Does Acts 2:36 disprove the deity of Christ? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’ve had two times where I have interacted with someone online from the group called the Iglesia Ni Cristo, a cult group that seems to have the strategy online of “Say the same thing over and over preferably very loudly and ignore anything to the contrary.” Last night, I encountered someone who seemed to think the only verse in the Bible worth talking about was Acts 2:36. This is one a lot of skeptics of the deity of Christ and/or the Trinity use.
So what does the verse say?
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
The idea is rooted in the word “made.” If Jesus was made Lord and Christ at His resurrection, then He was not these things before. Right?
The Greek word is ποιεο and if you want to base your argument on this word, well good look. Unfortunately, it’s one of those words that has a lot of meanings behind it. Here’s what you can find at BlueLetterBible.com.
- to make
- with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc.
- to be the authors of, the cause
- to make ready, to prepare
- to produce, bear, shoot forth
- to acquire, to provide a thing for one’s self
- to make a thing out of something
- to (make i.e.) render one anything
- to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that
- to (make i.e.) declare one anything
- to put one forth, to lead him out
- to make one do something
- cause one to
- to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about)
- to do
- to act rightly, do well
- to carry out, to execute
- to do a thing unto one
- to do to one
- with designation of time: to pass, spend
- to celebrate, keep
- to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover
- to perform: to a promise
- to act rightly, do well
So let’s go a different route. Let’s start with Lord and limit our usage to Lukan usage before the resurrection. Luke 1:43 has Elizabeth referring to Mary as the mother of her Lord. In Luke 2:11, the angels say that born in Bethlehem is Jesus, who is Christ the Lord. In 3:4, John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord and then here comes Jesus.
In 5:8, Simon calls Jesus, Lord. A leper does the same in 5:12. In 6:46, Jesus asks why call Him, “Lord, Lord” and not do what He says? The friends of the centurion call Jesus Lord in 7:6 and Luke calls Jesus Lord himself in verse 13 and again in 31.
In 9:54, two of Jesus’s disciples refer to Him as Lord and two would-be disciples do so in verses 57 and 61. Luke again calls Jesus the Lord in 10:1 and the returning disciples in verse 17 call Jesus Lord as well.
Honestly, I suspect at this point this is getting repetitive. You can search on your own and find the numerous places where many people in the Gospels call Jesus the Lord in Luke and this before His resurrection. So what about Christ?
Yep. Luke 2:11 mentioned above and Simeon is told in the came chapter he won’t die until he sees the Lord’s Christ. Demons declare Jesus to be Christ in chapter 4 and in chapter 9, Peter makes his great declaration of faith that Jesus is the Christ.
So now, either all of these verses are wrong or need to be reinterpreted or Acts 2:36 needs to be.
So how do we read Acts 2:36 then?
It’s easy. The resurrection was the action whereby God declared that Jesus was indeed Lord and Christ. It is God’s vindication of the claims of Jesus. It in now way means that Jesus became Lord and Christ at that point or else Jesus Himself is wrong many times throughout the Gospels and surely should have corrected all those people giving Him those titles.
Thus, the INC and the JWs and anyone else using this verse just really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, such groups will continue to do so because they don’t know better. They will also avoid contrary scholarship that disagrees because sadly, they don’t want to know better.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)