JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, not GOD THE SON.
Because of Jesus' references to God as his Father, certain opposing Jews leveled the charge of blasphemy against him, saying, "You, although being a man, make yourself a god." (Joh 10:33) Most translations here say "God"; Torrey's translation lowercases the word as "god," while the interlinear reading of The Emphatic Diaglott says "a god." Support for the rendering "a god" is found principally in Jesus' own answer, in which he quoted from Psalm 82:1-7. As can be seen, this text did not refer to persons as being called "God," but "gods" and "sons of the Most High."
According to the context, those whom Jehovah called "gods" and "sons of the Most High" in this psalm were Israelite judges who had been practicing injustice, requiring that Jehovah himself now judge 'in the middle of such gods.' (Ps 82:1-6, 8) Since Jehovah applied these terms to those men, Jesus was certainly guilty of no blasphemy in saying, "I am God's Son." Whereas the works of those judicial "gods" belied their being "sons of the Most High," Jesus' works consistently proved him to be in union, in harmonious accord and relationship, with his Father.-Joh 10:34-38.
Why called "the Word"?
The name (or, perhaps, title) "the Word" (John 1:1) apparently identifies the function that God's firstborn Son performed after other intelligent creatures were formed. A similar expression is found at Exodus 4:16, where Jehovah says to Moses concerning his brother Aaron: "And he must speak for you to the people; and it must occur that he will serve as a mouth to you, and you will serve as God to him." As spokesman for God's chief representative on earth, Aaron served as "a mouth" for Moses. Likewise with the Word, or Logos (Greek), who became Jesus Christ. Jehovah evidently used his Son to convey information and instructions to others of his family of spirit sons, even as he used that Son to deliver his message to humans on earth. Showing that he was God's Word, or Spokesman, Jesus said to his Jewish listeners: "What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or I speak of my own originality."-Joh 7:16, 17; compare Joh 12:50; 18:37.
Doubtless on many occasions during his prehuman existence as the Word, Jesus acted as Jehovah's Spokesman to persons on earth. While certain texts refer to Jehovah as though directly speaking to humans, other texts make clear that he did so through an angelic representative. (Compare Ex 3:2-4 with Ac 7:30, 35; also Ge 16:7-11, 13; 22:1, 11, 12, 15-18.) Reasonably, in the majority of such cases God spoke through the Word. He likely did so in Eden, for on two of the three occasions where mention is made of God's speaking there, the record specifically shows someone was with Him, undoubtedly his Son. (Ge 1:26-30; 2:16, 17; 3:8-19, 22) The angel who guided Israel through the wilderness and whose voice the Israelites were strictly to obey because 'Jehovah's name was within him,' may therefore have been God's Son, the Word.-Ex 23:20-23; compare Jos 5:13-15.
This does not mean that the Word is the only angelic representative through whom Jehovah has spoken. The inspired statements at Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19, and Hebrews 2:2, 3 make clear that the Law covenant was transmitted to Moses by angelic sons of God other than his Firstborn.
Jesus continues to bear the name "The Word of God" since his return to heavenly glory.-Re 19:13, 16.
Why do some Bible translations refer to Jesus as "God," while others say he was "a god"?
Some translations render John 1:1 as saying: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Literally the Greek text reads: "In beginning was the word, and the word was toward the god, and god was the word." The translator must supply capitals as needed in the language into which he translates the text. It is clearly proper to capitalize "God" in translating the phrase "the god," since this must identify the Almighty God with whom the Word was. But the capitalizing of the word "god" in the second case does not have the same justification.
The New World Translation renders this text: "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." True, there is no indefinite article (corresponding to "a" or "an") in the original Greek text. But this does not mean one should not be used in translation, for Koine, or common Greek, had no indefinite article. Hence, throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, translators are obliged to use the indefinite article or not according to their understanding of the meaning of the text. All English translations of those Scriptures do contain the indefinite article hundreds of times; yet most do not use it at John 1:1. Nevertheless, its use in the rendering of this text has sound basis.
First, it should be noted that the text itself shows that the Word was "with God," hence could not be God, that is, be the Almighty God. (Note also vs 2, which would be unnecessary if vs 1 actually showed the Word to be God.) Additionally, the word for "god" (Gr., the·os´) in its second occurrence in the verse is significantly without the definite article "the" (Gr., ho). Regarding this fact, Ernst Haenchen, in a commentary on the Gospel of John (chapters 1-6), stated: "[the·os´] and [ho the·os´] ('god, divine' and 'the God') were not the same thing in this period. . . . In fact, for the . . . Evangelist, only the Father was 'God' ([ho the·os´]; cf. 17:3); 'the Son' was subordinate to him (cf. 14:28). But that is only hinted at in this passage because here the emphasis is on the proximity of the one to the other . . . . It was quite possible in Jewish and Christian monotheism to speak of divine beings that existed alongside and under God but were not identical with him. Phil 2:6-10 proves that. In that passage Paul depicts just such a divine being, who later became man in Jesus Christ . . . Thus, in both Philippians and John 1:1 it is not a matter of a dialectical relationship between two-in-one, but of a personal union of two entities."-John 1, translated by R. W. Funk, 1984, pp. 109, 110.
After giving as a translation of John 1:1c "and divine (of the category divinity) was the Word," Haenchen goes on to state: "In this instance, the verb 'was' ([en]) simply expresses predication. And the predicate noun must accordingly be more carefully observed: [the·os´] is not the same thing as [ho the·os´] ('divine' is not the same thing as 'God')." (pp. 110, 111) Elaborating on this point, Philip B. Harner brought out that the grammatical construction in John 1:1 involves an anarthrous predicate, that is, a predicate noun without the definite article "the," preceding the verb, which construction is primarily qualitative in meaning and indicates that "the logos has the nature of theos." He further stated: "In John 1:1 I think that the qualitative force of the predicate is so prominent that the noun [the·os´] cannot be regarded as definite." (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1973, pp. 85, 87) Other translators, also recognizing that the Greek term has qualitative force and describes the nature of the Word, therefore render the phrase: "the Word was divine."-AT; Sd; compare Mo; see NW appendix, p. 1579.
The Hebrew Scriptures are consistently clear in showing that there is but one Almighty God, the Creator of all things and the Most High, whose name is Jehovah. (Ge 17:1; Isa 45:18; Ps 83:18) For that reason Moses could say to the nation of Israel: "Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. And you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force." (De 6:4, 5) The Christian Greek Scriptures do not contradict this teaching that had been accepted and believed by God's servants for thousands of years, but instead they support it. (Mr 12:29; Ro 3:29, 30; 1Co 8:6; Eph 4:4-6; 1Ti 2:5) Jesus Christ himself said, "The Father is greater than I am" and referred to the Father as his God, "the only true God." (Joh 14:28; 17:3; 20:17; Mr 15:34; Re 1:1; 3:12) On numerous occasions Jesus expressed his inferiority and subordination to his Father. (Mt 4:9, 10; 20:23; Lu 22:41, 42; Joh 5:19; 8:42; 13:16) Even after Jesus' ascension into heaven his apostles continued to present the same picture.-1Co 11:3; 15:20, 24-28; 1Pe 1:3; 1Jo 2:1; 4:9, 10.
These facts give solid support to a translation such as "the Word was a god" at John 1:1. The Word's preeminent position among God's creatures as the Firstborn, the one through whom God created all things, and as God's Spokesman, gives real basis for his being called "a god" or mighty one. The Messianic prophecy at Isaiah 9:6 foretold that he would be called "Mighty God," though not the Almighty God, and that he would be the "Eternal Father" of all those privileged to live as his subjects. The zeal of his own Father, "Jehovah of armies," would accomplish this. (Isa 9:7) Certainly if God's Adversary, Satan the Devil, is called a "god" (2Co 4:4) because of his dominance over men and demons (1Jo 5:19; Lu 11:14-18), then with far greater reason and propriety is God's firstborn Son called "a god," "the only-begotten god" as the most reliable manuscripts of John 1:18 call him.
When charged by opposers with 'making himself a god,' Jesus' reply was: "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said: "You are gods"'? If he called 'gods' those against whom the word of God came, and yet the Scripture cannot be nullified, do you say to me whom the Father sanctified and dispatched into the world, 'You blaspheme,' because I said, I am God's Son?" (Joh 10:31-37) Jesus there quoted from Psalm 82, in which human judges, whom God condemned for not executing justice, were called "gods." (Ps 82:1, 2, 6, 7) Thus, Jesus showed the unreasonableness of charging him with blasphemy for stating that he was, not God, but God's Son.
This charge of blasphemy arose as a result of Jesus' having said: "I and the Father are one." (Joh 10:30) That this did not mean that Jesus claimed to be the Father or to be God is evident from his reply, already partly considered. The oneness to which Jesus referred must be understood in harmony with the context of his statement. He was speaking of his works and his care of the "sheep" who would follow him. His works, as well as his words, demonstrated that there was unity, not disunity and disharmony, between him and his Father, a point his reply went on to emphasize. (Joh 10:25, 26, 37, 38; compare Joh 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-40; 8:16-18.) As regards his "sheep," he and his Father were likewise at unity in their protecting such sheeplike ones and leading them to everlasting life. (Joh 10:27-29; compare Eze 34:23, 24.) Jesus' prayer on behalf of the unity of all his disciples, including future ones, shows that the oneness, or union, between Jesus and his Father was not as to identity of person but as to purpose and action. In this way Jesus' disciples could "all be one," just as he and his Father are one.-Joh 17:20-23.
In harmony with this, Jesus, responding to a question by Thomas, said: "If you men had known me, you would have known my Father also; from this moment on you know him and have seen him," and, in answer to a question from Philip, Jesus added: "He that has seen me has seen the Father also." (Joh 14:5-9) Again, Jesus' following explanation shows that this was so because he faithfully represented his Father, spoke the Father's words, and did the Father's works. (Joh 14:10, 11; compare Joh 12:28, 44-49.) It was on this same occasion, the night of his death, that Jesus said to these very disciples: "The Father is greater than I am."-Joh 14:28.
The disciples 'seeing' the Father in Jesus can also be understood in the light of other Scriptural examples. Jacob, for instance, said to Esau: "I have seen your face as though seeing God's face in that you received me with pleasure." He said this because Esau's reaction had been in harmony with Jacob's prayer to God. (Ge 33:9-11; 32:9-12) After God's interrogation of Job out of a windstorm had clarified that man's understanding, Job said: "In hearsay I have heard about you, but now my own eye does see you." (Job 38:1; 42:5; see also Jg 13:21, 22.) The 'eyes of his heart' had been enlightened. (Compare Eph 1:18.) That Jesus' statement about seeing the Father was meant to be understood figuratively and not literally is evident from his own statement at John 6:45 as well as from the fact that John, long after Jesus' death, wrote: "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him."-Joh 1:18; 1Jo 4:12.
What did Thomas mean when he said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God"?
On the occasion of Jesus' appearance to Thomas and the other apostles, which had removed Thomas' doubts of Jesus' resurrection, the now-convinced Thomas exclaimed to Jesus: "My Lord and my God! [literally, "The Lord of me and the God (ho The·os´) of me!"]." (Joh 20:24-29) Some scholars have viewed this expression as an exclamation of astonishment spoken to Jesus but actually directed to God, his Father. However, others claim the original Greek requires that the words be viewed as being directed to Jesus. Even if this is so, the expression "My Lord and my God" would still have to harmonize with the rest of the inspired Scriptures. Since the record shows that Jesus had previously sent his disciples the message, "I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God," there is no reason for believing that Thomas thought Jesus was the Almighty God. (Joh 20:17) John himself, after recounting Thomas' encounter with the resurrected Jesus, says of this and similar accounts: "But these have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name."-Joh 20:30, 31.
So, Thomas may have addressed Jesus as "my God" in the sense of Jesus' being "a god" though not the Almighty God, not "the only true God," to whom Thomas had often heard Jesus pray. (Joh 17:1-3) Or he may have addressed Jesus as "my God" in a way similar to expressions made by his forefathers, recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, with which Thomas was familiar. On various occasions when individuals were visited or addressed by an angelic messenger of Jehovah, the individuals, or at times the Bible writer setting out the account, responded to or spoke of that angelic messenger as though he were Jehovah God. (Compare Ge 16:7-11, 13; 18:1-5, 22-33; 32:24-30; Jg 6:11-15; 13:20-22.) This was because the angelic messenger was acting for Jehovah as his representative, speaking in his name, perhaps using the first person singular pronoun, and even saying, "I am the true God." (Ge 31:11-13; Jg 2:1-5) Thomas may therefore have spoken to Jesus as "my God" in this sense, acknowledging or confessing Jesus as the representative and spokesman of the true God. Whatever the case, it is certain that Thomas' words do not contradict the clear statement he himself had heard Jesus make, namely, "The Father is greater than I am."-Joh 14:28.