Why do Catholics Believe that Jesus is God? *


Isaiah prophesied, "A child is born to us, a son is given us... They name him... God-Hero (Is 9:5). Christians have long seen in these words a prophecy of Jesus' birth and an affirmation of his divine identity. Though it took several centuries for the Church to develop her understanding of the relation between Jesus' human and divine natures, nevertheless, from the beginning she has declared of Christ, as the apostle Thomas declare, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28).


The reality that God himself became a man for our salvation--what is called the Incarnation (literally, "becoming flesh")--is at the heart of Christian faith. Denial of this truth has been the hallmark of many heretical sects.


Jesus himself declared, "The Father (that is, God) and I are one" (Jn 10:30). When he did, some of those who heard him picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy, because they understood (correctly) the implication of what he was saying: He was claiming to be God (see Jn 10:30-33; also Jn 5:17-18).


In fact, virtually every attribute of the Father in heaven--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who revealed himself in the Old Testament--was claimed by Jesus for himself. He spoke authoritatively as God (rather than merely for God). He accepted worship. He forgave sins. He said he was equal to he Father. And he claimed that he had existed eternally.


New Testament authors verified his claim: "For in him," St. Paul wrote, "dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily" (Col 2:9); "In the beginning," the Gospel according to John announced, "was the Word, ...The Word was God...All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be....And the Word became flesh" (Jn 1:1, 3, 14).


Other related scriptures: Mt 28:9, 17-20; Jn 1:1-5, 14; 5:17-23; 8:58; 9:38; 10:17-18; 14:13-14; 16:23-26; Acts 7:59; Phil 2:5-6; Col 1:15-19; 3:11; 1 Tm 3:16; Ti 2:13; Heb 1:1-8; 2 Pt 1:1; 1 Jn 3:5; Rv 19:16.


Catechism of the Catholic Church: 272; 359; 443; 456-476; 479-483; 606-607; 645-655; 661; 677-682; 724; 1040.


*Quoted from The New Catholic Answer Bible. Wichita, Kansas, Fireside Catholic Publishing, 2005. www.firesidecatholic.com


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