Question 263:

Which of the following propositions do Christians accept?
1. Jesus (PBUH) is God.
2. Jesus (PBUH) is Son of God.
3. Jesus (PBUH) is God's Prophet.


Ad 1.

The statement „Jesus (PBUH) is God” is to be avoided since, if used in a general way and without the necessary qualifications, it can easily lead to error. 

The Church developed and formulated its understanding of the true nature of Jesus Christ in the following way: «The second Person of the Trinity, the Son of the Father, his divine Word (Logos), possessed from all eternity of the one divine nature which the Father communicates, has within time assumed a human nature from Mary as entirely proper to himself. Thus Christ possesses a divine nature and a human nature without confusion and separation, in the unity of the same divine Person, whereby he is truly God and man, a mystery of faith in the strictest sense. His being, therefore, has nothing in common with the mythological idea of God appearing on earth in human disguise (except, perhaps, that it fulfills the human longing for the nearness of God which keeps appearing in myth and which only an atheist can think suspect). On the one hand we have the historicity of Jesus and the incommunicability of the one infinite God, whose Word, truly existing as God, took on a truly human reality without injury to it; on the other, a multitude of gods who are personifications of particular forces within the world, stand in opposition to each other and do not “appear” at any definite place. And because Jesus is not some being intermediate between God and man […], the doctrine of the Incarnation requires no demythologization, so long as one believes that even today there exists the living and true God and true man, possessing an eternal significance, with something, nay everything to do with each other. The imagery of such expressions as can be misinterpreted in a mythological sense (“descent”, “emptying”, “sitting at the right hand of God” and the like) is readily understood by the educated Christian. Nor has belief in the Incarnation anything to do with ideas conceived from oriental religions, for in all of these the “incarnation” is only a transient sign which perishes and therefore can always be repeated, whereas in the Word (Logos) made flesh the created world, though always a creature, finds its definite and permanent validity.» (art. “JESUS CHRIST” in Rahner/Vorgrimmler, Concise theological Dictionary. Freiburg: Herder/ London: Burns & Oates, 1965.)

See also on this Website  (the)  

See also the introductory text to theme 2: ‘The divinity of Jesus’ and the questions and answers listed below this theme. You may also consider using the search function. 

Ad  2. 

Jesus is the Son of God because he is the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of the Father. He is, as the Church teaches Christians in the Creed, “God from God, light from light, true God from true God, of one being with the Father.” 

In more detail this means: Jesus Christ, the Messiah, speaks of God as no other person does — directly and intimately. In all he says or does, he is one with the Father. He knows the will of God. That is why he can contradict the scribes, or doctors of the law who claim the authority of God while seeking to curb the freedom of the people who have been entrusted to their care and making life difficult for them.  

Jesus brings people closer to God. He heals the sick, eats with the tax collectors [these were men who collected the taxes on behalf of the Roman occupying power and at the same time made a living for themselves. They often demanded too much. The people despised them and would have nothing to do with them.], and does not avoid those who, because of their infirmities, have been excluded from the community and the religious ceremonies. To those who have sinned, he offers forgiveness in God’s name, and gives them the courage to change their lives.

Many men and women meet Jesus. Some ask, “Who is this man? Is he a prophet of God?” Others marvel and believe in him. Some ask auspiciously: “Who gave him this authority?” Others say: “He is blaspheming against God.” Others ask thoughtfully: “When Christ appears, will he do still greater signs than this man has done?” (cf. John 7:31).

But whatever their opinion of him, all sense that the mystery of his life, words and deeds have something to do with God. 

When the people in Israel wanted to describe someone as being especially close to God, they would say that he was the “son of God”. And, because he has especially chosen them, God calls the entire people of Israel “my first-born son” (Exodus 4:22). And the Kings of Israel, who ruled the people as the representatives of God, also heard these words on the day of their enthronement:  “You are my son” (Psalm 2:7). But when we say: “Jesus is the Son of God”, we mean much more than this. For Jesus is God himself, the Son of  God. And in fact there is nothing in our human world that can be compared to his relationship with the Father. The evangelists make this clear when they record in the Gospels that God himself declared Jesus to be his “Beloved Son” at two crucial moments of this earthly life. The first moment was after his baptism in the river Jordan, before Jesus began his public life (Mk 1:9-11). The second was at his Transfiguration on the mountain, before he set out to Jerusalem, to suffer and to die there ((Mk 9:2-10).

When Peter, the first of the apostles declares: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”, Jesus replied to him: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! Because, it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-18).

 Jesus (says) said to Nicodemus:

“God so loved the world

That he gave his only Son,

So that whoever believes in him should not perish

But have eternal life.”  (Gospel according to Saint John 3:16)

This is how we are recognized as Christians

“If you confess with your lips that Jesus Christ is the Lord and believe

in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

(Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 10:9)

Ad  3. 


In the Christian tradition, Jesus is not only one prophet among many other prophets of God but the Prophet, the divine self-communication of God and the expression of this mystery in person. Although in the person of Christ, divine revelation has come to a close, prophets still have a role to play in the Church because time and again there are people in the Church, who are divinely sent to bear a personal testimony to the reality of God and to Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Matthew 16,13-16; Mark 8,27-30; Luke 9,18-21).

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