus God?… The single, definitive, univocal answer that had so far eluded the Christian consensus… would now be imposed by imperial fiat.
Unity would henceforth be the note not only of the political order but of a revealed truth. With holiness and catholicity, “unity” would henceforth be, in the argot, a “mark” of the Church – at least in theory…. the choice (“heresy”) to be religiously different became defined as treason, a political crime. But different from whom, and from what? For the first time in its history, the universal Christian Church was seen to need a defined orthodoxy, a word derived from the Greek for “right thinking.” … It is important to emphasize that this need, which has so dominated Roman Catholicism… was first defined… by an all-conquering emperor for whom one empire had come to equal one religion.”James Carroll, ‘Constantine’s Sword – The Church and the Jews’, pages 183-194
“In response to the emperor’s mandate, the bishops did, in fact agree to a formulaic statement of belief, defining especially, and in explicit terms, how Jesus is God. They did so unanimously – well, almost unanimously. Those who dissented were exiled by Constantine…. Christian’s still recite this formula today, as the Nicene Creed. … we think of the creed as a religious necessity… We give not a thought to its first function as a kind of loyalty oath, fulfilling a political necessity as much as a religious one.”James Carroll, ‘Constantine’s Sword – The Church and the Jews’, pages 183-194
Arius and the Aryan Controversy
A man named Arius was one of the primary dissenters to this “formula of belief” thereby causing the main controversy Constantine was trying to eliminate. Below is a video clip discussing the Arian Controversy.
The purpose of the Nicene Creed was to cast out the ideas of Arius and any others not in line with Constantine. The Creed proclaims Jesus as God as well as the Holy Spirit, hence inserting the pagan idea of a trinity into Christianity. Even today, Catholic leaders grasp this creed as an ‘oath of allegiance’ to the Catholic doctrine, one that condemns Arius and defines Catholicism. Let’s hear it from their own mouths.
Making Men God
There is a second outcome from this creed. By making Jesus divine, Constantine ‘normalized’ into Christianity the idea of a physical man walking on earth becoming God. The pagan idea that men can become God was sealed into the belief statement of Catholicism and the versions of Christianity that stem from it. For the Egyptians it was Ra, for Greeks it was Zeus, the Roman version was Jupiter or Saturn, and for Catholics, it was Jesus (Hey Zeus?!). Their ‘God’ on earth paved the way to transition a man-god, like Saturn with his feast day of Saturnalia on December 25th to their new man-god, Jesus. It is no coincidence that Christ’s Birthday also supposedly lands on December 25th.
Making More Men gods
The most glaring difference between Catholicism and all other Christian denominations is the Catholic belief in blind obedience to the Pope. The Catholic doctrine that the Pope is the representative or Vicar of Christ and thereby God on earth, is the root of the “Great Schism”. In 1894, Pope Leo XIII wrote to the Orthodox Church regarding the “reunion of Christendom” and identified this schism most clearly.
“…But since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty, … We cast an affectionate look upon the East… and hope that the day is not far distant when the Eastern Churches, so illustrious in their ancient faith and glorious past, will return to the fold they have abandoned…. The principal subject of contention is the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. But let them look back… and examine what the oldest traditions testify, and it will, indeed, become evident to them that Christ’s divine utterance, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church,’ has undoubtedly been realized in the Roman Pontiffs…
Before the day when man separated what God had joined together, the name of the Apostolic See was held in reverence by all the nations of the Christian world : and the East, like the West, agreed without hesitation in its obedience to the Pontiff of Rome, as the legitimate successor of St. Peter, and, therefore, the Vicar of Christ here on earth…. Finally, in two great Councils, the second of Lyons and that of Florence, Latins and Greeks, as is notorious, easily agreed, and all unanimously proclaimed as dogma the supreme power of the Roman Pontiffs.”Pope Leo XIII, 1894
When did Jesus Become God?
Jesus ‘became God’ in 325 AD when Constantine essentially said so. His need for ‘one world religion’ was purely politically motivated to unite his one world or kingdom under his power. The Nicene creed or statement of belief has no basis in true Christianity. Jesus was the son of God, not God. He was not the only son of God, there are many sons and daughters of God.
“For the earnest expectation of the whole creation waits for the manifestation of the Children of God.”Romans 8:19
Paul was pointing to a future event from his time.
“Little children, the last hour is coming: and as you will hear that antichrist is coming, even now there are many antichrists,… They went out from us, but they were not of us…”1 John 2:18-19
Even at the time of the Apostles there were those who claimed to teach the teachings of Christ, yet were not. There is not a single anti-Christ, but many that are against the true teachings of Christ. Jesus laid out the ways of false teachers or Anti-Christs in Matthew 23 and warned of their coming in Matthew 24. He started off with the following:
“…Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”Matthew 24:4-5
One’s that come in the name of Jesus are Christians, thereby there are Christians who are deceivers or anti-Christs.
Denominations teaching a statement of faith rooted in the Nicene Creed are against Jesus or anti-Christs. It is time to turn away from their doctrine. You can not mix the doctrines of men with the doctrines of God.
“You cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of demons.”1 Corinthians 10:21
“…if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”Matthew 15:14