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Passions in Poetry

The True Message of Jesus

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Stephanos
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25 posted 11-21-2011 02:01 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
"And to you We have revealed the Book with the truth.  It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as a guardian over them." (Sura 5:48)



And yet, whenever the Koran asserts late docetic or gnostic forms about Christ, it denies the scriptures of the New Testament which give a different picture.  That's not all inclusive.  But then again, truth isn't all inclusive either.  So the question comes down to which description of Jesus is true ... not which religion is more "inclusive".  It's a ruse to claim that Islam is different in this regard, and ignore the fact that any definite stance about Jesus Christ rules out and therefore rejects others.  


quote:
... believing in Jesus, is in not "submission to Stephanos' way of believing in Jesus"!      

If you don't accept the way The Quran accepts Jesus, isn't that just another way of you saying that you reject the Quran, not that the Quran rejects Jesus?



I didn't say anything about "my" way of believing in Jesus.  I have ever spoken of the Jesus of the New Testament who was God incarnate dying and rising for the sins of the world, in contrast with the sparse "Jesus" of the Koran who looks a whole lot like the "Jesus" of 4th Century Arabian heterodoxy.


quote:
In the New Testament Jesus isn't called "God".  He is, of course titled as "son of God".



Correct.  But in context what was the Jewish understanding of this?  Let's look.


"For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."(John 5:18)



"Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word.  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'

'You are not yet fifty years old,' they said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!'

'Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I AM!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."  
(John 8:54-58)  Note- The "I Am" statement was a clear reference to the Tetragrammaton, God's own name spoken to Moses in Exodus 3:14- if not, if Jesus were only speaking of his existence, why would the Jewish religious leaders have wanted to kill him for blasphemy?



"'I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?'

'We are not stoning you for any good work,' they replied, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'
"  (John 10:30-33)



"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
" (John 1:1-4,14)



There are many other examples.  But the fact that you have taken the New Testament terminology about our adopted "sonship" and applied it to Jesus, fails to understand how absent that idea was before Jesus Christ, and that our "sonship" is not by any intrinsic nature, but by unmerited favor and substitution.  It also fails to acknowledge the very different sense in which Jesus is God's son.  As you can see from the scriptures above (and there are many more), the religious leaders of these passages rightly understood what Jesus was saying, though they reacted in a wrong way.  If this wasn't so, the narrator shouldn't have been mistaken too, and Jesus could have cleared things up with a little back pedaling.  He could have said "That's not what I meant guys".  He said no such thing.  


I appreciate your use of the New Testament to make your case, but you left out a great deal of it that's pertinent to our question.


quote:
he Gospels emphasizes Jesus greatness from, but also his inferiority to God: his submissiveness as one obeying the authority of a father



Yes, in his humanity he did willingly submit to God.  A mystery for sure, but submission does not denote inferiority but love.  The servanthood that Jesus assumed should not be used to dismiss his deity, especially when the New Testament states the very opposite:


"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature 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.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
"  (Philippians 2:5-11)  


quote:
These things support the Muslim perspective of Christ's nature as not being God, but a great man and a prophet/messenger of God, and of course, the Messiah.   It makes sense that Jesus fills the role of this kind of "son" more emphatically than other "sons of God" because he was a special figure and a highest example.  No one can deny that and the Quran certainly doesn't.



I've never said that Quran denies that Jesus was a great prophet, or a great figure, or a high example (Though Islam definitely give Muhammad a greater prominence).  But it does emphatically deny the divine "sonship" of Jesus that the New Testament speaks of ... the claims that Jesus made that got under the skin of the religious leaders that plotted his death, not for some generic claim of platonic childhood, but for making himself out to be equal with God.  


quote:
The Quran rejects treating Jesus as literally/biologically the son of God



In the anthropomorphic sense you seem to be suggesting, so does the Bible.


quote:
... but there there is nothing to suggest or imply a rejection of treating him metaphorically/religiously as fulfilling a father-son-like relationship with God.



Essorant, how much have you looked into this, whether what you confidently say accurately describes Islam?  


"Those who believe that Allah has a son must be admonished since this is a monstrous blasphemy and falsehood" (Surah 18:4-6).


"Allah has never begotten a son and there are no deities beside him" (Surah 23:91).


"Jews say that Ezra is the son of Allah while the Christians say the Messiah is the son of Allah. May Allah destroy them. They are both perverted. They worship rabbis, monks and the Messiah, the son of Mary, as Lords besides Allah in opposition to the monotheistic command given them" (Surah 9:30, 31).


quote:
... Christianity seems to reject the Quran more emphatically and uncompromisingly, as if it is false evidence that contradicts the New Testament instead of true evidence that actually supports and further proves the New Testament.



Essorant, I really don't get it.  The video you posted of the Islamic teacher Bilal Philips, is all about discrediting the New Testament with inaccuracies and corruptions.  Your take is way different than that of the Islamic material you've provided in the link, at cross purposes really.  


The reason Christianity rejects the Koran "as if it is false evidence that contradicts the New Testament instead of true evidence that actually supports and further proves the New Testament" is because the Koran is false evidence that contradicts the New Testament instead of true evidence that actually supports and further proves the New Testament.


Seriously though, the Koran and the New Testament paint a starkly different picture of Jesus.  Most studious people, even who don't believe either religion, know that this is so.  The syncretistic urge is so strong and undaunted in you, that it tramples the obvious. No I'm not saying that Islam and Christianity have no common ground from which dialogue can come, but what you're saying just isn't so.


I'm curious, does anyone else here feel this is an accurate evaluation of these two religious texts and doctrines?


quote:
But you haven't shown that yet at all Stephanos.  A quotation that vaguely agrees with the Quran doesn't establish that there is any historical connection between it and the Quran or Muhammad.



You'd only say it "vaguely agrees" if you weren't familiar with the complexity of docetism, and it's relationship to Gnosticism, and other heterodox expressions of faith following the New Testament.  It's of little consequence that I gave just one quotation, since that quote is typical of docetic thought, expressed in more than once instance.


It's common knowledge among scholars that Muhammad's understanding of "Christianity" was second hand, and that it was from sources that are quite different and later than the New Testament, and very "gnostic" in content.


Father, Mary and Son?  Just a coincidence (not only of doctrine, but also of region) with the Arabian Collyridian sect?


Koranic substitution or docetic denial of crucifixion of Christ, just like most of the Gnostic forms of Christianity, including the "Treatise of the Great Seth"?  Coincidence?


quote:
But despite Christianity rejecting these other evidences such as the Quran, these other evidences overwheliming support the scriptures that Christianity accepts.  They usually support the same basic truth, even though they may have a different perspective on it.



Essorant, the concept of Heresy is not the idea of complete falsehood.  Of course when Muslims say that Allah (the arabic name for God) is good, Christians should agree.  That's the 'Basic Truth'.  But what of more specific truth?  It's only where the Koran (and so Islam) makes claims of Jesus Christ which contradict the New Testament, that Christians disagree.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why Christians and Muslims are permitted such common ground by you, and yet denied the very real and obvious differences of their respective "grounds".  


If you were arguing for more understanding, more dialogue, more love, more goodwill between the two communities, I'd be your cheerleader.  But when you deny real differences, (ironically in a thread that is entitled "the TRUE message of Jesus") I cannot slap that same 'Coexist' bumpersticker on, if it means to trivialize and homogenize all doctrines and beliefs.


After all Essorant, wouldn't you be perturbed if all I ever did was tell you that you're really just saying the same thing I am, though your words seem otherwise?


quote:
He didn't say that at all, Stephanos.  He said that the Quran doesn't say it was someone other than Jesus that appeared to be crucified, but not necessarily rule it out the imagination. But there is no reason to think (according to the Quran) that it wasn't Jesus.  Jesus himself  "appeared" to be killed and proved false on the cross/crucified, even though he lives on as the true Messiah that both Christians and Muslims believe in.


He did say that, unequivocally

Let me quote him verbatim...

"The verse states that he was not killed he was not crucified, but it was made to seem that way.  Istead Allah lifted him up.  It doesn't say how it was made to seem that way, meaning that somebody else was place that his likeness was put ..."  

In case you want to play loose and fast with these words and say that he just means that Jesus was crucified, but was not defeated, there is also 8:45 where Dr. Philips openly criticizes Paul who "promoted the idea that Jesus was crucified".  


So, if Paul and Dr. Philips mean the same thing, then why doesn't Dr. Philips know this?  He's confused.  He thinks he's at odds with the writer of most of the New Testament.  Why does he disagree with you?  


The treatment of language is this thread is disconcerting to me.  It seems malleable beyond usefulness.  That's just being honest.

On a positive note, I have found the thread interesting, and I appreciate your efforts, as always.  


Stephen.    
Huan Yi
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26 posted 11-21-2011 12:35 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"Seriously though, the Koran and the New Testament paint a starkly different picture of Jesus.  Most studious people, even who don't believe either religion, know that this is so.  The syncretistic urge is so strong and undaunted in you, that it tramples the obvious. No I'm not saying that Islam and Christianity have no common ground from which dialogue can come, but what you're saying just isn't so."


Agree . . .


.
Essorant
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27 posted 11-23-2011 08:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
And yet, whenever the Koran asserts late docetic or gnostic forms about Christ, it denies the scriptures of the New Testament which give a different picture.  That's not all inclusive.  But then again, truth isn't all inclusive either.  So the question comes down to which description of Jesus is true ... not which religion is more "inclusive".  It's a ruse to claim that Islam is different in this regard, and ignore the fact that any definite stance about Jesus Christ rules out and therefore rejects others.


One can call its descriptions what he will Stephanos, but The Quran and Muslim belief aren't limited to what Christianity's perception might try to limit them to.   And trying to limit them to what Christian perceptions limit them to and deny them of accepting and believing in the other scriptures (calling it "rejection"), doesn't prove anything true or false about The Quran or The New Testament.  

If you won't accept other evidence to support the The New Testament because they have their own differences, then you have no other evidence for the New Testament.  That is all right for your own purposes.   This is not how Islam looks at evidence beyond The Quran though. The Quran doesn't reject other evidences as partaking in its truth because of the differences among them from the Quran.   All of the scriptures are ultimately God's word; though some forms in which it has come down to us through the ages have been altered more than others and may be more questionable.   In any case, they are still ultimately believed to be God's word.  Once again:  Islam accepts all the scriptures and accepts Jesus, Moses, and all the other earlier religious figures of the Abrahmic religions, and puts Jesus into the perspective of all of those. It is two articles of faith in Islam: belief in the scriptures and belief in the prophets.  You don't have to agree that this inclusiveness (no one is saying it is "all inclusive", in the sense of having no differences) is very relevant to the discussion, but if you won't accept that Muslims do believe in more than just The Quran and consciously accept the other scriptures as part of their faith, then you aren't acknowledging what Islam is, which is denying it its own principles and beliefs.   There isn't much room for a decent discussion from the two religions if the one won't even acknowledge what is a conscious and fundamental part of the other religion.

quote:
I didn't say anything about "my" way of believing in Jesus.  I have ever spoken of the Jesus of the New Testament who was God incarnate dying and rising for the sins of the world, in contrast with the sparse "Jesus" of the Koran who looks a whole lot like the "Jesus" of 4th Century Arabian heterodoxy.


But you are suggesting that one can only accept the New Testament and your interpretation of Jesus as God in order to accept the New Testament and Jesus.  It is part of The Quran and Islam to accept earlier scriptures (including the New Testament) for Jesus, but since they accept them second to a Jesus beyond the New Testament believed to be clarified more clearly in The Quran, you call it rejection instead of acceptance.  That seems just another way of saying "My way, or not at all", and reiterating your own rejectionism toward The Quran.  

quote:
"For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."(John 5:18)


That is is saying what they accused Jesus of making himself out as.    But there are many things he says that don't agree with that accusation:  

"the Father is greater than I"  (John 14:28).

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (1 Timothy 2:5)

'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

(Jesus is emphasizing that they both have the same God/Father, not that he himself is God.)

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)

"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me"  (John 5:30)

Why would he need to distinguish between his will and God's will, if his own will was God's will?  

"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)  

He prays to God and submits to God's will because God and God's will are superior.  There isn't any sense of being "equal to God" expressed in Jesus' words.  He is acknowledies God as his God not himself as God and submits himself to God's ultimate superiority.

quote:
'Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I AM!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."  (John 8:54-58)  Note- The "I Am" statement was a clear reference to the Tetragrammaton, God's own name spoken to Moses in Exodus 3:14- if not, if Jesus were only speaking of his existence, why would the Jewish religious leaders have wanted to kill him for blasphemy?
  

It is far from clear though, Stephanos.   This will show you the actual Greek behind the words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXtWV5RcqBg  .   The words that translate as  "I am" are the words that translate to "I am" (ego eimi or just eimi) anywhere else in the Bible;  the Greek doesn't include the Greek translation of the tetragrammation (ho on "the being") that is translated in Exodus.    

The sense of existing as predestined before we are born is hinted in other parts of the Bible:

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5)

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love"" (Ephesians 1:4)

But Jesus eventually clarifies to the Jews that his claim is that he was God's son:

"Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? "

quote:
But the fact that you have taken the New Testament terminology about our adopted "sonship" and applied it to Jesus, fails to understand how absent that idea was before Jesus Christ, and that our "sonship" is not by any intrinsic nature, but by unmerited favor and substitution.  It also fails to acknowledge the very different sense in which Jesus is God's son.  As you can see from the scriptures above (and there are many more), the religious leaders of these passages rightly understood what Jesus was saying, though they reacted in a wrong way.  If this wasn't so, the narrator shouldn't have been mistaken too, and Jesus could have cleared things up with a little back pedaling.  He could have said "That's not what I meant guys".  He said no such thing.


But it is not just in the New Testament.  I gave you examples from the Old Testament as well.  These don't suggest that others don't also have that unique, spiritually instrinsic sonship and oneness with the father as well:

I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17).  

Enos was the son of Seth, and Seth was the son of Adam, and Adam was the son of God.” (Luke 3:36)

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21)

(If being "one" meant "being God himself" then all the believers would be God as well.  Surely "oneness" meant "one in spirit" not "being God himself")

"I [David] will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (Psalm 2:7)  

etc.

You are implying that Jesus himself claims to be God because the Jews accused him of claiming it.  But we know he rejects their accusation and says he said he was God's son, not God himself:

"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'?
  (Psalm 82:6 "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.')

Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s son’?

Jesus is clear in saying that he said he was "God's son", not God, rejecting their accusation.  The point is, how could calling himself son of God be blasphemy when their own scriptures call sons of God "gods"?  


quote:
But it does emphatically deny the divine "sonship" of Jesus that the New Testament speaks of


It narrates about the divine/spiritual origin and being sent from/by God, and his closeness to God.  And that is essentially the spiritual side of the "sonship" of Jesus in the Bible.   But The Quran doesn't refer to it in terms of "sonship" because son in The Quran is always used in the physical/procreative sense.  "How can He have a son When He hath no consort?" (6:101) God doesn't have a wife or engage in sexual relations so how could he have what comes from those, a child?  This is why Jesus is always titled as "Mary's Son", not God's son in The Quran, but on the other hand why Jesus in the Bible isn't called "Mary's son" very often. When it speaks against attributing sons or daughters to God, it isn't intended to speak against the New Testament.  It always comes across as rejecting "son" in the procreative sense that many pagans were worshipping gods at the time and probably some Christians straying into a similar sense of believing in Jesus' "sonship".  


quote:
You'd only say it "vaguely agrees" if you weren't familiar with the complexity of docetism, and it's relationship to Gnosticism, and other heterodox expressions of faith following the New Testament.  It's of little consequence that I gave just one quotation, since that quote is typical of docetic thought, expressed in more than once instance.


The worship of Mary alongside Jesus and God was a manner of belief or behavior that was among some Christians of the time, not something The Quran is attributing to or in any way claiming to be supported by the New Testament or the other scriptures.  It was spoken against because such believes/behaviors were among some of the Christians at the time (maybe there are still some that give Mary membership in being God?).   Why wouldn't it be addressed if it were present at the time?   Polytheism is spoken against as well just as it is in The Bible.  How does this say anything against The Quran?    

quote:
Koranic substitution or docetic denial of crucifixion of Christ, just like most of the Gnostic forms of Christianity, including the "Treatise of the Great Seth"?  Coincidence?


I already pointed out that there is no "substitution" in the Quran's descriptions.  No one is being specified or indicated as substituted for Jesus in the Quran.  It says that Jesus wasn't killed/crucified yet it appeared that he had been so, and that God didn't allow that to happen in any actual/ultimate sense.  It is a description of a miracle/divine intervention.   "Appear" doesn't mean "not be present" or "nothing serious happened to make it appear thus" In the Quran, God is the patron and defender of the righteous.  It would have contradicted everything about God not to save someone as righteous as Jesus, the Messiah, from being destroyed on a cross.

But the notion of the "substitution" has indeed come from earlier Christianity itself because Christian groups themselves disputed that Jesus was actually crucified.   It was never a given, indisputed claim.  
  
Here is an interview with Dr. Dirks (a former Christian minister) that discusses how Christian sources themselves cast their own doubt on the crucifixion, including parts of the New Testament.   Our culture has been influenced more by Christianity, so we are used to seeing things only from the Christian perspective.  But the Christian perspective is not the only legitimate perspective.    In the end, both sides have their legitimate reasons and arguments to support their beliefs, doubts or claims.    The search for knowing and understanding what the truth really was/is about Jesus is far from being obvious, or concluded.    
  
quote:
He did say that, unequivocally
...
So, if Paul and Dr. Philips mean the same thing, then why doesn't Dr. Philips know this?  He's confused.  He thinks he's at odds with the writer of most of the New Testament.  Why does he disagree with you?



We can presume what his beliefs are as a Muslim that holds The Quran highly.  But he is explaining what the verse in the Quran says: that the Quran describes what happened, not exactly how it happened.   Even if one is describing what The Bible or The Quran says, that doesn't necessarily mean describing his belief about that particular thing, as central as the book may be to his religion.  The literal description of a verse doesn't always cover the spiritual belief or perspective of it in one's belief and understanding.  But he is a Muslim, so why would I think his belief would be contrary to the Quran and not have any differences from Christian beliefs?  I am not sure what you are getting at Stephanos.  I never said that there were no differences.    He still accepts the New Testament as legitimate evidence.  He argues for why the New Testament has been altered over the ages and therefore may be more questionable.  But the solution is not rejection of the New Testament.  It using The Quran as a guide for accepting and understanding both books.  The Quran is recommended as a window through which to try to draw the truest picture from both books, not a window through which to reject the New Testament and say that The Quran is the only true evidence for Christ.

quote:
On a positive note, I have found the thread interesting, and I appreciate your efforts, as always


Likewise Stephanos,  thanks for putting up with me.  I think this is the longest mess of words I have ever posted on the internet.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (11-23-2011 10:01 PM).]

Stephanos
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28 posted 11-23-2011 11:24 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
... trying to limit them to what Christian perceptions limit them to and deny them of accepting and believing in the other scriptures (calling it "rejection"), doesn't prove anything true or false about The Quran or The New Testament.


My point was, both the Koran and The New Testament have conflicting perspectives about the person of Christ.  Yes, Muslims accept an Isalmicized New Testament (which is incidentally trimmed to fit into their own system of belief).  My evidence for this?  In order to keep coherence between both New Testament and Koran, the New Testament is accused of corruption and being "altered" (Tahrif).  The fact is however, that there is no evidence that the NT has been altered beyond textual changes common in translation, and no evidence that the doctrine of divine incarnation (in the person of Jesus Christ) isn't based in the text of the New Testament.  On the contrary, we have scriptural evidence (however difficult and even strange) that it is positively expressed in the pages of the New Testament.  


I'm in no way trying interpret Islam with a "Christian" slant.  In fact, you are the one who has put a Christian spin on the text of the Koran by denying that it teaches no literal crucifixion of Jesus.  The fact of the matter is, virtually all of Islam rejects the incarnational teaching of Christianity, as well as the crucifixion.  And virtually all of Christianity rejects the Koran's denial of these.  

So it's not that one religion accepts both books, simply, and the other accepts only one.  It is that one assimilates the other on it's own terms.  At least the Christian church has been forthright in it's disagreement, and allows the Koran to remain the Koran.  Virtually no bishop, pastor, teacher, or layman is saying that the Koran is really (if we can weed out the textual corruptions) a document that confirms the New Testament.  Isn't honest disagreement sometimes refreshing rather than patronization or misrepresentation?  

quote:
If you won't accept other evidence to support the The New Testament because they have their own differences, then you have no other evidence for the New Testament.  That is all right for your own purposes.   This is not how Islam looks at evidence beyond The Quran though.


Essorant, how many years have you known me?  That's not true whatsoever.  I have quoted and spoken of external "evidence" for the New Testament on many occasions.  In this case I am not rejecting external evidence on principle that it is external evidence.  I am rejecting a very specific text, for very specific reasons, namely that it says something quite different and opposed to what the New Testment says about the person of Christ.  


quote:
The Quran doesn't reject other evidences as partaking in its truth because of the differences among them from the Quran.


No it doesn't reject outright.  It simply declares that where the other "evidence" disagrees with the Koran, it is corrupted.  Pardon me, but big difference.  


quote:
All of the scriptures are ultimately God's word; though some forms in which it has come down to us through the ages have been altered more than others and may be more questionable.


Which scriptures?  Though our discussion has been limited to the Koran and the New Testmant, why would others be excluded?  Even ones which are more clearly antithetical to one another, like the Satanic Verses and the Bible?  The point is, you too understand that lines can and should be drawn.  In the face of indefatigable sycretism, I'm just trying to convince you what real Muslims and Christians already know, that the New Testament and the Koran (on the subject of Jesus) really do disagree.  

quote:
Once again:  Islam accepts all the scriptures and accepts Jesus, Moses, and all the other earlier religious figures of the Abrahmic religions, and puts Jesus into the perspective of all of those.



Right, but at the expense of what the New Testament says about Jesus Christ.  Islam has historically rejected what the New Testament says about Jesus Christ in three ways.  1) by saying that though the Injil (gospel) has not been corrupted, Christians have misinterpreted it  2)  by saying that the gospels were indeed corrupted by men (Tahrif).  3) by saying that the Injil is a lost book about Jesus separate from the New Testament, in which the real account of Jesus is given.    

Three comments:

If 1 is obviously true, then why the need for 2 and 3?  

Number 2 has not been substantiated in any convincing way.  And if you subscribe to this please give specific examples.

Number 3 denies the New Testament outright, as you claim Muslims don't.  And if it is true, where and what is the Injil?

quote:
There isn't much room for a decent discussion from the two religions if the one won't even acknowledge what is a conscious and fundamental part of the other religion.


Who denies that Muslims recognize the Old and New Testament on a limited basis?  As I’ve mentioned above, Muslims don’t deny that they approach the New Tesament quite differently than the Koran.  I don’t see how recognizing this truth should shut down conversation, though there is disagreement.

quote:
But you are suggesting that one can only accept the New Testament and your interpretation of Jesus as God in order to accept the New Testament and Jesus.


No, that’s not what I’m suggesting at all.  I’m saying that the majority view of Christendom accepts the interpretation of Jesus as God, as well as the majority view of non-Christian scholars, though they may reject the belief personally.  

quote:
It is part of The Quran and Islam to accept earlier scriptures (including the New Testament) for Jesus, but since they accept them second to a Jesus beyond the New Testament believed to be clarified more clearly in The Quran, you call it rejection instead of acceptance.  That seems just another way of saying "My way, or not at all", and reiterating your own rejectionism toward The Quran.


As I said before, yes, but on greatly limited terms.  It’s a more subtle form of rejection, but it is the rejection of a certain message that is present in the New Testament nonetheless.

quote:
That is is saying what they accused Jesus of making himself out as.    But there are many things he says that don't agree with that accusation


All the scriptures you quoted declare the paradox of the New Testament, in that Jesus was completely human and completely God.  The scriptures that show his humility, and his “separateness” from the Father, in worshiping God, only illustrate the humanity.  But it does not explain away the declarations of divinity.  And however hard these things may be to reconcile, it is harder to deny that they are both present in the New Testament.  
You gloss over text I mentioned about the leaders interpreting his words as meaning to “make himself equal with God”, and yet there is nothing in those specific narratives to show Jesus didn’t mean the implication, or that he was unclear or didn’t understand their perceptions.  Likewise you explain away the “I AM” by pointing out that it was in Greek and not Hebrew?  So what?  It was the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew phrase, that the Jews opposing Jesus FULLY understood and caught.  If it weren’t so, their reaction to Jesus’ words is unexplainable!  

quote:
The words that translate as  "I am" are the words that translate to "I am" (ego eimi or just eimi) anywhere else in the Bible;  the Greek doesn't include the Greek translation of the tetragrammation (ho on "the being") that is translated in Exodus.


It has to do with Context Essorant.  Why else would his opposers have responded to those words by wanting to kill him?  You may be right in saying that the words can be used for more mundane usage than to express the Tetragrammaton (YHWH).  But that they CAN and HAVE been used to express the Tetragrammaton, is proven by the Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint, which uses the same Greek words to translate the Exodus passage.  This indicates that the Hellenized Jewish community that Jesus was a part of would certainly haved used the same words for it and understood in that way.  To think Jesus was merely stating his ontological human existence, makes for the most ridiculous interpretation, especially seeing that they wanted to kill him for it.  Why didn’t he say “Hey guys, I’m just saying that I’m present and accounted for, that’s all”?  Because, those religiously zealous and dogmatic leaders didn’t miss the more-than-subtle implications of his words.

quote:
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'?  (Psalm 82:6 "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.')

Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s son’?

Jesus is clear in saying that he said he was "God's son", not God, rejecting their accusation.  The point is, how could calling himself son of God be blasphemy when their own scriptures call sons of God "gods"?  
  

Yes, Jesus was using prior scripture to soften them to his language, but this was not a denial of his own unique status.   For you actually forgot to quote the rest of the scripture where the distinction is made:

If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— why do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (John 10:35-36)

This is an a fortiori argument, not at all a denial of his unique status.  In effect he’s saying, if God calls mere men “sons of God”, why do you think I am blaspheming since you see my unique status by my works?

quote:
The Quran doesn't refer to it in terms of "sonship" because son in The Quran is always used in the physical/procreative sense.  "How can He have a son When He hath no consort?"


This is better understood as an anti-Christian polemic on the part of Muhammad, since no one was teaching that the Divine sonship of Jesus was biologically-procreative.  

quote:
The worship of Mary alongside Jesus and God was a manner of belief or behavior that was among some Christians of the time, not something The Quran is attributing to or in any way claiming to be supported by the New Testament or the other scriptures.


Yes, I recognize this.  The reason I brought it up was to show that the Quran cannot validly critique the actual New Testament (as Dr. Philips asserts) since there’s little evidence that it is directly referred to at all.

quote:
I already pointed out that there is no "substitution" in the Quran's descriptions.


No matter, there is not always “substitution” in Docetic and Gnostic teaching either.  My point was that the Koran’s Christology (as well as some of its criticisms) is based upon these later heterodox sources.  


quote:
Here is an interview with Dr. Dirks (a former Christian minister) that discusses how Christian sources themselves cast their own doubt on the crucifixion, including parts of the New Testament.


I don’t want to watch another video.  I want you to tell me your findings and why you believe them.  I contend there is nothing in the New Testament that casts doubt on the crucifixion.  Tell me why you think otherwise.  

quote:
In the end, both sides have their legitimate reasons and arguments to support their beliefs, doubts or claims.


But in the end, there’s no reason to think that all perspectives and arguments are equally valid either.  This statement of yours is too general to be helpful.  You don’t seem to be pleading for more dialogue or understanding (which I concede the need for) as much as you are pleading for an inevitable egalitarianism of doctrines.
quote:
The search for knowing and understanding what the truth really was/is about Jesus is far from being obvious, or concluded.


Never said otherwise.  I’m only saying it’s obvious that the Koran and the New Testament have a fundamental disagreement, which Christians and Muslims recognize.

quote:
I am not sure what you are getting at Stephanos.  I never said that there were no differences.    He still accepts the New Testament as legitimate evidence.  He argues for why the New Testament has been altered over the ages and therefore may be more questionable.


What I’m getting at, is that Dr. Philips disagrees with the Theology of Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament.  So Islam, like Christianity, rejects major segments of doctrine.  It’s no different.  Whether the “gospel” is accepted by Islam on quite limited and arbitrary terms, does little to change this.  Is it a bridge to discussion and interaction?  Of course.  
quote:
The Quran is recommended as a window through which to try to draw the truest picture from both books, not a window through which to reject the New Testament and say that the Quran is the only true evidence for Christ.


If this statement were true, then the New Testament would not be accepted on such limited terms, and the doctrine of  Tahrif would not be.  In Islam, the Koran is the procrustean bed in which the New Testament is made to lie, before it is accepted at all.  One should first, therefore, try to draw the truest picture of the New Testament using its own data, before going to a 600-year-removed text, that shows scant evidence of direct affiliation with the content of the former.  

My position in a nutshell is this:

1)  The New Testament picture of Jesus is one that doesn’t fit comfortably with the claims of a mere prophet.
2)  Regardless of the internal tensions involved between the humanity of Jesus, and the divinity of Jesus,  when we accept them both, the New Testament data is present for both.

3)  The Koran, some 600 years later, shows very little evidence of affiliation with the New Testament, either in its criticisms of Christianity or it’s own Christology.  But there is evidence for gnostic/ docetic influences in the Koran.  Therefore, the Koran is not valid as a corrective or clarifier of The New Testament regarding the life of Jesus.  

4)  Despite this, Muslims and Christians have quite a bit of common ground, from which helpful and potentially positive dialogue may spring.


Stephen
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OH, and Happy Thanksgiving all!  
Essorant
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Stephanos,

quote:
Yes, Muslims accept an Isalmicized New Testament (which is incidentally trimmed to fit into their own system of belief).  My evidence for this?  In order to keep coherence between both New Testament and Koran, the New Testament is accused of corruption and being "altered" (Tahrif).



Indeed, it is its own religion, Stephanos, so you're right about it accepting things according to its own beliefs.  But it's misleading to suggest a different belief/interpretation about the New Testament is equivalent to having some altogether different ("Islamicized") New Testament from what it actually is or how it has actually come down to us. Likewise, to suggest believing that the New Testament is less reliable than The Quran because it may have been altered is used as a means to make it "fit" into their belief system.  They aren't shaving out text, then choosing to believe in it without that text..  They use the same basic text as you do.  The main difference is that they have a different belief/interpretation about the text from that of the Christian belief/interpretation, not that they resort to calling things "corruption" to cross some inherent canyon of Christian difference that is inherent in the bible itself.  Christian beliefs aren't inherent in the bible, so they don't need to cross any such canyon of difference to find their own beliefs supported in the New Testament.  The reason you think the Quran is "false evidence" (as you said earlier) that isn't supported by the New Testament is because you seem to believe your Christian belief/interpretation of it is the only true one.   But you haven't proved that it is the only true one yet.  You shouldn't be so quick to call evidence "false" when you haven't proved that your own belief/interpretation about them is the only true one.    


quote:
But it does not explain away the declarations of divinity.


But you haven't established that he is declaring himself God in the New Testament.   There are many sayings along the lines of those I mentioned.   "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.  (Mark 10:18) Such saying don't make sense in the notion that Jesus himself is also God.  But there aren't any where Jesus unambiguously calls himself "God" or tells his disciples and others to treat him as God, etc.   I agree that there are a few confusing sayings, such as Jesus' suggestion of existing before Abraham was born.  But there are other places where existing before birth as being preconceived and predestined in/by God is suggested.  And  later in John he clarifies to the Jews that he said he was "God's son".  If he actually meant "God" or the tetragrammaton the first time (which as I showed isn't included in the text itself) his clarification of what he actually said is still not "God" or the tetragrammaton, but  "God's son".   When he is on the cross, they say: "He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the son of God." (Mathew 27:43) If Jesus didn't make them acknowledge what he actually had said, why wouldn't they say "he said I am God" which would provoke further rage against him?  It wouldn't make sense for them to omit something as controversial as that.   They couldn't maintain their original accusation because Jesus already proved it false.     You may be able to overlook these things and treat "before Abraham was born, I am" is enough, but it is too limited and uncertain to stand on for me to believe Jesus himself declared or taught that he was "God", especially in light of all his other sayings emphasizing humility to and dependence on God, having been sent from God, influenced or empowered by God, praying to God and having God as we do, rather than being God himself.  


quote:
I contend there is nothing in the New Testament that casts doubt on the crucifixion.  Tell me why you think otherwise.


What are we talking about when we say "crucifixion"?  Wikipedia describes it thus: "Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead."  I think most people will generally agree with that sense and that is the one that I am using when talking about it and likewise when using the word crucify, that is, to be put to death through this form of execution.  This needs to be clarified because "crucify" can also mean simply being put on a cross.   But we are talking about crucifixion as a form of execution/being put to death, therefore the sense of the word "crucify" needs to be kept in that corresponding sense/context.   Crucifixion was a slow, long, drawn-out way of being dealt death, one which could last for days in some cases.  And it was meant and made sure to be that way.   That is why they made sure not to pierce any arteries and had a sedile (a little or partial seat) half way down (rarely shown in Christian images): these prolonged life to prolong the pain of losing life.   If they wanted an execution to be done more quickly they could use other cruel forms (stoning, drowning, burning, etc)

In the New Testament, on the same day as the crucifixion though, we learn of something not far off: The Jewish Sabbath was to begin in the evening and according to their law, no man was to be left hanging by then, but was to be "buried" (which in this case meant being put into a chamber, a sepulcher).  Were they ignorant of this when they sentenced Jesus and the other two with him to a long, slow death on the cross, which could possibly take days?  Most likely not.  It was expected that the crucifixion would need to be cancelled, and the long, slow death would need to be transferred to the form of living it out painfully in the sepulcher instead, after a crurifragrium (breaking of the legs) to prevent them from pulling off a resurrection and escaping from their death.  Not accomplishing the crucifixions was what was expected, because they knew it was completely unlikely for anyone to die on a cross from only being on it a few hours.  The anonymous author in Mathew says the crucifixion began at around 9am; and two others were also on crosses beside Jesus.  At noon, however, " darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3pm), and soon thereafter Jesus is said to die.   Based on this, Jesus was on the cross for approx. six hours, and if there was any scorching sun, had some relief from it during the last three hours of that time.   (But John 19:14 says it was about the sixth hour (midday) when Pilate brings him forth to be taken to the cross, which would shorten it to approx. three hours)    As painful as crucifixion was, for an average person, even in those times, it wasn't likely for someone to be dead after only a few hours on a cross.  

But Jesus wasn't any average man.  Apparently he did die.   Why?  John says that Jesus said "I thirst" and was given vinegar.  After receiving the vinegar, he dies.  If this were true, going by what is written in the book itself, this means Jesus died from vinegar not from the process of being on the cross itself for only a few hours.  

But who and what are the form of finding and confirming this "death" though?  

"The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for the sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water"
(John 19: 31-34)  

Even modern physicians have gotten it wrong about people being dead.  But we aren't even talking about physicians, these are soldiers from almost two thousand years ago, using their eyes ("saw that he was dead"), one poking with his spear and making him bleed, but finding him unresponsive, seeing/believing, and therefore claiming death, and for this reason not breaking his legs, but breaking the legs of the other two on the crosses because they are obviously (and as expected) alive.   Jesus was going into the sepulcher either way, but since the soldiers claimed he was dead, his legs are saved from crurifragrium.

Pilate is completely surprised:

"Pilate marvelled if he were already dead and calling unto the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. (Mark 15:44)

What does he do to confirm the soldiers' claim though?  Nothing.   Jesus is allowed to be carried away by a secret disciple, Joseph right away, and Nicodemus eventually takes care of Jesus before he goes into the sepulcher.   Therefore the majority of the time between him coming down from the cross and going into the tomb he is in safe and caring hands, people who would stop further bleeding,  try to help him in anyway possible, and who wouldn't be the ones to mention any sign of life if they found any since that would result in a crurifragrium before he goes into the sepulcher, as it did for the others.    

There is no reason why Pilate would want to make sure Jesus was dead.  He didn't have anything serious against Jesus, he was forced against his will to begin with.   And considering how superstitious people could be back then, would he completely ignore his wife's dream:

"When he was set down on the judgement seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."

Not only does he believe Jesus is innocent, his wife has a dream that confirms his innocence.   Pilate had no reason to make sure that Jesus was dead and would have every reason to make sure his death wasn't sure if it could possibly save an innocent man from death.

But the Jews themselves thought it was an error not to break his legs, the very act which was supposed to prevent a man from using his legs and escaping from his death in the sepulcher-chamber.  They sought precautions to secure the sepulcher with some kind of stone, fearing that he might still rise in one way or another.

"Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first" (Mathew 27: 64)

While taking the word of his death, nevertheless they feared his death might not be so certain and that in one way or another he might be helped by others and rise up and escape.  This most likely wasn't a completely new thing.  People couldn't ascertain that a man was dead as they usually can in our times with specialized training or technology, therefore it probably isn't an exaggeration to believe they heard of quite of a few cases of men being found alive in their tombs.  The stone would seal people out, to make sure no one could save him from a death which couldn't be completely certain yet.  If they couldn't get in, then they wouldn't be able find him or help him come back to consciousness, and if he couldn't get out, then a certain death would eventually come from starvation and thirst.

What actually happened?  The stone had been removed and Jesus got out, and he was indeed on his legs, and a fullfleshen human (not some after-life form or ghost) when he encountered his disciples.  

"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath no flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."
(Luke 24: 39-40)

The events therefore confirmed what the Jews believed/feared (that his death wasn't certain), not what the soldiers believed/claimed (that he had already died).    

When seen in light of Jesus prayers and prophecies, this makes even more sense.


Jesus himself doesn't want to die.  He even prepares the disciples for fighting:

"When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?   And they said nothing.
Then said he unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:35-36)

He is telling them to sell their garments if they must to have swords!   This isn't the sign of someone who wants to die or has completely given up on hope that he may be saved.

When Jesus is in the garden he prays to God:

"Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt"
(Mathew 26:38-39)


"And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44)

How can we read these words and believe that Jesus was all-willing and ready to die?  And how can we believe such agoniful prayers to God in to the point of Apparently sweating blood, from someone as innocent and righteous as Jesus, would be ignored by God?  If we are to believe the bible we shouldn't and can't:

According to Luke:

"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
"


Hebrews 5:7 Jesus prayer was heard:


"... in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."

His prayer to be saved from such a fate was not being ignored by God.  He was given a favourable sign that he would be saved from death: God heard his prayer and sent an angel as a sign and strength to him.


In Mathew, Jesus gives mention that the only sign from himself that shall be given to the people is that of Jonah:

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee."
"But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth
"(Mathew 12:39-40)

The important point here is in Jonah, Jonah is presented as being alive throughout his ordeal.  He is alive when thrown over, he is alive while in the whale,  he is alive when he comes out.  It implies life throughout Jonah's ordeal, and therefore implies life throughout Jesus' ordeal as well.

In summary:

  • The crucifixions needed to be cancelled because of the Sabbath and their deaths transferred to the sepulchers after crurifragrium (breaking of their legs)
  • they were only on the cross for approx. 6 hours (3 hours if we go by John)
  • He supposedly died in conjunction with being given vinegar
  • The other two were obviously alive
  • Jesus legs weren't broken
  • Pilate is completely surprised if he had died so soon
  • He was handed over to friends to take care of him right away
  • The Jews doubted the certainty of his death
  • The stone was removed
  • Jesus was found alive, a full fleshen human (not some after-life form or ghost)  
  • Jesus had prayed earlier to God to be saved
  • God heard his prayer and sent an angel as a sign and strength to him
  • Jesus likened himself to Jonah in his ordeal; Jonah was alive.
  

Based on these things, the New Testament itself shows an overwhelming indication that the crucifixion wasn't accomplished and that Jesus' death didn't actually happen, though it had appeared to have.   In other words, just as an illiterate Arab communicated some six hundred years later:  "they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them" (Sura 4:157).


[This message has been edited by Essorant (11-30-2011 11:54 PM).]

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     Out of curiosity, I wonder if it might be possible — rather than actually quoting muslims and parsing muslims and tossing muslim texts selected by non muslims back and forth — if it might not be possible to ask a Muslim to comment (him or herself) on the discussion?  I believe that everybody has the best of intentions in their characterization of Islam, and I suspect that my own understanding of Islam are at least as skewed if not more skewed in places than those of anybody else here, but I wonder if it might not be possible to find somebody articulate and interested who might be able to take a stand on issues involving Islam that would  actually try to give us some sort of  perspective on Islam that is a 21st Century take on the way that living people see their world from the perspective of their daily practice.

     I know that I'm not up to the task because I simply don't know enough, and because I'm filled with the foolish surety that I know more than I do.  The Talmud reminds me to admit when I don't know things, that there is no shame in it.  I will have to remind myself more frequently about the no shame part, but being more clear about saying, "I don't know" seems like a good idea.

     Does anybody else think we have an issue here?
Stephanos
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32 posted 12-03-2011 11:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant, you've made an exegetical misstep, if good exegesis means to make most sense of ALL of text of the New Testament... or even just all of the text in one NT book.  For example, the Hebrews passage you mentioned about Jesus praying for deliverance from death (implying that he must not have died, else God would have abandoned him), is from the same letter that also states in multiple passages that Jesus died for our salvation. The theme of the entire epistle is to present Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.  You just didn't mention those parts.  You can either interpret the deliverance from death in the context of resurrection (which multiple New Testament books affirm, including the book of Hebrews itself) or you can come up with elaborate theories of textual corruption which have no basis, to explain all of the many places in the text which affirm explicitly and unequivocally that Jesus died by crucifixion.  Or you can try a third, but impossible route, to make the case that the Koran doesn't "contradict" the New Testament really, but merely inteprets it differently.  This is a dulling euphemism, that masks the real issue.  Do you think the authors of the New Testament were intending to communicate that Jesus died?  Of course they were.  There's no serious debate about that.  And if this is true, then the Koran is rejecting those propositional statements about the crucifixion, in effect saying that a large part of the New Testament is untrue in its account.  The lie/truth distinction that you hardly accept even in a philosophical sense, if I remember correctly, comes to bear in this thread, and in most courts of law.  Ever the synthesizer, I think you're just denying that there is something indivisible in such propositional statements, something that cannot endlessly be dissolved and mingled with it's opposites.            


I'll respond more comprehensively to your points later,


At any rate, this confirms what I've been saying.  Islam accepts the New Testament only after the scissors have done their arbitrary job of cutting out the parts that disagree with Islam.  So both religions are equally exclusive in their respective but contradictory claims about Jesus.  


Bob,  I think that would be a great idea, if you can manage it.  


Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-04-2011 12:21 AM).]

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Essorant:  
quote:
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.  (Mark 10:18)


The question remains, what are we to make of Jesus in light of all things he said?  And when we consider all together, Arianism (the belief that Jesus was not Divine, but a mere prophet) doesn't make sense.  


Is there another way the above passage could be taken, other than a flat denial of divinity by Jesus?  Did the rich young man really know who Jesus was to begin with?  What was his motive for calling Jesus good?  It is possible to say the right thing for the wrong reason, isn't it?  It is also notable that Jesus does not deny his own divinity here, but only asks a question that might lead the young entrepreneur to reflection and greater insight.  Jesus didn't say he was wrong, he only asked "why"?  


Anyway, would an Arian interpretation make sense of this passage, in view of the whole of the New Testament?  This is where I think it fails.  


quote:
But there aren't any where Jesus unambiguously calls himself "God" ...


You're right.  But the implication is unavoidable in many of his sayings.  Perhaps he wanted such a confession to come from others uncoerced by the kind of directness you're insisting on.  


quote:
... or tells his disciples and others to treat him as God, etc.


Maybe not, but they certainly did so in many cases without disapproval from Jesus or from the narrator/ writer.  A very strange fact in a setting of Jewish Monotheistic piety.  Consider the following scriptures (there are more, but I'll give you 3):
    

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2)


"Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'" (Matthew 14:33)


"So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. 'Greetings' he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him." (Matthew 28:8-9)


I anticipate the argument from you that the Greek word "proskuneo" wasn't always used for worship, but for bowing in deep respect.  This is true, but we must ask how this word is typically used in the Gospels.  The only other example is where Jesus himself uses the word in reference to exclusively worshiping God.  The Matthew and Luke accounts of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness record him as saying "proskuneo the Lord your God and serve him only".  There are 22 references in the New Testament, where this Greek word is used in connection with worshiping God.  Other than examples where the word is used about Jesus (which is what we are questioning), it is never used any other way.  


Still not conclusive?  Well the next question is how the other writers of the New Testament viewed this?  Just as your Cartesian interpretation of Jesus' "I AM" statements is rendered unlikely by the fact that those who heard him took it as a title only belonging to God, with no correction from Jesus, the Arian interpretation that Jesus wasn't "worshiped" is rendered unlikely by the interpretation of the writers of the New Testament itself.  


Read carefully this passage in the book of Hebrews (note particularly the use of the word "God" in reference to the Son):


"For to which of the angels did God ever say,

   'You are my Son;
   today I have become your Father'?

Or again,

   'I will be his Father,
   and he will be my Son'?

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

   'Let all God's angels worship him.'

In speaking of the angels he says,

   'He makes his angels spirits,
   and his servants flames of fire.'

But about the Son he says,

   'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
   a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
   therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
   by anointing you with the oil of joy.'
" (Hebrews 1:5-9)


Also:


"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17)


This is strange language for a mere prophet don't you think?  


quote:
but it is too limited and uncertain to stand on for me to believe Jesus himself declared or taught that he was "God", especially in light of all his other sayings emphasizing humility to and dependence on God, having been sent from God, influenced or empowered by God, praying to God and having God as we do, rather than being God himself.



When one looks at the New Testament as a whole, the limitation is upon those scriptures that would seem to cast doubt on the Orthodox Christian belief that God was incarnate, in the person of Christ.  The difficulty you have with the fact that Christ was "dependent" is at least met in the doctrine of the incarnation, where God was "emptied" of a certain status and glory to become man.  Christ was a man as well.  And when God becomes man, we have a paradox before us.  How can he be humble and pray, and still be God incarnate?  Indeed how!?  The mystery is great here, I won't deny that.  But by making him out to be a humble prophet of no different status than Isaiah or John the Baptist (or Muhammad, if you're a Muslim), you create not just a mystery that flows, but a vexation that comes to a grinding halt.  How could Jesus say the things he did, if he were not the incarnation of God, and still be a good teacher?


To quote Lewis on this:

"Among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He were God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among pantheists, like the Hindus of India, anyone might say that he is part of god or one with god. There would be nothing very odd about that. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God in their language meant the Being outside of the world who had made it and was infinitely different than anything else. And when you have grasped that concept you will see that what this man said was quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips." (From 'Mere Christianity')  



Now about the crucifixion ...

    
Essorant:
quote:
The Jewish Sabbath was to begin in the evening and according to their law, no man was to be left hanging by then, but was to be "buried" (which in this case meant being put into a chamber, a sepulcher).  Were they ignorant of this when they sentenced Jesus and the other two with him to a long, slow death on the cross, which could possibly take days?  Most likely not.


First thing first, the Jews were not in legislative control.  Yes, it was their typical request that Jews crucified by the Romans did not stay past nightfall.  It was a request by them, not a Roman law.  So the expectation of a slow death, is no reason to think that either the Jewish leaders who concocted his arrest, or the Romans who carried out his execution, would hesistate to go through with it.


quote:
It was expected that the crucifixion would need to be cancelled, and the long, slow death would need to be transferred to the form of living it out painfully in the sepulcher instead, after a crurifragrium (breaking of the legs) to prevent them from pulling off a resurrection and escaping from their death.



The Roman practice of breaking the legs (also called 'skelokopia') was not merely to prevent an escape, which isn't likely considering the Roman Guard.  It also served the purpose of additional punishment before observers, and to hasten the death of the accused.  And though this was omitted in the case of Jesus of Nazareth because he was "already dead", his side was pierced with a Roman spear just for good measure, also not an unusual practice during Roman crucifixions, which had to balance the torment of a slow death, with the human impatience and monotony of the guards.  So the breaking or crushing of legs (often done with a large hammer, I understand), was primarily considered an additional punishment, but also, naturally, would speed the death of someone weakened by crucifixion.


quote:
  Not accomplishing the crucifixions was what was expected, because they knew it was completely unlikely for anyone to die on a cross from only being on it a few hours.


But "not accomplishing death" was NEVER expected, hence these additional measures such as crushing limbs and stab wounds to vital organs.  The Romans in charge of this business were proficient enough, I'm sure.  And to doubt it is to grasp at straws.


quote:
Jesus was on the cross for approx. six hours ... As painful as crucifixion was, for an average person, even in those times, it wasn't likely for someone to be dead after only a few hours on a cross.


So what?  As already established, the Romans had ample means to hasten death, whenever it was prolonged beyond their wishes.  You named one of them, you didn't mention the other.  The text not only says, unequivocally, that Jesus was dead.  It also records the piercing of his pericardium.  


quote:
But Jesus wasn't any average man.  Apparently he did die.   Why?  John says that Jesus said "I thirst" and was given vinegar.  After receiving the vinegar, he dies.  If this were true, going by what is written in the book itself, this means Jesus died from vinegar not from the process of being on the cross itself for only a few hours.



No Essorant, the text should not lead any astute person to think he must have died from a little vinegar, even if it were unusual for someone to die from the crucifixion.  It could be that other factors weakened Jesus before he was actually crucified, and facilitated a faster death.  At least the Journal of the American Medical Association says such factors probably played a part ... more on that later.  


quote:
Even modern physicians have gotten it wrong about people being dead.


True, but very rare.  And rarer even, among these rare cases, is the one who goes on to live more than a few hours or even a day.


quote:
But we aren't even talking about physicians, these are soldiers from almost two thousand years ago, using their eyes ("saw that he was dead")



First of all, this was their job ... to execute criminals, making them suffer and die.  I myself am an ICU nurse and have a respect for modern medicine, and still don't buy for a moment that modern physicians are any better at verifying death than a Roman soldier whose day-in-day-out job was to kill people (the very opposite task of physicians).  Sure, they couldn't do an EEG or an EKG.  But I'll bet my bottom dollar they could surmise that no breathing and no pulse for an extended amount of time meant death.  


But if you doubt the veracity of that, the crucifixion of Jesus has been analyzed by a respected modern Medical organization you may have heard of:


"Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross."  ('On The Physical Death of Jesus Christ' JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] 1986)


Here's the very informative JAMA article, complete with illustrations, if you have the time:


http://www.scribd.com/doc/58443166/On-the-Physical-Death-of-Jesus-Christ  


quote:
one poking with his spear and making him bleed, but finding him unresponsive, seeing/believing, and therefore claiming death, and for this reason not breaking his legs, but breaking the legs of the other two on the crosses because they are obviously (and as expected) alive.



But the text says that there came out "blood and water" from his side.  What makes you think that this should be interpreted as just a 'poke' or scratch?  The text supports, as JAMA also supports, the likelihood that Jesus recieved a thrust of a sharp implement into his pericardium, either through, or under the ribcage.  Even if the crucifixion itself didn't do it, he would not have survived the blood loss and Cardiac Tamponade that would have ensued.


quote:
There is no reason why Pilate would want to make sure Jesus was dead.  He didn't have anything serious against Jesus, he was forced against his will to begin with.   And considering how superstitious people could be back then, would he completely ignore his wife's dream:

But there IS reason why the Roman soldiers would want to make sure Jesus was dead though ... because they feared Pilate!  The failure of their duties in execution would be unthinkable.  And it just didn't happen, ever.  That type of speculation is superfluous however, since the text describes not only a man who suffered intense stress, abandonment of followers and friends, lack of sleep, arrest, scourging with a "cat o' nine tails", and further physical stresses, but was crucified, pronounced dead, and stabbed deeply with a spear, enough to produce a flow of bodily fluids that was significant enough to make it into the text.  

quote:
Pilate had no reason to make sure that Jesus was dead and would have every reason to make sure his death wasn't sure if it could possibly save an innocent man from death.


You're leaving out the most relevant fact of all:  Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be crucified (though he verbally shifted the blame away from himself), because he feared an uprising of the people who demanded it.  He didn't need to "make sure".  He "made sure" when he gave Jesus over to the executioners.  


quote:
But the Jews themselves thought it was an error not to break his legs, the very act which was supposed to prevent a man from using his legs and escaping from his death in the sepulcher-chamber.  They sought precautions to secure the sepulcher with some kind of stone, fearing that he might still rise in one way or another ...

While taking the word of his death, nevertheless they feared his death might not be so certain and that in one way or another he might be helped by others and rise up and escape.  This most likely wasn't a completely new thing.


The text does not suggest in the least that they suspected he might be alive.  Rather it says they feared the disciples would steal him away (his body) and "say" he rose from the dead.  

"Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first" (Mathew 27:64)


quote:
What actually happened?  The stone had been removed and Jesus got out, and he was indeed on his legs, and a fullfleshen human (not some after-life form or ghost) when he encountered his disciples.  

"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath no flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet." (Luke 24: 39-40)

The events therefore confirmed what the Jews believed/feared (that his death wasn't certain), not what the soldiers believed/claimed (that he had already died).



So you think the events confirm something the text omits, rather than the two alternatives the text explicitly states?  ... namely that either the disciples were right (He rose from the dead), or that (as the Jewish leaders feared) they came and stole his corpse?  That's making the text say what you want, rather than drawing your conclusions from the text.  

I'm not saying you can't believe Jesus wasn't crucified and killed.  I am saying you can only do so in opposition to what the New Testament says, as Islam does.  


quote:
Jesus himself doesn't want to die.  He even prepares the disciples for fighting:

"When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?   And they said nothing.

Then said he unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:35-36)

He is telling them to sell their garments if they must to have swords!   This isn't the sign of someone who wants to die or has completely given up on hope that he may be saved.
.


Jesus also spoke often in riddles, poetically, vividly.  Was he being literal about the swords?  It doesn't appear he forbade his disciples from carrying them, but when they took him literally in this saying, he ends by abruptly saying "It is enough.", as if to say "You don't get it do you?".  This interpretation makes more sense in light of Jesus rebuking Peter for using arms when Jesus was arrested:


"...Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, 'Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?
' (John 18:10-11)


Also:

"...Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

'Put your sword back in its place,' Jesus said to him, 'for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.  Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?'
"  (Matthew 26:50-54)


Again, the mistake you're making Essorant is you're missing the context of the whole, like someone who thinks that the antifreeze couldn't have been used to kill a pet, since the instructions said only to use it in a radiator.  


quote:
When Jesus is in the garden he prays to God:

"Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mathew 26:38-39)


"And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44)

How can we read these words and believe that Jesus was all-willing and ready to die?



First of all, no one I know of would ever say, simply, that Jesus was eager to die.  It is certainly possible though that he was willing to do what was necessary for our salvation, though hardly tasteful.  The best of soldiers, I think, would likewise tell you that they don't like battle, but see it as a necessity.  How would Jesus death be a sacrifice, in any sense at all, if he was desirous of death?  Though you may not agree with this concept of sacrifice, I wouldn't think you're beyond understanding it, being the poet you are.  To make anything else of this text, is to simply deny the text.  As usual, you're also ignoring the whole context of the gospels and of the New Testament.  If your interpretation had plausibility why these passages?:


"... From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!'

Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.
'
(Matthew 16:21-23)



"'The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life, only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."  John 10:17-18


These scriptures make no sense if we take a simplistic view that either Jesus "wanted to die", or he "wanted to avoid crucifixion", and that there are no other options.  The other gapingly obvious option, which scripture actually describes, is wanting to do something that is very difficult and undesirable but ultimately rewarding.  And that interpretive take, which you haven't mentioned, is the only one that doesn't do violence to the narrative.  With this view, as difficult as it is, we can keep all of the sayings and leave our scissors at home.
quote:
Hebrews 5:7 Jesus prayer was heard:


"... in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."

His prayer to be saved from such a fate was not being ignored by God.  He was given a favourable sign that he would be saved from death: God heard his prayer and sent an angel as a sign and strength to him.



But Hebrews states in multiple passages that Jesus died for our salvation. The theme of the entire epistle is to present Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.


The interpretation you're leaving out is that God also may deliver from death by resurrection, rather than by escape.  Though the idea of deliverance out of trials is throughout the Bible, there is also the idea of deliverance through them.  


Consider the idea behind this scripture which is, ironically, from the book of Hebrews:  


" ... There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
"  (Hebrews 11:35-39)


If nothing else, this scripture should illustrate the Theological idea that not being granted escape, does not necessarily mean that God has ignored or rejected one's prayers.  


By insisting that Jesus didn't die, simply because God would have had to ignore him otherwise, is to make a Theological claim that scripture as a whole doesn't support.  It's also ignoring the glaring fact that the New Testament affirms over and over that he really did die for our sins and our salvation.  


So the Islamic view of Jesus, much like the eariler Docetic and Arian views, deny what the New Testament affirms.  Whether you believe it yourself, very few deny that the New Testament makes these claims.  The ones who do, can only do so by a series of interpretive gymnastics that makes any text as elastic as they want it to be.  
I hope you don't reply before Christmas  .... (whew!)




Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-08-2011 11:11 AM).]

Stephanos
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34 posted 12-08-2011 09:26 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

For those who aren't likely to wade through my massive reply, and therefore likely to miss this link ... I did want to provide the link to the JAMA article that sets forth the medical credibility of the death of Jesus as described in the New Testament.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/58443166/On-the-Physical-Death-of-Jesus-Christ
Essorant
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quote:
I hope you don't reply before Christmas


I think that may be impossible! Christmas in our culture is basically celebrated for all of December, then it is the new year giving us the months before Christmas again, it is always either before Christmas or the Christmas season itself.  There doesn't seem to be any true after-Christmas.  

 
Essorant
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36 posted 07-07-2012 11:51 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Alright, I might as well post this now.  I hope it is far enough from Christmas not to be too offensive!  


quote:
Is there another way the above passage could be taken, other than a flat denial of divinity by Jesus?  Did the rich young man really know who Jesus was to begin with?  What was his motive for calling Jesus good?  It is possible to say the right thing for the wrong reason, isn't it?  It is also notable that Jesus does not deny his own divinity here, but only asks a question that might lead the young entrepreneur to reflection and greater insight.  Jesus didn't say he was wrong, he only asked "why"?


I never said it was a flat denial of divinity in the sense of divine inspiration from God, but it goes along with other scriptures that show Jesus is not identified as God.  He would be identifiable as " good" in this sense, but instead, after being called "good" right way he makes sure to take it away from himself and indicate that "good" belongs to the one above and beyond him, to God, the one who gave Moses the ten commandments.  In other words, it is not he that should be looked up to as this ultimate sense of "good" but God, who is considered the true source of good.

The Old Testament also makes this clear:

“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)

  


quote:
You're right.  But the implication is unavoidable in many of his sayings.  Perhaps he wanted such a confession to come from others uncoerced by the kind of directness you're insisting on.


It is not unavoidable though because he doesn't leave it up to an implication.  

He says himself in his defense:

"I spake openly to the world, I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort, and in secret I have said nothing. (John 18:20)

You can make up a multitude of things and then try to say that he said it or meant it indirectly, privately, secretly or what you will.  But I don't think that is an honest way of respecting his teachings.  He himself said he spoke openly and didn't teach things in secret.   If he wished or was trying to get people to worship him as God, it would be something as clear as day.  

He says what he is and what he says is a lot, but it doesn't include identifying himself or calling himself God or saying others should do that.  That makes a big difference between what Jesus says and what Christianity says.  As tempting as it is for Christians to believe this concept is in the Bible, it is an anachronism because Jesus was a Jew and his followers were still Jews to whom the unitarian belief in God was a given.   The notions of the Godhood of Jesus/manhood of God, and that God was a Trinity, were not yet around.  I think we commit an injustice when we to try to inject these concepts where they weren't yet present.    


quote:
Maybe not, but they certainly did so in many cases without disapproval from Jesus or from the narrator/ writer.  A very strange fact in a setting of Jewish Monotheistic piety.  Consider the following scriptures (there are more, but I'll give you 3)


Jesus was the Messiah.  They had reason to honour him greatly, especially those that were able to meet him in his own time.  There is nothing to indicate that they took it to the extreme that Christians do and worshipped him as God instead.

We should note that "worship" was not as limited in earlier English and included its original sense "honour" and "revere".  When we call a judge "His worship" we don't mean "His divinity" or "his right to be worshipped as God".  This use retains its original sense ("honour").   King James probably would have used "worship" to describe how Muhammad's companions showed honour to him as well.  It doesn't make sense to say Jesus' disciples were treating him as a "deity".  There was still the distinction between showing honour to a deity and showing honour to a king, master, noble, etc and that distinction would have been even more obvious among Jews that believed God was only God (not human).   If they were showing honour to him the second sense as disciples/followers of the Messiah that would explain why he wouldn't disapprove.   In the sense of worshipping a deity though, it would be against his own religion as a Jew and against his own teaching: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)

As much as some of the writers of the New Testament (especially Paul) were beginning to metamorphasize the memory of Jesus into their own concepts in their language, he still always retains his role as being an agent of God; they don't elevate him to the status of being God himself as trinitarian Christians do.  


quote:
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1-2)


Magi are Zoroastrians though; it would have been against their religion to worship a man as God.   Why would you consider it as worshipping in the sense of worshipping him as God rather than worshipping in the sense of following due respects/reverence to someone that they could tell was a very special new born king/prophet?  

quote:
I anticipate the argument from you that the Greek word "proskuneo" wasn't always used for worship, but for bowing in deep respect.  This is true, but we must ask how this word is typically used in the Gospels.  The only other example is where Jesus himself uses the word in reference to exclusively worshiping God.  The Matthew and Luke accounts of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness record him as saying "proskuneo the Lord your God and serve him only".  There are 22 references in the New Testament, where this Greek word is used in connection with worshiping God.  Other than examples where the word is used about Jesus (which is what we are questioning), it is never used any other way.  


That is a legitimate point.  

But why would you think that they are treating both as the same being instead of just treating both with great reverence?    Showing utmost reverence to God on the one hand and utmost reverence to a human on the other doesn't mean you no longer distinguish God as God and man as man, as great as that man may be.


quote:
'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;

  
We should remember two things when reading this: 1. This is an anonymous writer, who we know nothing about.  So it is not even like you or me saying it, because we know more about each other than we do about this person.   All we know is that it is not Jesus' words.   2. The word "God" is of course not specially given uppercase in the original. It would be more honest to use "god".   It translates the word "theos" and "theos" is used for other things as well in the Bible:

"Their destiny is destruction, their god [theos] is their stomach,” (Philippians 3:19)

"The god [theos] of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers" (II Corinthians 4:4)

Here the same word "theos" is used of course.   Are these "gods" also God almighty?   Of course not.

If you read the part in Hebrews in context, it makes no sense to treat "god" as "God"  not just because he is still called the son of God but also because it says "thy God" emphasizing that the son has a God.  

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Saying God almighty has a God almighty who anointed himself makes no sense.  It is refering to Jesus as a "god" who has a superior God, that is God Almighty, who annointed him.   The language is getting close to outright deifying Jesus, but it still distinguishes Jesus as an agent of God, even one great enough to be called a "god".  It is still clear that he is not being treated as God Almighty himself.  


quote:
This is strange language for a mere prophet don't you think?


Not necessarily.   People have treated objects and animals as "gods".  It would probably be a lot easier to treat the Messiah as a "god"!  


quote:
Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross."  ('On The Physical Death of Jesus Christ' JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] 1986)


I read the article and found it for the most part well-detailed.  But one most outstanding and important thing it misses is the part of the story that says he was actually witnessed walking around as a full-fleshen living man a few days later. No modern medical expert would think of a man that was considered dead one day and then is walking around later, as man that truly died.  Anything is possible, but a medical expert should go by what is most reasonably likely.   If a man is deemed dead and later shows up as alive, then it is most likely that he didn't actually die.  

And as most religious people accept, supported in both the Bible and the Quran, the resurrected body is no longer a worldly, natural, fleshen body that needs the things of this world.   But when Jesus returns after the event on the cross and after being in the sepulcher-chamber, he is completely himself as before.  The disciples had heard he was dead so naturally they are afraid.   He never says to them he was resurrected.    But he clearly shows them that he is not yet dead, that he is himself, a physical and fleshen human as he was before before, he gets them to touch him and give him something to eat, etc.  This is exactly what we wouldn't expect from a resurrected body and emphasizes that he didn't actually die on the cross or in the sepulcher.  He survived.  


quote:
But "not accomplishing death" was NEVER expected, hence these additional measures


But I already showed you how it was expected.   That is why Pilate was clearly surprised that Jesus was supposedly already dead, and why the other two weren't killed.  The other two were taken down alive (as expected) and weren't killed by the soldiers for an obvious reason.  Their drawn-out deaths couldn't be continued on the cross because of the Jews' observance of the Sabbath.  They weren't killed when taken down from the cross but their legs were broken because they would be transfered alive to the sepulchers by evening, and broken-legged live out the lingering death that normally would have been accomplished on the cross.   It doesn't make sense to imagine they didn't acknowledge any of this beforehand.   Crucifixions could last for days but the sabbath was only hours away, they needed to be off the cross before evening.   Their duty wasn't to force death but to ensure a long death; therefore they wouldn't have gone out of their way to make sure Jesus was exempt of the same long death that they were all sentenced to and supposed to endure.  

Jesus was the only one whose legs weren't broken and the only one who got out of his sepulcher days after, alive and a fullfleshen man.   The connection is clear.  And considering it is Jesus and he prayed to God, an angel was sent to strengthen him, that he used Jonah as his sign and likened himself to Jonah who miraculously lived through his ordeal, the notion that he actually died despite all these things, has little to stand on.  A man may look like he is drowning, when he goes under people are convinced he has drowned, when he doesn't come up for quite a while people are even more convinced, but if he eventually does comes up alive,  it doesn't make sense to continue to say he was/is still drowned.     Likewise if someone appears to have been murdered, but then is later alive, we don't still call him "murdered".  The crime is attempted murder, not murder: The crime in this case was also attempted murder not an accomplished one.  If it really had been accomplished Jesus wouldn't have gotten up again, as a living, bodily human.


quote:
So what?  As already established, the Romans had ample means to hasten death, whenever it was prolonged beyond their wishes.  You named one of them, you didn't mention the other.  The text not only says, unequivocally, that Jesus was dead.  It also records the piercing of his pericardium.  


But crucifixion wasn't meant to be death that was hastened but one prolonged, and they made sure of that.   If they wanted to hasten death, you are right, they could have used other means.  But they didn't, they chose the means of prolonging death.    There is no reference to peircing a "pericardium" (-card- being Greek for "heart", which would be a lot more serious), there is only reference to piercing Jesus' side.    Based on the points I mentioned about trying to make sure they experience a lengthened death instead of a shortened one, piercing was most likely used to try to check if he was dead and try to revive him, not to try to kill him.  If they wanted to kill him they would have killed the other two after they came down from the crosses too.   The peircing of his side was most likely the soldier's crude attempt to bring him out of his unconciousness and used as a form of bloodletting.  He was trying to revive Jesus because he wasn't supposed to be dead that quickly, and if they could revive him then he could live out the slow death he was sentenced to, just as the others, broken legged into the sepulcher where the slow and lingering death that couldn't be accomplished on the cross would be accomplished there instead.  But the soldier couldn't wait for any sign of life, it was getting close to evening, so Jesus was given up for preparations to go into the Sepulcher regardless of whether the solider in his heart truly believed Jesus was dead or not.  Thankfully he was allowed to be taken care of by his truest disciples Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and Mary Magdalene who stood by him through it all unlike his Twelve Disciples.  Pilate didn't have anything seriously against Jesus to begin and was blackmailed into delivering him over to be executed, and he his wife had a dream and warned him that Jesus was an innocent man, therefore, there is good reason to believe Pilate was willingly negligent at trying to make sure Jesus was dead, and knew that after only a few hours on the cross, one most likely wouldn't be dead.  In the hands of Jesus' friends Jesus' wounds could be tended and treated, giving him even more of a chance to circumvent his death.


quote:
Jesus also spoke often in riddles, poetically, vividly.  Was he being literal about the swords?  It doesn't appear he forbade his disciples from carrying them, but when they took him literally in this saying, he ends by abruptly saying "It is enough.", as if to say "You don't get it do you?".  This interpretation makes more sense in light of Jesus rebuking Peter for using arms when Jesus was arrested...


Why would Jesus speak in riddles at the most crucial and dangerous point of his life, especially knowing his disciples are so easily confused?   He did set up his disciples at the gate as a defense and took three of his disciples with him.   It would only be logical that he meant what he said when he told them to bring swords considering that he was putting up a defense.    

Why did Jesus then rebuke Peter for using his sword when he is later arrested?  Because the situation turned out to be much worse than he had expected it would.  Not only did Judas come with a throng, but they were accompannied by the military-might of the Romans.  It would have been suicide for his disciples to try to take on such massive forces.  As wise as Jesus was he was not psychic.   He didn't forsee such a massive force.  When he found the odds against them he changed his approach and discouraged his disciples from resorting to the sword, as any wise leader would do in a similar situation.




  

I am not trying to deny that the particular tradition in the New Testament is written with the belief and claim of his death occuring but if we are to consider it as documents still having some resemblance to the events that actually occurred, the events themselves in the Gospels contradict that interpretation and claim, even more strongly when recognized in conjunction with the Quran and the alternative stories about Christ that contradict his death.   We can't ignore that contradiction.   Therefore the belief that he didn't truly die on the cross is a very legitimate one and shouldn't be shrugged off as a lie or something without any basis.

 




Stephanos
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37 posted 07-11-2012 07:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,  if you wait this long to respond next time you're going to have to shoot me an email so I can catch it sooner.  


Anyway ... A reply is forthcoming.  :-)
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38 posted 07-12-2012 01:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess, why would it be offensive only at Christmas?  What about Good Friday?  Easter?  :-)

Actually its not offensive to me for you to ask and explore these questions.  I consider your challenge an opportunity to express classic Christian doctrine, and to explain why it makes more sense than Arianism, or Docetism, or any other doctrine that makes Jesus Christ less than who he is.  


Essorant:

quote:
He would be identifiable as " good" in this sense, but instead, after being called "good" right way he makes sure to take it away from himself and indicate that "good" belongs to the one above and beyond him, to God, the one who gave Moses the ten commandments.


If this is the way the passage is to be taken (and I've already explained earlier how it can be taken otherwise) then can you explain the many other passages in the New Testament where Jesus is described as "The Holy One" and "Without Sin", and "He who had no sin", and "Righteous"?  


His earliest Jewish followers and eyewitnesses did not agree with your interpretation of Jesus denying himself the goodness of God.  Culturally, I simply trust them on this question.  The fact remains that Jesus’ words to the rich Young Ruler need not imply the "mere humanity" of Jesus.  

  
quote:
He says what he is and what he says is a lot, but it doesn't include identifying himself or calling himself God or saying others should do that.



Firstly, in the culture in which he spoke, to say "before Abraham was, I am", or to say that he could forgive sins committed not against himself but against God, was more than a weak implication.  It was the very reason they accused him of claiming equality with God, and sought to put him to death.  Yes, the Greek transliteration for the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) was sometime used in other ways, but in context it was used in a very provocative way by Jesus.  To think he was making a mere philosophical statement of existence makes no sense of the text whatsoever, and you would need to ask why those Jewish Religionists were so upset with a humble statement of abstract philosophy.


Arian doctrine (what you are expressing) does not adequately account for these facts, though it might account for the more ambiguous passages.  Alternately, the classic view of Christ's Divinity (that he is God incarnate) accounts for both the passages that are clear and the more ambiguous passages.  Jesus did teach in parables.  Jesus did speak openly, but anyone who says that the truth he spoke was always plain propositional speech, must be talking about someone else.  Jesus often spoke in parables, and not always to elucidate, but occasionally (for those inclined to miss the truth) to hide the truth.  He wasn’t exactly blatant when Pilate asked him if he was “King of the Jews” either.  But anyone who would argue that such reticence is evidence that he did not consider himself the true King of the Jews, could only do so by excising or ignoring many other scriptures.  They would also miss the literary drama of the sign hung above his head in sarcasm, but was ironically the truth.  To think that Jesus always spoke plainly is to miss all the nuances of the story.  Being a literary person, Essorant, I’m sure you can pick up on this.  Consider the following scripture:      


"When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, 'The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,

and ever hearing but never understanding;

otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’
”  (Mark 4:10-12)


As offensive as this passage might be to our democratic and egalitarian sensibilities, it does suffice in showing that Jesus didn't always speak with school-lesson perspicuity.  He certainly didn't always speak straightforwardly about the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, though sometimes he did.    


His earliest Jewish followers on the other hand, did moreso.  The doctrine of Christ's exclusively Divine nature (not the New-age doctrine of pantheism where everyone is divine) is expressed in writings like Paul's letter to the Colossians:


"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17)


There are several other passages of similar expression.


All of these considerations taken together:  Jesus' claims being taken (in that culture) as claims to Divine equality, plus the same interpretation (in a positive sense) given by his earliest Jewish followers as documented in the New Testament, make Arianism a very strained and difficult case to make.


quote:
As tempting as it is for Christians to believe this concept is in the Bible, it is an anachronism because Jesus was a Jew and his followers were still Jews to whom the unitarian belief in God was a given.   The notions of the Godhood of Jesus/manhood of God, and that God was a Trinity, were not yet around.  I think we commit an injustice when we to try to inject these concepts where they weren't yet present.



That's like saying that gravity couldn't have been around before it was formally described ... especially when the formal description of Trinitarian doctrine is monotheistic not polytheistic.  Besides there are indications of the Triune nature of God within the Old Testament.  They are not conclusive, by any stretch, yet they are present.  The "Let us make man in our own image" of Genesis is suggestive.  The Messianic title being "Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6 is more than suggestive.


quote:
Jesus was the Messiah.  They had reason to honour him greatly, especially those that were able to meet him in his own time.  There is nothing to indicate that they took it to the extreme that Christians do and worshipped him as God instead.


      
There is much to indicate that they did, in the New Testament.  I've already mentioned several.  Not only so, but outside sources have acknowledged it as well:


"They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so." (Pliney the Younger, from his letter to Emperor Trajan- 112 A.D.)


quote:
King James probably would have used "worship" to describe how Muhammad's companions showed honour to him as well.  It doesn't make sense to say Jesus' disciples were treating him as a "deity".  There was still the distinction between showing honour to a deity and showing honour to a king, master, noble, etc and that distinction would have been even more obvious among Jews that believed God was only God (not human).   If they were showing honour to him the second sense as disciples/followers of the Messiah that would explain why he wouldn't disapprove.   In the sense of worshipping a deity though, it would be against his own religion as a Jew and against his own teaching: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”


Regardless of how King James would have used the word, the same Greek word for "worship" in the sense of worshipping God was used of Jesus.  Yes it was occasionally used of merely "bowing down" in other places, but these are most often improper expressions of worship.  Contextually, Jesus received the very homage which had said is only due to God, without any hint of impropriety.  If Jesus was divine and God incarnate, in no way would it be a violation of Luke 4:8 which you quoted.  


quote:
As much as some of the writers of the New Testament (especially Paul) were beginning to metamorphasize the memory of Jesus into their own concepts in their language, he still always retains his role as being an agent of God; they don't elevate him to the status of being God himself as trinitarian Christians do.


I never said that the fullness of Trinitarian doctrine was expressed by the New Testament writers.  But they did recognize the Divinity of Jesus, and the Divinity of the Spirit, which are the very facts that gave rise to the formal expression of the Trinity in the Creeds which came later.  Were there no indication of Jesus' divinity, the Trinitarian doctrine could not have come about, since it is a deductive doctrine, based upon what was already present in text and in practice.  

If a book says "All men have money", we may safely say that it also teaches that "John is not 'broke'”.    


quote:
Magi are Zoroastrians though; it would have been against their religion to worship a man as God.   Why would you consider it as worshipping in the sense of worshipping him as God rather than worshipping in the sense of following due respects/reverence to someone that they could tell was a very special new born king/prophet?


Whether the Magi were worshipping Jesus in the monotheistic sense or not, within the context of the New Testament, their worship and devotion were appropriate, and a symbol of the gentiles coming out of paganism into the worship of the true God.  Jesus was to be "a light to the Gentiles".  So regardless of the doctrines of Zoroastrianism (which I am not altogether familiar with), their "worship" was consistent with the worship of God, and the New Testament view of Jesus as the embodiment of God.  


quote:
But why would you think that they are treating both as the same being instead of just treating both with great reverence?  Showing utmost reverence to God on the one hand and utmost reverence to a human on the other doesn't mean you no longer distinguish God as God and man as man, as great as that man may be.



Because of the context. Jesus would not have considered "proskuneo" as appropriate for himself, since he taught that such was only due to God.  I am basing this upon the teachings of Christ himself, rather than upon my own sensibilities.


To contrast Jesus' response (which was simply to receive such) with an Angel in the book of Revelation:


"Then the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' And he added, 'These are the true words of God.'

At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.'
" (Revelation 19:9-10)


Contrast this to another passage where Jesus "The Lamb" is worshipped:


"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!'

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
" (Revelation 5:13-14)


So it is doubtful that the same book (Revelation) would at one point render worship to the Lamb as fitting (if he were a mere godly servant), and at the same time indicate that worshiping an angelic being (who claims to be merely a servant) as inappropriate.


quote:
Me:  (quoting Hebrews) Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;


  
Ess: We should remember two things when reading this:

1. This is an anonymous writer, who we know nothing about.  So it is not even like you or me saying it, because we know more about each other than we do about this person.   All we know is that it is not Jesus' words.


The gospels are not directly Jesus' words either.  But this is considered a part of the New Testament Canon.  And if you're going to make this a debate about the legitimacy of the book of Hebrews, then there is little use of you making a case from the Bible as a whole that Jesus is not worshiped as God, attributing the belief the later "Trinitarians".  

And while I don't know the author of the book of Hebrews personally, I trust his Theology more than yours or mine alone ... if for no other reason than it comports with the rest of the New Testament.  I'm certainly not using it as a lynch-pin proof of Christ's divinity.  It merely fits more coherently with what is said elsewhere.  It’s a “bigger picture”, and a harmonization of things that makes sense of them without arbitrarily scrapping things or ignoring them.  


quote:
2. The word "God" is of course not specially given uppercase in the original. It would be more honest to use "god".   It translates the word "theos" and "theos" is used for other things as well in the Bible:

"Their destiny is destruction, their god [theos] is their stomach,” (Philippians 3:19)

"The god [theos] of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers" (II Corinthians 4:4)

Here the same word "theos" is used of course.   Are these "gods" also God almighty?   Of course not.



Of course not, because in the examples you give, the word “theos” is used in negative context, in the sense of idolatry.  The decapitalization of the word "God" into "god" merely shows the tongue-in-cheek method or facetiousness with which the word was used by the writers.  When Paul wrote that their "god" is their stomach, he was using the same word for "God" of course, sarcastically, satirically, implying a misplaced loyalty and title to a lesser thing that is only due to God himself.  It’s kind of like if you claimed to be the present of PIP, and I said here comes “president Essorant”.  Remember when discussing biblical hermeneutics, you have to keep the context in mind.  In the Hebrews text, was “theos” used in positive context (as in the worship of the true God) or in a negative context (as in idolatry?).  

When the book of Hebrews says "God", it is not in the negative sense at all.  To the contrary, it is in the context of approved exaltation.  Therefore it makes no sense contextually to say that these places should be translated as "god" rather than "God".


quote:
read the article and found it for the most part well-detailed.  But one most outstanding and important thing it misses is the part of the story that says he was actually witnessed walking around as a full-fleshen living man a few days later. No modern medical expert would think of a man that was considered dead one day and then is walking around later, as man that truly died.  Anything is possible, but a medical expert should go by what is most reasonably likely.   If a man is deemed dead and later shows up as alive, then it is most likely that he didn't actually die.



The medical detail is of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, which few, if any, historians deny.  You're right in saying that the resurrection of Christ cannot be defended by a discussion of Roman practices, and of the nature of crucifixion.  The resurrection is defended on different historical grounds and is another discussion entirely.  N.T. Wright's "The Resurrection of the Son of God" is a good starting point for those who want to delve into the historical problems with saying the resurrection didn't happen.  


As for me, I'm content with believing the testimony of the New Testament writers and eye-witnesses, and the witness of God's spirit in my own life concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


At any rate, I never said that a medical discussion about crucifixion proved the resurrection.  It does however a pretty good job of making the swoon theory implausible if not impossible.


quote:
He never says to them he was resurrected.    But he clearly shows them that he is not yet dead, that he is himself, a physical and fleshen human as he was before before, he gets them to touch him and give him something to eat, etc.  This is exactly what we wouldn't expect from a resurrected body and emphasizes that he didn't actually die on the cross or in the sepulcher.  He survived.


If the New Testament documents are to be believed, the "reappearance" of Jesus was no half-dead survivor of Roman tormentors and failed executioners (did he visit them after a lengthy stay in rehab, perhaps three years?), but a vibrant powerful human presence that gave his demoralized followers courage and power to go on to proclaim his resurrection against threats of death and ostracization.  Essorant, there are very few scholars now who take the swoon theory seriously, it has been discredited.


To believe what you're suggesting, one would not only have to believe the Roman practice of execution to have sometimes failed, but to believe that it was sometimes completely innocuous, even resulting in renewed vitality!




quote:
But I already showed you how it was expected.   That is why Pilate was clearly surprised that Jesus was supposedly already dead, and why the other two weren't killed.  The other two were taken down alive (as expected) and weren't killed by the soldiers for an obvious reason.


Whatever you say Essorant, in order for the swoon theory to be true, Jesus would have had to survive not only the standard Roman Crucifixion routine, but the “make sure he’s dead” mafia routine.  Likely?  Not.  


quote:
And considering it is Jesus and he prayed to God, an angel was sent to strengthen him, that he used Jonah as his sign and likened himself to Jonah who miraculously lived through his ordeal, the notion that he actually died despite all these things, has little to stand on.


Okay, now you’re saying the recovery was divine intervention.  Well if it was divine intervention, then why not resurrection as the text says?  Remember this text, some 500 years earlier (and thus closer to the actual events) than the Koran’s anecdotal treatment of the history of Jesus Christ, is the text in which Jesus himself said:


The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”  (Mark 9:31)


quote:
A man may look like he is drowning, when he goes under people are convinced he has drowned, when he doesn't come up for quite a while people are even more convinced, but if he eventually does comes up alive,  it doesn't make sense to continue to say he was/is still drowned.


But how reasonable to think that all parties involved were fooled, as if they didn’t know what death looked like?

quote:
Likewise if someone appears to have been murdered, but then is later alive, we don't still call him "murdered".  The crime is attempted murder, not murder: The crime in this case was also attempted murder not an accomplished one.  If it really had been accomplished Jesus wouldn't have gotten up again, as a living, bodily human.


Essorant, that’s only true if “Dead People never rise” is an absolute truth.  Jesus predicted it, demonstrated it, and his followers proclaimed it with an energy that would not be explainable by a merely recovered man.  What you say is only true if resurrection does not ever happen, nor will ever happen.  And, by the way, even Muslims believe in resurrection of the body, though only at the end of the age.   Jesus himself taught that resurrection is not an impossibility.  (See Matthew 22:23-33)  Rather, he opposed the Sadducees who, like yourself, argued that God does not raise the dead.   


quote:
There is no reference to peircing a "pericardium" (-card- being Greek for "heart", which would be a lot more serious), there is only reference to piercing Jesus' side.


Essorant, there is no reference to Jesus “surviving” either.  

No, “pericardium” is not said since it is modern medical jargon for what surrounds the heart.  But what Roman Soldier knew, was that when a spear was thrust through the ribs in this general area, out would gush “water” and “blood”, which, guess what? ... happens when the pericardium is pierced from the outside.
quote:
If they wanted to hasten death, you are right, they could have used other means.  But they didn't, they chose the means of prolonging death.


In these unique circumstances, the text clearly shows that they used a spear to “make sure” he was really dead.  It is both unlikely that 1) they weren’t correct in their assessment that he was already dead, and that 2) he wouldn’t be dead after their doubled effort to ensure that he was.  

 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.  The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” (John 19:31-34)


quote:
The peircing of his side was most likely the soldier's crude attempt to bring him out of his unconciousness and used as a form of bloodletting.  He was trying to revive Jesus because he wasn't supposed to be dead that quickly,


Haha.  How far are you going to swerve from the text in historical reconstruction?  The text already said that the Jewish leaders requested the bodies be taken down for Passover.  Why is that difficult to believe?  It’s doubtful that an executioner, would want to prolong his work by reviving Jesus so he could be tortured elsewhere.  It’s equally doubtful that an executioner would have any knowledge in medical practice.  Besides, we now know that blood-letting DOESN’T WORK.


quote:
  In the hands of Jesus' friends Jesus' wounds could be tended and treated, giving him even more of a chance to circumvent his death.


Only there’s no record of it, but only reports that they knew he was dead.


quote:
but if we are to consider it as documents still having some resemblance to the events that actually occurred, the events themselves in the Gospels contradict that interpretation and claim


I strongly disagree, and offer your own previous comments to show that in most cases, you have had to radically leave the text of the New Testament to make your case.

  


quote:
... even more strongly when recognized in conjunction with the Quran and the alternative stories about Christ that contradict his death. [quote]

Still, the “alternative stories” about Jesus, in the Koran, are sparse, anecdotal, and some 600 years removed from the events under scrutiny.  

[quote]We can't ignore that contradiction.


Who’s ignoring it?  Yes, the claims are contradictory.  I’ve acknowledged that.  In fact it took me a long time to convince you that the New Testament and Koran are actually at odds concerning Jesus.

quote:
Therefore the belief that he didn't truly die on the cross is a very legitimate one and shouldn't be shrugged off as a lie or something without any basis.


I maintain that the Muslim view is false.  But who has “shrugged it off” without any basis?  We’ve been discussing this in great detail, far beyond what many can endure.  ;-)


Stephen.
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39 posted 07-12-2012 05:00 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,  I forgot to ask you this...

Earlier you seemed to say that the Roman soldiers did not hasten the death of those crucified with Jesus.  But all references I can find about crurifragium or skelokopia (practice of breaking the legs of the executed) indicate that this was a method to hasten death since the executed could no longer use his legs to push his torso upward, causing quick asphyxiation.   This makes sense if the Romans wanted them dead (for the sake of the Jews and their Passover) and taken down.  But what sense does it make if they didn't want them dead?  Why were their legs broken otherwise?  

Also can you find any reference that indicates such a practice was not a method for hastening death on a cross?  

Stephen
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40 posted 07-12-2012 07:15 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Hi Stephanos


Thanks for your patience.

Most of my comment was already written near Christmas. But I became a bit exhausted and saved it in a note-pad document, and decided to put it off for a long while.  But the subject doesn't go far from me. And I felt an urge to return to it and post my comment, after adding a few more bits and pieces.  

I don't mind that you took a while (a day?) to find it and respond.  It gave me a while to pretend you struggled a bit.  

I will try to respond a bit sooner this time!
 

Stephanos
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41 posted 07-12-2012 07:38 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

haha.  Okay Essorant.  But, to set the record straight it was 5 days.  


Stephen
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42 posted 07-18-2012 12:46 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
to set the record straight it was 5 days.
  
I am good at guessing lengths of time, I'm just not accurate at it yet.
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43 posted 07-19-2012 03:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
If this is the way the passage is to be taken (and I've already explained  earlier how it can be taken otherwise) then can you explain the many other  passages in the New Testament where Jesus is described as "The Holy One" and  "Without Sin", and "He who had no sin", and "Righteous"?


There is a good reason.   Jesus was a holy one of God, a sinless man and righteous man.    "Holy one of God" is another way of saying "Christ" "Messiah" "Anointed", "Priest", etc. as Aaron in Psalm 106:16.   And the word holy is of course also used for the people of Israel, again with God referred to as the ultimate source of their holiness:  "Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy." (Exodus 31:13);  "by allowing unauthorized people to eat them. The negligent priest would bring guilt upon the people and require them to pay compensation. I am the LORD, who makes them holy."  (Leviticus 22:16), etc.  You only referred to the first part of the title "The Holy One" presumably to try to make it look like a reference to God.   But the title includes "of God" too and that is not a trivial sense of the expression, anymore than it is in Son of God.  It emphasizes that he is man of God and that his holiness comes of/from God.  That is far from saying he is God himself.   You can't talk about Jesus' relationship with God correctly if you remove this sense of God.  As much as Christians want Jesus to be "God", he is always identified as "of God" in one way or another instead.  
  
Jesus was still a man, with flesh and human weakness, temptations, and potential to sin.   Therefore, he still wasn't good or holy in the ultimate sense that is being referred when he says "none is good - except God alone".   Only God gets to be that good.  

quote:
His earliest Jewish followers and eyewitnesses did not agree with your interpretation of Jesus denying himself the goodness of God.


In the sense of inspiration from God, I don't deny it either.  The problem is only when you suggest he is good in the ultimate sense of being God himself, of actually being the source himself, instead of being of the source, God instead of of God.     As mentioned above, he is always "of God" not God himself and he always refers to God as "God" (or Father) not "I" or "God myself", "because I am God" or anything similar.  Once you remove the sense of "of God" and treat him as "God" himself, then you are contradicting the ways he is faithfully described in the Bible. The sense of Jesus being "of God" is ever-present in the Quran too, (except "son of God" of course, because people were mistaking the title for a literal/genealogical reference).   He is the spirit of God, the word of God, the apostle of God, the messiah of God, etc.   It is not a coincidence that all the sudden contradictions begin to disappear when you say "of God"   Saying Jesus is "of God" makes sense and agreement among all the scriptures, saying he is "God" himself makes myriads of contradictions and disagreements.

"They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary. Say, "Then who could prevent Allah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Mary, or his mother or everyone on the earth?" And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allah is over all things competent." (The Quran 5:17)

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.   Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)


quote:
Firstly, in the culture in which he spoke, to say "before Abraham was, I am", or to say that he could forgive sins committed not against himself but against God, was more than a weak implication.  It was the very reason they accused him of claiming equality with God, and sought to put him to death.  Yes, the Greek transliteration for the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHWH) was sometime used in other ways, but in context it was used in a very provocative way by Jesus.  To think he was making a mere philosophical statement of existence makes no sense of the text whatsoever, and you would need to ask why those Jewish Religionists were so upset with a humble statement of abstract philosophy.


But I already showed you that there is no Greek translation of the tetragrammaton in that passage in the Greek itself.   It is simply the Greek word eimi which means exactly what it is translated as "I am".   It isn't the translation of the tetragrammaton that we know is in the Greek translation of Exodus.

I agree that the saying "before Abraham was, I am" was/is provocative.  But Jesus later uses direct language to clarify what he is really calling himself: 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? (John 10:36)  There is no ambiguity in "because I said, I am the Son of God".   This clarifies what he was saying about himself and emphasizes his status by relationship to God, of having God, being of God (not God himself), being made holy by God.   Jesus wouldn't just be calling himself (any) "man of God", and "son of God" is never a title for God almighty, therefore we can have little doubt it is reference to himself as something in between those two, as a prophet/messiah/priest/king/mediator - an "agent" of God.

quote:
...especially when the formal description of Trinitarian doctrine is monotheistic not polytheistic.  


But it is polytheistic Stephanos because it involves worshipping or treating three entities as one and the same God instead of one entity God himself as God himself, just as marrying three women as three forms of one almighty Woman would still be marrying three women - polygamy, not monogamy.   The monogamy you want with the one almighty Woman can't be monogamy if it requires marrying three subsidiary women because they are considered "forms" of that one almighty Woman!  


quote:
Besides there are indications of the Triune nature of God within the Old Testament.  They are not conclusive, by any stretch, yet they are present.  The "Let us make man in our own image" of Genesis is suggestive.  The Messianic title being "Mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6 is more than suggestive.


But you are aware that "God" also translates what is "gods" (Elohim) in Genesis.   It is not uncommon at all for the plural (or the "majestic plural")  to be used to emphasize the greatness of God.  God often refers to himself as "We" in the Quran too.  And it was nothing uncommon for people to be given names and titles that had "God" in them.   Usually names with "el" in them refer to God- as Gabriel,  Elijah, Ezekiel, and of course Israel.  It is very unnatural to treat these lines as referring to a "Holy Trinity"


quote:
There is much to indicate that they did, in the New Testament.  I've already mentioned several.


You only mentioned several that indicate that they honoured him as a great being, and I don't deny that.  But honouring him as a great being, which is something people are doing when they worship God as well, doesn't mean that they confuse the greatness and holiness of the man as the ultimate source of his greatness and holiness, as God himself.


quote:
If Jesus was divine and God incarnate, in no way would it be a violation of Luke 4:8 which you quoted.  


I think it would because it doesn't say worship God and Jesus as God.  It says worship God.   If he were God, then we would expect him to urge them to worship himself but he never does.  There is an absence of any description of approval or teaching of it or encouragment of it by Jesus, something we would expect if Jesus were God.   But he did say "worship God".    Not encouraging people to worship him, but saying "worship God alone", doesn't make sense if worshipping him were worshipping God as well.   In John, Jesus' words also indicate that he doesn't see himself as God:   "Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."  If his identity were the same as God's then he wouldn't need to differentiate between teaching that is from God and teaching that is his own.  

  
quote:
Whether the Magi were worshipping Jesus in the monotheistic sense or not, within the context of the New Testament, their worship and devotion were appropriate, and a symbol of the gentiles coming out of paganism into the worship of the true God.  Jesus was to be "a light to the Gentiles".  So regardless of the doctrines of Zoroastrianism (which I am not altogether familiar with), their "worship" was consistent with the worship of God, and the New Testament view of Jesus as the embodiment of God.  


"Jesus as the embodiment of God" is the later trinitarian Christian view of Jesus, not the New Testament View.  It is not inherently/literally in the New Testament; you only draw it from the ambiguous parts despite the unambiguous parts that contradict that view.  And it especially not what Jesus says about himself in the New Testament and the Quran.  

Showing due honour and ceremony to an obviously special birthday of a prophet/king doesn't suggest they believed he was God (which would indeed go against their religion).   It was the first time they saw him.  And he is only yet a newborn in the cradle.  He hasn't been able to do anything yet and can't communicate with them.  They haven't experienced anything by which they would have the deepsouled, intimate, religious this-is-God kind of worship that you are trying to suggest they offered.   All they know is a special king of the Jews is being born, so they come to show due honours and ceremony.  

quote:
Of course not, because in the examples you give, the word “theos” is used in negative context, in the sense of idolatry.  The decapitalization of the word "God" into "god" merely shows the tongue-in-cheek method or facetiousness with which the word was used by the writers.  When Paul wrote that their "god" is their stomach, he was using the same word for "God" of course, sarcastically, satirically, implying a misplaced loyalty and title to a lesser thing that is only due to God himself.  It’s kind of like if you claimed to be the present of PIP, and I said here comes “president Essorant”.  Remember when discussing biblical hermeneutics, you have to keep the context in mind.  In the Hebrews text, was “theos” used in positive context (as in the worship of the true God) or in a negative context (as in idolatry?).  

When the book of Hebrews says "God", it is not in the negative sense at all.  To the contrary, it is in the context of approved exaltation.  Therefore it makes no sense contextually to say that these places should be translated as "god" rather than "God".


But it is not limited to only the negative usage.  There are some very famous examples of positive senses: "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High" (Psalms 82: 6);  "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5); "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."  (Exodus 7:1);  Even God almighty himself is called "a god" : "For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him." (20:37-38)

Here is an interesting article that gives a fuller picture of usages, including quite a few more that in the original but not translated in the English translations: http://www.21stcr.org/multimedia-2011/1-articles/sf-one_god_elohim-pg2.html

quote:

How is it possible to call humans "gods" without compromising the belief that Yahweh is God, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:22)? The first definition in a Hebrew lexicon under "elohim" says: "rulers, judges, either as divine representatives at sacred places or as reflecting divine majesty and power" (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, F. Brown, S. Driver, C. Briggs, 2000, p.43). Therefore, the people mentioned above were not infringing on Yahweh’s deity; rather, they were representing Him to the people. The judges were to act as God’s appointed decision makers on earth; they received the Word of God and delivered it to the people (John 10:34-36). They were directly accountable to God, and when they made poor judgments, they were punished by Him (Psalm 82). They were not independent elohim but extensions of the great Elohim.


The more important aspect is probably that someone/something is treated that holy or that worthy that is or is like a "god".  The negative/positive aspect depends on who or what is being glorified or in what context.  

But my last point was the most important: saying God almighty has a God almighty who anointed himself makes no sense.  It is referring to Jesus as a "god" who has a superior God, that is God Almighty, who anointed him.   The language is getting close to outright deifying Jesus, but it still distinguishes Jesus as an agent of God, even one great enough to be called a "god".  It is still clear that he is not being treated as God Almighty himself.  The capitalization doesn't make sense in the context of the passage when taken as a whole, and making sense is the most important part of translating theos as "God" instead of "god".
      
quote:
Okay, now you’re saying the recovery was divine intervention.  Well if it was divine intervention, then why not resurrection as the text says?  Remember this text, some 500 years earlier (and thus closer to the actual events) than the Koran’s anecdotal treatment of the history of Jesus Christ, is the text in which Jesus himself said:


“The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”  (Mark 9:31)


I pointed out aspects of divine intervention earlier, Stephanos.  It is one of the main bases for the argument to begin with.   His prediction of death doesn't contradict survival, because he experienced a virtual death but he was saved from any ultimate death.  (see further below)  

Jesus was not psychic though.  When everything looks like death is coming it is normal for one to say "I am going to  die" or "I am going to be killed", so it was probably truth and a lot natural fatalism mixed together.   But he didn't passively give into fatalism.  He prayed.  And a prayer can make all the difference.    The Bible shows Jesus can change his approach.  He was telling  his  disciples to bring swords and sets them as defense, and then when the moment comes, he changes his approach and speaks against resorting to the  sword; likewise, his earlier fatalism evolves to an overwhelmingly sorrowful  prayer to God, begging for the cup death to be passed from him and both the Bible and the Quran suggest it was.

It wouldn't be a miracle if Jesus died an ultimate death in his ordeals nor if God's intervention were already given in his mind.  The miracle is the unexpected: that he survived and was saved from any ultimate death.  

Christians of course always regurgitate the question: "how does The Quran have any authority regarding Christ when it was written so many years after Jesus? The answer is the same way Jesus had authority centuries after prophets before him. Muhammad had the authority to fulfill the law of the prophets before him, and since The Quran comes directly from a prophet (Muhammad) -unlike the Gospels- to a Muslim it has a lot more authority than something that comes from mostly anonymous writers writing decades after the preceding prophet (Jesus). The Gospels don't come directly from Jesus or Muhammad, but the Quran comes directly from Muhammad, who from Islam's point of view, not only had as much authority as Jesus, but was fulfilling the laws of the prophets as the last and final prophet, clarifying and finalizing all that came before.

quote:


Essorant, there is no reference to Jesus “surviving” either.  

No, “pericardium” is not said since it is modern medical jargon for what surrounds the heart.  But what Roman Soldier knew, was that when a spear was thrust through the ribs in this general area, out would gush “water” and “blood”, which, guess what? ... happens when the pericardium is pierced from the outside.
...

In these unique circumstances, the text clearly shows that they used a spear to “make sure” he was really dead.  It is both unlikely that 1) they weren’t correct in their assessment that he was already dead, and that 2) he wouldn’t be dead after their doubled effort to ensure that he was.



"Ribs" is not mentioned. All we know is that he pierced his side.   If it were his heart or near his heart, I am sure it would have been recorded as that.    The flow of blood and water after being pierced doesn't suggest blood wasn't still flowing through him and that his heart was not still beating.  

Jesus had been on the cross for no more than few hours and the other two on their crosses were clearly still alive.  This soldier - one soldier - not piercing his heart, not cutting off his head, not breaking his legs, but merely going by piercing him at the side is hardly enough to ascertain or probablize that any ultimate death came between the most sinless man praying overwhelmingly to God to be saved from death earlier and eventually being witnessed alive a few days later, not as in after-life spiritualized body, but in the same physical body he had before.  He had a lot more than a wound on his side; he had God on his side, and I trust God could ascertain his prayed for survival a lot more than a soldier and a wound could ascertain an undeserved death.


quote:
Who’s ignoring it?  Yes, the claims are contradictory.  I’ve acknowledged that.  In fact it took me a long time to convince you that the New Testament and Koran are actually at odds concerning Jesus.


The (seeming) contradiction is between statements in the Bible itself; not just between statements in the Bible and the Quran.   The NT's theology of resurrection speaks in terms that would obviously seem to contradict Jesus' death/resurrection (and Lazarus' death/resurrection).  For example, in Hebrews (9:27) Paul says a man can only die once: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement and 1 Corinthians (15:42-50) describes the resurrected/raised body as an imperishable spiritual body, which comes after the natural body"    Jesus himself says " When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." ( in Mark 12:25).   Also in Luke: "and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. (20:36)  Therefore, the theology is fairly clear that a man can only die once, and that the resurrected/raised after-life body is not the physical, natural body that we die with, but heavenly spiritual, glorified, angelic, immortal.    

But Jesus goes out of his way to show he is physical, natural body as he was before:  "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath no flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.   And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them." (Luke 24: 39-43) and still marked with his wounds: "And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." (John 20: 20)

The bible clearly shows Jesus hadn't been resurrected from his physical, mortal, flesh and bone body.  The link between him being alive as physical body before being claimed to be dead on the cross and alive as physical body a few days after, is logically surviving.      

Is the NT then wrong in saying that Jesus died and rose from the dead?    Is it contradicting itself regarding death and resurrection?  Is the Quran contradicting it?    Yes, I think it is, when we only see things one way.   But there is a solution to all (or most) of the seeming contradictions about death and resurrection.   It is the distinction of a virtual death and an ultimate death (which also imply a corresponding virtual resurrection and ultimate resurrection), which may be understood thus:  

Virtual Death:          Death that is true enough to be called death but not in an ultimate sense;
                               that is not beyond the point of physical return, but which most
                               likely required a miracle if someone did return.

Ultimate Death:        Death that one cannot physically return from; the death from which one
                               Can only be spiritually resurrected.


Virtual death:                                                Ultimate Death:

Jesus died                                                      Jesus didn't die
Lazarus died                                                  Lazarus died again
Cats have nine lives                                      You can only die once
Jesus' resurrected body was physical         The resurrected body is spiritual

Notice that the virtual death is also a survival because even though it is death it still involves being saved from ultimate death.      When you keep the statements on the left in the context of "Virtual Death" and the statements on the right in the context  of "Ultimate Death" then what seemed to contradict each other no longer contradict each other.   Paul doesn't contradict cats having nine lives or that Lazarus died twice  when he says "it is appointed unto men once to die" because he is speaking in terms of "Ultimate Death".  The New Testament is correct about Jesus' death because Jesus died a virtual death and the Quran is correct about Jesus' death because Jesus didn't die an ultimate death.  


quote:
Earlier you seemed to say that the Roman soldiers did not hasten the death of those crucified with Jesus.  But all references I can find about crurifragium or skelokopia (practice of breaking the legs of the executed) indicate that this was a method to hasten death since the executed could no longer use his legs to push his torso upward, causing quick asphyxiation.   This makes sense if the Romans wanted them dead (for the sake of the Jews and their Passover) and taken down.  But what sense does it make if they didn't want them dead?  Why were their legs broken otherwise?  

Also can you find any reference that indicates such a practice was not a method for hastening death on a cross?  


Indeed you aren't mistaken.   The victims didn't need to be dead by Sabbath though, only taken down from the crosses by that time.    I believe the soldiers probably knew that none of the victims would be dead on the crosses.    People could live for days on the cross, and crurifragium was far from "dying quickly" - it hastened death, but it still included lingering for quite a long time.   The crurifragium would make them incapacitated enough that when were laid to "rest" they had no hope of escape but would linger on to an eventual death through pain and starvation.   But Jesus matched his spiritual advantage with a great physical advantage: his legs weren't broken.  His legs not being broken wouldn't make any sense if he weren't meant to survive and use his legs. Needing his legs makes complete sense if he survived the threat of any ultimate death.

.
Stephanos
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Essorant:
quote:
Jesus was still a man, with flesh and human weakness, temptations, and potential to sin.   Therefore, he still wasn't good or holy in the ultimate sense that is being referred when he says "none is good - except God alone".   Only God gets to be that good.


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.  However difficult it may be for our minds to grasp the mystery, it is a too-easy-path to take a scripture that leans toward one side of the truth and make it exclusive of the other side.  I agree that Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are ...”  but the “yet without sin” part is too easily glossed over by you.  If he is truly without sin, then his statement that “God alone is good” cannot exclude himself.  One must ask whether, in light of other passages that suggest the divinity of Christ, an arian interpretation is necessary here.  And the answer is no.  Rather, Jesus was probing the motives of a wealthy young man, who was likely accustomed to praising men and receiving praise (but yet had some interest in the question of how to obtain Eternal Life).  Asking him “why do you call me good”?  was a good place to start.  For even though Jesus was God made flesh, the reason someone might call him good could be totally wrong.  This is harmonized with scriptures where Jesus says “who do the crowds say that I am”?  A lot of good and true answers, but only the disciple could say “You the Christ the Son of The Living God”.  It does no good to say that “son” means simply the offspring of God in the sense that we are all created by him.  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.  The proof of this, being, that that’s exactly what they thought he was saying, and in effect, he never corrected them on this estimation.  Rather, he rebuked them for their unbelief.  Your interpretation of Jesus‘ words to the “Rich Young Ruler”,  while plausible, if taken in isolation, does not harmonize with many other passages of scripture.  And, if you concede that Jesus was indeed sinless, you’ll have to account for this extraordinary kind of aloneness of his, in being the only human being without sin.  His divine nature accounts for this, though I’ve never heard any other kind of Theological account that makes sense of it, if we are take Paul’s teaching on Original Sin (the doctrine that all humanity is sinful through Adam’s fall) to be true.  


quote:
Saying Jesus is "of God" makes sense and agreement among all the scriptures, saying he is "God" himself makes myriads of contradictions and disagreements.


But therein lies the rub.  We can say “of God” to describe many devoted prophets and men who recognized themselves sinners.  Even the Apostle Paul called himself the “chief of sinners”.  The fact that Jesus was “of God” in a unique and unparalleled way, demands some kind of explanation.  And it is given to us, through Revelation, by the writers of the New Testament.  Their interpretation of Jesus Christ, is nothing near the Arian or Docetic teachings that the 7th century Koran expresses.  Why is the “of God” of Jesus unparalleled and unique?  Why is he sinless, while Moses, Peter, Paul, Muhammed are not?  


  


quote:
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.   Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)


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.  



quote:
But I already showed you that there is no Greek translation of the tetragrammaton in that passage in the Greek itself.   It is simply the Greek word eimi which means exactly what it is translated as "I am".   It isn't the translation of the tetragrammaton that we know is in the Greek translation of Exodus.


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.


quote:
I agree that the saying "before Abraham was, I am" was/is provocative. 


If it wasn’t a reference to the “I AM’ of Exodus 3:14, then in what sense was it provocative?  


quote:
 There is no ambiguity in "because I said, I am the Son of God".   This clarifies what he was saying about himself and emphasizes his status by relationship to God, of having God, being of God (not God himself), being made holy by 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.


quote:
But it is polytheistic Stephanos because it involves worshipping or treating three entities as one and the same God instead of one entity God himself as God himself, just as marrying three women as three forms of one almighty Woman would still be marrying three women - polygamy, not monogamy.


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 can’t dispell the mystery of the doctrine, but you should at least express it correctly.  Trinitarian doctrine says that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are distinct and yet co-equal, co-eternal, and co-substantial.  They are of one being  (Greek word- ousia, expressing an ontic unity).  That’s not polygamy or tri-theism which would involve the worship of three distinct Gods within a pantheon.  I’m not denying mystery or “problems” when the human mind tries to grasp the Trinity (in the same way that the Wave-Particle duality of light stumps us).  But the “data” of the New Testament supports this doctrine, since each “person” of the Trinity is expressed as God in various ways.   


    

quote:
It is not uncommon at all for the plural (or the "majestic plural")  to be used to emphasize the greatness of God.  And it was nothing uncommon for people to be given names and titles that had "God" in them.   Usually names with "el" in them refer to God- as Gabriel,  Elijah, Ezekiel, and of course Israel.  It is very unnatural to treat these lines as referring to a "Holy Trinity"


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).  

The common practice of placing the name of God within names was usually a reference to the action of God, not calling the person God.  For example, Elijah means “The Lord is my God”.   How does that pertain to the plurality of God’s name in Genesis?

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.  





quote:
Me: Jesus was divine and God incarnate, in no way would it be a violation of Luke 4:8 which you quoted.  


Ess: I think it would because it doesn't say worship God and Jesus as God.  It says worship God.   If he were God, then we would expect him to urge them to worship himself but he never does.


When you say “he never does”, you are explaining away the times where Jesus is “worshipped” (same Greek Word) by the disciples and Jesus doesn’t discourage this.  Oh, but then it means something different.  Okay.  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?  


quote:
"Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."  If his identity were the same as God's then he wouldn't need to differentiate between teaching that is from God and teaching that is his own. 


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.  

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.


quote:
"Jesus as the embodiment of God" is the later trinitarian Christian view of Jesus, not the New Testament View.  It is not inherently/literally in the New Testament; you only draw it from the ambiguous parts despite the unambiguous parts that contradict that view.  And it especially not what Jesus says about himself in the New Testament and the Quran. 



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.  


quote:
But it is not limited to only the negative usage.  There are some very famous examples of positive senses: "I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High" (Psalms 82: 6);  "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5); "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."  (Exodus 7:1)



Essorant, if you look up Psalm 82:6, it IS the negative usage.  The passage states:  “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.  I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’  But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”.  Likewise the quote from genesis says you shall be “AS God, knowing good and evil”.  The idolatry in this is blatant, since upon having taken the fruit, we see the fall of humanity.  The context of the passage to Moses is not to call Moses God, but to merely say that to Pharaoh, Moses will be “AS a god” whose word is delivered by a prophet, Aaron.  It’s called an analogy.  The context of all these, qualifies the different usages of the word “god”.  However, don’t make the mistake of thinking the Divinity of Christ rests upon the use of the word “Theos”.  It is based upon a cumulative analysis of scripture as a whole.

  


quote:
But my last point was the most important: saying God almighty has a God almighty who anointed himself makes no sense.
  

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”.  I’m not denying the Islamic record for its lack of coherence.  I’m denying it for its historical reconstruction, and its credentials for being an accurate record of words that were spoken centuries before.  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.  


quote:
Christians of course always regurgitate the question: "how does The Quran have any authority regarding Christ when it was written so many years after Jesus? The answer is the same way Jesus had authority centuries after prophets before him.


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.  


quote:
This soldier - one soldier - not piercing his heart, not cutting off his head, not breaking his legs, but merely going by piercing him at the side is hardly enough to ascertain or probablize that any ultimate death came between the most sinless man praying overwhelmingly to God to be saved from death earlier and eventually being witnessed alive a few days later, not as in after-life spiritualized body, but in the same physical body he had before.  He had a lot more than a wound on his side; he had God on his side, and I trust God could ascertain his prayed for survival a lot more than a soldier and a wound could ascertain an undeserved death.


I could reiterate in detail how all Medical assessments of the gospels have said the most likely explanation of “blood and water” is the piercing of the pericardium.  But now, I’d just rather say that that is a ridiculous interpretation if we consider Jesus’ confrontation with Peter for saying that he would not be killed in Matthew 16:21-23.  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..


quote:
 Therefore, the theology is fairly clear that a man can only die once, and that the resurrected/raised after-life body is not the physical, natural body that we die with, but heavenly spiritual, glorified, angelic, immortal. ... But Jesus goes out of his way to show he is physical, natural body as he was before:  "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit hath no flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.   And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took it, and did eat before them." (Luke 24: 39-43) and still marked with his wounds: "And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." (John 20: 20)


The mistake you are making is in your assumption that the glorified resurrection body is not also physical.  The fact that Jesus ate and could be touched is not proof that Jesus merely survived, but only shows that the glorified body has commonality with the bodies we now have.  You have to remember that Paul’s discussion of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, is in reference to Jesus’ resurrection being the “first-fruits” or the first in a series.  The kind of resurrection that many Jews (not all, for the Saduccees believed in no resurrection) expected at the End of the Age, was said by Paul to have occurred first with Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus does not contradict Hebrews 9:27 (which was not written by Paul btw)  since Jesus’ resurrection is of a glorified body that will never die.  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.  However if we view Hebrews 9:27 as a general statement, a rule that need not deny exceptions (for surely the writer of Hebrews was aware that Enoch and Elijah of the Old Testament were said to have bypassed death being “taken” to God) then the raising of Lazarus from the dead is not a contradiction of the general plan for humanity ... to die once, and afterward, the judgement.  




quote:
The bible clearly shows Jesus hadn't been resurrected from his physical, mortal, flesh and bone body.
  

You don’t understand the concurrent Jewish conception of resurrection then (or the orthodox Christian view, rather than a Platonic view of bodiless heaven).  The resurrection was considered to be corporeal phenomenon.  It involved “flesh and bone”.  N.T. wright details these beliefs in his book “The Resurrection of the Son of God”.  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).  To change this context, to make as if Jesus were convincing them the resurrection hadn’t occurred is to not only ignore what the Jews believed about resurrection, it is also to ignore the entire atmosphere of the narrative.  The disciples were scared witless, not misguidedly rejoicing that Jesus had been resurrected with a glorified body.  I honestly can’t believe you are lending credibility to these incredible interpretations that ignore so much that we know about the text and the culture surrounding it.  




quote:
Notice that the virtual death is also a survival because even though it is death it still involves being saved from ultimate death.


Essorant, this is nothing more than the swoon theory thoroughly debunked by David Strauss in the 19th century.  He critiqued it so well, that it isn’t even taken seriously by scholars today.  Yes, it can be taken seriously by Muslim scholars, whose primary text is not the New Testament.  But it is a theory discredited in the West.  There is no synthesis between the Koran and the Bible about the death of Christ if one says he didn’t really die, and the other says he did, even to the point of prosaicly stating that he “breathed his last”.  

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”?   



quote:
 I believe the soldiers probably knew that none of the victims would be dead on the crosses.    People could live for days on the cross, and crurifragium was far from "dying quickly" - it hastened death, but it still included lingering for quite a long time. 


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.



Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-22-2012 08:28 PM).]

Essorant
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quote:
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.

quote:
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.  


quote:
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)


And also:

"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.  


quote:
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.

quote:
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"

quote:
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.

quote:
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.  

quote:
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.


quote:
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.

quote:
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.

quote:
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.


quote:
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.  

quote:
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".    

quote:
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.

quote:
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.  

quote:
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.


quote:
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.    

quote:
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.  

quote:
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.


quote:
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.

Stephanos
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46 posted 09-07-2012 11:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Sorry it's taking me so long.  I haven't given up on this thread ... but like you before, I had to take a break and get some perspective.  I could have continued to reiterate what I've already said, but I wanted something different somehow.  

I want to respond, but I am thinking of a new approach.  I'm currently reading N.T. Wright's "The Resurrection of The Son of God", for though I have read parts of it before, I've never tackled it in its entirety.  My approach, will probably be to reiterate an argument of Wright's (through my own conceptual grasp of it, never just a copy and paste) which states that if Jesus was merely resuscitated, even if miraculously by God, the language surrounding the event used by the earliest witnesses and writers would have been much different than it is.  There is (was) a very specific Jewish understanding of "resurrection", historically speaking, and a further sharpening of that belief in the Christian Church.  

Anyway, don't want to present the argument yet, in any detail, but I think it will add support to my assertion that the Koran and Bible really do say irreconcilably different things about Jesus, especially concerning the event that is the centrality of the Christian Faith (The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus).  And as noble as your syncretic attemps are, they are misplaced.  Anyway, it will be an interesting avenue for us to explore.    


Give me a little more time.  Hope things are well with you and yours.


Stephen
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47 posted 11-05-2012 08:10 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


In all this back and forth
has anyone expained why Jesus
hasn't come back?  It's been
two thousand years . . .


.
Stephanos
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48 posted 11-14-2012 05:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John, the short answer is that "With the Lord a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day".  We've all experienced a "relativity" about time, so the concept shouldn't be that difficult.  


There's also the idea that time, is time to repent ... longsuffering, forbearance.  


And while I believe in the Parousia, there's also the idea that the "Second Coming" is not at all the second in a series.  He comes in many ways for many individuals, and he comes for each of us, inevitably at our death.  


Lastly, there's the idea that the light comes at the darkest moment, and when the aching desire for deliverance is the most acute, so your stance of impatience is not totally foreign to Christian thought either ... unless of course, as is the case of some, it isn't based in desire at all, but in finding another reason to be dismissive of the whole ... otherwise it can be a good thing.    
 
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