Three main religions are considered to be monotheistic, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The first two would consider the third as suspect. How can a religion be monotheistic, but worship a triune God made of Father, Son, and Spirit?
This question arose from the very beginnings of Christianity and has continued till today.
Ultimately, worship of the triune God of Christianity is a matter of faith. But how did that faith arise? Specifically, how did the man Jesus come to be considered as divine, as God, and part of the Trinity (a term combining tri- and unity).
The New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the primary documents for discerning the answer, though the letters and Acts and Revelation all give first century evidence for this belief. Some early pagan writers, such as Pliny the Younger, attest to this belief among Christians, and by the second century the nature of Jesus as God became a centuries long topic of debate among Christians.
One document at the very center of that debate is the Gospel of John, written in the first century AD. The very beginning of John’s Gospel sets the debate in motion: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and lived among us”(John 1:1-2, 14). The rest of the Gospel of John shows people wrestling with the identity of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and as God.
Like the rest of the New Testament, John was written in Greek. Though translations can approximate what John says about Jesus, a careful look at the original Greek clarifies John’s writing in ways that English can never do.
On Saturday morning, April 9 from 6:30-9 am Pacific Daylight Time, I will be leading a webinar on John 1:1-18 with a focus on the Greek text of John. We will explore how John would answer the question, “Is Jesus God?” The webinar is for anyone, whether you have any knowledge of Greek or not. All are welcome. I would love for you to join in. The link to sign up is: https://www.rightonmission.org/events/is-jesus-god-the-prologue-of-johns-gospel-in-greek.
Here are the details from that page:
Is Jesus God? The Prologue of John’s Gospel in Greek
Apr 09, 6:30 AM – 9:00 AM PDT
Location: Zoom Video Conference
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday, April 8 at 3:00 pm PDT
PRESENTER: Jack Painter, Ph.D.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, April 9 at 6:30 – 9:00 am PDT
DESCRIPTION: The most controversial person ever to live is Jesus of Nazareth, and the biggest question about Him is, “Who is He?” Is He God? The apostle John understood and wrote about Jesus’ identity, but did so in Greek. While the English translation of the Gospel of John is good and reliable, it lacks the proximity of the original Greek to John’s own heart and mind. In this webinar, you will get to see the Greek for yourself as New Testament scholar, Jackson Painter, Ph.D., carefully guides us through the first eighteen verses of chapter 1 of John’s Gospel. Even if you don’t know Greek, you will learn a lot because Dr. Painter’s way of teaching is so cadenced and clear.