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Did The Historical Jesus Claim To Be God?


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#1 Goku

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 03:52 AM

This is broken off from the "So, you think you are religious" thread as suggested by Dave. The original thread is here: http://evolutionfair...ligious/page-4

 

I use the phrasing "historical Jesus" to distinguish between the character of Jesus in the modern Bible, and the physical man walking around 1st century Galilee that the NT is based off of.

 

My contention is that the historical Jesus never claimed to be God, and the basic idea behind my view is that the older the writing the less divine Jesus becomes, and I think only the newer writings in the Bible have Jesus himself claiming to be God. If the historical Jesus went around effectively saying "I am God Yahweh" then the earlier writings would be different than what they are.

 

As Dave pointed out in the previous thread I talked about too much stuff to respond to in one sitting, so for now I would like to address Paul's view of Jesus.To talk about Paul's view I think we need to preface it with Paul's relationship to the 4 gospels. However, I suspect that all of the Christians on this site will disagree with most everything I will say in this thread, and so it may be necessary to flesh out or debate Paul's relationship with the gospels before properly addressing Paul's view of Jesus. If such is the case we can hold off on Paul's view and focus on the relationship between Paul and the gospels. I took the liberty of talking about both things below, but I will play it by ear on where people take it.

 

Paul's writings predate any of the gospels, and so Paul had no knowledge of any of the gospels in our Bible because they simply have not been written yet. Also, despite the names of the gospels, none of the 12 disciples actually wrote any of the gospels; the gospels are written in educated Greek, yet virtually all of the 12 disciples were uneducated 'fisherman'. In Acts 4:13 it even says Peter and John were "uneducated", and Peter is often viewed as Jesus' top disciple. The only person I know of that had any kind of education was Matthew the tax collector. But the gospel of Matthew was written in the 80's, some 50+ years after Jesus' death, and my understanding is that the phrase "this is the gospel according to Matthew" was added in the 2nd century; the author of Matthew is anonymous. I think it is highly improbable that Matthew actually wrote Matthew. I think this is important to mention as it relates to Paul's writings because Paul went to go meet Jesus' top disciple Peter and Jesus' biological brother James. So if the names attributed to the gospels were part of the original 12 you could say Paul was aware of such teachings even if they weren't written down yet, so I think it is important to note that none of the original 12 wrote any of the gospels.

 

I do not deny that Paul views Jesus as God, but I think in what sense Jesus is God is salient to my claim. To that end I'll quote Philippians 2:5-11

Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (NASB) 

 

I think verse 6 is basically saying that Jesus was an angel; Jesus was in the form of God, yet was not equal to God. I suppose you could say this verse is merely highlighting the different personas of the trinity; Jesus was in the form of God, but did not desire to use his God-status. If that is all there was to it I don't know how convincing that would be. But, when you get to verse 9 it says that God exalted Jesus because of his humility and death on the cross, and continues to say that Jesus was exalted to the point where "every knee will bow" which is an allusion to Isaiah 45 where such a name is for God Yahweh alone.

 

I don't think it makes much sense to say that God exalted himself to God-status; God is already God there is no where left for God to be elevated to, and I don't think it makes much sense to say that God exalted himself to the same status he already possessed. Logically, I think Paul has to be talking about a Jesus that was not God and then became God.

 

Taken altogether, I think the view Paul puts forth is that when Jesus walked on Earth (pre-crucifixion) he was not the incarnation of God Yahweh. I highly doubt Paul would have such a view if the historical Jesus went around effectively saying and preaching to his disciples that "I am God Yahweh".

 

Not sure how much of a "question" that all was, lol, but the Q&A section is for debate too, so there you have it.



#2 Dave

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 10:52 AM

Goku, thank you for honoring my wish for you to put a shorter version of your post here in the Bible Q&A forum.

 

The verses in question. I prefer King James:

 

Phl 2:5 -  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Phl 2:6 - Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Phl 2:7 - But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Phl 2:8 - And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Phl 2:9 - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Phl 2:10 - That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Phl 2:11 - And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Goku, I'm not sure what led you to this particular series of verses as an example of supporting your belief that the "historical" Jesus was not God during the time that he walked the earth, but scholars and Christians worldwide view these verses by Paul as probably the chief testimony anywhere in Scripture of Jesus' deity before, during and after his incarnate passage upon this earth.

I appreciate the opportunity to explain this to you and to any who might be reading this.

But first I need to address one of your contentions in your OP.

 

 

Goku: "Also, despite the names of the gospels, none of the 12 disciples actually wrote any of the gospels; ..."

Goku, I'm not going to answer this because we've gone over this ad infinitum elsewhere. We'll just simply have to agree to disagree that the men who penned God's words into what we call the Bible were inspired by God. It is completely irrelevant what their economic, education or social status was. Their writings were God-breathed, which is what inspired means. It's up to you to choose whether to believe this or not. That's the nexus of our two different worldviews, after all, isn't it.

OK, we'll review Phil 2:5-11 verse by verse and, in some cases, word by word.

Phl 2:5 -  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Paul sets the stage for the following verses by establishing the context from the previous four verses. Here he is exhorting readers to have the mind of Christ, which in this context is to be humble and loving.

Phl 2:6 - Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

who - Jesus

being - present tense participle, referring to something ongoing existing.

in the form of God - In context Paul refers to the essential nature and character of God already existing in Jesus.

I could stop here to successfully rebut your contention that Paul did not believe in Jesus' deity. He very plainly says that Jesus is God from eternity. There are many passages in Scripture where Jesus made preincarnate appearances. One's worldview may preclude him or her from agreeing to that, and that's why God says the Bible won't make sense to non-believers. You either believe the Bible is God's word and true, or you don't.

robbery - The Greek harpagmos appears only once in Scripture, right here in this verse. It means simply what it says: robbery, a seizing, as in booty or a prize to be plundered.

Robbery is taking something that doesn't belong to you. Paul here is saying that Jesus did not believe he was taking something that didn't belong to him in being equal with God. He already possessed equality with God because he already was (in the form of, having the nature and character of) God.

It's understandable that the negative wording can be confusing to some - "thought it not." To reword Paul's verse in the simple affirmative: "Jesus, always existing as God, knew he was already equal to God."

Your use of the NASB for this verse is unfortunate, and I see how it would lead someone astray: "... did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, ..." The word grasped in this NASB translation is the same Greek word as in the KJV version - robbery. Is "couldn't grasp equality" the same meaning as saying "already equal, so it's not claiming something that isn't true"?

These imply confusingly different meanings. Which one is accurate? It's the one that follows the context found in the rest of Scripture. Scripture says that the prophets knew, the apostles knew, Paul knew, Christ knew, God knew, and we know that Jesus Christ was, is and forever will be God.

Phl 2:7-8 - But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

These are the crux verses for an understanding of the next verse. But you'd have to understand and agree to the purpose of the cross. In order for Christ to pay for the sins of the world he would have to take on the sins of the world. He became sin. However, God is without sin, cannot sin, cannot take on sin.
 
That is why Jesus had to be born into a human body, and live the life of a commoner, "in the likeness of men." But, he remained God the Son throughout his walk on earth, maintaining the nature and character of God. He was without sin his whole life, after all, until he took on the sins of the world at the cross.

Consider that even on the cross Jesus called out to his father, God. He was still God the Son, but his human form was agonized, suffering for the sins of the world; for which he paid the ultimate price. In Matthew 27:46 Jesus cries out, "... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

You see, even though God abandoned his son for awhile Christ never stopped being God the Son.

Phl 2:9 - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

OK, we need to view this in proper context from previous verses. Paul lays out the sequence that Jesus was humbly human born, subject to all the vagaries of living as a human. In an agonizing act of humble obedience Christ took on the sins of the world for a moment, was abandoned by his Father, and died as horrible a death as the Roman culture at that time could devise.

So, when God highly exalted him what was he lifting him up from? All of Scripture makes it absolutely, abundantly, irrefutably clear to all but non-believers that Christ is eternally God. Like you said, Goku, God couldn't confer on Jesus something he already was. So, what was this exaltation about?

 

He was simply re-exalting him from the state of humble, tortured, executed human servant full of the world's sin back to his former status he enjoyed prior to the cross. Don't forget, sin cannot exist in heaven. Since Jesus took on sin at the cross he couldn't reunite with God on the throne without God's re-exalting him back to his former sinless status. Paul includes this verse as the final act in the progression of God's plan of salvation through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

Phl 2:10 - That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

These last two verses in your section of Scripture are really a parenthetical anti-climax to the previous verses. These are apocalyptic verses referring to end times judgment. Different subject entirely. I'm thinking that Paul included these verses to show the contrast between the humble servant Christ and the returning Christ who will sit on the throne of David and rule the world.

In summary, Goku, you'll believe what you choose to believe. I believe you are securely grounded in skeptical intellectualism. You cannot understand and/or believe that there is indeed a spiritual world that is far more eternal than this very short-lived, minuscule fragment of material reality we call earth, the solar system and the universe. God in three persons existed prior to all this, and some day, maybe soon, all that we know of the material world will disappear in judgment.

I've said this before: You spend a lot of time researching and writing your huge posts trying to expose what you consider the myths of spiritual matters here. I wish that intelligent, scholarly persons like yourself would take the same amount of time and effort to research and be equally skeptical of real myths like evolution.



#3 piasan

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 03:07 PM

The closest I can think of to Jesus claiming to be God is when He said:  "Before Abraham was, I am."



#4 Goku

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 06:24 PM

Goku, thank you for honoring my wish for you to put a shorter version of your post here in the Bible Q&A forum.

 

No problem Dave.

 

But first I need to address one of your contentions in your OP.

 

Goku, I'm not going to answer this because we've gone over this ad infinitum elsewhere. We'll just simply have to agree to disagree that the men who penned God's words into what we call the Bible were inspired by God. It is completely irrelevant what their economic, education or social status was. Their writings were God-breathed, which is what inspired means. It's up to you to choose whether to believe this or not. That's the nexus of our two different worldviews, after all, isn't it.

 

 

I just want to clarify that I'm not saying the gospel writers weren't inspired, but that based on historical understanding these writers could not have been part of the original 12 disciples due to things like the lack of education the 12 had and that the gospels were written four to six/seven/eight decades after Jesus' death in a different language than what Jesus and the disciples spoke. This is not my pet theory, but the view of all non-fundamentalist Biblical scholars.

 

 

Goku, I'm not sure what led you to this particular series of verses as an example of supporting your belief that the "historical" Jesus was not God during the time that he walked the earth, but scholars and Christians worldwide view these verses by Paul as probably the chief testimony anywhere in Scripture of Jesus' deity before, during and after his incarnate passage upon this earth.

 

 

The idea that the historical Jesus did not consider himself God is something that I've encountered several years ago in a lecture by Bishop Spong, and that was the first time I heard that the earlier the writing the less divine Jesus becomes.

 

As for the Philippians passage I recently came across this a few weeks ago in a series of lectures by NT scholar Bart Ehrman who specializes in the historical Jesus and early Christianity; he is also agnostic fyi. In one of the lectures he brought up the passage and advocated that Paul viewed Jesus as an angel before incarnation and through the cross God exalted him to the same position God the Father held. Ehrman also stated, based on the work of scholars, that various clues in the NT are remnants of pre-written beliefs that indicate the earliest Christians believed God exalted Jesus to Godhood at the resurrection.

 

Two passages he mentioned were Romans 1:3-4 which states that Jesus was made flesh by the seed of David, and was declared the Son of God "by the resurrection". I suspect you will interpret that passage to mean something like Jesus was always God but that it was revealed to us that fact through the death and resurrection. The other passage is Acts 13:33 where he interprets "today I have begotten you" as a reference to the resurrection in that on the day of resurrection God adopted Jesus as his Son. Again I think you will interpret it similarly to Romans, and I suppose it ultimately comes down to world view coloring our interpretations as you say. I haven't looked into those passages yet to form a solid opinion, but that's something Ehrman mentioned and as periphery passages we can agree to disagree.

 

 

OK, we'll review Phil 2:5-11 verse by verse and, in some cases, word by word.

Phl 2:5 -  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Paul sets the stage for the following verses by establishing the context from the previous four verses. Here he is exhorting readers to have the mind of Christ, which in this context is to be humble and loving.

 

I agree 100%.

 

Phl 2:6 - Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

who - Jesus

being - present tense participle, referring to something ongoing existing.

in the form of God - In context Paul refers to the essential nature and character of God already existing in Jesus.

I could stop here to successfully rebut your contention that Paul did not believe in Jesus' deity. He very plainly says that Jesus is God from eternity. There are many passages in Scripture where Jesus made preincarnate appearances. One's worldview may preclude him or her from agreeing to that, and that's why God says the Bible won't make sense to non-believers. You either believe the Bible is God's word and true, or you don't.

robbery - The Greek harpagmos appears only once in Scripture, right here in this verse. It means simply what it says: robbery, a seizing, as in booty or a prize to be plundered.

Robbery is taking something that doesn't belong to you. Paul here is saying that Jesus did not believe he was taking something that didn't belong to him in being equal with God. He already possessed equality with God because he already was (in the form of, having the nature and character of) God.

It's understandable that the negative wording can be confusing to some - "thought it not." To reword Paul's verse in the simple affirmative: "Jesus, always existing as God, knew he was already equal to God."

Your use of the NASB for this verse is unfortunate, and I see how it would lead someone astray: "... did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, ..." The word grasped in this NASB translation is the same Greek word as in the KJV version - robbery. Is "couldn't grasp equality" the same meaning as saying "already equal, so it's not claiming something that isn't true"?

These imply confusingly different meanings. Which one is accurate? It's the one that follows the context found in the rest of Scripture. Scripture says that the prophets knew, the apostles knew, Paul knew, Christ knew, God knew, and we know that Jesus Christ was, is and forever will be God.

 

I did a little google perusing, and apparently this verse has been the subject of scholarly debate for a long time in what exactly it means.

 

I agree the "who" is Jesus, and that "being" is past tense referring to before incarnation. There appears to be much scholarly debate on the connection between "form of God" and "equal to God", with some scholars saying they are equivalent in meaning and others saying there is a distinct difference.

 

Harpagamos according to Strong's Concordance (here) means "the act of seizing or the thing seized". I can see how both the "robbery" and "thing to be grasped" translation occurred, and both are used by many translations.

 

I found this article interesting. It is too technical for me to understand all of it, at least not without spending time looking up stuff, but it is written from a believer's perspective, and I will quote the exegetical conclusions which is written in more or less plain English.

 

https://bible.org/ar...-within-godhead

Exegetical Conclusions

I propose that if the author had intended to equate the two phrases he could have simply stated, although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard being in the form of God as a thing to be grasped for (ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ/). However, the very fact that the author chose to use different phraseology indicates that he wishes to denote differing realities, not synonymous ones.

 

The question arises then as to how this phrase can be theologically intelligible; how can this interpretation make sense given that μορφῇ θεοῦ refers to the Christ's preexistent essence as deity? Should not Christ's equality with God (τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῶ'/) be considered just another way of referring to his preexistent essence as deity (μορφῇ θεοῦ)? The answer to the last question is “no” if we consider the possibility that μορφῇ θεοῦ refers to essence while τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῶ'/ refers to function. “If this is the meaning of the text, then the two are not synonymous: although Christ was true deity, he did not usurp the role of the Father.”40

 

If ἁρπαγμός be understood according to the above analysis, then Christ is said not to have snatched at or grasped for equality with God. Though he was himself true deity existing in the form of God, he did not try to grasp for this other aspect which he himself did not possess—namely, equality with God. On the contrary, Christ emptied himself. This emptying consisted in taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men (v. 7). Therefore, the contrast between verses six and seven is made very clear. Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, did not try to snatch at an equality with God which properly belongs only to the first Person of the Trinity. On the contrary, Christ embraced those duties which were appointed for the second Person—taking the form of a servant and being made in the likeness of men. In this way, Christ did not attempt to usurp the peculiar role of the first Person of the Trinity, but in submission he joyfully embraced his own in the incarnation.

 

 

Goku says: Obviously I don't agree with everything he says, but I think it illustrates that the NASB translation of "grasping" is arguably correct as that is the translation he is using as a Christian, and that he argues that the passage is referring to something that Jesus did not possess prior to the crucifixion. Obviously I think the thing Jesus did not possess is meant to be more significant than what he makes it out to be, but I think it is significant that he posits this at all.

 

Which interpretation is accurate? You say it is the one that builds off the context of the entirety of scripture, but I think it is more appropriate to say the interpretation that is accurate is the one meant by the context surrounding the specific text itself.

 

As for the Bible not making any sense to non-believers on the grounds that they are non-believers; I think you also have to consider that Christians have a great investment in their own interpretation as well which may blind them to the meaning of certain texts when they don't conform to their specific theology. Bias works both ways. That's partly why I like listening to Ehrman, because he angers both fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist atheists, and as an agnostic he seems to have less bias than many other scholars.

 

 

Phl 2:7-8 - But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

These are the crux verses for an understanding of the next verse. But you'd have to understand and agree to the purpose of the cross. In order for Christ to pay for the sins of the world he would have to take on the sins of the world. He became sin. However, God is without sin, cannot sin, cannot take on sin.
 
That is why Jesus had to be born into a human body, and live the life of a commoner, "in the likeness of men." But, he remained God the Son throughout his walk on earth, maintaining the nature and character of God. He was without sin his whole life, after all, until he took on the sins of the world at the cross.

Consider that even on the cross Jesus called out to his father, God. He was still God the Son, but his human form was agonized, suffering for the sins of the world; for which he paid the ultimate price. In Matthew 27:46 Jesus cries out, "... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

You see, even though God abandoned his son for awhile Christ never stopped being God the Son.

Phl 2:9 - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

OK, we need to view this in proper context from previous verses. Paul lays out the sequence that Jesus was humbly human born, subject to all the vagaries of living as a human. In an agonizing act of humble obedience Christ took on the sins of the world for a moment, was abandoned by his Father, and died as horrible a death as the Roman culture at that time could devise.

So, when God highly exalted him what was he lifting him up from? All of Scripture makes it absolutely, abundantly, irrefutably clear to all but non-believers that Christ is eternally God. Like you said, Goku, God couldn't confer on Jesus something he already was. So, what was this exaltation about?

 

He was simply re-exalting him from the state of humble, tortured, executed human servant full of the world's sin back to his former status he enjoyed prior to the cross. Don't forget, sin cannot exist in heaven. Since Jesus took on sin at the cross he couldn't reunite with God on the throne without God's re-exalting him back to his former sinless status. Paul includes this verse as the final act in the progression of God's plan of salvation through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

 

 

 

 

If Jesus needed to be exalted in order to reunite with God due to sin which God can't be part of, then wouldn't that mean at some point Jesus wasn't God?

 

 

Phl 2:10 - That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

These last two verses in your section of Scripture are really a parenthetical anti-climax to the previous verses. These are apocalyptic verses referring to end times judgment. Different subject entirely. I'm thinking that Paul included these verses to show the contrast between the humble servant Christ and the returning Christ who will sit on the throne of David and rule the world.

 

The end times is a different subject, but in the context of the letter I think it is a clear allusion to Isaiah 45 emphasizing that Jesus is now equivalent to God Yahweh.

 

Completely off topic, but when you brought up the end times I remembered that according to Christian universalism they use the above passage to say that in the end everyone will be saved. The logic is that in Romans 10:9-10 it says if you confess Jesus is Lord and believe he was raised from the dead you will be saved. Then in Philippians 2:10-11 it says everyone under the earth (Hell) will confess (and presumably believe Jesus was raised from the dead) and thus be saved and granted eternal life in Heaven. Not to shift the discussion; just thought it was an interesting observation when you said it was an end times prophesy.



#5 Goku

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 06:31 PM

In summary, Goku, you'll believe what you choose to believe. I believe you are securely grounded in skeptical intellectualism. You cannot understand and/or believe that there is indeed a spiritual world that is far more eternal than this very short-lived, minuscule fragment of material reality we call earth, the solar system and the universe. God in three persons existed prior to all this, and some day, maybe soon, all that we know of the material world will disappear in judgment.

I've said this before: You spend a lot of time researching and writing your huge posts trying to expose what you consider the myths of spiritual matters here. I wish that intelligent, scholarly persons like yourself would take the same amount of time and effort to research and be equally skeptical of real myths like evolution.

 

I am actually agnostic as to whether or not there is a spiritual realm; there is some freaky stuff out there that I think is hard for naturalism to explain, and I have personally experienced some strange things in my life that suggest reality is stranger than fiction. On more than one occasion when loved ones have died I have 'felt' their presence shortly after they died despite that I did not know that they died. Very strange, and I know that is a fairly common claim. I have also witnessed, on several occasions, objects moving on their own accord defying any rational summation of natural forces that could be acting upon such objects, so far as I could discern. That said, I think it is a leap to go from that to the Bible is therefore real.

 

Perhaps the most interesting experience, as it relates to Christianity, is one time when I was a kid of about 10 years old and I felt like I was being possessed on the playground. At first I thought it was all in my head and I was playing around with it not giving it much thought, but then I started being able to predict the future of a stupid child's game others were playing. And I accurately predicted the outcome of each round without fail for a good eight to twelve rounds by simply closing my eyes and 'feeling out' which side would lose prior to the round starting. A little while later I went off to the side of the playground and meditated, and I felt like I was losing control of my body and mind. As that feeling grew I began to panic, and as an indoctrinated Christian I figured invoking Jesus Christ was my best shot, and amazingly it worked. This 'possession' feeling I had stopped dead in its tracks, almost as if it was in shock, and then the feeling quickly left me, all within a matter of seconds. Every Christian I have talked to about this said that something spiritual was happening to me. All in all I don't think it was anything the human mind cannot create on its own accord, except for the fact that I perfectly predicted that damn game by closing my eyes and intensely focusing on where that feeling was leading me.

 



#6 Goku

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 06:41 PM

The closest I can think of to Jesus claiming to be God is when He said:  "Before Abraham was, I am."

 

Yes, that is in John chapter 8. The gospel of John has several 'quotes' of Jesus effectively claiming to be God Yahweh (e.g. John 14:9 ). The problem I have with John is that most scholars put the date of John no earlier than 90 AD, which is about 60 years after Jesus' crucifixion, and thus the last gospel to be written.

 

I have not read through the gospels in years so I cannot confirm this, but my understanding from listening to NT scholar Bart Ehrman is that there is no quote attributed to Jesus in Mark, Luke, or Matthew that unequivocally states that Jesus is God Yahweh like we do in John. Given that John is the last gospel to be written, and the most poetic and lofty, I have my doubts that the historical Jesus really said those things in John.



#7 Dave

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:33 PM

If Jesus needed to be exalted in order to reunite with God due to sin which God can't be part of, then wouldn't that mean at some point Jesus wasn't God?
 
I suspected that my explanation of that was garbled, as I was tired from writing a Goku-length post. :)
 
I accept what it says throughout Scripture that during the time he walked the earth he had a dual nature ... both God and man. He never was "not fully God." Now, he is "not fully human." How can that be? I dunno, there are mysteries that we won't understand until we can ask Jesus face-to-face.
 
Also, obviously, I ran across Ehrman in my perusing of this topic and I'm sure you have figured that I don't put any stock in his ideas.

The logic is that in Romans 10:9-10 it says if you confess Jesus is Lord and believe he was raised from the dead you will be saved. Then in Philippians 2:10-11 it says everyone under the earth (Hell) will confess (and presumably believe Jesus was raised from the dead) and thus be saved and granted eternal life in Heaven.
 
The key to understanding the various "every knee shall bow, and confess" statements (there are several throughout Scripture) and refuting the universalist position is in knowing when the knee-bowing and confessing takes place.
 
Personally, I don't know the exact moment that this will take place, but I am able to pretty accurately conjecture a guess.
 
We know for sure that it hasn't already happened in the past, right? Can anyone recall a time when every knee bowed and tongue confessed to the Lord? No, sin and unrepentance have been a part of mankind since Adam and Eve.
 
I'm sure we can safely say that it isn't happening today. Agreed? That would be pretty big on the 6 o'clock news if it had happened, wouldn't it.
 
So, what's left is it will happen sometime in the future. Will it happen in the next 20, 30, 40 years? Not that you'd guess, the way things are now.
 
Will it happen any time before the rapture? No. According to Scripture things are going to get much worse than they are now ... "as in the days of Noah."
 
Will it happen after the rapture? No. With saved believers and the influence of the Holy Spirit removed, that's when the world sinks into a depravity the world has not known since before the flood. Hardly a time when every knee will bow and tongue confess.
 
Some think it will it happen at Christ's second coming to do battle with the godless nations made up of those who survived the tribulation terrors, which heralds the millennium. I disagree, because during the millennium there will still be enough rebels against Christ's rule for him to have to do a final battle, cleansing the earth of all evildoers and tossing them along with Satan into the lake of fire.
 
I believe that Scripture alludes to the possibility of this happening at the great white throne judgment of the lost following Christ's 1,000-year reign on the throne of David. That judgment is described in detail in Rev. 20.
 
This is literally the only time when every knee in heaven, on earth or below the earth will without reservation bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. I emphasize "every" each time because Scripture doesn't say some, or almost every, or only certain ones. It says every.
 
Unfortunately for the universalists, if they are at the white throne judgment, which is one stop from the lake of fire, it is too late. Scripture is abundantly clear that there are no take-backs at the white throne judgment for those who choose the wrong way.
 
This is more than I intended to write, but this stuff really interests me.


#8 Goku

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:29 AM

I suspected that my explanation of that was garbled, as I was tired from writing a Goku-length post. :)

 
I accept what it says throughout Scripture that during the time he walked the earth he had a dual nature ... both God and man. He never was "not fully God." Now, he is "not fully human." How can that be? I dunno, there are mysteries that we won't understand until we can ask Jesus face-to-face.
 
Also, obviously, I ran across Ehrman in my perusing of this topic and I'm sure you have figured that I don't put any stock in his ideas.

 

I swear my posts aren't as long as I intend them.  :D

 

By saying Jesus was fully human and fully God at the same time, at least within standard Christian theology that's like saying a ball is 100% blue and 100% red at the same time; it's a logical contradiction. Similarly, as it relates to the exaltation, if Jesus was never not fully God yet needed to be exalted to be fully God then we are dealing in logical nonsense. 

 

I think it is more appropriate to see Paul as saying Jesus was not God Almighty and that's why Jesus was exalted to Godhood, rather than to see Paul as saying Jesus was always fully 100% God but was exalted to 100% God status in order to reunite with God (logical nonsense).

 

I figured you wouldn't agree with much of anything Ehrman said, but I think it is worth noting that a distinguished scholar came up with this idea and not some random person on the internet that goes by the name of a cartoon character.

 

Unfortunately for the universalists, if they are at the white throne judgment, which is one stop from the lake of fire, it is too late. Scripture is abundantly clear that there are no take-backs at the white throne judgment for those who choose the wrong way.

 

Christian universalists don't deny that people will go to Hell; they just disagree about the 'forever' part and see the torments of Hell as a form of chastisement rather than punitive.

 



#9 Dave

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:46 AM

By saying Jesus was fully human and fully God at the same time, at least within standard Christian theology that's like saying a ball is 100% blue and 100% red at the same time; it's a logical contradiction. Similarly, as it relates to the exaltation, if Jesus was never not fully God yet needed to be exalted to be fully God then we are dealing in logical nonsense. 

 

I think it is more appropriate to see Paul as saying Jesus was not God Almighty and that's why Jesus was exalted to Godhood, rather than to see Paul as saying Jesus was always fully 100% God but was exalted to 100% God status in order to reunite with God (logical nonsense).

 

I think our disagreement about this revolves around our perception of what exalted means, and how God intended it.

 

There are two common definitions of exalted in dictionaries (I'll paraphrase): To raise up to a higher level; and to praise and extol one highly.

 

God did not take a lowly human Jesus and promote him to the position of God. Throughout Scripture, actually beginning in Gen 1:1, Jesus appears in God's word as fully God.

 

When God exalted Jesus (in Phil 2) he was reminding the world that his son Jesus, having undergone the pain and suffering of dying for our sins as a temporary human, is indeed God worthy of praise and worship. Remember, many in that day did not believe that Jesus was the Christ. Doesn't mean he wasn't God, just that people didn't see it and believe it.

 

Here's the difference:

 

Wrong -- "This guy Jesus did such a great job with his suffering on the cross and all so I've decided to promote him from being a human to being a God."

 

Right -- "My son Jesus became human to take on all your sins and pay the price for them, so you should finally realize that he is God and worthy of your praise and worship."

 

See the difference?

 

The only ones who believe the first one are some cult religions and skeptics.

 

As to the fully human, fully God question: True. It is a logical contradiction. There is much, much, much about God and the spirit world that defies logic when one operates from a worldview that denies the existence of something more than just material naturalism.

 

And, there it is again -- that old bugaboo ... worldview.



#10 Hawkins

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 07:44 AM

The 100% God is about timing when He's not on earth, and about identity when He's on earth. If you have the capability to turn yourself into a werewolf, you are 100% werewolf because you are capable (capability) of turning to a true werewolf. You identity is still a human during the morph. You are of course 100% human before and after the morph. You are thus can be considered as 100% human and 100% werewolf when regarding to how you turned to a werewolf. It's not anything contradictory.



#11 Schera Do

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 07:35 AM

...
Wrong -- "This guy Jesus did such a great job with his suffering on the cross and all so I've decided to promote him from being a human to being a God."
 
Right -- "My son Jesus became human to take on all your sins and pay the price for them, so you should finally realize that he is God and worthy of your praise and worship."
 
See the difference?
 ...

.
Even I know that mainstream Christians of all kinds believe that Jesus was the Son of God.




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