If Jesus Was God, How Could He Die?

if jesus was god how did he die 1Sometimes when evangelizing or attempting to share the gospel with people, they will surprise us and attempt to share their views with us in response, such as the ex-Muslim, now Christian Doctor Nabeel Qureshi pointed out in a sermon, many western Muslims are challenged by their parents and the Islamic community to share Islam with those who would attempt to share Christianity with them. Of course they approach this by attacking one of the fundamental tenants of Christian belief, which happens also to be a fundamental tenants of Islamic belief, namely, the view that Jesus is God. They are often willing to grant the words of Jesus in the gospels and say that they prove that he could not be God, for he demonstrated a lack of omniscience, a lack of omnipotence, and in fact, even died. Is this a sophisticated objection? If Jesus was God, how could he die? if jesus was god how did he die 2

What I find so strange about this objection is that it presupposes that the gospels are true and that the words of Jesus represented in them are faithful to the historical character, Jesus of Nazareth. This is so strange to me because there is no test of canonicity at all, but rather these books are just assumed to be true, while the rest of the New Testament is assumed to be false. The problem with this is that Luke, the author of the gospel of Luke, also wrote the book of Acts, so how then could we discount Acts, but not Luke?

Further, how could we say that the writers faithfully represented the words of Jesus, but their commentary was flawed? If the New Testament documents were corrupted (which, textual criticism confirms that they were not), then why not also corrupt the words of Jesus? This seems to me to be a bizarre and even ad hoc hypothesis, which is to say that it was made up to align with the data, but cannot be taken seriously as a historical principle. This is precisely why we see such sophomoric doctrinal misunderstandings sprouting out of Islamic belief, such as the question, if Jesus was God, how could he die?

Improper Christology

Now, as I pointed out in my article, Jesus Is God, Not The Father it is true that Jesus never literally recited the words “I am God,” because if he were to do that, the Jews would interpret that to mean that he is the Father, which would not be proper Christology. So to explain that he was God, but not the Father, he appealed to very clever phrasing, which is something that I explained in that article.

However the idea that because Jesus is God, that he is therefore omnipotent, omniscient and so forth is not something that we will find in mainstream Christian belief. Instead, Christians believe that Jesus had two natures, namely, his human nature, and his eternal nature, and this is what we call the Hypostatic Union. He was both fully human and fully God, but to say that he was fully God is not to say that God was removed from Heaven and is walking around on earth. But rather it is to say that Jesus was the human version of the invisible God.

As such, he is the second person of the trinity, the Son Of God, but he is not the Father. Jesus Christ is equal in nature with the Father (Philippians 2:6, John 10:30), distinct in person with the Father (John 14:6) and subservient in duty with the Father (John 5:16-30), and this is basically what Christians believe. So to say that because Jesus is subservient in duty to the Father as an objection to Christian theology, is not to object to Christian theology. It is to misunderstand Christian theology, because that is what we all believe, that Jesus could not do everything despite that he was God.

So Christians believe that Jesus was limited even though he was God. Why was he limited?

The Doctrine Of Kenosis

The Doctrine Of Kenosis (Philippians 2:6-11) states that while Jesus Christ was equal in nature with the Father, he did not consider his attributes, such as omnipotence and omniscience, something to be valued or cherished. So then, if Jesus was God, how could he die? He willingly took the form of a man and went to death, even on a cross, and he did it for the sake of those who love God.

When he was being murdered, all of the fierce wrath of God went out upon Jesus Christ, and now we may have proper standing with God, we may stand before him as though we were as sinless as the Son Of God. He humbled himself and was descended into the depths of mankind, only to go to a torturous death on a cross, and he did it for the sake of sinful men, so that the justice of God could be satisfied and we could come into a loving relationship with him forever. Why would God die? He did it because he loved men so much. Jesus said this, There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Therefore he died in his love for us so that we could have right-standing with God.

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10 Thoughts to “If Jesus Was God, How Could He Die?”

  1. islamin_english

    I will start to praise god the god that was worshipped by adam jesus and mohammed I few letter reply to I think ur wasting ur time because u can describe the trinity and because its a myth anyway or a mystery as u say and the more u up to understand it the harder it become i think the problem is that u should know who jesus is is he is man think m self as god and that acceptable we men domt think or dream to be god and if he god think him self as a man that’s limiting god because god doesn’t want to be a man and who got crucified is it jesus god the. Who fueled the world or it is jesus then u can stop saying that god died for ur sins , god is all powerful all mighty he could forgive us all oh wait he charge us in the first place with something Adam and Eve did which not logical at all, and about the Old Testament and there must be a blood shed that’s kind of if I can use the word is plainly sick thank for the opportunity may peace blessing be upon u

    1. I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Christian theology. We are not charged with the sins of Adam and Eve. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. But we are condemned for our own sins.

      I am sorry that you do not think that God is powerful enough to manifest himself as a man. It seems to me that in this way, you are the one who is limiting God. Now this is probably out of another fundamental misunderstanding of Christology. I suggest you reread the article. I hope you do so with an open mind and an open heart.

  2. islamin_english

    i would start by praising my lord the lord of all the world and the universe the one was worshipped by jesus mohammed and all the prophet and is worshipped by us muslims right now, i think brother ur having a problem of understanding the point of that whenever god becomes a man he will have limits and that contridict the nature of god because once he becomes a man he remains a man no more no less and my heart is always open, u see ur just having the same idea of the atheist in limiting god they always ask us can ur god do anything?? our asnwer is yes so can he make a big big rock that he him self cant move it . u see god almighty can do anything but only god things not man thinks not human things that contridicts his nature as the idea of having god manifisted into the flesh hence from the complete bible u cant find jesus saying am god or bow down and worship me but if u read with an open mind u can find in the cannonical gospels and the act of the apostels u can find that the diciples thought and dealt with him as a prophet and theres about 19+ verse to prove that and saying that he has two nature that slef contridiction also and i proved that in my previeious writings… anyway im enjoying talking with such and educated man like u and lots of love

    1. The verses that you are referring to misunderstand Christology.

  3. islamin_english

    praise be to god first and last , well thats a straw man argument u cant break the scripture and the verses is authentic from the kjv and rsv and the niv versions so ur just trying to reply and about the christology i understand u and ur the one that misunderstood the verses that were written but because ive just posted a challenge which is too old about a verse that jesus saying im god or bow down worship me to the diciples but if u try to really read the gosples and the act of the apostels again u will find that jesus wasnt god untill paul writing and his divinity idea was devolped that is crystal clear in the new testamnet yet i can show u the verse that im talking about and all of them jesus is saying that he is the prophit like gospel according to saint john 5:30 i can of my self do nothing as i hear i judge and my judgment is judge for i seek not my will but the will of my father and lots and lots more yet u can provide us i didnt meant to go off topic but u pull that up and i had to reply.. may peace love and blessing be upon u and all the readers

    1. A straw man argument is to say that I built a weaker version of your argument, and then attacked that in an effort to smear you. All I said was that you misunderstood Christology.

      The reason that Jesus never said, “I am God, worship me,” was because “God,” was thought by those in Judaism to be interchangable with “The Father.” But Jesus is not the Father. So in an effort to avoid confusion, he never said plainly, “I am God.” So the same with John 5. That is why I say, you have fundamentally misunderstood Christology. I suggest you learn more about these doctrines that you are attacking. As it happens, your argument turns out to be the strawman.

      This article of mine may help: https://thereforegodexists.com/2013/07/is-the-trinity-in-the-bible/

      1. islamin_english

        prasie be to god the first and last , i dont know what the problem ive replied but i think it be canceld any way my reply again , ur falling in ur own faith by saying that , doesnt the trinity said that the father and the son are both god so why jesus didnt told them worshhip me am god , the trinity word it self dose not exist in the bible itself and i told u while reading the 4 gospels and the acts of the apostles u will conclued with that the diciples knew he wasnt god nor the diciples did and the idea of the divinity of jesus christ peace be upon him devopled by paul the most writer of the new testament in his books.. may love blessing and mercy of god be upon u and all the readers

        1. I already answered that question. Jesus never said, “I am God,” because God was thought in Judaism to be interchangeable with the Father. He was able to teach the truth of his deity in other ways. While it is true that the word “trinity,” is not in the Bible, it does not have to be. The doctrine is there. All of the apostles of Christ knew the truth of his deity. This is demonstrated by Thomas in John 20:28, where he said, “My Lord and my God.” John the apostle in John 1:1-2, where he said, “the word was God.” I am a student of theology, I have read through this a number of times and there is absolutely no reason that any biblical scholar would come to that conclusion, except by Islamic presuppositions. Jesus was not a Muslim; he taught that he was God, and he allowed people to worship him, such as in John 9:13, Matthew 8:1-2, Matthew 21:15-16, and Luke 7.

          Secondly, yes, Paul taught the deity of Christ. He learned that from Peter and James. All of the traditions that Paul received were receive from the apostles (Galatians 1:18).

  4. islamin_english

    i praise god our chriser our sustainer , i will take this part to answer why thomas said my lord my god, in the first coming of jesus in the upper room thomas was not there and jesus told them handle me and see for a spirit has no flesh and bones and i would like to quote corin 15:40_45 read it paul says here the resurrected body is a spiritual body but jesus show the diciples his hand and his side to prove that he is a soul a spirit no ofcourse to show that he is him self he said i am look at me so thomas was not there . after that the diciples go to thomas and tell him the master was here with his own flesh and bones he said until i put my hand in the finger print and my hand in my side i will not believe u see why he will question a spirit to touch it finger print . no sense the only sense could be based is that jesus wasnt resurrected or died on the christ whcih i can prove by using the sign of jonah anyway when jesus back to the upper room the second time jesus approach and talk to thomas and tell him put thy finger in the finger print and ur hand in my side and dont be faithless (kjv) so thomas reliased how stupid he was and he didnt so he said my lord my god not adressing jesus peace be upon him but its a figure of speech like if i say : richard my lord my god how could u reply so slow like that?? do i mean ur my lord my god no its a figure of speech and a figur of exclamation peace and blesing be upon u and all the readers

    1. There are no New Testament scholars who think that Jesus did not die unless they already have Islamic presupposition. As the atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann said, “The crucifixion of Jesus is historically indisputable.” So when Muhammad wrote the Qur’an (which he did), he really exposed himself by denying this historically undeniable fact. Jesus Christ did die on the cross.

      Now I gave a number of examples of the disciples regarding the deity of Christ. You only replied to one. You think that Thomas was blaspheming when he said, “My Lord and my God.” If that is the case, the obvious question is why Jesus did not rebuke him. Secondly, it says that Thomas said it *to Jesus* in verse 28. Thomas said *to Jesus* “My Lord and my God.” This seems to me to be another hypothesis of desperation.

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