Does 1 Corinthians 8:4–6 Teach That Jesus Is Not God?

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The Bible’s Answer

One God and One Lord

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence”, and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:4–6, ESVUK)

Non-Christian Arian religions (which follow Arius’ heresy that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God) try and use this passage of Scripture in order to support their belief that Jesus is not God. However, the fact that it says “there is one God, the Father” does not mean that the Father is the only person who is God, and that Jesus is not one with him in nature and essence. Let’s take note of what the passage says further on, “and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” Following that same logic, wouldn’t this also mean that Jesus is the only person who is the Lord, and not the Father? Yet the Bible calls the Father Lord: “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” (Matthew 11:25; see also Psalm 35:23).

Paul Distinguishes Between the Persons of the Trinity

By applying the term “God” to the Father, and “Lord” to Jesus, the passage is just telling us the normative ways by which we identify and address the different persons of the Trinity. The Father is normally addressed as God, and he is distinguished in personhood from the Son who is normally addressed as the Lord. We can see this throughout the whole Bible: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” (2 Corinthians 1:2). “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” (2 Corinthians 13:14). “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” (Colossians 3:17).

Jesus Is Called God

In the same way that we cannot ignore the passages in which the Father is called Lord, we also cannot ignore the passages in which Jesus is called God. John 20:28 teaches that Jesus is God: “Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26–28).

Paul Teaches That Jesus Is the Creator of All Things

One final point of notice is verse 6, where it says “God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist” and “Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” What this tells us is that both the Father and Jesus Christ is the eternal Creator God of the Old Testament, they continue to sustain our lives, and they created everything from nothing. In this section, the Bible attributes the divine act of creation, and the divine attribute of sovereignty, to both the Father and the Son. Far from being a proof-text against the deity of Christ, this passage is actually proof for it.