God cannot be tempted. Jesus was tempted. Therefore, Jesus cannot be God.

In their attempt to deny the deity of Jesus, the Muslims sometimes raise the objection that Jesus was tempted and God cannot be tempted. Therefore Jesus cannot be God.

James 1:13 says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." It also says in Heb. 4:15, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."

Answering this objection is a bit more difficult than answering the other objections to Christ's deity because it deals with the relation between the divine and human natures of Jesus.  We see that Jesus has two natures as is taught in the chart below, but how they are related is not clarified.

Jesus as one person

GOD

MAN

He is worshiped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9)
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 1:1-2)
He was called God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8)
He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1)
He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15)
He knew all things (John 21:17)
He gives eternal life (John 20:28)
The fullness of deity dwells in Him (Col. 2:9)

He worshiped the Father (John 17)
He prayed to the Father (John 17:1)
He was called man (Mark 15:39; John 19:5).
He was called Son of Man (John 9:35-37)
He was tempted (Matt. 4:1)
He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)
He died (Rom. 5:8)
He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39)

We see from scripture that Jesus' human nature never existed apart from the union of his divine nature.  We also see in scripture that God cannot sin and that in Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9).  Therefore, since we acknowledge that Jesus was divine, we could easily conclude that it was not possible for Jesus to have sinned. On the other hand, Jesus was truly man.  Therefore, it is fair to say that Jesus could have been truly tempted.  But, the question persists:  if it was not possible for Jesus to have sinned then how could He be truly tempted?   I do not know if I have a sufficient answer to this.  But I will offer one anyway.

In all that Jesus did, he did by looking to the Father. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner," (John 5:19). Also, Jesus said, "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 5:30).

In Matt. 12:22-32, Jesus was casting out demons. The Pharisees accused Jesus of doing this by the power of the devil. Jesus replied to them that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. Why did he say this? I believe that it is because Jesus did none of his miracles out of his own divine nature but did them as a man working through and by the Holy Spirit who indwelt Him. Therefore, Jesus was casting out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit. We see that Jesus' miracles began after his baptism and that is when the Holy Spirit descended upon him.

Jesus came as a man in order to fulfill the law of God and to be the sacrifice for sin. He did this as a man. When He resisted the temptations of the devil, He quoted scripture -- as a man.  He did not at that time rely on His divine nature when going about His earthly ministry in Israel.  As a man, He was tempted and as a man He resisted temptation by relying on God's word.  He cast out demons by the Holy Spirit and not by His own divine nature.  Therefore, Jesus was tempted in His human nature, not in His divine.  He did not rely on His divine "side" to help Him out.  Instead, He completely relied on the Father, the Holy Spirit, and God's word to successfully resist the temptations that came to Him.

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.