3.Paul attests to Jesus’ deity
Third, the Pauline epistles, which even Schonfield accepts as valid texts, attest to the orthodox view of Jesus’ deity. Thus, while Schonfield holds that Paul followed Jesus’ own teachings in rejecting the deity of the Messiah,^48 the writings of Paul which are accepted by Schonfield teach otherwise. This is revealed by even a brief survey. In Romans 1:3–4, Paul gives Jesus the titles “Son,” “Lord” and “Christ.” Although completely ignored by Schonfield in a treatment of this verse,^49 the usage of “Lord,” in particular, indicates Paul’s view of Jesus’ deity. As said Oscar Cullmann in his classic Christology, this term indicates that Paul could give Jesus the title of “God,” since “Lord” itself “clearly expresses Jesus’ deity.”^50
Even stronger is Paul’s statement in Romans 9:5, where Jesus is, in all probability, actually called “God.”^51 Similarly, Paul affirms Christ’s full deity in Colossians 2:9. While Schonfield clearly mistranslates this latter verse,^52 Cullmann, agreeing with virtually all scholars, renders the key phrase as “the whole fullness of deity dwelt bodily” in Jesus Christ.^53 As philologist A.T. Robertson points out, this verse indicates that all the fullness of the very essence of God dwells in Jesus in bodily form.^54 These two references, in particular, reveal Paul’s view of the full deity of Jesus.
Other passages are additionally helpful. Philippians 2:6–11 asserts that Jesus has the form or very nature of God and commends worship of the exalted Jesus. In Colossians 1:15, Paul points out that Jesus is the “image of God” and in 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul prays to Christ.^55 By these means, then, Paul does teach the deity of Jesus. This is not a doctrine added by unscrupulous Christians from Rome, but a teaching of Jesus himself and of Paul.