Many ancient Christian texts being discovered

Recently, a growing number of discoveries are being made in regards to ancient Christian texts, especially Gnostic ones. With at least two discoveries in the last several months, one of which I’ve already written about, I’ll document the others a little more here as well.

The first to mention has already gained widespread fame in scholarly and even popular circles, that being the Gospel of Judas. It’s a 2nd century Gnostic text, obviously not written by Judas the brother of Jesus. It was published in 2006. I’ve yet to read the text, but in contrast, the Gospel of Thomas was discovered in the Nag Hammadi collection back in 1945 along with the majority of Gnostic discoveries.

Then, perhaps a much more important discovery was made, of which I’ve written more about here. The discovery of the writings of Fortunatianus of Aquileia was discovered, an author in the mid-4th century AD, whose writings predate even those of Aristotle and Jerome. His work had previously been known about through brief mentions in works such as Jerome’s, but never before have we actually had, in our hands, a copy of his work. It was published in the last few months (open-access, meaning anyone can read it for free), and it is the oldest commentary on the four Gospels in our possession. Before him, we had Origen of Alexandria (perhaps the greatest Christian writer of the 2nd century) who had written two individual commentary works completed on the Gospels of John and Matthew.

Now, we have the Greek text discovered of the First Apocalypse of James announced at the Society of Biblical Literature. Previously, if I’m not mistaken, this work was available in Coptic (since the codices at Nag Hammadi are all Coptic), however, the Gnostic works were originally composed in Greek. Thus, this finding (found at Oxford) gives us access to the text of the First Apocalypse of James in its original language, rare for a Gnostic text.

The rate of new biblical archaeological discoveries is, in my documentation, increasing over the last few years. I’ve recorded only two findings of importance in 2015 and one in 2014. In 2016 and 2017, I’ve documented at least fourteen, many of which you can read here on my site page on Academic Christianity. Fortunatianus and the First Apocalypse of James both came to light in the last few months alone. The findings of these two new manuscripts, including our Gospel of Judas, represents our increasing understanding of the earliest centuries of Christianity and how Christian behavior was developing in this period. For example, Fortunatianus wrote his works in Latin, and as one of the earlier Latin writers of Christianity, what we have of him provides another contribution to our understanding of early Latin Christianity as well. The more we understand this, the better we can look at our predecessors, and the better we can look forwards to the new challenges to Christianity in this century. We’ve gone this far, no point in giving up now!

Psalm 111:2Great are the works of the Lordstudied by all who delight in them.

Advertisements

Jesus’ Subtle Kingdom

Throughout the Gospel accounts, the four Evangelists take us on a story, each of them narrating the ministry of Jesus in a way that reflects how they want a newcomer to the faith to approach the character of Jesus and have His wisdom unravel into our minds and lives, and, hopefully by the end of it, the Evangelist will have convinced us to believe. As John explicitly tells us, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ” (John 20:31). Each Evangelist takes us on a journey through the wonders and signs of the man they believe is the Christos, Christ.

Many may know that in modern times, there are those who even believe that Jesus never actually claimed to be God in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) and that they explain the divine statements in John by ascribing to the notion that it reflects a later, developed theology as the final Gospel written, so we cannot trust John when he writes to us saying that Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I am” (8:58), “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (14:7-8), “I and the Father are one” (10:30), etc. However, as I will soon show, even subtle statements in the Synoptic Gospels reveal the high Christology that the Synoptic authors had and that Jesus definitely claimed to be God in a manner just as advanced as John. Indeed, very nicely, over the last 20-25 years a consensus has been emerging in academia that the earliest understanding of the life of Jesus was in fact that Jesus is God, and this came at the very beginning of belief in Jesus, not decades later at the time of John’s Gospel as late as the 90’s  AD. Some of the most influential academics to bring about this emerging consensus include Richard Bauckham, N.T. Wright, Larry Hurtado (who runs a great blog here) and others.

However, before showing statements in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus’ claim to be God is just as powerful as any of those in John (if not as explicit), we will go even earlier than the Gospels, the letters that Paul began writing in the late 40’s. Paul’s letters predate the Gospel accounts by decades, and may predate John by as much as over 40 years, and yet Paul makes statements about who Jesus was that are on the level of if not exceeding how clearly John makes Jesus to be God. Paul tells us Jesus existed “in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) and humbled Himself to take on human form so that He may die for our sins and then yet again become exalted, he tells us that Jesus is “God over all” (Romans 9:5), and many other things I have already written about. So, the Christology of John cannot be viewed as a late development but the earliest understanding of Jesus in Christian circles.

In the Synoptics, where so many claim that Jesus never claimed to be God, we find some subtle, yet very very telling things Jesus said about Himself that made it clear to any listener who was paying attention that He was directly claiming to be God. In Luke, Jesus is contiually proclaiming the coming of the “kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43; 9:2, etc etc), however something later changes — in Luke 22:30, Jesus says His disciples will eat at “my kingdom”. In other words, Jesus throughout His ministry tells those who listen that the kingdom of God is coming, but suddenly, Jesus now proclaims that it is His kingdom that is coming. Jesus here, I believe, unambiguously claims to be God.

Then, there’s a double tradition (Q?) in both Luke and Matthew where Jesus says “All things have been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27/Luke 10:22). Who can claim to have the sole knowledge of God but God Himself, and who can claim that the only way anyone else can know the Father is if He wishes to reveal the Father to them but God alone? Even in Mark, Jesus does things that only God can do, such as forgive the sins of others (Mark 2:1-11) and when the High Priest finally asks Jesus if He was the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One, Jesus reponds “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven” (14:61-62).

I could go more in depth, but for all purposes here, this shows that all four  Evangelists believed Jesus to be God and record that Jesus claimed to be God. As a further reading, I would highly recommend Richard Hays’ Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness. It’s not an easy read, but it’ll be one of the best books you ever read on the subject, and highly convincing as well. Jesus definitely claimed to be God.

The Fine-Tuning of the Multiverse

The two most common arguments for the existence of God today are based on the beginning of the universe, discovered in the early 20th century, and the fine-tuning of the universe, much more recently discovered by scientists in the last half century.

The fine-tuning of the universe refers to the fact that the universe is constructed by, in effect, various sets of constants that, were they to be any different by a miniscule scale, life in its entirety not only would not exist, but could not exist. As Martin Rees reveals in his book Just Six Numbers, explained by Rich Deem;

Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun “burns” by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8%.

So, the universe is finely tuned for the existence of life. But how did the fine-tuning come about? Since of course it is far too improbable for the constants to turn out the way they are by chance (the probability that the cosmological constant would be set just rightly to allow life is something like 1 in 10^60), chance is obviously out of question. Obviously, the most intuitive option is that God designed the universe. Indeed, it seems to perfectly correlate with what we are symbolically told in the opening chapters of Genesis, that God created all that exists to our aid so that we may rejoice in it and worship God its Creator (The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands -Psalm 19:1).

An atheist of course, cannot accept that. So, we are given an alternative way to understanding the constants — “Maybe there’s a multiverse,” we are told, “Maybe there is an inexpressible number of universes so that at least one of them had to have the constants we see in our universe.” So, the question arises, is there a multiverse so that we can explain why the constants of the universe are so finely tuned as to allow the existence of life (and moreso, advanced biological life)? The answer is, probably not. There seems to be no evidence for this supposed multiverse, even though we can look some 90 billion light years in diameter in our universe. Secondly, as the great philosopher Richard Swinburne puts it, “To postulate a trillion trillion other universes, rather than one God, in order to explain the orderliness of our universe seems the height of irrationality.” The multiversal hypothesis, when putting it alongside the competing God hypothesis, violates Occam’s Razor. According to Occam’s Razor, when understanding a phenomenon or something of some sort, we always ought to prefer the explanation that makes the least amount of assumptions.

The multiversal hypothesis seems to make an extraodinary, if not literally infinite number of assumptions (as some variations of the theorem postulate an infinite number of universes). Firstly, you must not only assume your numberless universes exist, but you also need to presume the existence of a mechanism that exists beyond the confines of space-time in order to continually produce these universes, there must be a universe producer of some sort (you can’t use God), in which no evidence suggests that such a thing is even naturally possible. This is irrational. God is just one assumption, and as some philosophers believe, God is an infinitely simple assumption (since complexity is determined by the parts or constituents that make up the whole, and God is not made up of any parts or constituents).

And, to me, the most daunting problem with the multiverse is that it explains absolutely nothing — it just pushes the cause one step back (contrast that with God, who is the uncaused first cause), which would require yet another explanation on top of itself to explain the multiverse! The multiversal hypothesis is shredded by Occam’s Razor and explains nothing. Therefore, the theist can once more rejoice in the science and philosophy that has affirmed his belief in God.

How Can You Belive In a God that Damns your children?

This is a hard question, one that not many parents which to take into consideration. What if my, very own children are condemned to Hell by the God I love?

The truth is, your children are not only your children but children of God, and all moral accountability is ultimately directed to God. For perhaps the greatest answer ever given to this question by one of the worlds best philosophers, click here or the link below:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/worshiping-a-god-who-might-damn-your-children

Earliest Life Ever Found On Earth and God

The complexity of biological information is beyond the comprehension of man. The secrets of life are being scratched at their surface, and the colossal amount of information we have acquired so far is only the beginning of what is to come. Ever since the dawn of man, God was considered the source of all that exists in the universe, and the last century of biological research has propelled this fact into levels of confirmation beyond that which could have been predicted. Indeed, with every coming year, it seems as if the certainty of God as the Creator of all life on Earth is multiplied, with abiogenesis seeming more like another fiction in which has more to account for with virtually every other lab experiment that goes by. For those who do not know, abiogenesis is the idea that life naturally arose on Earth. Despite the fact that after centuries of attempt, and with scores of experiments involving world renowned scientists utilizing the uppermost technology of the day, these experiments have not only utterly failed to yield a single, self-replicating cell, they have failed to yield anything that could even be considered a failure of an attempt for a cell!

Over the past year, from the beginning of September 2016 until now, the nonsensical man-made theorem of abiogenesis has taken significant damage in yet another way. Usually, abiogenesis can be dismissed because there is too much complexity in biological information to account for, but what we have here is an entirely new type of debunking that wasn’t exactly very easy to see coming, but gladly welcomed nonetheless. But, it is here now, and it gives us another reason to savor every last moment when hysterically laughing at some unfortunate souls who are actually convinced that life arose naturally on Earth.

One year ago, the earliest known confirmed life on Earth was about published in a 1980 study, being 3.48 billion years old. This gave the advocates of biogenesis a nice cushion of 1.1 billion years for life to begin, for the Earth is some 4.55 billion years old. Indeed, they believed they had more then enough time. That finding was made nearly three decades ago. Then, in 2016, the month of September (less than a year ago from this day), the new oldest life on Earth was found. Indeed, published by several scientists named llen P. Nutman, Vickie C. Bennett, Clark R.L. Friend, Martin J. Van Kranendonk & Allan R. Chivas, a study was published to the journal Nature, detailing the discovery of the newest oldest life ever found on Earth, about 3.7 billion years old. This pushed back the oldest signs of life an astonishing 220,000,000 years, and therefore shaved away 220,000,000 years from the cushion that the advocates of abiogenesis had to account for the origins of life. But it gets even better.

On January 9th of this year, another study was published to Nature, pushing back the origins of life even further. Indeed, this study found potential microfossils that are, at the lastest about 3.77 billion years old, and at the earliest 4.28 billion years old. The abstract of this study states;

Here we describe putative fossilized microorganisms that are at least 3,770 million and possibly 4,280 million years old in ferruginous sedimentary rocks, interpreted as seafloor-hydrothermal vent-related precipitates, from the Nuvvuagittuq belt in Quebec, Canada.

In other words, life is known to have originated at least 3.8 billion years ago, and at best about 4.3 billion years ago. This means abiogenesis has lost it’s 1.1 billion year cushion, and now has is sitting on a rather uncomfortable 300-800 million years. These scientific findings came in under a single year, and have given another blow to the hypothesis of abiogenesis, making it even more difficult to explain. Anyways, God created all life on Earth, if that makes things a little more clear for everybody.

The Omnipotence Paradox

God is literally the greatest possible being. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscience, self-existing and ever-being, and all the above.

But… Can God create a stone so large that even He cannot lift it? Can God will Himself out of existence create a puzzle so hard that even He cannot solve it?

If God can create a stone so large that even He cannot lift it, then there is something He cannot do and He is not omnipotent. If he can’t create a stone so large that even he cannot lift it, He is not omnipotence in the first place. At least, according to the omnipotence paradox.

The omnipotence paradox is an atheistic argument against the existence of God. Since some atheists are more honest, and admit that they cannot rule out God’s existence unless they actually cough up actual evidence against the existence of God, this is one of the arguments they try. And in fact, this argument is universally laughed at by philosophers, because it, although seems intriguing on its face, would fail to sustain itself even after a single Philosophy 101 course. One of the worlds greatest and most influential living philosophers, Dr. William Lane Craig comments the following on it;

…people will often ask if God can make a stone to heavy for him to lift. If he is all-powerful, shouldn’t God be able to make a stone that is so heavy that he is unable to lift it? If you say, “No, he can lift anything!” then that means there is something he can’t do – which is make such a stone. This is a logical impossibility. Could God bring it about that Jesus both died on the cross and did not die on the cross? That again seems logically inconceivable – that is a logical contradiction. Can God make a round square or a married bachelor? Those sorts of logical impossibilities are typically exempted from omnipotence. Omnipotence doesn’t mean the ability to do things that are logically impossible. Indeed, something that is logically impossible isn’t really a thing at all, when you think about it. It is not as though there is some “thing” that God can’t do. Those are just contradictory combinations of words, and there is no such thing as a round square or a stone too heavy for God to lift. This is not an infringement of his omnipotence, as it is typically understood.

The omnipotence paradox, in essence, is feeble. Omnipotence is being able to do all things, however logically impossible or logically incoherent concepts are not things at all, the question “Can God create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it?” is on logically nonsensical and has no actual meaning, because it is not logically valid. Logically impossible things are not things at all, they are nothing, they are just self-contradictory ideas that have no actual meaning, and thus have no relevance to omnipotence. God is omnipotent, and so by definition, He can do all things.

The question “Can God create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it?” posits that it is possible that a stone exist that is beyond the limits of an omnipotent being, but such a stone cannot exist in any conceivable world, and therefore is logically invalid. Likewise, asking if God can will Himself out of existence, if God can create a puzzle so hard He cannot solve, or if He can create a square circle, all presuppose logically invalid concepts, and thus are of no meaning. The only way for any of these questions to bear meaning is to show that logically invalid concepts are actually logical in some possible world, which is by definition impossible — therefore, the omnipotence paradox is invalid. This is something that all the worlds best and weakest philosophers understand, and thus there is no logical problem for the existence of God.

Viewing The Image Of God

Men and women, all people are made in the image of God. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and towards the end of His creation process, we are told He finally made us humans. We are also told that we humans are made in His image.

[Genesis 1:26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

Indeed, this is a glorious thing about mankind in which we can thank God infinitely for, however with every great teaching of the Bible comes along Satan to attempt to confuse the heathen about. Very recently, I’ve come across some rather hilarious objection to the Bible that seems to seriously lack consideration and thought pertaining to the teaching that humans are made in the image of God. In fact, there are two of them which basically touch up on the same issue. This is how the heathen will invoke them;

  1. If God is spaceless, how can He have an image?
  2. If we are made in the image of God, how come humans all look differently?

Almost instantly, it can be realized that the objections are based on a false premise, and that is that God’s image is a physical depiction of God alike a drawing of Abraham Lincoln.

Of course, this interpretation pertaining to what the Bible means by the ‘image of God’ is flat out wrong and it should be very obvious that it is so. This false interpretation of what the Bible means regarding the phrase ‘image of God’ can be resolved by simply getting to the fifth chapter of Genesis.

[Genesis 5:1-2] These are the family records of the descendants of Adam. On the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He created them male and female. When they were created, He blessed them and called them man.

In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says we are made in God’s image, and in Genesis 5:1-2 we are told that we are made in God’s likeness. The phrase ‘we are made in God’s image’ means exactly what ‘we are made in God’s likeness’ means. So, what does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? That does not mean that God made billions of copies of Himself, rather it means that humans bear qualities of the likeness of God. God can become angry, and humans can become angry. God can love, and humans can love. This has nothing to do with the flesh or how someone looks like. This phrase, ‘image of God’ is a symbolic phrase used to show that God made humans to bear qualities that He Himself bears. Therefore, it does not mean or invoke a physical portrait of God, that exists in the dimension of space. This objection to the Bible has been shown to be errorful. The Bible is the true perfect Word of God, so what exactly could we have expected? Hallelujah and amen! Unfortunately however — there is no end to these ridiculous objections to the Bible. Hopefully we can, in time, address all of them and end all these misconceptions.

Jesus Claimed To Be God… Again

Since some time ago, one of my first posts on this blog was titled Jesus Claimed To Be God — where I provided a very lengthy post to show that Jesus did in fact put the claim of God upon Himself. However, upon further research, I realized that the debate on this issue was a lot deeper, and a lot further than my initial blog on this topic had entailed to discuss.  For example, I read Tim O’Neill’s objections to this idea (Tim is an atheist historian) as well as watched the debate between Bart Ehrman and Justin Bass (both have a PhD). I’ve already posted a full rebuttal to Tim’s post (and it can be found by scrolling under Tim’s answer), however it’s time for me to fully update this on my blog. This new post will serve as a further defending the claim that Jesus claimed to be God. We will respond to both the arguments of those who deny that Jesus claimed to be God.

Jesus as God in Paul’s epistles?

Believe it or not, some people actually believe Paul did not view Jesus as God. Scholars and textual critics only view seven of Paul’s letters as definitely authentic and were certainly written by Paul — the book of Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon and Phillipians. Although the other six contain obvious references of Jesus as being divine (Titus 2:13, Colossians 2:9), they are argued to be pseudonymous by the majority of Scholars and thus not authentic to Paul’s name and thereby do not reflect Paul’s views. Although I disagree that they are pseudonymous, I will not reference them in discussion of Paul’s views. Here, we will see that Paul obviously viewed Jesus as God.

Let us see that Paul’s texts that clearly establish Jesus as God, and how those who deny this wish to respond are able to respond.

Phillipians 2:5–7: Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

A very obvious reference to Jesus as God, correct? The dissidents argue otherwise. Here, they say that the Greek word for the word ‘nature’ is μορφῇ (which is correct) — but they also claim that this Greek term does not mean ‘nature’, it merely means ‘shape’. Thus, Paul says the following:

Phillipians 2:5-7: Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, being in the very shape of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Then, the claim is put forth that this does not mean Jesus is God, it really (somehow) means that Jesus is taking on human likeness in some pre-existing celestial form. Unfortunately for these people, although they wish to pertain to this rather fanciful interpretation of this obvious verse, they are wrong. The Greek word μορφῇ does not only mean shape, μορφῇ can mean both shape and form. 3444. μορφή (morphé) — form, shape — in other words, translations like the HCSB are correct when they translate Phillipians 2:5-7 to say the following:

Phillipians 2:5–7 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,

Saying that the phrase “Jesus existed in the form of God” doesn’t actually mean “Jesus existed in the form of God” will always be a rather simple attempt to explain away this clear-cut phrase from Paul here. Paul here very clearly places Jesus as God. It only gets worse from here though. These people that attempt to completely re-interpret these straight forward statements will not like the fact that the Greek word μορφῇ is exercised elsewhere in the Biblical Greek literature, such as Mark 16:12.

Mark 16:12: After this, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them as they walked along in the country.

The Greek word μορφῇ here is used very obviously, and we can see that this Greek word means taking on a physical form, so when Paul says “Jesus exists in the form of God”, he means that “Jesus literally exists in the physical form of God”. So it seems to me there is no possible way to put forth a plausible view where the text in Phillipians 2:5-7 does not amazingly clearly interpret Jesus as God. This itself can drive the position of these dissidents into the ground, but there is more.

[Romans 9:5] The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen.

Another very clear verse, right? It says the Christ (Jesus) is “God over all”, right? Not to the deniers. The deniers rightfully point out that there is great debate over how this verse is to be translated and where the punctuation goes, as punctuation didn’t exist in the first century when Paul wrote Romans. Thus, it is up the modern Greek scholars to determine where the puncutation in Biblical verses are to be placed in light of the verses context. So these are the contending translations of the verse:

” … from their race… is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever”

” … from their race… is the Christ, who is over all. God forever be blessed!”

” … from their race… is the Christ. God who is over all be forever blessed!”

The deniers will tell you that only the first one views Jesus as God, but this is again false. As you can see, the second translation says “Christ, who is over all”. If Paul views Jesus as being over all things, or as being the highest being, then Paul views Jesus as God. So, two translations put Jesus as God and one doesn’t. But is the third translation really plausible? Notice, the translation has the unbearably long phrase “God who is over all be forever blessed!” — is this an accurate translation? No where else in Paul’s literature is such phraseology used, giving us good reason to believe that such a translation is false, it is in error. Therefore, all viable translations clearly put forth that Jesus is God.

Now, we will see other Pauline verses that make it extraordinarily obvious that Jesus is God. Firstly, we see Paul recording that people pray to Jesus.

[1 Corinthians 1:2] To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.

I didn’t know Paul thought people could pray to someone other then God? Now, take a look at this verse which is an elephant in the room to anyone claiming Jesus isn’t viewed as God by Paul:

[Phillipians 2:10–11] so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul tells us that at the return of Jesus, ALL PEOPLES IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH AND UNDER THE Earth will BOW down to Jesus, and will CONFESS that Jesus is Lord. It gets amazingly worse for these people when the word translated as ‘Lord’ is κύριος, which means one who exercises absolute ownership. 2962. κύριος (kurios) — lord, master — if Jesus wasn’t God, then why does the entire world bow down on the mark of His name? This becomes increasingly more troublesome when we see this phrase in Phillipians 2:10-11 correlate with the following Old Testament text.

[Isaiah 45:23-25] By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. It will be said to Me: Righteousness and strength is only in the Lord.” All who are enraged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. All the descendants of Israel
will be justified and find glory through the Lord.

We now see that what Paul is actually doing in Phillipians 2 is literally correlating an Old Testament text on the almighty Yahweh where Yahweh receives divine homage DIRECTLY with Jesus. This is a type of evidence in the Pauline epistles for the defenders of the idea that Paul portrays Jesus as God fascinates even myself. Seriously. But the problems get much more enormous for anyone continuously denying this. Paul views Jesus and God as the same person. For example, did Paul preach the Gospel of God?

[Romans 15:16] “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

Or did Paul preach the gospel of Christ?

[Galatians 1:6–7] I am astonished how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is not even a gospel. Evidently some people are troubling you and trying to distort the gospel of Christ.

I can give many more examples, such as when Paul first says the churches belong to God (1 Corinthians 11:16) and then says the churches belong to Christ (Romans 16:16), or when Paul says the Spirit is of God in Romans 8:9 but then says the Spirit is of Christ in the exact same verse Romans 8:9. Paul even tells us the only way to be saved is to call on Jesus name (Romans 10:13) and to say that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) ! The Greek word used for ‘Lord’ is κύριος which is used multiple times to reference God the Father. The evidence shows it is amazingly obvious that Paul viewed Jesus is God. There is more to go through, but this should be pretty clear by now. The Pauline epistles do in fact portray Jesus as God, as this is what Paul believed as well as Jesus and the early Christians. Because Paul is the earliest author of any Christian writings we have, his view that Jesus is God says quite an enormous amount regarding the earliest belief of Christians and the earliest theology of Christianity.

Christ, Son of Man, Son of God, divine phrase or Messianic phrase?

Some of these people like Tim O’Neill argue that the phrases Christ, Son of God, and Son of Man being titles of Jesus does not make Jesus as God in any way. Tim says this in his answer:

“Christ”, “Son of God” and “Son of Man” are all titles of the Jewish Messiah and the Messiah was not considered to be God.

Though he is right about ‘Christ’, which simply means the ‘Messiah’ in Hebrew or ‘the anointed one’ in English, he is dead wrong about the other two. There is no evidence found in the Old Testament that the phrase Son of God or Son of Man are mere terms used upon the Messiah that do not invoke divinity or being God in any way. Both terms are used on Jesus, such as Jesus being called the Son of God in Mark 1:1 or being called the Son of Man in Matthew 20:28. Although there is no evidence these terms only refer to a being aside from God, there is undeniable evidence that the phrase Son of Man in the Old Testament refers to God.

[Daniel 7:13-14] I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him. He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

The Son of Man is a figure authority over all peoples of all nations of all languages, whom is forever served by all the world, and possesses an everlasting kingdom in His dominion that will never cease. This figure is obviously God. I have a feeling Tim might go wild about the verses saying that He is given this authority, but this is because God is the Father and Jesus is the Son, and thus authority belongs to the Father by nature. Since when does a regular human control absolute authority over all humanity for eternity? I can find no place in the Old Testament where this is said to be due to anyone but God Himself — but I did find Zechariah 14:9, which tells us that it is Yahweh that is king over all the Earth — so it seems that the Son of Man is… Yahweh? Jesus proclaimed to be the Son of Man, therefore Jesus proclaimed to be Yahweh?

The funny thing that I’ve come to notice is that Tim O’Neill is one of the very only people who seriously believe that the phrase Son of Man does not refer to God. Others like Bart Ehrman fully accept it — but now you may be asking yourself, if Bart Ehrman himself viewed Jesus as not claiming to be God, what does Bart Ehrman do with Jesus’ claims to be the Son of Man if he views it is a term for God? Well, easy! He simply says that the Gospel authors made up every single phrase in the New Testament of Jesus (more than 80) where Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man. More on this later. In fact, if anyone is still denying that Jesus clearly claimed to be God such as in the Synoptic Gospels, perhaps they can take a look at the following few verses:

[Mark 14:60–64] Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But He kept silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Jesus affirms He is the Messiah, Son of the Blessed One and the Son of Man all at once, and in response the High Priest rips off his robes and declares that Jesus must be put to death because He committed blasphemy. In Jewish Law, you can only commit blasphemy in this context by claiming to be God.

Let’s go back to the term Christ — Jesus claimed to be the Christ, or the Messiah. These people will sometimes say that the Messiah was never to be a God figure according to the Old Testament… But the Old Testament will now challenge them on this.

[Isaiah 9:6–7] For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, And the government will rest on his shoulders; And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

The Old Testament tells us that the figure who reigns on the throne of David, a son that will be persecuted and will establish an eternal kingdom (this sounds frighteningly like the Messiah) will also be called Mighty God and Eternal Father. So Jesus claiming to be the Messiah is Jesus claiming to be the one who is called Mighty God and Eternal Father, correct? It seems so. Thus, all three terms — Christ, Son of God and Son of Man establish that Jesus claimed to be God.

Jesus as God in the Synoptic Gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew

Remember, in the view of those who claim Jesus did not claim to be God, John’s Gospel when saying Jesus is God doesn’t count because it was written too late! Let’s ignore the fact that John the Elder wrote the Gospel of John, a man who directly knew Jesus. Let’s also ignore all the times Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man in the Synoptic Gospels as well, as well as Mark 14:60-64 in which we’ve already made note of. Let’s also put aside Paul’s letters for now. Even aside from all this, Jesus is still clearly shown as God and declares to be God in all the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus says He will literally judge the world on His throne.

[Matthew 25:31–32] “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Who, aside from God alone, is going to sit on their throne and judge the world? We also see the very nice term ‘Son of Man’ appear again. Needless to say, the Old Testament obviously says God judges the world (Amos 5:18–20, Psalm 9:7–8). Anyways, Jesus calls Himself the Lord of the Sabbath.

[Mark 2:27–28] Then Jesus told them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Needless to say, the Old Testament proclaims that the Sabbath belongs to God only (Ezekiel 31:13, Ezekiel 20:12). Jesus says that He is the Lord of David.

[Matthew 22:41–45] While the Pharisees were together, Jesus questioned them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?” “David’s,” they told Him. He asked them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls Him ‘Lord’: The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet’? “If David calls Him ‘Lord,’ how then can the Messiah be his Son?”

Jesus tells us only the Father knows Him, and only He knows the Father and to whom anyone Jesus wishes to reveal the Father to.

Matthew 11:27: All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.

Jesus tells us He is wherever His followers gather, basically saying He can exist anywhere He pleases.

[Matthew 18:20] For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”

Peter tells Jesus He is literally God’s Son, and Jesus blessed him for it.

[Matthew 16:13-17] When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.

Jesus is declared to be the “Holy One”, that is called Son of God.

[Luke 1:35] The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.

We can go forwards — Jesus further declares the Father hands Him authority over earth and heaven and so forth. The Gospels contain tens of references to Jesus as the Son of Man in all the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Jesus is obviously portrayed as God. All this and all these verses together make an overwhelmingly compelling case to Jesus being God as portrayed in the Synoptics. These are not the claims of a mere human being, a human Messiah, or even the mightiest prophet. These are the claims to be put forth onto God and God alone.

Book of Hebrews says Jesus is God?

In discussion on Jesus claim to be God, the Book of Hebrews always seems to be ignored. The Book of Hebrews is an amazingly early text of the New Testament (written 64 AD). This is a very great document in order to understand the earliest interpretation of Jesus amongst the Christians, and lo’ and behold, it says Jesus is God.

[Hebrews 1:7-8] And about the angels He says: He makes His angels winds, and His servants a fiery flame but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

Finally.. Let’s discuss the Son of Man again.

You’ll recall I said earlier that some people who deny Jesus claimed to be God simply think that Jesus proclaiming Himself to be the Son of Man was ‘made up’ by the Gospel authors. Not only is this the obvious dying breath of someone whom has a failing argument and has to come to terms with the facts that all the Gospels, Pauline letters and earliest Christian texts like the Book of Hebrews and the writings of Ignatius portray Jesus is God — also has absolutely no evidence in support of it. In fact, all the evidence seems to support that Jesus did claim to be the Son of Man based on these sayings. The idea that Jesus historically claimed this passes many historical criterions. For example, it passes the criterion of multiple attestation (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John say Jesus said Himself as the Son of Man), it passes the criterion of early attestation, and it also passes the criterion of dissimilarity. You’ll realize the term ‘Son of Man’ appears almost absolutely nowhere in the New testament apart from the sayings of Jesus — perhaps twice at best. This shows that it is not being made up, as the criterion of dissimilarity shows that this saying of Jesus is unique to Jesus’ quotations, and thus Jesus’ quotations are more likely to be His own (as a fictional quote from John would sound a lot like John’s own writing). All the historical evidence seems to clearly favor the authenticity of this saying, and thus we can have no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God.

A Look at the Medical & Empirical Evidence for Miracle Healing.

Fantastic post. Thanks.

James Bishop's Theological Rationalism

wc The World Christian Doctors Network, Spain, 2016.

In order to provide some context for this article, please keep in mind that this is a small excerpt from my thesis project. The general response is to Hume who once argued that miracles go against human experience, as well as to make the positive case for the miraculous.

We shouldn’t look past doctors themselves, since it is they who are, far more often than others, so involved in the process of diagnosing illnesses, prescribing treatments and witnessing survival or death. Perhaps they have a thing or two to say about inexplicable cases of healing? In fact, they do. We shall refer to several lines of evidence (also note that this is not intended to be exhaustive).

One study proved quite informative concerning the relationship between religious practices such as prayer, personal beliefs, as well as testimony of miracles, and medical professionals (1)…

View original post 1,401 more words