Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

First of all I do see that a form of this question has already been asked and answered. Why does the Messiah have to be God?

This question is more specific though and I would appreciate it if the suggested answers are specific as well.

Fully Man I agree that Jesus had to become man, I believe this is VERY well supported in the bible. Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-15 and much more.

Fully God? I know that Jesus himself claimed deity, (See all the references here:

Question: Why does Jesus have to be God himself? Is it not sufficient that he is the son of God? The son of God can still save, the son of God can still be our intercessor, the son of God can still have fully God attributes (because he is the only son of God), the son of God can still exist from before there was time. So back to the question, WHY does Jesus have to be God?

Please (as always) try to use scripture as the basis and foundation for supporting a response to "Why Jesus NEEDS to be fully God". Thank you so much!

I hope this question and thought process only brings us closer to God in our relationship with him.

share|improve this question
Being the only-begotten son of God means he is God. A father and the son whom he begets share the same nature. In other words, if a human begets a son, the son will be human, and not a goat, or a fish. Thus, the son is a human, and the son's father is a human. Likewise, Jesus' father is God, which means that Jesus must be God. The key is that Jesus is only-begotten of the Father. So, when you ask, "Isn't being the son of God sufficient?" - it's obvious that you don't understand the full implication of Jesus being the "only-begotten son of God." – Simply a Christian Sep 30 '13 at 7:07
Because only by being God incarnate can He truly experience what it is to be human. – Juann Strauss Sep 30 '13 at 12:06
@H3br3wHamm3r81 if you take the translation as only begotten, aren't you suggesting that Jesus must have had a beginning? Or is this referring to the virgin birth? – jlaverde Sep 30 '13 at 12:21
This is a good that was raised early on in the church by Arius...who is now considered an arch-heretic. Thankfully we have the church councils to help us interpret scripture the right way... – user5286 Sep 30 '13 at 15:51
@jlaverde A being that is begotten by a being that is eternal (a.k.a. with no beginning) is eternal by his very nature. Begotten-ness of an eternal God is infinitely and fundamentally different from the begotten-ness of a creature. – user5286 Sep 30 '13 at 15:58

Your question is whether God could, or perhaps should, have chosen to save us other than by becoming incarnate himself.

To begin with, the Incarnation is an act of grace. From the teaching we have received in the sacred scriptures, we know that the coming of God into the world, in the person of Jesus Christ, was a free and unmerited gift of God's love.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

There are many more passages I could have quoted. But my point here is that God was in no sense obliged to dwell among us. His sacrifice of himself was freely given, as the ultimate act of love.

The Biblical testimony does show that, in the way it did happen, the joining of human and divine natures in the person of Christ was capable of bringing about our reconciliation with God.

If while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11)

Might this have been possible if Jesus was not fully God - but only a lesser divinity? The letter to the Hebrews, which you cite, says in chapter 1 that the son of God is more than a mere angel; he is "the exact imprint of God's very being" (v3), temporarily made "lower than the angels" (2:9) in order to be the direct link between God and ourselves. He is more than a servant of God, more than an ordinary prophet or priest or king. This is the free gift of God: he did not send the messenger we asked for, but came himself (9:11ff).

It is this teaching that Leo I expressed in his Tome, famously received by the Council of Chalcedon with the acclamation, "This is what we all of us believe. This is the faith of the Apostles." With more than an echo of Philippians 2, he wrote:

The proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person. Lowliness was taken up by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by eternity. To pay off the debt of our state, invulnerable nature was united to a nature that could suffer; so that in a way that corresponded to the remedies we needed, one and the same mediator between God and humanity the man Christ Jesus, could both on the one hand die and on the other be incapable of death. Thus was true God born in the undiminished and perfect nature of a true man, complete in what is his and complete in what is ours.

The theology of this letter was also influenced by Augustine, who wrote in De Trinitate 13.13:

Those then who say, What, had God no other way by which He might free men from the misery of this mortality, that He should will the only-begotten Son, God co-eternal with Himself, to become man, by putting on a human soul and flesh, and being made mortal to endure death? - these, I say, it is not enough so to refute, as to assert that that mode by which God deigns to free us through the Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, is good and suitable to the dignity of God; but we must show also, not indeed that no other mode was possible to God, to whose power all things are equally subject, but that there neither was nor need have been any other mode more appropriate for curing our misery. For what was so necessary for the building up of our hope, and for the freeing the minds of mortals cast down by the condition of mortality itself, from despair of immortality, than that it should be demonstrated to us at how great a price God rated us, and how greatly He loved us?

In this way, Augustine asserts God's sovereign capacity to find some other means for our salvation, but also the fact that the Incarnation was the best possible means - the one most expressive of God's love. Thomas Aquinas, citing these and other authorities (Summa 3.1.2), finds additional reasons, including the idea that the union of natures is essential to lift us above the dominion of evil spirits and the slavery of sin. This is only an elaboration of the fundamental Biblical doctrine of Christ's sacrifice being the supreme act of love, because of his full divinity. A lesser sacrifice would be a lesser expression of the love and grace of God.

share|improve this answer
I got to push you over 10K! Woo Hoo! Welcome to the big leagues! – Affable Geek Sep 30 '13 at 18:29
Thank you @AffableGeek! – James T Sep 30 '13 at 18:35
@AffableGeek I'm pretty sure 20K is the big leagues. 10K is like the minor leagues, and my measly 3k is the company softball team. – fredsbend Oct 1 '13 at 8:24
@fredsbend You'll be at 10k (and 20k) soon enough. It's like college- at your level of cognition, it's not whether you can do it, it's whether or not you are stubborn enough to keep doing it.... – Affable Geek Oct 1 '13 at 10:31

If I were to continue being true to form, I would answer your question in too many paragraphs, most of which would not be read. Let me go against type, then, and offer a two-paragraph answer to your question,

"Why does Jesus have to be God?"

The reason Jesus has to be God stems from God's holiness. The sin which first entered the celestial universe through Satan, and then through him infected the terrestrial universe via our first parents, was an affront to God, who is infinitely holy. Sin, in turn, triggered within God a holy wrath against sin, and that wrath demanded satisfaction. Whether each person of all the people born since Adam committed one sin or a million sins, the effect would be the same: an infinite chasm between a holy and righteously angry God and unholy sinners (see Psalm 7:11 KJV).

From eternity past, however, God the Father and God the Son had a plan to bridge that infinite chasm between God and man (see Ephesians 1:11 and 3:11), and that was for Jesus, God's infinitely holy Son, to bear at the cross the brunt of God's wrath against sin. Jesus lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to His Father, and at the culmination of that life offered himself up to the Father as the perfect and sinless sacrificial Lamb of God to bear away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Anyone less than God could neither atone for our sin nor through his atonement bridge the infinite gap between us and God. To think that anyone less than God could accomplish this is to underestimate two things: first, the absolute and infinite holiness of the triune God; and second, the utter depravity of humankind. As the apostle Paul realized, there was a need for a double imputation: our sins needed to be imputed to the God-Man, Jesus Christ, and his righteousness needed to be imputed to us, sinners saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). As Paul concluded,

"He who knew no sin became sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

share|improve this answer

Unless Jesus came in Human flesh, there could be no acceptable sacrifice for sin. Unless a sinless human sacrifice was presented to God, God's command that man's death was required in reparation for sin could not be fulfilled:

I am taking the liberty of including excerpts from something I have written on the subject of Salvation it was an effort to explain it in a form which would be interesting, and yet give the requirements for Salvation.

I hope you will find it both informative and enjoyable.

How does Jesus death on the Cross give us Salvation?

You see it's like this in Genesis 2:7 is the answer.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

that Scripture has three separate parts, first God created man from dust, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and finally the most important part in that man became a living Soul. For now we need to consider that part about breathing the breath of life into his nostrils. God never breathed the breath of life into any other human being, yes he did breathe the breath of life into the animals, but that was not repeated either with successive animals or man.

the breath of life was breathed into man by God.

since God is eternal and the breath of life is a part of God, therefore the breath of life is also eternal. That is why he did not breathe it into Eve, because life already existed in the rib taken from Adam.

That same life is passed on to successive generations from parents to children. God referred to descendants as seed.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

We have to ask if God is a just God why would he punish us for what Adam and Eve did? The answer to that question, because God is a just God he gives us a chance to avoid that punishment.

After Adam and Eve messed up and disobeyed God in order to provide some way 
to let us escape a sinless sacrifice had to be provided. 

But there was a big problem: now that they had the knowledge of good and evil, any seed that they might have would also have that knowledge and even though just having that knowledge in itself is not the reason man has to die; (it is sin {disobedience to God} that condemns man to die).

God knew that man would not be able to withstand the temptations of Satan, and since all men were destined to sin, How could man ever be reconciled to God?

There is only one way that man can ever be reconciled to God, and that being 
that every man must die that God's word in Genesis 2:7 be fulfilled:

Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

God says that the blood is the life, and so only the shedding of blood(the life) must be shed in order for man to be reconciled to God, but not just any blood it must be a certain blood. That must be the blood which contains the life God breathed into man at creation.

Since all men's hearts are inherently evil how could man ever be reconciled to God?

The answer to that is that it must be innocent blood, or if you will a life which never sinned (disobeyed God) God showed us in the book of Leviticus:

Leviticus 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.

Leviticus 4:23 Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:

Leviticus 4:28 Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.

Leviticus 4:32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

Leviticus 5:15 If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering:

Any sacrifice to the LORD must be without blemish.

Jesus is our unblemished sacrifice.

Jesus was a man and Jesus was also Deity,

Jesus the man was tempted in every way that man is tempted by Satan, and having also the life form of deity was able to withstand Satan's temptations.

Jesus the man, in dying on the cross; fulfilled God's demand that man must give back that life which he breathed into the first man (or that he must die for his disobedience).

It allows you to have a pathway to salvation.

It is very important that you realize that Salvation is something you must accept and that you too must die on the Cross along with Jesus.

You give up the life you inherited through your parents and take up the new life which Jesus gives you.

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

God breathed the breath of life into Man (Adam), but God: nowhere else, breathed life into any other human being. That includes Eve who was made from Adam's rib, this is because life already existed in Adam's rib.

God told man (not just Adam alone) that that life would be demanded for his disobedience.

Everyone from Adam to the newest newborn shares that same breath of life God breathed into the first man.

That includes the man Jesus, (but not the Deity Jesus which was alive in the beginning). That was the LIFE that Jesus sacrificed on the Cross! That fulfilled God's demand of life in reparation for SIN.

Salvation comes when we allow our life inherited from Adam to be also sacrificed on the same cross with Jesus.

We do this when we ask Jesus to live within us, as Paul said in;

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

So why not just keep the eternal life you got through my parents?

So you remember that back at the start I said that Genesis 2:7 had three parts.

Do you also remember that I said the most important part was the part about man becoming a living soul?

The Soul is the part we really need to worry about because that is the part which will continue throughout eternity.

Once a soul is created it cannot ever die, and that is why Jesus gives us a new eternal life, or if you will a new eternal being.

Remember that the breath of life which created the Soul in the first place.

When we accepted Salvation also sacrificed our old life on that cross too.

A soul must have a life associated with it.

God cannot abide Sin, and so no sinners will be in his presence. Any Soul which has sin will have to be somewhere else, and it is that somewhere else that is so horrible we should avoid it at all costs.

share|improve this answer
I hope you don't mind me saying this since I also contributed an answer to this question, but I do find the bulk of this answer difficult to read, especially given that it is mostly not answering the original question. Perhaps you can edit it down to just the salient points? – James T Sep 30 '13 at 17:13
I do not in anyway mind your comment, and to the contrary welcome any comments which will help me to give better answers. Thank you – BYE Sep 30 '13 at 17:24

Jesus Christ, the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). OT saints who believed in God were covered by the efficacy of Christ's death from the foundation of the world. Only but a few had that true faith having not seen Jesus Christ's death on the cross. It was then inevitable for Christ to be revealed to us by His coming to earth (1Peter 1:20). Without the shedding of blood is no remission (Heb. 9:22). And "... it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). The Testament of grace would come into effect only through the death of the testator. "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth" (Heb. 9:16-17).

share|improve this answer
Welcome to the site. Thank you for sharing, but the site strives to be academic, using sources and citations to support answers. The site is not a discussion forum. Once you reach 20 rep you can chat about whatever you want. Please see Guidelines for writing effective answers and What is a well-sourced, dispassionate answer? After that, please edit this post or delete it. I hope to see you post again soon. – fredsbend Sep 2 '14 at 17:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.