If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God?
Traditional theology presents this proposal as fact. If we read the bible carefully, we find it does not work. Fortunately, the logic and clarity of the scriptures need no additional imagination and we can show this premise to be false from the bible without making anything up or requiring leaps of assumption.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. John 1:1
Simply because we see a capital ‘W’ or a ‘He’ in v2 ,3 etc. does not make the logos a person. Is wisdom a person? If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body..." 1Cor 12:15, is the foot a person because it speaks?
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us 1John 1:1
We can readily see this (from the same John) is NOT referring to a person. The logos here is a ‘what’ or a ‘which’ depending on the translation. Jesus is the revelation, the manifestation of this logos which was with God. Jesus is the logos made manifest only since he was born! It is this critical aspect that negates the logic of, ‘If the logos is God then Jesus, who is the ‘logos became flesh’, is God.
and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us v2
We now can progress past an assumption-based methodology and work with the reality that Jesus has come from the literal ‘word’ of God, and not a person of divine eternality at all. We must read what is provided - no assumption is necessary. There are no gaps in the bible's provision of how Jesus came to be.
As explained here, the Gospel narratives of Jesus’ beginning clearly and ‘accurately’ provide all we need to know. There is NO mention of a ‘God the Son’, NO mention of a pre-existing Jesus. We ARE told of the baby boy born to Mary by the power of God. There is no, ‘the eternal Son of God became flesh’, as another answer provides – there is no verse for this idea.
…it seemed fitting to me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in an orderly sequence, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught Luke 1:3
the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus Luke 1:30
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. v32
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Matt 1:1
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah was as follows: when his mother Mary… v18
We have the beginning of ‘Jesus’, the Christ. A descendant of David and Abraham. No one is talking about Jesus being God, no one speaks of his pre-existence as some eternal being – an ‘exact truth’, we’re told or ‘perfectly’, ‘diligently’, ‘accurately’. A baby boy born of Mary, named Jesus, the son of God.
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under the Law.
We don't need to suppose here that because Jesus was 'sent' that he must be in heaven to begin with. Jesus was sent - into the wilderness for 40 days, he was sent to be tempted and die - all this from the womb of Mary. There is no need to invent anything else.
The Jesus of the bible
This is the simple truth - no incarnation or God becoming a man, no pre-existence. If the incarnation was truth from God, we would be reading about this most important beginning of His son sent to be Saviour of the world!!! Yet, we do not; there is not a peep of this idea! All these things, sadly, are made up to present another gospel about another Jesus who is not described in the bible at all - save a few 'proof-texts' that can be used to infer something accommodating a traditional theology. I've noted some below to show their misapplication.
The logos is with or ‘toward’ God. It cannot therefore BE God in any strict sense. Can the logos DO anything of itself? No. Is the logos a conscious entity with God? No, as if it was God, then we have two God’s. God is Creator, He creates through His logos - the logos does not create of itself.
1John 1:1-2 has soundly defeated that misunderstanding. The logos, as shown through the NT is often given as statement, story, message, reason, to say, report, speech, news, account. It is the expression and will of God – it carries the full weight of God’s presence and authority. It IS as God is, but only as God utters and pronounces – “let there be light”, etc.
Jesus, the human manifestation of the logos, is the living word, message, statement, reason etc. of God. He has one human nature so being able to be tempted and die is quite appropriate for a man - but never appropriate, or even possible, for God. Heb 2:17 says, Jesus 'is made like us in every way'. Being a God/man is not like us at all. Jesus having two-natures is not mentioned, let alone taught anywhere by God's messengers. So his, 'eternal nature' didn't die idea is not biblical, but made up!
Do we choose the bible or do we choose ideas of men formed 100’s of years after the Apostolic Church Fathers? None of these taught anything about God being made into a man or Jesus having two-natures.
Knowing that Jesus has his own will – differing from the Father, is evidence of the dramatic development God undertook in order to save His creation. His logos is now a human with another will - planned from the beginning Gen 3. A human will that MUST be subjected to God’s will – not remotely by force, coercion or authority. Not by God's decree as He utters His word to bring something into fruition, but by Jesus' willing love, trust and humble obedience as God's special son. If at any time this subjection did not occur, Jesus could not have been Saviour. John 5:30, John 6:38, Luke 22:42, Mark 14:36
The form of God
Jesus, the son of God, born holy, had the privilege of asking for anything from heaven. He emptied himself of this privileged status in order to be a servant to God’s purposes and not allow his own desires to come first. All the while retaining the form, the image, and being the representative of, God. Col 1:15, 2 Cor 4:4, Phil 2:6, Heb 1:3
Indeed, he was dedicated to being empty of himself (putting his own will aside) so that he would be all the more full of God and intent on His will – just as it is for all men who earnestly seek to put God first.
but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. Phil 2:7
No wonder he said, ‘I of myself can do nothing’. This was not some pithy saying meant to feign humility – it was the absolute truth! Being ‘empty’ was without guile and only threatened by temptation. As the holy, sinless son of God, glorifying himself would be the exact opposite of what God wanted His son to express. But Jesus emptying himself of any tendency to ‘blow his own trumpet’ by submitting his will to God and point all toward God instead of himself – ‘no one is good except God alone’.
Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’ John 8:54
When he said, ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father’, obviously he still, (and always) is the form and image of God, as that is what they are seeing and coming to know and understand what God is like - through the life and example of Jesus. The strange idea that ‘being in the form of God’ was a time prior to his life on earth is shown to be pure supposition – it has no scriptural validity.
To stress this matter – Jesus was fully the form and image of God until his final breath. Now, his followers are being made in God’s image - in Christ. He still is the image and form of God – representing His will perfectly without hesitation or distraction from evil and temptation. Sitting at God’s right hand as His Judge, inheritor, giver of life, raiser of dead etc. etc.
Jesus knew who he was – ‘there is none good but God alone’, ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’, Matt 5:48 He stated who his God and Father was – the same as Mary’s and ours.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.'"
So, If the Word was God, and the Word was the Son, can we conclude that the Son is God? No. That Jesus still has a God should provoke serious analytical study of the whole ‘Jesus is God’ philosophy. Usually, when queried on this important matter, the answer is, 'It's a mystery' or, 'We have to believe by faith'. No there is no mystery when we read the bible just as God has provided.
The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Rev 3:12
When we take care to examine the scriptures free of traditional interference we see the true Jesus, the man only who was tempted and died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for all. God the Father DID give His only son!
It may seem harsh to critique another answer. If it does not carefully represent the bible accurately and is misleading, this needs to be pointed out. Of course, these quoted verses are perfectly true, but not when they are used in isolation and stripped of context. Using them in this way is a sign of not having very good support at all and hoping no one will notice the obvious misappropriation.
Matt 1:23, "He shall be called Emmanuel ... "the God with us" - Isaiah 7:14-16 shows that this title is not sufficient to make Jesus God.
John 20:28, "the Lord of me and the God of me" – The context of this passage is ample evidence of what Thomas meant – based on what Jesus had taught his disciples.
Titus 2:13, “…our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” [This also has, “ho theos”.] An honest reading shows this verse speaks of the appearing of the glory of God - Jesus is the one appearing.
Heb 1:8, “About the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever’”. [ho theos] Read with the next verse, Jesus has a God and he is appointed to his new status – BY God!
Heb 1:9, “therefore O God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy.” [ … also, “ho theos”]
2 Peter 1:1, “…righteousness of our God [= ὁ Θεός] and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” When compared to the many other examples of this phrasing, Jesus still has a God. While this one verse seems to provide a proof-text, only a flimsy case is built using this one alone and ignoring all the others.
This referenced answer also totally ignores, ‘the logos was WITH God’ – a critical aspect to understanding what logos is - not who as we have seen.