Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When Did Jesus Become God?

Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ
A basic defining issue among Christians is the question of who Jesus is.  The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.1
The creed describes Jesus as unique, eternal, true God and one in being with the Father.
One of the widely circulated ideas about this description is that it was late in coming.  The argument is that the first generation of Christians did not have this understanding of Jesus, but that it was developed in the second and third centuries in order to either consolidate church power, justify burning heretics, or encourage military expeditions (or all three).

Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert M. Bowman, Jr. and J. Ed Komoszewski argues that, based on what the first generation of Jesus' followers have written, they understood Jesus in the way he is described in the Nicene creed.  They argue convincingly that "the deity of Christ is . . . a major theme throughout the New Testament."


The book is a very readable and thorough treatment.  The material is organized around an acronym developed by one of the authors - "Jesus shares the HANDS of God:
Honors:  Jesus shares the honors due to God.
Attributes:  Jesus shares the attributes of God.
Names:  Jesus shares the names of God.
Deeds:  Jesus shares in the deeds that God does.
Seat:  Jesus shares the seat of God's throne."

The authors cite numerous biblical passages and discuss various issues of interpretation in making their case.  They do a good job of dealing with contemporary biblical scholarship and provide a wealth of references for further study in the endnotes and bibliography.

There are two questions that can be raised about this argument for the deity of Christ-

First, can we rely on the New Testament texts to know what Jesus did and what his followers believed?  I think we can.  There are many resources that present good arguments for the reliability of the material we have.  One recent example is Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels As Eyewitness Testimony by Richard Bauckham.

The other question has to do with whether those first Christians were even able to give a clear picture of what Jesus was about.  Perhaps they were confused or self-deluded (or, in some scenarios, even intentionally misleading).  A New Testament introduction such as An Introduction to the New Testament by D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo is a good place to start in sorting out those issues.

Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ  is a very helpful approach to understanding who Jesus is.

1 comment:

ElderChild said...

James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of G-D, for G-D CAN NOT BE TEMPTED with evil, neither tempts HE any man".......

Heb 4:15 "For we do not have a High Priest(The Messiah) Who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, for He WAS in all points TEMPTED like we are, yet without sin".......

The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL, HE CAN NOT BE TEMPTED with sin AS THE MESSIAH WAS.......period.......

1 Tim 2:5 "There is ONE G-D, and one mediator between G-D and men, the man-The Messiah".......

James 2:19 "You believe that there is ONE G-D, you do well, yet the devils also believe, and tremble".......

John 20:17 "The Messiah said unto her, Touch Me not; for I have not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My G-D, and your G-D."

Mark 3:33-35 "The Messiah answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brethren"? And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whoever shall do The Will of G-D, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother"".......

Rom 8:29 "Whom G-D did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of HIS Son, that The Messiah might be the firstborn among many brethren".......

Hope is you are one of the brethren of The Messiah.......

The brethren of The Messiah know there is Only ONE True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL.......

And Truth is as The Messiah tesified, " My(Our) Father is greater than I".......(John14:28)

And Truth is as Paul testifed, "The HEAD of The Messiah is The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL, and The Head of the man is The Messiah, and the head of the woman is the man".......(1Cor11:3)

Those who would pervert The Order of The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL will have to answer to HIM.......

For The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL, "HE Created all things by The Messiah" and The Messiah was "The Beginning of The Creation of The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL.......

Truth is "The Messiah is The Son of The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL".......

The Messiah testified that He had a "G-D and Father" and that His "G-D and Father" was also the "G-D and Father" of His Brethren.......

And The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL, HE has no god, for HE IS G-D, and HE has no father, for HE IS Father(Creator) of ALL, and HE has no brethren, for HE IS Father(Creator) of ALL.......

Hope is there would be those who experience The Miracle that is receiving "the love of The Truth" for they will "experience The Messiah and The Power(Our Father) that raised Him from among the dead".......

The Faith of those who have received "a love of The Truth" is grounded in Miracles, not mere colored marks(words) written on a dead tree(page) and bound in a book.......

Thankfully The ONE and Only True G-D, Father of ALL, HE yet communes with HIS Children, HE yet reveals all things.......

Father Help! and HE does.......

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it's systems of religion, for "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth.......

Truth IS, a lie is not.......

Abide in The Truth.......