Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada
Christology is the doctrine about Christ, and one of the doctrines states that he is fully God and fully Man, at the same time. A paradox? Yes. God gets to do that.
It makes no more sense than light being both particle and wave. If God were to become a man (and you can’t argue that he couldn’t) what might that look like? Think it would cause some conceptual difficulties? Sure it would, that’s why it’s called a “mystery”.
God also gets to make sense, though, and making sense makes a lot more sense. Even Paul said that God is not an "author of confusion". One could also say the moon is fully the moon and fully the sun at the same time, because God could make it that way, or that a Zebra is fully white and fully black at the same time, or that a dog is fully a dog and fully a cat. If God does anything, regardless of how it illogical it is and no matter how it seems, then we can come up with anything and say it is true because God can do anything. No matter how you try to spin it, the verse still says "God alone", not "I" or "Jesus".
If God were to empower/authorize (not become) a special man to do whatever he wished such a special man to do (and you can't argue that he couldn't) what might that look like? I think it would look the same but without burying Jesus in endless contradictions.
if we are take Paul’s teaching on Original Sin (the doctrine that all humanity is sinful through Adam’s fall) to be true.
I don't accept Paul's teaching, most of all because it doesn't make sense but also because it contradicts important statements in the scriptures that do make sense: "Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin." (Deuteronomy 24:16) "The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. ." (Ezekiel 18:20) And in the Quran: "And whatever [wrong] any human being commits rests upon himself alone; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another's burden." (The Quran 6:164). From the perspective of Genesis, we inherited the ability to sin. But sin itself is an act that each can choose or not and for which each is accountable only according to his own choices not the choices of some ancient ancestor that committed a sin long before he was born. It is an act that is considered to be against God, not a hereditary disease.
I’ve already explained that to the Jew of this time, to say that you’re the Son of God, means that you are claiming an ontological equality with God.
If they were simply misunderstanding Jesus’ intent, then referring to himself as “The Son of God” wouldn’t clarify anything, seeing that John 5:18 informs us plainly that when Jesus called God his Father, he was “making himself equal with God”. I understand that John 5:18 could be said to merely state their erroneous view, rather than make a statement of fact about Jesus. However, no correction and no qualification is given to this statement in the way that correction is elsewhere given to Jesus’ actions of healing on the Sabbath. “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). So, you can try to make the argument by other means, but you can’t make an argument by simply restating the words that are in question. “Son of God”, and “My Father”, to a Jew of that time, implied not a Creator/ Creature relationship, but of a shared-nature.
Why is the “of God” of Jesus unparalleled and unique? Why is he sinless, while Moses, Peter, Paul, Muhammed are not?
Jesus was a Jew too, Stephanos. What does his own words reveal about how "equal" he was with God? A lot more telling is what he says three times in John:
I can of mine own self do nothing (John 5:19)
The Son can do nothing of himself (John 5:30)
I do nothing of myself (John 8:28)
"my Father is greater than I"
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman" (a "vine" and a "husbandman" can both be amazing but are far from equal beings)
"Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God"
Notice that Jesus is not the source of sanctity as God is but is made sacred/ sanctified by God and then sent to the world by God. This clearly shows the inequal status of the son to God almighty. God is the ultimate sanctifier, not Jesus.
Also in John 8 the Jews say "we be be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God" Here they themselves are saying God is their father. This would be a chance for Jesus to say that they are committing the same blasphemy he was accused of. But he doesn't. He says: "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God." Jesus paraphrasing or referring to their own claim of having "one Father, even God" as "of whom ye say, that he is your God" clearly shows that to Jesus claiming God as the Father is not claiming to be God.
The usage of the word contradicts your explanation. "Son of God" was around long before Jesus came about, both in the more general sense "man of God" and the more official sense "anointed" man of God, or God's anointed one on earth. Having a shared nature of "holiness" and "oneness" (unity) in or with each other in spirit doesn't mean being the same in identity or equal to the one you share the holiness or oneness with. All "sons" of God have a shared nature and oneness (unity) in God, and some (especially the the Messiah) may have a much more special relationship, but God alone is the ultimate source of the the holiness (the sacred nature) of the relationship.
Why is Jesus unique? He was the specially anointed one - it is right in his title, which is used even more often than "son of God" to describe Jesus, implying that he is a son of God as every other man, but the specially anointed one, the Christ, the Messiah, the special agent of God on earth. He isn't the source of holiness himself, but he is specially anointed to make him holy in special officiated sense. But he can fit into the sense of "gods" for humans described at the link I gave earlier: http://www.21stcr.org/multimedia-2011/1-articles/sf-one_god_elohim-pg2.html as well. These things contradict the enemies' accusation that he was claiming equality with God almighty himself. Jesus says that "God is a Spirit" (John 4: 24) which is something he never describes himself as, and which he can't very logically be as a physical fleshen, mortal man. Contrast that to what he does clearly describe himself when talking to the woman of Samaria: The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." That is not the equivelant of "God" nor being just a "mere man".
Jesus as a great man and the Messiah is sinless because he didn't commit any sin. However, if you say Jesus is God too then he is hardly not a sinner according to descriptions like these from the Old Testament:
"Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation." (Genesis 19-25)
"And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died." (Exodus 12:29-30)
"However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you" (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)
"And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter." (1 Samuel 6:19)
"And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." (Ezekiel 9:4-6)
It would mean he is not just the one who preached "love your enemies", but (contrary to that preaching) was involved in some of the most destructive acts of violence and revenge-killing, things far exceeding the sins of any other prophet or even any other human. Charles Manson doesn't come anywhere close to that kind of background.
Neither is Christ a mere “man”. That scripture, written long before the Nativity, is best understood as a distinction between God and sinful humanity. Not only an anachronism, it would be a category error to say this statement applies to Jesus Christ as well.
For sure, it was written long before Jesus. But there is nothing to imply it was only relevant to a given time nor that "a man" excludes any man, mere or amazing. As a generalization about God's nature, it has relevance and truth at any time. It is not limited to only "back then", as you seem to be suggesting.
But that’s not true. The Septuagint (The first Greek translation of the Old Testament) translates the “ehyeh asher ehyeh” of Exodus 3:14 into Greek as "ego eimi ho on", which in turn translates into English as "I am the one who is". Sound similar? It may not be the full phrase, but the Greek word “eimi” is both in the Septuagint, and in the words of Jesus in the New Testament describing himself.
The Greek tetragrammaton does specifically includes the word "ho on" Stephanos. Otherwise "ego eimi" is something every Greek speaker said, because it is equivelant to "I am" . Saying "ego eimi" is no where close to saying "ego eimi ho on". That is why "ego eimi" alone wasn't used as a translation in the Exodus. The Hebrew isn't literally "I am" either. A more accurate translation of the Hebrew is "I will be what I will be". Neither are covered by merely the equivelant of "I am"
If it wasn’t a reference to the “I AM’ of Exodus 3:14, then in what sense was it provocative?
I believe a more logical interpretation may be understood better with italics and better punctuation: Before, Abraham was; I am. Jesus is saying formerly Abraham was, but now Jesus is; Abraham was then, Jesus is now; What Abraham was before, Jesus is now; formerly Abraham filled such a role, but now Jesus does. He is suggesting two things: that he knows Abraham in himself because the spirit and saying of Abraham is in him, and that he himself has a status at least as great as Abraham, the very father of the Jews. For Jesus to suggest he personally knows Abraham and make himself the likeness of Abraham himself, or as potentially all that and more than their revered patriarch, was unthinkable and perceived as very blasphemous to the Jews.
That comparison doesn’t work to discredit the Trinity, since we already accept Women as separate persons with no shared nature, or intrinsic unity of will.
I said three women that were forms/persons of the Almighty Woman, implying that the three women would be everything to the Almighty woman as the "persons" of the trinity are to God. Being married to three such women, would still be polygamy because one would still be married to them to be married to the Almighty Woman. The same is true about the three persons you treat simultanoueously one God. Being committed to worship three different beings as God, is not the same as being committed to worshipping only one being --God himself-- as God.
I’m not denying the use of the “majestic plural” referring to one ... I’m merely saying that it is compatible with Trinitarian doctrine, and suggestive. It’s use in Islam is irrelevant, since Islam is not wrong for its monotheism (Christianity shares this monotheism), it is wrong for denying divinity to Jesus Christ (and for its historical reconstruction however sincere it is).
I don't think it is irrelevant because it indicates the fact that scriptures that are clearly unitarian can also use the plural majestic. Both of them describe God in unitarian terms and both of them use the plural majestic at times. I find this supports a common voice between each other much more than it suggests the Christian doctrine of Trinity, which the Quran clearly rejects,and which the semitic writers of the Old Testament didn't yet have in their religion and therefore which wouldn't be a very likely reason for using the plural of their language.
Oh, and you didn’t respond to the Messianic scripture in Isaiah 9:6 where the Messiah would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God”. For while the plurality of God’s name in Genesis 1:26 is suggestive, this scripture in Isaiah is much stronger in refuting your statement that there is “nothing” at all in the Old Testament to support the Divinity of Christ or Trinitarian doctrine.
I was responding when I mentioned it was common to use names with "God" in them. Elijah doesn' t have "is" in it, it only has the equivelent of "my God" and "Yahweh". Hebrew and Arabic don't use the present tense of "be" because it is implied instead. Therefore My God the lord can be "My God is the Lord". El Gibor translated as "Mighty God" can be "Mighty is God", etc. "El" (God) is actually the first word, followed by "Gibor". If you look up "Gibor" you will see "mighty" is far from the only translation; "brave" and (substantively) "mighty one" "hero", "warrior", etc. Therefore I believe El Gibor could just as reasonably translated as "God is a mighty one", etc with "is". Either way the text in Isaiah says this person will be someone called/ named "El Gibor" ("Mighty God", "Mighty is God" or "God is Mighty" etc) not that he will be God Almighty himself.
And what about the passage in Revelation 22:9 where John bows down to worship the angel and he says “Don’t do it! I am a fellow servant with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words in this book. Worship God”, while in the same book in chapter 5:11-14, the Lamb (an obvious reference to Jesus Christ) is worshipped without a wisp of disapproval?
Why is the difference so hard to believe? Jesus wasn't an angel. All great humans are cornered into accepting praises and being served to some extent. It comes with the territory of being great, admired and having a following in the world.
Remember I didn't say Jesus didn't accept any worship, but that he didn't teach or tell people to worship him as God. That is a big difference. Worshipping someone as a great being, which is something we do when worhipping God as well, doesn't mean you confuse him with God. He didn't teach or tell them to worship him at all, but that doesn't mean he wasn't willing to condone or overlook it within reason. As a Jew that acknowledged that only God was God, it would be a lot more unexplanable if the worship they showed Jesus at times were worshipping him as God instead of the Messiah and he didn't show disapproval. The fact that he apparantly didn't show disapproval suggests that it wasn't that kind of worship and therefore Jesus was willing to accept it, or at least put up with it.
If Trinitarian Doctrine is true, then Jesus would not be “speaking on his own”. If he were teaching “on his own”, in the minds of his hearers, he is doing something distinct from God. He was simply pointing out that his teaching was true. He wasn’t speaking to people who had a full conception of who he was, which should have been a growing awareness that comes from a reverence for God. Jesus was pointing out that in rejecting him, they were in fact, rejecting God. In no way, does this contradict Trinitarian doctrine.
if he were God then speaking "on his own" would also be speaking God's words, and therefore "on his own" and "God's words" would be a useless and misleading because they wouldn't refer to any true difference or distinction.
If he were not God, but a prophet, then there would be a true difference: sometimes he speaks on his own (not God's words) and sometimes he speaks God's words, sent to him from God. This to me makes a lot more sense.
Of course there are passages that do contradict Arian doctrine such as Matthew 25:31-46, where “The Son Man” judges the nations. No other prophet has pretended to be the agent of Judgment day. If one could strain an interpretation that Jesus is simply a godly man here elevated to the status of God’s Judge, one would still have to deal with the verses where the sins of omission and commission done toward “The least of these, my brothers” are said to be done to “The Son of Man”. So, if we are to believe your view, or the Muslim view, we have the spectacle of a prophet judging people, determining and denying Eternal life, and claiming that in some transcendent way, all the sins of the world were really against him. Within a Trinitarian view, this scripture is coherent. Apart from it, it is absurd, just like the scriptures where Jesus said he could forgive sins, not committed against himself, but against God and other men. It’s no wonder they wanted to kill him, if they couldn’t accept his divine claims, for unless divine, we have a megalomaniac. But as G.K. Chesterton pointed out, we don’t really get that feeling when we read of him.
It doesn't contradict it at all Stephanos. Jesus himself says that he can't do anything of himself. He is dependent on God. Therefore, he is no different in how he receives his power. Just as other prophets, he is made holy because God makes him holy, he is able to do divine things because God makes him able; he prays to God because he is dependent on him, he is sent by God because can't send himself. Therefore, he is a prophet and the Messiah. Moses did greater things than other prophets as well. Though, once again, these words are not directly from Jesus and were written by people that would obviously have religious bias and exaggeration. But in any case, God can empower his messenger as much as he wants, but his messenger is still not God because he fully depends on God for all he is and does.
unless divine, we have a megalomaniac.
This is one of those "logical fallacies" though. It is like saying "Jill must be a prostitute if she isn't a nun".
What about the Gospel of John (written to Greeks) where Jesus is equated with the “Logos”, a Greek conception of God? The Logos (or Word), “became flesh and dwelled among us”? This is one of many I have mentioned. You are being disingenuous by saying that “Jesus as the embodiment of God” is a later invention. It is expressed repeatedly within the New Testament. Of course, one can explain away the scriptures. I believe it was meant to be that way. Those looking to view it differently, find what they’re looking for. The passage about Jesus being more than a prophet in Matthew 16:13-17, confutes the so-called words of Jesus in the 600 year-removed Quran where Jesus is falsely made to say that he is a mere prophet. Thankfully the “quotes” of Jesus in the Koran are few, since it is not in any sense a narrative history of the life of Jesus.
There are two things we should keep in mind when reading The Gospel of John: 1. Of course, its words are not the words of a prophet; not Moses' words, Jesus' words, nor Muhammad's words. And the descriptions in the Book of Genesis don't speak in terms of "the Word" and Jesus doesn't speak of himself in terms of "The Word" or "the Word becoming flesh". The concept is almost completely limited to John.
But the concept makes sense in a poetic kind of way. In Genesis, God says ""Be" to light (even though it wasn't yet created), and then light exists. Before light could exist, it was merely the word (or thought/concept) with God and still God in that it wasn't yet the actually "deed" of creation but still the creator in the sense of being a word/thought in the creator. God was able to say the word or simply say "be" to the the word (or concept) in mind, and then it became the deed of its existance as creation. The Quran shares this general concept as well. "Indeed, Our word to a thing when We intend it is but that We say to it, "Be," and it is." (The Quran 19:35)
Just as Genesis doesn't describe God himself as becoming light though, nor does John's description of Jesus say that God himself became Jesus. It indicates that God made the word/concept become Jesus, which is why there is no "Father/son" reference before "The Word" actually becomes flesh. You can't have a father/son relationship with a mere word/concept of a creation that is not yet created! This doesn't support the notion of a father/son relationship being between two persons of God instead of between God the creator and the created son. The word itself isn't God overall; it doesn't create anything. It is only a "drawing-board" or "blue-print" so to speak, used by the creator to be developed into the deed of creation, just as we may create a plan in ourselves before we actually do something. It also corresponds with the notion that "The Word" in the sense of "scripture" has a spiritual archetype in heaven. It only becomes a created thing, even an active being- in this case Jesus - when God creates and empowers it (e.g gives it flesh), and as a creation it is still dependent on God. Note also that the Holy Ghost is no where to be seen in John's description. For these reasons and others, the concept doesn't add up to the Christians notions of Jesus being the embodiment of God or that God is a trinity. As a human Jesus is an exemplary embodiment of the word from God, because he was created directly by God not procreation, and the scripture was spiritually in him, but he is not God himself anyore than the light that was given existance by God by his word. God alone is God that creates everything in Genesis, something neither the word nor Jesus nor light nor any other thing can do.
I’ve already demonstrated that most of what the Koran says about Jesus and Christianity is based upon heterodox sects during the time of Muhammed. It’s 6th-hand information.
The Quran addresses certain practices (including those of Christians at the time) but its own message doesn't include "hetrodox" beliefs about Jesus and God. It is unanimous and consistent about the nature of God on the one hand and the nature of Jesus on the other, and consistent with the original Abrahamic unitarian belief in God that Jesus himself upheld and taught as a Jew, and therefore Islam is as well. The Quran and Islam cut through the religious confusion that was burdening so many people (including many Christians) in Muhammad's day, a religious confusion that still burdens a lot of people today.
Jesus’ demonstration of the reality of his body after his resurrection, was meant to calm the superstitious fears of the disciples who thought he was a ghost or unreal, which is what the text actually says: “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39).
As amazing as it was I don’t think when Jesus raised Lazarus, there was a “glorified body” or anything more than a miraculous resuscitation from death.
If Jesus were spirtualized (not ruling out being physical at the same time), immortalized, angelicized body, then he would prove aspects of being so, but he doesn't; he completely proves the opposite and shows them he is not the spiritualized body that they belieived he would be from the rumours of his death, but the mortal, physical kind body as he was before, still with the marks of his wounds (far from unblemished and fully repaired, let alone angelic). And he is in other places as disguising himself, which makes no sense if he were not still afraid of being killed by the Jews (far from being immortalized). This suggests he was risen from death just as Lazarus was, and was saved from the ultimate death that one can only rise from as spiritualized, angelicized, immortalized body.
The gaping difference is, that Jesus quoted those prophets through the Septuagint. He quoted Deuteronomy and Psalms almost continually. Conversly, Jesus is not quoted in the Koran. Or, what little is attributed to Jesus is not to be found anywhere else, and contradicts what Jesus says in the Gospels.
The Quran isn't meant to tell a story about Jesus. It clarifies who Jesus is and puts him in perspective of the other prophets. The statements he does make in the Quran clarify who he is and how he corresponds in spirit and teaching with the other prophets/messengers. The parts about Jesus in the Quran are a clarification about Jesus, not a story, one that bypasses many of the confusing and ambiguous expressions in the NT that were (and still are) causing confusion about the nature of Jesus. It also includes Jesus earliest miracle when he speaks out - only yet a new born - to defend and confirm his mother's innocence when she returns to the people and religious leaders. This contrasts with the grown up Jesus' ungraceful manner toward his mother when performing the first miracle attributed to him in the NT (turning water to wine): "Woman, what have I to do with thee? (John 2:4). Some translations try to soften it by adding "dear woman", but there is no "dear" in the original text.
Besides, if I am to prove that the Gospels unequivocally state that Jesus really and factually died, in the plain real-world sense of the term, all I have to do is quote Luke 23:46: “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last..
Just as it unequivocally says Lazarus was dead. As I already expressed, the statements don't contradict each other when seen as different sides of the same coin. The apparant or virtual death which Jesus and Lazarus (as his first "death") experienced doesn't contradict survival and being saved from the true/ultimate death from which one can only rise from as a spiritualized, glorified body. Neither of them died an true/ultimate death in these experiences. Lazarus was saved by Jesus. And Jesus was saved by God.
You Essorant want to always marry Heaven and Hell, and to never admit binaries in the world of reality or doctrine. Your nature is to prove unity at all costs, and to synthesize everything. But there is an irreconcilable difference in the Koran and the New Testament regarding Jesus Christ. And rather than expend all this energy trying to reconcile, to make the Bible say something it isn’t, why not simply say “The New Testament is wrong about Jesus, and I believe the Koran”, or “I believe the New Testament”, or “I believe neither”?
This is another example of logical fallacy. Just as Christians try to limit Jesus to being only either God or a madman they try to limit the New Testament and The Quran to either saying the same about Jesus or being opposites, that either they say the same thing or they completely contradict each other, or that only one can be true and the other must be false. The reason I refuse to accept such extreme "binaries" is because there is a universe of other possibilities that make a lot more sense of the evidence of both the NT and the Quran.
And that’s exactly what I can find no reference for. Every reference to the practice I could find says that it rendered the legs incapable of sustaining the torso in upright position on the cross, causing quick asphyxiation. This is one of the reasons the swoon theory (which held that Jesus faked death on the cross until they took him down, and then demurely recovered in the tomb, somehow managing to roll away a huge stone that sealed the entrance, made the journey to where his disciples were, and convinced them of a glorified resurrection) was rejected by textual scholars and medical scholars. Because to fake death on the cross meant to hang without support by the legs, which would also result in hypoxia within minutes. Once the legs gave way, death was imminent, that's why the legs were broken by the soldiers. The fact that Jesus' legs were not broken only shows that it was obvious to these Roman professionals of inflicting and guaranteeing death, that Jesus had already died. For good measure though, a spear shot to the heart didn't hurt, and for the sake of our discussion only adds to absurdity of saying that Jesus recovered from crucifixion
I never said Jesus "faked" death anymore than I said Lazarus did. I don't find any clarification of how long it took for asphyxiation in normal cases, let alone abbreviated experiences on the cross such as this. Either way they were alive before the crurifragium. Whether the crurifragim killed them doesn't matter in respect to Jesus because we know his legs weren't broken. And no matter how harsh the wound was on his side (which is not the "heart"), Pilate allowed his body to be given to Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and Mary Magdalene who as Jesus' friends would have taken care of his wounds. But most of all he had God on his side and God can do a lot more than a wound.