Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Worshiping Jesus as God Pt. 1

Another Anti-Trinitarian Objection Refuted

Sam Shamoun

In this article we are going to take another objection which anti-Trinitarians commonly raise to undermine the clear, explicit witness to the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ being God Incarnate.

One text which anti-Trinitarians like Jehovah’s Witnesses cite to prove that Jesus isn’t God in the flesh is the following, where the Lord told his adversary that a person is to worship and serve God alone:

“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur, and said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get away from here, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”’” Matthew 4:8-10

Various anti-Trinitarians have assumed that by deferring worship to God Jesus was essentially denying his Deity.

In light of such assertions, we are now going to show how this very objection backfires against these Christ-deniers since it ends up proving that Jesus must be God Almighty in the flesh.

A. God alone is to be worshiped.

The Holy Bible not only speaks of kneeling and falling down on one’s face before God, specifically the Father of our risen and glorious Lord Jesus Christ, in order to worship him,

“Thus the secrets of his heart are revealed. And so falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” 1 Corinthians 14:25

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” Ephesians 3:14-15

It also emphasizes the fact that it is God alone whom believers are to worship and serve:

“The devil, taking Him up onto a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this power and their glory, for it has been delivered to me. And I give it to whomever I will. If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him ONLY shall you serve.”’” Luke 4:5-8

This explains why God’s righteous angels and the blessed Apostles of the risen Lord refused to be worshiped, even going as far as to censure and/or rebuke anyone that tried to do so:

“As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him.  But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up. I myself am a man.’” Acts 10:25-26

“In Lystra there sat a man, crippled in his feet, who had never walked and was lame from birth. He heard Paul speaking, who looked intently at him and perceived that he had faith to be healed and said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he jumped up and walked. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the main speaker. The priest of Zeus, who was in front of the city, brought bulls and garlands to the gates to offer sacrifices with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, preaching to you to turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything that is in them,’” Acts 14:8-15

I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you not do that. I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 19:10

 I, John, am he who saw and heard these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, ‘See that you not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’” Revelation 22:8-9

In fact, note what God did to one particular ruler who permitted others to worship him as a god, as opposed to deferring such praise to the one true God:

“Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. But they came to him in unity, and having made Blastus, the king’s personal servant, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day, Herod, dressed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave a public speech to them. The mob shouted, ‘It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!’ Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:20-23

This clearly illustrates God’s attitude towards giving his worship to anyone besides him.

The foregoing implies that if Jesus isn’t God in the flesh then we would expect him to do what God’s righteous angels and emissaries did whenever someone tried to worship any of them, namely, harshly rebuke such individuals. If, on the other hand, Jesus were indeed the Incarnate Son of God who is essentially coequal to the Father, then we would expect him to accept and bless such homage as being the appropriate response to his glorious and majestic Person.

With that said, we can now turn to the next part of our discussion where we shall examine the inspired NT documents to see if Jesus accepted the worship due to God, or whether he outright rejected such praise.