Is Jesus God?
The word God is used in two different ways in Scripture. Firstly, the word “God” is used to refer to the Supreme Being of the universe who is the ultimate source of all things. Every time the Bible refers to the one true God, it is referring to this Supreme Being who is the one that was before all else and from whom all life ultimately came from. In this sense, no one else is God. But the word God is also used to refer to someone who possesses the attributes of divinity, or the characteristics of God.
Many times the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the begotten Son of the one true God the Father, and being the Son, He possesses the same attributes and characteristics as His Father. It is an obvious fact that every son inherits the nature of his father. And since Christ came out of the Father, He is of the very substance of His Father and hence has the same God nature of His Father as He possesses by birth. He has all the attributes and characteristics of His Father. In fact Hebrews 1:3 says He is the “express image of His person.” A son also and always rightfully takes the name of the father and so Christ as the only begotten Son of God, has rightfully the same name. Note that Hebrews 1:1-9 says that Jesus is an heir who has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than the angels. And that name is God! So Jesus inherited His Father’s name, character and divine nature in the same way a human son inherits the human nature and name of his parents.
So Jesus is God because He is the Son of God. But He is not and cannot be the “God the Father.” He is the “Son of God,” just as the Bible so plainly states more than one hundred times. He is God's literal Son. To say that Jesus is God the Father is to say that the “Son is the Father” which means the Son is not really a Son and the Father is not really a Father. Or to put it another way, to say that Jesus is the Father because He has the same God nature as His Father, is no different than to say that since my Father is Human and I am Human, therefore I must be my father! This is not good logic nor theology and suddenly hundreds of Scriptures supposedly would no longer mean what they say at all. The truth is that Scripture mean what they say and say what they mean. God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God.
Satan's plan is for us to deny the Father and Son. John called this antichrist. 1 John 2:22-23. He does not care if our belief is Trinitarian, Unitarian or other. As long as it denies Jesus is the literal Son of God which also denies God is a Father. Confessing Jesus is the Son of God is our only means to the Father and to deny this has eternal consequences.
In conclusion, Jesus is not “a” God or “the” God but God only by nature through inheritance of being the Son. Jesus is a divine being but He is not the Supreme Being. The Father is the Supreme Being and the source of all things and the life of the Father flows through the Son and out to all. Jesus is the channel through which all things come and why the Father has given all things into His hands.
Only the Father is described as the one “OF whom are all things.” (1 Cor. 8:6) He is the great Source of all. Jesus is not another source “of whom are all things.” That would make Him another God. Rather Jesus is described as the one “BY whom are all things.” (1 Cor. 8:6) The Father has given Christ authority to rule over all things but this does not include the Father Himself. The Father is greater in authority and always will be. God the Father is the source of all things including His Son. Thus all things proceed from the Father; including Christ Himself, but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell (Colossians 1:19). So when we say “Jesus is God,” we have to be careful to state exactly what we mean. Christ is a divine being, but not “the” Supreme Being. When we speak of the Supreme Being, there is only one such person and it is not Jesus.
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
1 Corinthians 8:6
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:6
“The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty,”— Ellen White, Manuscript 140, September 27, 1903
“He [Christ] was not the Father but in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,”— Ellen White, Letter 8a, July 7, 1890
“God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.” — Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 268.3
“Only one being in the universe besides the Father bears the name of God, and that is His Son, Jesus Christ.” — James Edson White, Coming King, p. 33
Let's cover this in plain simple language since this is such a huge stumbling block for many. So easy to understand!
Are you human by nature? — Yes.
Are your children human by nature? — Yes.
Do your children inherit your human nature? — Yes.
Do your children inherit their father’s name? — Yes.
Is the Father God by nature? — Yes.
Is His Son God by nature? — Yes.
Did Jesus inherit His Father’s name? — Yes.
Did Jesus inherit His Fathers God nature? — Yes.
And so of course Jesus inherited His Father’s name and God nature. He is God’s Son! The same applies to people. Why would we expect anything else?
In Hebrews 1:1-9 we note that the speaker is God the Father and that He is addressing His Son and calling Him God. Verse 2 says that Christ was “appointed heir” of all things.
An “heir” of course is someone who receives an “inheritance” from someone. In this case Christ the Son received an “inheritance” from His Father. But what did He receive? His “NAME,” His authority and His power!
In other words, Jesus being the one and only begotten Son of the living God received by virtue of His birth all of the attributes that His Father possessed.
Verse 4 says, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by “INHERITANCE” obtained a more excellent “NAME” than they.”
Verse 8 says that this more excellent “NAME” is the name “God,” which was given by the Father to His Son. “Unto the Son He [God] saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” And so this name “He has by “INHERITANCE.” It is not a “NAME” that was bestowed but a “NAME” that was “INHERITED” from His Father.
And the above is further verified from one of the SDA Pioneers, and is a quote that Ellen G. White endorsed and hence is correct according to the Spirit of Prophecy.
“This name [God] was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because “He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as “the only begotten Son of God,” has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has, to some extent, the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works; and so Christ is the “express image” of the Father's person. Heb. 1:3.As the Son of the self-existent God, he has by nature all the attributes of Deity.
It is true that there are many sons of God; but Christ is the “only begotten Son of God,” and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was, or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14,15); but Christ is the Son of God by birth.The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated, but that it is one which He has by right.”
— E.J. Waggoner, Christ and His righteousness, p. 11-12