We now continue with the second objection of Loftus that comes from John Hick. This states that we can trace how the deity of Christ came about from his followers as a way of expressing Lordship over the gods and goddesses of the Roman Empire.
He starts by telling us the views of the Messiah and how surely a view of the Messiah would not involve the Messiah being God incarnate.
Most views I know of didn’t involve the Messiah being crucified either….
Never mind that there were Jewish works that spoke very highly of the Messiah in such exalted terms. Never mind that the Trinitarian concept does fit in quite well in the Old Testament. Never mind that we can’t go just by what was expected but we must go by what was received.
What of the title Son of God? The term is used also in Proverbs 30:4 and is a good reference to keep in mind. However, in the New Testament, when Jesus claimed to be the Son of the Blessed One, his opponents understood exactly what it was he was saying. “Son of God” by itself would not show deity. It is in conjunction with what was going on at the time.
The next reference is to Paul in the Romans and how the language was moving towards deification. (Interesting that the supposed later gospel Mark did not have this but the earlier epistle did…) We have passages though like Romans 9:5 where Jesus is called God by Paul. Then, there’s the conjunction of Romans 10:9 and 10:13 with calling Jesus “Lord” and that referring to Joel 2:32, a prophecy about YHWH.
On a side note we have the clash supposedly of Paul’s visits to Jerusalem in the writings of Paul and Luke. I believe though it was Robert Stein who addressed this long ago saying that in the text, Paul is indicated as the companion of Barnabas one time and not the others, thus referring to Paul taking a leadership position for the visits that he writes about.
Next, we have Galatians 1:11-22 quoted by Loftus where he says Paul claimed to be taught the gospel by Revelation. (If you have the book, do check pages 186-187 for this.) In the very passage Loftus quotes, here’s what Paul says. “Nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Did this happen? Galatians indicates that Paul got the right hand of fellowship. Yes. There were some differences worked out, but these were on secondary issues. As far as the gospel was concerned, Paul was okay.
It is amusing that since Paul preached in the Roman Empire that he would try to color Jesus by making him a god in human form. Loftus says that Paul said he’d become all things to all people to win some. (1 Cor. 9:22)
Friends. There are some statements that are so ridiculous that not much more needs to be said. That’s one of them.
In conclusion, there is just more of the same assumptions here and nothing about how Jesus fits into the idea of Jesus as God’s wisdom. 1 Cor. 1:24 refers to Jesus as the power and wisdom of God. Let’s make the syllogism using wisdom.
Jesus is God’s wisdom.
God’s wisdom is eternal.
Jesus is eternal then.
An already high view of Paul. Could it be it happened so quickly because that’s what Jesus claimed?
We’ll look at objection three tomorrow.