If Jesus is not God

Exploring the details of Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

polonius
Prodigy
Posts: 3901
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:03 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by polonius »

2timothy316 wrote:
Elijah John wrote: If Jesus is not God, as JWs and some other Christians suggest, how serious an idolatry is it to worship him as though he is?
If we don't know Jehovah from His Son, Jesus says: “I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’�​—Matthew 7:23.

"Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens." - Matthew 10:32, 33

Seems to me if we don't know them, then they don't know us. To disown who Jesus is worse than idolatry. That's pretty serious. Calling Jesus something he isn't, to me is just the same as disowning who he really is. That would include calling him Almighty God, just a prophet or only a man. All of those titles miss the mark. “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.� - John 17:3
RESPONSE: We really don't know what Jesus said since the stories about him (New Testament) were written 40-65 years after hs death by non-witnesses.

That's why I find Fundamentalist arguments for the most part to be without historical merit.

polonius
Prodigy
Posts: 3901
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:03 pm
Location: Oregon

History or just stories about Jesus?

Post by polonius »

Excerpted from A Concise History of the Catholic Church
By Father Thomas Bokenkotter, SS

"The Gospels were not meant to be a historical or biographical account of Jesus. They were written to convert unbelievers to faith in Jesus as the Messiah of God, risen and living now in his church and coming again to judge all men. Their authors did not deliberately invent or falsify facts about Jesus, but they were not primarily concerned with historical accuracy. They readily included material drawn from the Christian communities' experience of the risen Jesus. Words, for instance, were put in the mouth of Jesus and stories were told about him which, though not historical in the strict sense, nevertheless, in the minds of the evangelists, fittingly expressed the real meaning and intent of Jesus as faith had come to perceive him. For this reason, scholars have come to make a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith."

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by onewithhim »

liamconnor wrote: [Replying to post 1 by Elijah John]

If Jesus is not divine, and supposing the Old and New Testaments to be inspired by the power that made the universe, I think God would understand why Christians got the idea that Jesus was divine.

If Jesus is divine, he himself declared that blasphemies against him would be forgiven. He seemed to understand that he was not expected.
He was clearly expected, as we can see from what certain people said when he arrived. Luke 2:25-38shows us that faithful people were waiting for the Messiah at this time.

"There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for Israel's consolation, and holy spirit was upon him. Furthermore, it had been divinely revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ of Jehovah. Under the power of the spirit, he now came to the temple, and as the parents brought the young child Jesus in to do for him according to the customary practice of the Law, he took the child into his arms and praised God and said: 'Now, Sovereign Lord, you are letting your slave go in peace according to your declaration, because my eyes have seen your means of salvation that you have prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for removing the veil from the nations and a glory of your people Israel.'...

"Now there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of Asher's tribe....She was never missing from the temple, rendering sacred service night and day with fasting and supplications. In that very hour she came near and began giving thanks to God and speaking about the child to all who were waiting for Jerusalem's deliverance."


These righteous people knew the Scriptures, that the coming of the Messiah had been foretold in the book of Daniel---exactly when he would arrive. Daniel chapter 9 very specifically stated that the Messiah would be there 62 "weeks" after the issuing of the order to rebuild Jerusalem, after Israel's captivity in Babylon. According to Bible chronology that year would be the very year Jesus "would be cut off, causing sacrifice and gift offering to cease," and this happened in 33 A.D. (The "weeks" are known to be "weeks of years.)

The men who became Jesus' disciples were also looking for the Messiah at that time. They recognized John the Baptist as the one to come before the Messiah, clearing the way before Him. John 1:35 alludes to this expectation:

"The next day, John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he looked at Jesus walking, he said: 'See, the Lamb of God!' When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus....Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard what John said and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him: 'We have found the Messiah !'" (John 1:35-41)

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Post by onewithhim »

Athetotheist wrote: To Jews, the worship of any human being as God is idolatrous and incurs separation from God in the next life, so they consider it very serious. As Pascal's wager relates to the worship of Jesus as God, therefore, it doesn't work for Jews. And if it doesn't work for everyone, it doesn't work for anyone.

As has been pointed out, John's Jesus declares to Mary Magdalene that he is ascending "to my God and to your God". But later in the book of John, we find this:

Next he said to Thomas: "Put your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and stick it into my side, and stop being unbelieving but become believing." In answer Thomas said to him: "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him: "Because you have seen me have you believed? Happy are those who do not see and yet believe." (Jn. 20:27-29)

If it had been the author's position that Jesus was not God, he would surely have had Jesus rebut Thomas's proclamation that he was God. This, as I see it, makes the JW position more difficult to maintain, especially since the text above is taken directly from a New World translation published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
Jesus had been rebutting the Pharisees' accusations (that he made himself equal to God) throughout his ministry. How can we take one exclamation from Thomas and turn Jesus' own explanation for 3 years on its head? When Thomas said that, it could well have been merely an exclamation of utter awe, just as we say, "Oh my God" when something happens that blows our minds. Why cast aside all of Jesus' own words when he denied being God, and when he stated clearly that he relied on God to help him and teach him and instruct him what he should do and say?

"Then answered Jesus and said unto them [Jewish leaders], Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5:19, KJV)

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak....Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." (John 12:49,50, KJV)


When the Pharisees accused him of making himself God, he offered quick and pointed rebuttal. He said, "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came [human judges], and the scriptures cannot be broken; 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 10:34-36, KJV)

Thomas surely knew that Jesus never claimed to be God and that he prayed to the Father, Jehovah, as his Source of strength and comfort. I'm sure Thomas was aware of what Jesus said in his prayers to God in the garden before his final trial (John 17:3), and what Jesus' viewpoint was as He expressed at John 20:17, that the Father was HIS God. If the disciples, including Thomas, thought that Jesus was God, that amount of time between what Thomas said and what John wrote down about those hours after Jesus' resurrection....John would certainly have reinforced that idea. Would he not? Far from that, John wrote "these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, THE SON OF GOD; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:31, KJV) If Jesus is God, John gave up a crucial opportunity to underscore that belief by making it crystal clear that the Son of God is God, but he did not. Neither did Peter when Jesus asked him who Peter thought He was. Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." If Jesus was God, wouldn't the disciples have made it clear?

Jesus' own words make clear the truth of the matter: to his Father in prayer---"You are the only true God." (John 17:3)

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by onewithhim »

polonius wrote:
2timothy316 wrote:
Elijah John wrote: If Jesus is not God, as JWs and some other Christians suggest, how serious an idolatry is it to worship him as though he is?
If we don't know Jehovah from His Son, Jesus says: “I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’�​—Matthew 7:23.

"Everyone, then, who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens. But whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens." - Matthew 10:32, 33

Seems to me if we don't know them, then they don't know us. To disown who Jesus is worse than idolatry. That's pretty serious. Calling Jesus something he isn't, to me is just the same as disowning who he really is. That would include calling him Almighty God, just a prophet or only a man. All of those titles miss the mark. “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.� - John 17:3
RESPONSE: We really don't know what Jesus said since the stories about him (New Testament) were written 40-65 years after hs death by non-witnesses.

That's why I find Fundamentalist arguments for the most part to be without historical merit.
You say that the stories written about Jesus were written by "non-witnesses"? This isn't true.

Matthew wrote his Gospel around 41 A.D. He knew Jesus personally, being one of the 12 Apostles.

John wrote his Gospel around 98 A.D., as well as I John, 2 John, 3 John and the Revelation. Of course he knew Jesus and witnessed everything, being one of the 12 and very close to Jesus, even taking care of His mother after His murder.

Paul wrote his many letters around 50-61 A.D., and he was a witness of Jesus, Jesus having appeared to him on the road to Damascus.

James wrote his book and completed it before 62 A.D., and he was certainly a witness, being the brother of Jesus.

Peter wrote his letters c. 62-64 A.D.. He was, needless to say, one of the 12, and knew Jesus very well.

Jude (writing c.65 A.D.) was also a half brother of Jesus, so he knew Him well.



So I think we have reason to be confident that the writers of the New Testament knew enough to be able to write down factual and important information about Jesus Christ.



.

Athetotheist
Scholar
Posts: 410
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:24 pm

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by Athetotheist »

onewithhim wrote:These righteous people knew the Scriptures, that the coming of the Messiah had been foretold in the book of Daniel---exactly when he would arrive. Daniel chapter 9 very specifically stated that the Messiah would be there 62 "weeks" after the issuing of the order to rebuild Jerusalem, after Israel's captivity in Babylon. According to Bible chronology that year would be the very year Jesus "would be cut off, causing sacrifice and gift offering to cease," and this happened in 33 A.D. (The "weeks" are known to be "weeks of years.)
Christian Bible mistranslations of Daniel 9 are addressed here:

https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/ar ... rpretation

Athetotheist
Scholar
Posts: 410
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:24 pm

Post by Athetotheist »

onewithhim wrote:Jesus had been rebutting the Pharisees' accusations (that he made himself equal to God) throughout his ministry. How can we take one exclamation from Thomas and turn Jesus' own explanation for 3 years on its head?
As Sherlock Holmes once said, an exception disproves the rule.
onewithhim wrote:When Thomas said that, it could well have been merely an exclamation of utter awe, just as we say, "Oh my God" when something happens that blows our minds. Why cast aside all of Jesus' own words when he denied being God, and when he stated clearly that he relied on God to help him and teach him and instruct him what he should do and say?
It would have to be established that such a colloquialism existed in first-century Aramaic.

According to the New World translation, which seems to be the work at issue here, the author of Revelation writes thus:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says Jehovah God, "the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty." (1:8)

And he laid his right hand upon me and said: "Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever...."(1:17-18)

"....I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...." (22:13)

In 1:8, "the Alpha and the Omega" is identified as Jehovah.

"The First and the Last" in 1:17 would have to be Jesus if he was the one who "became dead".

In 22:13, "the Alpha and the Omega" and "the first and the last" are one and the same. How can the author not be saying that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same?

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by onewithhim »

Athetotheist wrote:
onewithhim wrote:These righteous people knew the Scriptures, that the coming of the Messiah had been foretold in the book of Daniel---exactly when he would arrive. Daniel chapter 9 very specifically stated that the Messiah would be there 62 "weeks" after the issuing of the order to rebuild Jerusalem, after Israel's captivity in Babylon. According to Bible chronology that year would be the very year Jesus "would be cut off, causing sacrifice and gift offering to cease," and this happened in 33 A.D. (The "weeks" are known to be "weeks of years.)
Christian Bible mistranslations of Daniel 9 are addressed here:

https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/ar ... rpretation
The Jews that I referred to that were expecting the Messiah when he actually showed up , that is Simeon, Anna and the disciples of John (who went to Jesus), were certainly keeping in mind the prophecy of Daniel.

Here it is, taken from the JPS, Hebrew/English Tanakh:

"Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed for your people and your holy city until the measure of transgression is filled and that of sin complete, until iniquity is expiated, and eternal righteousness ushered in; and prophetic vision ratified, and the Holy of Holies anointed. You must know and understand: From the issuance of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of the anointed leader is seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it will be rebuilt, square and moat, but in a time of distress. And after those sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will disappear and vanish. [Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.] The army of a leader who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but its end will come through a flood. Desolation is decreed until the end of war. During one week he will make a firm covenant with many. For half a week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the meal offering." (Dan.9:24-27)

To me, with what I know about Jewish history, and having studied the Bible for years, this version of Daniel harmonizes with what I've said about its significance. 70 weeks of years brings us to the few years after Jesus died (and was resurrected). Going back to the 62 weeks, that was when Jesus began his ministry and went first to the Jews to offer them the places beside him when he would rule, in the future, from heaven. Then in the midst of that last week, he died as a sacrifice once for all time, to cover the sins of the people. The last 3 1/2 weeks were opened to the Samaritans and the nations (Gentiles).

The 70 weeks started with the word of Cyrus, I believe, to the Jews in Babylon to go back to their land and restore the city and the temple. Following Bible chronology, this works out, knowing that a "week" is 7 years, bringing us to the very time of Jesus.

So-called "Christian" teaching in the fundamentalist, evangelical churches usually sets forth the idea that this prophecy will be fulfilled in the last days when "the Antichrist" appears on the world scene, which is sad, because the prophecy has already been fulfilled, and, actually, there is no such thing as an individual "Anti-christ." They've got that all screwed up.

So, anyway, the faithful Jews knew Daniel's prophecy and were looking for the Messiah at the time Jesus appeared.

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Post by onewithhim »

Athetotheist wrote:
onewithhim wrote:Jesus had been rebutting the Pharisees' accusations (that he made himself equal to God) throughout his ministry. How can we take one exclamation from Thomas and turn Jesus' own explanation for 3 years on its head?
As Sherlock Holmes once said, an exception disproves the rule.
onewithhim wrote:When Thomas said that, it could well have been merely an exclamation of utter awe, just as we say, "Oh my God" when something happens that blows our minds. Why cast aside all of Jesus' own words when he denied being God, and when he stated clearly that he relied on God to help him and teach him and instruct him what he should do and say?
It would have to be established that such a colloquialism existed in first-century Aramaic.

According to the New World translation, which seems to be the work at issue here, the author of Revelation writes thus:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says Jehovah God, "the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty." (1:8)

And he laid his right hand upon me and said: "Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever...."(1:17-18)

"....I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...." (22:13)

In 1:8, "the Alpha and the Omega" is identified as Jehovah.

"The First and the Last" in 1:17 would have to be Jesus if he was the one who "became dead".

In 22:13, "the Alpha and the Omega" and "the first and the last" are one and the same. How can the author not be saying that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same?
A careful look at all these verses will lead us to the conclusion that all of the "Alpha and Omega" verses apply to Jehovah. There is one verse, which you quoted, that speaks of "the First and the Last" being dead and then coming alive. Of course this is Jesus, and if we examine an Interlinear Version we can see that in Revelation 1:17 "Alpha and Omega, the actual Greek letters, are not used there, but the Greek words written out for "first" and "last." This verse does not actually say "Alpha and Omega" using the single Greek letters. If you look for yourself you will see what I mean. Therefore verse 17 is not referring to THE Alpha and Omega. Compare verse 17 with, for example, verse 8, and you can see the difference, in the Interlinear Version.

One reference source explains:

The first verse of Revelation shows that the revelation was given originally by God and through Jesus Christ. So the one speaking (through an angelic representative) is God sometimes and other times it is Jesus. Thus, Rev. 1:8 says: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God [Jehovah], who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Barnes' Notes on the New Testament (1974) observes: "It cannot be absolutely certain that the writer meant to refer to the Lord Jesus specifically here...There is no real incongruity in supposing, also, that the writer here meant to refer to God [Jehovah]."

(My comment)So it is not written in stone that the writer meant to refer to Jesus in verse 8. In fact, it is a valid opinion that it refers to Jehovah God.

It goes on: "The title occurs again at Revelation 21:6, and the following verse identifies the speaker by saying: 'Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.' Inasmuch as Jesus referred to those who are joint heirs with him in his Kingdom as 'brothers,' not 'sons,' the speaker must be Jesus' heavenly Father, Jehovah. (Matthew 25:40; Hebrews 2:10-12)

"The final occurrence of the title is at Revelation 22:13, which states: 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.' It is evident that a number of persons are represented as speaking in this chapter; verses 8 and 9 show that the angel spoke to John, verse 16 obviously apples to Jesus, the first part of verse 17 is credited to 'the spirit and the bride,' and the one speaking in the latter part of verse 20 is John himself. 'The Alpha and the Omega' of verses 12-15, therefore, may properly be identified as the same one who bears the title in the other two occurrences: Jehovah God."

(Insight on the Scriptures, vol.I, page 81.)

I just found this whole portion of the discussion in the reference book very helpful.

User avatar
onewithhim
Savant
Posts: 6283
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: Norwich, CT

Re: If Jesus is not God

Post by onewithhim »

Elijah John wrote:
2timothy316 wrote: To disown who Jesus is worse than idolatry. That's pretty serious. Calling Jesus something he isn't, to me is just the same as disowning who he really is. That would include calling him Almighty God, just a prophet or only a man. All of those titles miss the mark. “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.� - John 17:3
I think we both agree that Jesus is not presented as "God" in the New Testament, certainly not in the "Old" Testament. John and Paul are both ambiguous on the matter, however.

Even the apostles were not clear on who Jesus was. Even they were not clear whether he was the Messiah.
I beg to differ, EJ.

Peter and Andrew exclaimed, when they saw Jesus (and heard John the Baptist say, "this one is the Son of God"), "We have found the Messiah." (John 1:41) They knew when he would arrive, as per Daniel 9:25.

Jesus was straightforward with the Samaritan woman at the well. She said, "I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly." Jesus said to her: "I am he, the one speaking to you." (John 4:25,26)

Post Reply