Question: “Can an incarnate divine being be tempted?”

This was a question that I saw on a forum:

“It’s absurd to suggest that an incarnate divine being could be tempted. What could Satan offer that jesus didn’t already own? If jesus could be tempted, he wasn’t a god; if jesus was a god, he could not have been subject to temptation. The bible’s full of logical contradictions; this is one of the most obvious.”

 

 

The Question’s  Premise: divine beings cannot be tempted.
The NIV Footnote for Matthew 4:1 Says “The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.” Even though this may be the case, we’ll stick to the regular meaning of tempted — meaning that it was a choice of struggle.

  • “What could Satan offer that Jesus didn’t already own?”
    • The Respect of the World
      • Matthew 4:8 NIV

        Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

      •  In John 16, Jesus describes something to the disciples:

        John 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

        Satan is the prince of this world, although condemned, he controls the powers of the governments in this world. Contrary to popular belief, Satan DID NOT want Christ to die on the Cross.

  • “If Jesus could be tempted, he wasn’t a god;”
    •  This is contrary to what the Bible teaches. It teaches that Jesus was indeed Tempted. Also, it makes the case that Jesus was so indeed tempted, that its that very fact that He was tempted is what allows Jesus to become our faithful High  Priest:
      • Hebrews 4:14 NIV Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • “if Jesus was a god”
    • Jesus Is God. He did not deny it when people called Him God, and He is the One who holds the universe together.
      • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
      •  John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
      •  John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
      • Colossians 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

So, from the evidence that we see here, we must conclude that the assumption that Jesus could not be tempted because He was divine is incorrect. Anytime a person makes such a statement from a non-biblical standpoint about the God of the Bible, they have a duty to prove their assertion using the Scriptures. The problem with many people who do not believe in the God of the bible is that they have constructed and image of God in their own mind from sources other than the Bible. Thus, the god that they believe in or postulate ( “incarnate divine being” in this case) .

Some people think that God could not have been tempted because God already has everything he wants. That’s an incorrect assumption by virtue of the fact that temptation does not have to do with material things all of the time. While Jesus was on earth he did not have all of the riches, he did not have all of the glory…but that isn’t what Jesus was tempted by. Satan was looking at this conflict that Jesus came to resolve and was going to offer him the easy way out. Satan was saying “Hey Christ! Why be spit upon and suffer and die and be tormented to win the souls of men while you could just simply acknowledge my supremacy, and I’ll hand them over to you! See problem solved!” If Jesus would have accepted that deal, sure He would have had control of humanity, but God would have acknowledged Satan as being master. So Jesus resisted the devil, and died on the Cross. He did not take the easy way but took the way that atoned for each of our sins.

Thank God!

 

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Spencer Sims

Engaged in producing content and applications for the upcoming generation of consumers. A Computer Science and Mathematics student that is passionate about programming and empowering people to become leaders. Lives to glorify the name of Jesus! Also founder of this blog.

2 thoughts on “Question: “Can an incarnate divine being be tempted?””

  1. this too was a nice read but i was hoping that you would address the text in James that says that God cannot be tempted and neither can he tempt. Surely if you are going to address this topic you must address that text.

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