Refutation: Since Jesus has a God, how can he be God himself?


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Question:

According to Hebrews 1:8-9 Jesus as God has a God over him. Some Christians claim that Hebrews 1:8-9 is referring to Jesus’ humanity, that as a man he has a God over him. The only problem with this position is that it would imply that Jesus as a man is being called God, which means that his humanity is being deified. How do Christians get around all these problems?*

Answer:

Sam Shamoun begins to answer this verse by firstly quoting the portion of verses that the person references:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’ Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ And, ‘You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. Bt you are the same, and your years will have no end.’ And to which of the angels has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:1-14*

This Epistle’s rendition by an unknown author/ traditionally referred to as the Apostle Paul, was taken from the ESV [English Standard Version] version of the Bible. All of Sam’s emphasis (bold, italics) have been left in place. To begin with, there are two renditions of the verses 8 and 9 and both are problematic for the Christian faith. One must understand that Sam has chosen this specific translation to present a certain theological view point, that is, Paul’s trinitarian doctrine, but as the questioner rightly asks, if we do abide by Paul’s theological absurdity, we still arrive at a doctrinal issue. How can God (who Sam refers to as Christ), have a God? The specific verses in question states (from Sam’s version):

But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’  – Hebrews 1:8-9*.

We will return to Hebrews 1:8-9 momentarily, for now let’s seek to understand how Sam’s reasoning from these points he stated, make much if any sense, Sam states* due to Hebrews 1 we can conclude:

  1. Before his Incarnation as the Agent of Creation.
  2. During his Incarnation when he became the Redeemer.
  3. After his resurrection and exaltation into glory where he then began ruling on the Divine throne forever.

Agent of Creation.

Paul (alleged author*) opens this epistle with alluding to Christ as a God who has been foretold by the Prophets of old. Unfortunately, there is no reference given by Paul to any mention of a Christ who is also the Creator in the Old Testament. He does reference the Father as the creator later down in other verses, but the only actual evidences to indicate that Jesus (by name or mention) actually partook in the creation of the universe is not based on any explicit Old Testament statements. Hence why neither Sam or his Paul sought to defend but only parrot this particular sentiment.

Christ becomes the Redeemer.

God in the Old Testament in Psalms 103:3*, is described as one who forgives all sins, in Psalms 19:14 that same God is also referred to as a Redeemer, in Isaiah 41:14* the same title of the Redeemer is afforded to God and not to Christ Jesus. Therefore when Sam says Jesus became the redeemer, this presents a fundamental theological issue. If God is eternal, and Sam’s God becomes the Redeemer, as opposed to the God of the Old Testament who was always the Redeemer, then we must conclude that Sam’s God (Jesus) is not the same God of the Old Testament. For if they were the same God, then Jesus would have always had to be the Redeemer, a title eternally his, however as Sam has aptly demonstrated this is not the case and Christ unlike the God of the Old Testament, eventually accepted this title.

Christ becomes a Divine Ruler.

In Exodus 17:16*, the God of the Old Testament is described as having a throne and has deemed destruction for a people who rose against it. This is referring to the kingdom of Israel, which is also called God’s kingdom, where God’s throne (God’s promised throne to David) resides. It does not actually refer to YHWH’s throne. This can be understood with the following: God’s daughters. God does not actually have daughters but this title is to refers to a note of distinction among the believing peoples. Similarly, God’s house does not mean that God shacks up under a roof. This form of scriptural hyper-literalism can only be considered indecent and grossly inappropriate for any educated person to do. An uneducated person however is much more susceptible to eisgesis such as the aforementioned. We know that God has a heavenly throne already, as David and others mention this, one example is of that in Psalm 11:4*, similarly in Psalm 103:19. Fast forward to the 21st century and Sam Shamoun is saying that Christ after his resurrection only then took upon the throne. This again, gives credence to the belief that the God of the Old Testament (who is already established upon His throne) is different to the God who is Jesus who only accepted the glory of the throne after his (so-called) resurrection.

Thus, as it can be seen, Sam’s ‘explanation‘ or ‘response‘ to this question, still has not definitively answered it, in fact what he has done is divert from the question, all the while providing evidences for why Christ is not and cannot be considered a God. He tries to alleviate his intellectually inadequacies and theological doctrinal self suicide by then trying (keyword: trying) to do a study on Psalms 45:6-7 from where Hebrews 1:8-9 was copied. Sam states:

The author of Hebrews applied this text in reference to Jesus’ Messianic office, an office which he received by virtue of becoming a human descendant of king David after the Incarnation:

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’” Luke 1:30-33

“concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 1:3-4

Putting it in another way, the writer applied Psalm 45:6-7 to Jesus in reference to his Messianic role, that as the Son of David he perfectly fulfills all the promises God made to David and his sons that theirs would be an eternal royal dynasty:

“And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” 2 Samuel 7:10-15

 

The primary reason he never explicitly states that Paul is the author of Hebrews, is due to modern studies concluding that Paul’s once unquestionable authorship is now in severe doubt. Some asserting that a scribe of Paul or someone listening to one of Paul’s sermons may have authored this Epistle. Whatever the case may be, this Epistle is now a fundamental part of the Christian New Testament and plays a significant role in Christ evolving from a Messiah into a Messianic-Deity.

It should be noted, that Sam’s references to the Davidic kingdom, refers specifically to an earthly kingdom. We know it’s an earthly kingdom because as the Bible demonstrates itself, many were heirs to it:

And now, as surely as the LORD lives—he who has established me securely on the throne of my father David and has founded a dynasty for me as he promised—Adonijah shall be put to death today!” – 1 Kings 2:24*.

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. – 1 Kings 3:6*.

I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’ – 1 Kings 5:5*.

David’s kingdom was to be passed on to his sons. This raises two important issues. If David’s kingdom was earthly and promised to his sons (i.e. male descendants) and this kingdom was promised to eventually become eternal:

  • How does David’s earthly throne become God’s eternal throne?
  • David’s throne was promised to his blood sons (his heirs). Jesus can be considered David’s brother since he shares the title Son of God with him, but not the title of son of David.
  • Jesus can only be considered to be a son of David, if Jesus had an earthly father, Jesus did not have a father from the lineage of David.

What’s most damning to Sam’s argument however is the following verse from which he quotes from 2 Samuel 7*:

Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

This demonstrates that David’s sons (heirs) would not inherit YHWH’s throne. As YHWH already has a throne according Psalm 103:19, also alluded to in Psalm 89:14*. The very fact that YHWH has to create a house and then, from this house a kingdom with a throne, demonstrates that this clearly never was and never will be the same throne as God’s. This leaves Sam’s evidences nothing more than the result of a poor study of the Bible, along with intentional misapplication of Biblical prophecies. Sam continues:

But since the only way Jesus could have ever fulfilled these promises is by becoming a man from the line of David this implies that Hebrews 1:8-9 has Jesus’ Incarnation and exaltation in view. After all, if Jesus hadn’t taken on a human nature he would not have become a descendant of David and could not therefore rule on the throne as his representative. Moreover, since Jesus became a true human being and will forever remain a man who sits on the throne as David’s representative, the Father became and will forever remain his God. So there is no problem with Jesus having a God over him.

I’ve already dealt with Sam’s so-called ‘prophecies’, however what’s most perplexing is that according to Sam Shamoun, if Jesus did not become a man, he could not inherit the throne. Since he believes that Jesus is YHWH and David’s throne is alluded to being God’s representative throne on earth (as those who Judge by YHWH’s laws are considered to be ruling by God, ergo God’s throne, see Psalm 82:6-7*), then how could it be that Jesus has to inherit a throne that if he was God, he would already be ruling by? Again, Sam’s inconsistent beliefs are glaringly obvious. According to Sam, Jesus came to earth to inherit God’s earthly throne (again, recall that ruling by God’s laws in God’s earthly kingdom means the ruler is like God in the sense of his judicial reach, see Psalm 82:6-7), this would then mean:

  • Sam has a God.
  • This God is the Creator.
  • This God has an eternal heavenly throne and kingdom.
  • This God Redeems and Forgives sins.
  • This God raises a chosen people and they rule by God’s laws.
  • Therefore God has an earthly Kingdom.
  • God’s kingdom is insufficient to guide the people.
  • Because the law cannot atone for the sins of the people.
  • Even though God gave those laws and can forgive any sin.
  • God comes to earth to solve the problem as a man.
  • By fulfilling a Prophecy to inherit his earthly throne.
  • This man-God-Messiah who is supposed to inherit a throne…
  • Then gets himself killed by the same nation of people he came to lead.
  • Ascends back to heaven to return to his eternal throne.
  • Makes perfect sense.                                                                     (sarcasm intended).

Sam continues by stating:

At the Incarnation Jesus did not cease to be God, but simply added an additional nature to his Divine Person.

If Sam’s God is eternally divine, how can God who is perfect, create and then add to himself? If God is perfect then adding something to God would mean:

  • God was not perfect before and is now perfect. The result being if God continues to add natures to His divine person, then this God is in perpetual improvement and thus not all powerful nor divine.

Thus far, Sam has not established a proper basis for why Jesus according to the Hebrews 1:8-9 is said to have a God. Despite his meandering, the question remains unsolved. If God who is in heaven, and according to the Trinitarian doctrine, is co-equal to the other two Persons in the Godhead, why does the Father, refer to another person as his God? If Jesus’ divine nature is being ignored, then YHWH has demeaned himself, demoted himself as he is referring to a human as his God. Sam has failed to properly answer this question, I still do not see why Jesus as a man, God or both is considered to be a God of God.

Addendum:

In objection to another verse which presents Jesus as having a God, we read:

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” – Revelation 3:12.

Sam says:

What this objection erroneously assumes is that Jesus, in Revelation, is no longer man now that he is in heaven. As we noted earlier, the Holy Scriptures explicitly affirm that Jesus hasn’t ceased being human after his resurrection. In fact, the resurrection presupposes that Christ remains a true human being, albeit a glorified human at that!

Again, Sam does not solve the theological blunder. Jesus here, who is both a man and God at all times as stated by Sam, “It isn’t an either/or scenario, but a both/and situation“, means that Jesus can call upon God (himself) or be referred to as God (by himself). This is purely rhetoric and circular thinking. This demonstrates modality, when God is a man, he has a God, when God is a God he calls himself God. This ends up with the hilarious perpetual reasoning that God has a God and God will always have a God. If God has a God, then who exactly is the Most High? If God has a God, who has a God who is a God, who has a God who is a God, then at what point do we stop and ask, which one of these is the true one?

Conclusion:

In closing, Sam has once again failed to answer the question, aptly demonstrated his weak intellect and has gone above and beyond to demonstrate that his God, has a God. Quite absurd to say the least, can’t say I expected any better from him. Atleast we can agree with Sam’s statement: ” In fact, the resurrection presupposes that Christ remains a true human being, albeit a glorified human at that!”

wa Allaahu Alam,
and God knows best.
*:

  1. Sam Shamoun’s, “Since Jesus has a God, how can he be God himself?“, Answering Common Claims and Questions, Answering Islam.
  2. Hebrews 1:1-4, Ibid.
  3. Hebrews 1:1-9, Ibid.
  4. Sam Shamoun, Ibid.
  5. Got Questions’, “Who was the author of Hebrews“.
  6. Bible, Psalm 103:3.
  7. Bible, Isaiah 41:14.
  8. Bible, Exodus (Shemot) 17:16.
  9. Bible, Psalm 11:4.
  10. Bible, 1 Kings 2:24.
  11. Bible, 1 Kings 3:6.
  12. Bible, 1 Kings 5:5.
  13. Sam Shamoun’s, “Since Jesus has a God, how can he be God himself?“, 2 Samuel 7.
  14. Bible, Psalm 89:14.
  15. Bible, Psalm 82:6-7, see:

    Gill’s Exposition of the Entire BibleI have said, ye are gods,…. In the law, Exodus 21:6 or they were so by his appointment and commission; he constituted them judges and magistrates, invested them with such an office, by which they came to have this title; see Romans 13:1 , and so our Lord interprets these words, that they were gods “to whom” the word of God came, which gave them a commission and authority to exercise their office, John 10:35 , or rather “against whom” it came, pronouncing the sentence of death on them, as in Psalm 82:7 , to which the reference is; declaring, that though they were gods by office, yet were mortal men, and should die. The Targum is, “I said, as angels are ye accounted”; and so judges and civil magistrates had need to be as angels, and to have the wisdom of them; see 2 Samuel 14:20. Jarchi interprets it of angels, but magistrates are undoubtedly meant:

    and all of you are children of the most High; the Targum here again renders it,

    “the angels of the most High:”

    and so Aben Ezra explains it of them who are called the sons of God, Job 38:7 but men in power are meant, who, because of their eminency and dignity, their high office, post, and place, are so called; see Genesis 6:2.

  16. Sam Shamoun’s, “Since Jesus has a God, how can he be God himself?“, Revelation 3:12.

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