Jesus was not, is not, and never will be God. This is made crystal clear in the New Testament. Jesus referred to himself as “son of man”, meaning “prophet”, and also as the one who was to come, meaning the Messiah. His disciples and followers, both before and after his crucifixion, never considered him to be God. Why, then, is mainstream Christianity now defined as a belief in Jesus as God incarnate?
Then simple answer is, as Jesus would say, to keep out those who are trying to enter.
If Jesus were God, then the fact of his sinless life would not be exemplary, since God is God and can do anything and everything, including living a sinless life. If Jesus were God, then his constant reference to his relationship with “the Father” would be very strange indeed. Jesus claimed that the Father was greater than him; Jesus claimed that he always did the will of the Father; Jesus claimed that he was going home to the Father; Jesus publicly prayed to the Father and the Father occasionally audibly responded; and Jesus deferred to the Father in all things. Jesus very clearly considered God to be his Father and his Father to be someone who was fully separate and autonomous from him. Certainly, God and Jesus were very close, but they were nevertheless two very distinct persons.
This is how I see it. Jesus came to pay off the spiritual debt of Original Sin. He did that by sacrificing himself as an unblemished (sinless) “lamb”, willingly suffering for sins he did not commit. Jesus was able to live a sinless life because he always did God’s will, meaning that he always asked and took God’s advice. In paying off the debt by accepting to be crucified, Jesus opened the door for his followers to have the same relationship with God as he had. His sacrifice both paid the debt and healed the breach of Original Sin. Because of Jesus’ work, we can have a close relationship with God, like Adam had before the fall, and like Jesus was able to have, being sinless.
Having a close relationship with God is crucial if we are to make it all the way back to heaven. Jesus showed us how to get to heaven and enabled us to get there, but it’s still up to use to make the right choices in life, the way he made the right choices, and to keep making those choices right to our dying breath. If Jesus were God, we would expect him always to make the right choices (he’s perfect, after all), but he wouldn’t be much of an example for us humans. It’s critical that we understand the essential humanity of Jesus, because only as a human can Jesus serve as our “ensample”, as Paul called him. Jesus was not divine; Jesus was not God. Rather, Jesus was fully human and suffused with God’s spirit, in the same way we are, as born-agains.
Then where did this erroneous notion of Jesus being God come from?
I’d suggest it came from people who don’t know God as their Dad and don’t follow Jesus. I’m referring, of course, to the mainstream church that grew into Roman Catholicism and other orthodox offshoots, and from there poisoned all manifestations of “Christianity” to this day. Catholicism was first and foremost a worldly power whose interest was control of people and their wealth. It still is. Jesus tells us that the world is under Satan, so it stands to reason that those organizations that wield control in the world are emissaries of Satan, including Catholicism.
Of course, it would be in Satan’s interest to keep people out of heaven who are trying to enter. By framing Jesus as God, we have a different relationship with Jesus. We don’t see him as “one of us who made it”, but as a divine being who is entirely different from us, superior to us. Paul called Jesus the firstborn among many, meaning he was our big brother spiritually. This is how we must see him, as our older sibling who set a good example for us, as older siblings are inclined to do.
People who call Jesus “divine” or God don’t know God and don’t know Jesus. We need to hold onto the essential humanity of Jesus, because the essential humanity is what makes Jesus’ accomplishments ‘doable’ for us.
Jesus was not, is not, and never will be God. He was supernaturally conceived (scripture foretold that he would be born of a virgin, and so he was), but if DNA tests were available at that time, I am 100% certain they would have shown Jesus to be Joseph’s son. Physically, Jesus shared the DNA of his mother, Mary, and his father, Joseph. But his spiritual DNA (if you want to call it that) showed that God was his father, just as our spiritual DNA, as born-agains, likewise shows us to be God’s offspring.
God was Jesus’ spiritual (heavenly) father, not his Earthly father. Joseph was his Earthly father. This was the miracle of his virgin birth – not only that a virgin could conceive, but that the child born of this miraculous conception was fully the child of both Earthly parents, and thus fully human.
The essential humanity of Jesus must not be thrown away in favor of a fairy-tale myth that serves no purpose but to separate us from Jesus and God, and to undermine Jesus’ accomplishments. We can be like Jesus, who was fully human, just as some day we can be where Jesus is – with the angels in God’s heavenly kingdom. Yes, we mere humans can do all that, with God’s help. Jesus proved it. He’s our example. You don’t have to be divine to get to heaven, but you do need divine help.