“Ask a Priest: It’s Hard to Accept Jesus as Son of God. Am I Doomed?”

Q: I was raised Lutheran and have always believed in God. But in my heart I can’t absorb Jesus as his son and a deity, rather than a human prophet. It’s hard to call myself Christian — it’s also hard not to. Am I arrogant and doomed? – K.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your question touches on the core mystery of the Christian faith: God is a Trinity of three Persons. And one of those Persons took on human nature and walked among us. This is who Jesus is: true God and true man. This is the mystery of the Incarnation.

Our minds can’t totally comprehend these mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation. And yet, there Jesus was: conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, born in Bethlehem, crucified in Jerusalem, raised on the third day.

As to who Jesus is, the interesting thing is that we can’t really settle for some middle ground. Jesus is either God-made-man or he is the one of the biggest frauds in history. That contrast sounds stark, but it is accurate.

We can’t say Jesus was just a human prophet because that is not how he presented himself. “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). The crowds certainly knew what Jesus was getting at — and some of them didn’t like it. “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God” (John 10:33).

You mention that is it hard not to call yourself a Christian. Why is that? What is it that draws you to Christianity? What do you see in it that is attractive? For at the center of Christianity is Christ.

Perhaps is might help you to spend time reading the Gospels. Also helpful might be Fulton Sheen’s classic Life of Christ.

It is good to remember that when Jesus took up his cross, he was thinking of you and your salvation. He suffered and died for love of you, to give you a chance at salvation. He loves you more than you realize, and he hopes you can come to an understanding of that love.

You ask if you are arrogant. I doubt it, because you are honest enough to admit that you are struggling to understand who Jesus is.

You are if you are doomed? I wouldn’t dwell on the dark side. It is better to ask yourself whether there is hope to acquire a deep faith in Christ.

If you pray for that faith, and try to learn more about the person of Jesus, one could imagine that the Holy Spirit will be anxious to “guide you to all truth” (John 16:13). I hope some of this helps.

Count on my prayers.

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