The Real Difference Between God and Jesus

The difference between God and Jesus has caused confusion. But it’s super easy to clear it up.

The God of the Bible is a Trinity. God is spirit. And Jesus is true God all the way from Genesis to Revelation.

But the Old Testament told us hundreds (and even thousands!) of years ahead of time of the Messiah that would be made flesh and dwell among us.

In fact, when Jesus himself “became flesh and dwelled among us,” (John 1:14, ESV) he claimed to be God on multiple occasions.

And he backed up his claims with proof in the form of many miracles, many fulfilled prophecies, and by the way he confounded his opponents.

Jesus has many other Messianic Titles such as Son of David and Son of Man.

So Jesus is fully God. But He is also fully Man. He is the only member of the Trinity to have this distinction.

In Genesis 1 we learn that God created the heavens and the earth. We also learn that God describes himself in a complex singular way using the Hebrew word Elohim.

Elohim conveys the concept of being plural yet a complete unity at the same time.

We have English words that mirror this concept, like forest, audience, and herd, but none of these examples come close to being as unified as Elohim.

Let’s go deeper now.

Related Content:

Why is Jesus Called the Son of David?

Why is Jesus Called the Son of Man?

Jesus’ Many Blatant Claims to be God

Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven Bible Verses

Is God and Jesus the Same Person?

God is made of three persons and Jesus is part of the personhood of God that also includes the Father and the Holy Spirit.

However, note that Jesus (the Son), the Father and the Holy Spirit are 3 different persons – they’re not the same.

This might seem rather puzzling, I know and that’s normal.

We can’t fully understand the eternal nature of our Creator and how He operates. He is infinite and we are finite. His thoughts are above ours.

But what we do understand that’s also Biblically factual is that Jesus is God as He is fully divine (see Colossians 2:9.)

It all boils down to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity that is found in the Bible.

In essence, there’s only one God who also exists as 3 separate persons that are part of the Trinity:

    • God the Father

    • God the Son

    • God the Holy Spirit

Now – these 3 distinct persons aren’t separate gods, no, no, no.

But some might still be rather confused, especially since we don’t find the different persons of God in the Old Testament as easily as we do in the New Testament.

Not so fast though.

First, we stop by a bulletproof OT example by reading Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”.

Now open your NT and go to John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”.

Lastly, read:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Boom, there it is – Jesus is the Word and He was present at the beginning as He is God.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all found in the Old Testament as part of God the Trinity.

It’s just that our Creator revealed the different roles of each person of the Trinity in greater detail in the New Testament.

And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you find out that Jesus Christ -the eternal Son of the Father- is himself the Creator! That’s right. Check it out!

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16, ESV.

In essence, the Holy Trinity is One God in three Persons.

How is God and Jesus the Same?

Jesus and God are One as Christ is God incarnate, meaning – God in the flesh.

Remember what Jesus said in John 10:38: “the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” The Messiah and God are the same because Christ is part of the Trinity.

And the Trinity consists of three persons that are all God, while still being distinct from each other.

Having a hard time wrapping your head around this? You’re not alone.

We are not given all the details and information about everything, but the Living Word of God still provides all we need to know about the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh.

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a truly miraculous way and born of a human woman (Mary), which would highlight His fully divine, yet fully human nature.

On one hand, Christ performed miracles such as forgiving sins that only the Almighty is capable of Luke 7:48–50.

But Jesus also showed his fully human side on numerous occasions, including showing his human frailty shortly before dying on the cross by saying “I thirst.” (John 19:28).

We find even more striking evidence of Jesus’ humility on display in Philippians 2:6-7 as Christ willingly lowered Himself by “taking the form of a servant”.

But despite being the same, there are still some differences between Christ and God that from the fact that Jesus was (and is) also fully man, on top of being God.

Perhaps the most notable one is that Jesus had a physical body as he was 100% a human being, while God is a spirit and He is beyond creation (John 4:24, 1 Kings 8:27).

Other intriguing differences include:

    • Jesus was tempted as we are (Hebrews 4:15), while God cannot be tempted (James 1:13)

    • Christ experienced physical death (Matthew 12:40; Matthew 16:21), while God cannot die (1 Timothy 6:16)

    • People could see and touch Jesus, while no one has seen God (Exodus 33:20)

But don’t think that any of these differences deny Jesus’ deity.

Not at all.

They just portray the fully human nature of Jesus, who is God in the flesh.

Since Christ was also a man, he was subject to anything related to the flesh including temptation and physical death.

However, none of this takes away His eternal, divine and immortal position as God the Son – one of the three persons of the Trinity.

Does God Have a Name?

Indeed, God does have a personal name and that is YHWH, articulated as Yahweh (ˈyä-wā) or Jehovah (yi-ˈhō-və).

English Bibles typically translate Yahweh as “LORD”, while YHWH is known as the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter Hebrew word יהוה).

However, in Exodus 3:14 God uses Yahweh and “I AM” interchangeably, further implying an eternal and timeless Creator.

God literally told Moses “I AM has sent me to you.”, which is a very personal and powerful name that the Lord chose to reveal to the Israelites so that they may know who the Living God is.

And this was in the Old Testament.

And in the New Testament, Jesus himself -in front of the Pharisees said: “Before Abraham was, “I am.” John 8:58, ESV.

 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14, ESV

 In Exodus 3:15 we find that the word LORD is spelled with capital letters, which stands for God’s divine name YHWH.

But what does the Almighty say at the end of this verse? “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”.

And what did the Lord God say in Revelation 1:8? “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

He is the One who was, is and will be, forever and ever.

However, there are other names of God besides YHWH (or Yahweh), although they’re more like titles than personal names like YHWH.

Some of the popular names of God used throughout Scripture are:

    • Elohim (el-oh-heem) – The plural form of Eloah meaning God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” found in different Bible passages such as Genesis 17:7 and Jeremiah 31:33

    • Adonai (ˌædɒˈnaɪ; ah-daw-nahy) – This name of God is used instead of YHWH as Jews thought that it’s too sacred to be used by sinful men with one example of Adonai being used is Judges 6:15. Also, in the OT Adonai is typically used when God deals with the gentiles.

    • El Shaddai (el-shah-dahy) – It means “God Almighty” or “The Mighty One of Jacob” as found in Genesis 49:24 and Psalm 132:2,5. El Shaddai implies the ultimate power of the Creator over all creation.

    • El Elyon (el-el-yohn) – This name of God stands for “Most High” as found in Deuteronomy 26:19 and it derives from Hebrew root for “ascend” or “go up”, implying that He is above anything and anyone.

    • El, Eloah (el, el-oh-ah) – Meaning God “Mighty, Strong, Prominent” with some examples of El or Eloah being used in the Bible being Psalm 139:19 and Nehemiah 9:17

Don’t forget that there are many other names of God used throughout the Bible, but none of them are as intimate and personal as YHWH.

Is God Our Father?

God is called our Heavenly Father by Jesus on numerous occasions in the New Testament.

Here are some examples:

    • Matthew 5:48 – “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    • Matthew 6:26 – “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Also, Hebrews 12:7-11 reveals that God is treating us as sons by disciplining us for our own good.

And in Romans 8:15-16 – “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”

This doesn’t neglect the fact that we all still have our earthly, human fathers.

But God is our Heavenly Father who knows and provides us with what we truly need, while also disciplining us when needed.

He is our ultimate provider, protector and savior.

Also, note that our intimate relationship in which He is our Father and we are His sons and daughters is only possible due to what Jesus did on the cross.

Christ died as the perfect sacrificial lamb to pay for all our sins so that we may call out to God the Father through the spirit of adoption.

In fact, Jesus himself was the legal son of Joseph by adoption.

God and Jesus Bible Verses

Here are some scripture references from both the Old Testament and the New Testament about the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Then how could you talk about the Father and the Son without the Holy Spirit? Well, the Holy Spirit is also mentioned often. Every member of the Trinity is well supported in scripture.

Old Testament

Genesis 1:26 ESV

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Isaiah 9:6 ESV

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Genesis 1:2 ESV

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Psalm 2:7

I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

Isaiah 44:8

Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

New Testament

John 10:30 ESV

I and the Father are one.”

2 Corinthians 13:14  ESV

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Matthew 3:16-17 ESV

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV

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 Peter 1:2 ESV

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Final Thoughts

The takeaway from this article is that you need to remember that Jesus and God are the same- they’re One.

However, although Jesus is God, He is not the same person as the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity consists of 3 separate persons that are different from each other:

    1. The Father

    2. The Son

    3. The Holy Spirit

All 3 persons are God Himself, yet they all hold unique roles in the personhood of our Creator.

And don’t forget that the Trinity doctrine is completely Biblical, as evident by Matthew 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

This concept is undoubtedly hard to grasp, especially for new believers so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Just keep in mind that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life (John 3:16) as He is the only way that leads to the Father (John 14:6).

 Is your Faith Founded on Fact? Have you committed to follow Jesus?

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