October 10, 2011

The Divinity of Jesus Christ, Part II: Supposed Myth Becomes A Fact

The Offensiveness and Lunacy of The Gospel

Christians nowadays need to realize just how absurd, disgraceful, repulsive and offensive the doctrine of Jesus’ divinity was to the 1st century culture surrounding His first adherents (Christians) both in the Jewish culture and Roman also. Come to think of it, we should try to understand how unbelievable it is to those today that laugh and scoff at its absurd nature…a mere man coming back from the dead claims the world…an absurdity to those in our midst that are much too intellectual to believe such a fairytale. We need to understand how other’s view the divinity of Christ if only so we learn how to approach them for apologetic reasoning. I believe many believers are astounded by the fact that many refuse to believe Christ’s divinity solely on intellectual grounds because we have grown dulled with the familiarity of our own faith and have come to expect ridicule and rejection as par for the course and do nothing to promote our faith. Instead we take it on the chin and remain silent. We are called to defend our faith and that includes Jesus nature.

The difficulty with defending the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is a two-fold. First, there is the immediate, instinctive knee-jerk shock. Everyone who begins to understand Jesus or met Jesus in His time was shocked. No one understood Him including His disciples. The irony is that even to this day no one really understands and this includes His disciples today also. They/we are either maligned of ostracized for believing in a faith that many of us do not fully learn or grasp.

No one had ever met anyone like Jesus before.

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching…” Matthew 7:28

“They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.” Luke 4:32

Another problem at a philosophical level were His outlandish claims. The claim of a man who came from a woman's womb, grew from a baby, got hungry, got tired, angry, sweat, suffered and died…and yet was still divine. Poppycock! Contrary to humans, people see God in His essence as eternal, infinite, infallible and immortal as opposed to being temporal, finite and mortal. How can this person, this man Jesus have what appears to be two contradictory essences simultaneously? It sounds like a liquid solid. We must be sure not to see this as a simple self-contradiction to say that one person can have two natures, though it is a simple self-contradiction to say that that person is both one person and two persons, or one nature and two natures, at the same time. There is an analogy we can use on ourselves - we are both a material and immaterial aspect to humanity, visible and invisible. We have a body and soul.

Author of Creation

In Jesus Christ we see the author of life inserted Himself into his own novel as one of His own characters. This character would have a double nature, and would have "come down from heaven or above the story" so to speak-the heaven of the author's mind-yet he would be a completely human character interacting with the other characters in His story (history, pun intended). If a being such as God exists and is worthy of the name "God” (which He is), that being must be omnipotent, that is, able to do anything that is possible within His nature that does not involve a self-contradiction. Within this/these criteria, God is then capable and justified to come forth into humanity in the Incarnation. No matter how amazing, supernatural and otherworldly this appears…it is not contradictory. To revisit you (as a human) as the analogy….minus divinity, you are one person, yet you are spirit and are not spatially measurable. What are you specifically, are you only the chemical constituent parts from nature? What is, who is Andy Pierson? What constitutes the gap between our physical and spiritual natures, between a few million electrons shooting through our brains and blood pumping in our veins…and the deceased laying in the ground six feet under? Please note I am in no way comparing flawed humans directly to a divine perfect Christ. I am simply trying to draw comparisons to help limited human minds fully grasp the divinity of Jesus.

Potentiality to Actuality

From potentiality we move directly to actuality. What is it that Jesus did? What were the characteristic traits of this God-man? Most religious and nonreligious people that included the likes of Gandhi saw Jesus as the greatest moral teacher and being such was exceedingly trustworthy. If he is trustworthy then what He taught can be trusted to…therefore the Bible. We should trust what He said about Himself. If we do not trust what He said and take Him at face value then we really are not trusting Him the way we say we do…do we? The truth is, if we don’t trust Him…we are condemned. Jesus was not only a good man…He was good. If Jesus is ultimately trustworthy that means He is reliable on His own authority. If He is trustworthy His statements about His identity are true. If His statements about His identity are true than what He has done by being resurrected from the grave can also be our future condition...a resurrection to eternal life.

“I and the Father are one”

If his actions and words determined His trustworthiness and most people believe He was one of if not thee greatest moral man to live…then He was ultimately sane and He was who He said He was. “Before Abraham was I AM!”, “I AM the way the truth and the life”…

Dying For Truth or Dying For A Lie

It is one thing to say “I am the greatest blogger on the internet” but if I cannot back this up…I’m phony. If I can back it up I’ve legitimated my claim. Jesus claimed to be the Life. That with Him came the Kingdom. How did He back this up…miracles or as John stated it “signs”. We then see Him publicly scourged, killed and buried. He is then resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit. Having witnessed all this and having seen the resurrected Lord we see Disciples, one-by-one killed and martyred refusing to recant what they believed because not only were they convicted and convinced by what they had seen, they also had the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. The truth of who He said He was transcended not only Him but it was within His own followers who followed Him to a martyr’s death. If the things Christ taught were lies, if the events surrounding Jesus death and resurrection were fabricated…who in their right mind would go to their deaths defending this position? Not just a few either, hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands. It isn’t like this was some form of Jewish myth either. The faithful adherent Jews found the idea of Jesus being their Messiah repugnant and still do. A divine God crucified (hung on a tree, therefore cursed) was outside the realm of acceptable possibilities. Yet many of the people from this faith believed. If it was a myth how could it have survived contemporary critics of the events they claimed happen? If it didn’t happen and there was ANY proof that it didn’t, don’t we suppose the one proof would’ve been used to refute all these claims? Yet we never hear of even one of these refutations. NOT ONE!

In the end Thomas Aquinas said it best when he said this:

“…if the Incarnation did not really happen, then an even more unbelievable miracle happened: the conversion of the world by the biggest lie in history and the moral transformation of lives into unselfishness, detachment from worldly pleasures and radically new heights of holiness by a mere myth.”

1 comment:

Stephen Phillip Porter said...

The complication furthers when you consider that the Holy Spirit, also God in all His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, abides within created beings, conceived by flesh, redeemed by blood, and reborn in spirit. How wonderful are the mysteries of our God!

thanks for your recent comments. There was another post called Why Can't God Lie? that you might be interested in as well. God Bless!

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