Biblical unitarians often get the ol’ “you’re saying Jesus was just a ‘Mere Man’, when you deny that Jesus is God in the flesh”. However this is not what we’re saying at all. And really this is just a straw man counter-argument. Today on Facebook in the “Who is Jesus?” group , the following EXCELLENT reply was posted to a trinitarian who was bringing out that tired, old, “Mere Man” counter attack once again.
A trinitarian had stated: “Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament. He was the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He became a man and died for His creation to redeem it. To be the savior, he HAD to be God. If he had not been God, then His sacrifice would not have been sufficient to redeem mankind. If he was merely a man, then the fact that he led a perfect life would only be sufficient for him to save himself. In order to save mankind, he had to pre-exist his human existence as the Creator God.” The response: “This line of reasoning is so common that it even has a name. It has been dubbed the “Mere Man” theory.
[That is] :- ... It should take a God to die for His creation in order to redeem it. But “Mere Man” does have a couple problems The first is the fact that the Creator God cannot die. If you find yourself in the unenviable position of arguing the necessity of your dead God, perhaps you should reconsider your position. The Bible does not support it. The Creator God is described in scripture by words such as “eternal” and “immortal” and “everlasting” and “almighty.” The Creator God is not subject to the limitations (including death) of his creation. If your study of the scriptures leaves you comfortable with a mortal immortal, there is another perhaps more serious flaw with the “Mere Man” theory. It is totally absent from scripture. It is remarkable how many people confidently state that “The death of a mere man would not have been sufficient to redeem mankind; God himself had to die for it” without following up this notable statement with any biblical support. The mere man statement, or anything remotely like it, is not found anywhere in the pages of the Bible, and yet it is generally accepted as fact. Under the sacrificial system in ancient Israel, there was an annual sacrifice of a goat on the Day of Atonement. The high priest killed the goat and sprinkled the blood on the people of Israel. The blood of this animal atoned for the sins of the entire nation for that past year. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before YHWH” (Leviticus 16:30). How, we may ask, could the blood of a mere animal be sufficient to do this? The answer is familiar to any child, as it was to the children of Israel: because your Father says so. YHWH God commanded that a goat be used as a sacrifice to cover the sins of the people. That is what made it efficacious. It was not the intrinsic power within the goat that did it; rather it was the plan and will of the Creator God. When YHWH God commands something, we do not need to understand it. As faithful sons, we simply believe and obey our Father. The treatise on sacrifices in Hebrews 9 and 10 teaches us that the blood of bulls and goats as sacrifices for sin sanctified to the purifying of the flesh, but did not take away sins. The animal sacrifices for sin were designed as a type, a symbol to represent the ultimate sacrifice for sin: the Lamb of God. Under YHWH God’s plan, the animal sin sacrifice on the Day of Atonement was sufficient and efficacious, but only retroactively for the preceding year. It was temporal, and therefore insufficient as an ultimate sacrifice to redeem His people Israel once and for all. The fulfillment of the sacrificial system rested in the Lamb of God, Yeshua the Messiah, the sacrifice to which all the other sin sacrifices pointed.
Yeshua was a man. His existence began when he was conceived, just as it does for all men. He called himself the “son of man” on many occasions. He was called “the man Christ Yeshua” in I Timothy 2:5. He called himself the “son of God” in John 10:36 and other places in scripture, but never God the Son. Angels too are called sons of God in scripture, as are we (see I John 3 and Romans 8). We are the sons of God. That does not make us God. Neither did it make Yeshua God. Nor was he, at some time in the past. He was a man, born of a woman. He is referred to in the Bible as the last Adam (I Corinthians 15:45). His Father was YHWH God, who was also the father of the first Adam. From the foundation of the world, YHWH’s plan was to sacrifice the Lamb of God that was to come for the redemption of His people (Revelation 13:8). In due time, according to the plan of the Father, the man Yeshua the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. He lived a perfect life, performed his ministry to his people Israel, and was sacrificed. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be sinless before our Heavenly Father. By the shedding of his blood, redemption has come upon Israel, past, present, and future. The blood of The Lamb is sufficient. Why? Because that is how YHWH God planned it and designed it. Does not the One who created the world and instituted the sacrificial system have the right to select which sacrifices are sufficient to satisfy its requirements? There is only one Creator. You are either the Creator or the creation; you cannot be both. Yeshua was called “the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15) and “the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). Yeshua the Messiah was created. This is by no means an insult to him. You and I were created too. We, like our elder brother Yeshua, share in a glorious plan to be sons of God in the kingdom, each in his own order. Yeshua is the firstborn, and we shall follow. If the Old Testament type of an animal sacrifice was sufficient to cover the sins of the nation, how much more sufficient would be the fulfillment of the sacrificial system — the Lamb of God, a man planned for and selected from the foundation of the world, a sinless man who wholly followed YHWH his God and obeyed even unto death? To say that he was insufficient because he was not God is to deny the sovereignty of the Creator God who selected him.
He was a man, but he was not a “mere man.” He was the chosen Messiah, the Lamb of God.”