Stumper Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, #33
In Jn 20:28, Thomas refers to Jesus in Greek as “Ho kyrios moy kai ho theos moy”. This translates literally as “the Lord of me and THE God of me”. Why does Jesus, in Jn 20:29, affirm Thomas for having come to this realization? If Jesus really wasn’t the Lord and THE God of Thomas, why didn’t Jesus correct him for making either a false assumption or a blasphemous statement?
Trinitarians are confronted with a dilemma. While it is true that the apostle Thomas exclaimed before the resurrected Jesus — “My Lord and my God” — in the very same chapter of John Jesus used the exact same expression when he said to Mary: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’”
Literally Jesus said “the God of me and the God of you.”
Without doubt Mary obeyed Jesus’ command. And since Thomas was one of Jesus’ spiritual brothers it is reasonable to assume that he was informed what Jesus said.
We do well to appreciate that at no time did Jesus ever claim to be God. Furthermore, there is no instance where any of his disciples gave any indication that they thought he was God. No, on every occasion Jesus, as well as his apostles, consistently declared that he was the Son of God.
So, why did Thomas say what he did?
In the same thing 20th chapter the account says that Jesus appeared to his disciples on an occasion when Thomas was not present. But when his fellow apostles told him about their encounter with Christ Thomas declared that he would never believe that Jesus had been resurrected unless he could personally touch the wounds that he knew Jesus had suffered during his death.
So, it was about a week later that Jesus appeared to the apostles again – suddenly appearing in a room with the door locked. A supernatural display such as Jesus demonstrated would shake and astonish anyone. But Jesus did so for the express purpose of addressing his particular apostle’s disbelief. After approaching Thomas and telling him to feel the wounds and stop doubting, the astonished disciple then exclaimed: “my Lord and my God.”
But in response Jesus gave no indication that he thought Thomas was declaring him to be God. Jesus merely said to him in reply: “Because you have seen me, have you believed? Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
The Trinitarian assumes that because Jesus did not correct Thomas he must be God. But that is merely an assumption – an unwarranted assumption. It fails to take into consideration that Jesus may not have understood Thomas to be proclaiming him to be God in the same sense that Trinitarians suppose. After all, Jesus was there. We were not. Had Jesus understood Thomas to saying he thought Jesus was his God in the same way Jesus said the Father was his, no doubt he would have corrected the apostle, again. But he did not.
It is possible that Thomas was referring to Jesus as “my Lord” AND the Father as “my God.” After all, it is very common for people to say “my God!” as an exclamation of surprise or astonishment. And Thomas had just seen a sight that no human living in our time has ever seen!
Or, because during the three years that Jesus was with the apostles before his death he frequently spoke of having been with God and having seen God and been sent down to earth to speak for God, even judging for God and extending forgiveness for God, Thomas may have intended to acknowledge Jesus’ oneness with God.
Either way, because Jesus did not correct Thomas is no indication that Jesus is God. Quite the contrary. Because Jesus did not correct the apostle it is proof that Jesus did not understand Thomas to be expressing his believe that Jesus was Almighty God.
The very next verse in the 20th chapter of John goes on to state: “To be sure, Jesus also performed many other signs before the disciples, which are not written down in this scroll. But these have been written down so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and because of believing, you may have life by means of his name.”
The apostle John was no doubt in the room when Thomas exclaimed “my Lord and my God” and apparently he did not understand Thomas to be exclaiming that Jesus was THE God either. Since the apostle John concluded by saying they believed Jesus to be the Messiah – the Christ – the son of God, that is obviously what Jesus understood Thomas to believe as well.
Ironically the multitudes of churchgoers who imagine themselves to be true believers really do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.