Why I Rejected Christianity Review: Deity of Christ Part 1

We’re going to start looking at the question of “Was Jesus God Incarnate?” I’m assuming that for the sake of argument, Loftus is willing to drop his atheism on this and assume that the God of the Jews did exist. Is he truly the one that revealed himself in a unique way in the person of Christ?

The arguments come from John Hick. The first is that the idea that Jesus believed he was God in the flesh were written into the gospels after the Easter event.

The first point is backed in the beginning by saying meeting Jesus was a conversion experience. To see his conviction and the miracles and the way he lived would lead people to believe that God was indeed in this person.

I’m skeptical of that. It seems most of the disciples didn’t really understand that until later on. It also seems that the ruling Jewish authorities had no problem believing that claim and when Jesus did claim deity openly, then the Jews who understood the claim picked up stones to stone him.

What of the next reference to “No one is good but God alone?” that is said to the rich young man. We’re told this makes sense only if Jesus isn’t God. (It’s odd. These gospels written to supposedly add in that Jesus is God all of a sudden make claims that only make sense if Jesus isn’t God. Which way were the gospel writers writing?)

Actually, it makes sense if Jesus is God. Jesus is in effect saying to the rich young man, “By calling me good, you are giving me the title of deity. Do you really want to do that? Are you ready to follow me to that level of commitment?” Unfortunately for the man, he didn’t seem to be ready.

Somehow, affirming that Jesus was Jewish is supposed to go against this belief. Other Jewish writings though had no problem with multiplicity of persons in the Godhead or of God being in the form of a man. I just still wonder which is it? The Jews earlier would have believed that God was in this man but now, because they were Jews, they wouldn’t believe such.

The dates of the gospels to show a progression are the common liberal ones which, as is common, have no backing. They are merely assumed. (Generally, out of an antisupernaturalistic bais.) This is naturally followed by saying that these superstitious people took only 70 years to deify Christ. Gotta love these superstitious ideas constantly eh?

G.K. Chesterton once said in the Everlasting Man that no one said to Buddha, “Are you the void?” No one said to Confucius, “Are you the Heavens?” If Muhammad had been asked if he was Allah, he would have said the person saying such was an infidel. No one ever asked Moses if he was YHWH. The only reason someone would think that Jesus was God then is that he himself made that claim.

There’s naturally the idea that the gospels progressed over time. Mark has little of Jesus’s deity in it while Matthew adds in things. First off, I’m not convinced that Mark was the first one written. Second, Mark is a more abrupt writer so expect things for him to be short and quick. Third, Matthew is writing to a different audience so expect him to emphasize statements more.

In Mark 2, Jesus claims to forgive sin which is a statement of deity. In Mark 14, he says that he will be seen coming on the clouds of Heaven. That is a reference to deity and the Sanhedrin understood it as such. The deity of Christ can be found in each of the four canonical gospels.

As for the term, “The Jews” in John’s gospel, one only needs to look at the context of the saying. When spoken negatively, it often refers to the leadership. The reader is to understand what exactly is meant each time. In fact, other Jewish writers did the exact same thing, such as Josephus.

Why are the sayings in John not found in others? John is a work of contrast unlike the others contrasting the Christian community from the community of outsiders. There is a tension constantly seen in John and when Jesus proclaims his identity, things don’t go well. The claims of deity are in the other gospels just as much.

Unfortunately, Loftus continues point one with more of the same and there seems to be no need to address what has already been dealt with. Tomorrow, we shall deal with the second argument of Hick that Loftus presents.

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