As I stated in Crossing the Tiber, "there is an ever-increasing clamour from an ever-increasing number of sources for Protestants to re-unite with Rome. This pressure is based solely on Rome's claim of Apostolic Sucession through the Apostle Peter so it is now vital to expose this claim as false."
But first, we must deal with the false doctrine of the 'divinity' of Jesus. This will be discussed under three headings: Pre-existence, Oneness, and Sonship.
Christian Orthodoxy demands belief in the 'divinity' of Jesus of Nazareth. In the Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia article entitled 'Incarnation', in the sub-section 'THE DIVINE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST' it is stated that:
"...The aim of this article is to prove that the historical person, Jesus Christ, is really and truly God, --i. e. has the nature of God, and is a Divine person. The Divinity of Jesus Christ is established by the Old Testament, by the New Testament and by Tradition." Let us test these claims.
The 'Unchanging' Nature of YHWH
Alone amongst the surrounding pagan peoples, the ancient Israelites practiced Monotheism - "YHWH our god is one god." (Deuteronomy 6:4).
After the Exodus, YHWH was seen as a 'deliverer' who had saved his people through his human agent, Moses. Throughout subsequent centuries and manifold troubles, an idea arose that YHWH would one day send another 'deliverer' - one like Moses - who would save his people from their enemies. The prophets, each building and enlarging upon the expectations of his predecessors, finally developed a complete picture of this 'deliverer', this 'messiah'.
He would be a descendant of King David; he would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth; he would rule as its King in the name of YHWH. It is preposterous for any to suggest that YHWH, whose name was permitted to be mentioned by only a select few, and of whose name the Messiah was to stand in awe, was to become man, or that YHWH's anointed one was to be something other than a man born of the seed of David.
The 'unchangeability' of YHWH is stressed throughout the Old Testament:
"God is not a man that he should lie, neither the SON OF MAN that he should repent." (Numbers 23:19)
"I am God and not man." (Hosea 11:9)
"God is not a man that he should repent." (1 Samuel 15:29)
"For I YHWH change not." (Malachi 3:6)
The 'unchangeability' of YHVH is also stressed in the New Testament.
Having made man in his own image, God is not likely to find the necessity of becoming the image of himself. To do so would be an admission that it was God who had failed in his work of Creation. It is man who has failed, not God. Man was perfect in the days when he was created but fell from grace through his own weak will. Readers are asked to check the circumstances in which the following utterances were made - no doubt will then remain:
"Every best gift cometh down from above, from the Father of lights with whom there is no change nor shadow of turning." (James 1:17)
"The God of our Fathers has glorified his servant Jesus." (Acts 3:13)
"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." (Mark 12:26, Matt. 22:32)
"So serve I the God of our fathers." (Acts. 24:14)
"The God of our fathers has appointed thee to know his will." (Acts 22:14)
Those who heard these words spoken would never have misinterpreted their meaning: any suggestion that Jesus was 'divine' would have been regarded by the Israelites as the most monstrous idolatry.
The New Testament is also emphatic that God has never been seen by the human eye:
"No man has seen God at any time" (John 1:18, 6:46)
"Whom no man has seen or can see." (1 Timothy 6:16)
"No man hath beheld God at any time." (1 John 4:12)
"(God is) eternal, immortal, invisible." (1 Timothy 1:17)
These texts were all written after Jesus' death. Taken singly or collectively, they completely refute the suggestion that God suddenly took on the form of a man.
The Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia statement above is manifestly deceptive. The 'Divinity' of Jesus of Nazareth is found nowhere in either the Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testaments. This teaching is based solely on church tradition, to which we respond: "You make void the word of God by your tradition."