The Divinity of Jesus. Part Two: Did Jesus Claim to be God?

10711345_10205083632189354_578938308_nDid Jesus claim to be God?

This is a weighted question. The God of the Jews is “God the Father” from a Christian perspective. Did Jesus ever claim to be God the Father? Confusion over this issue has led to modalism, known today as the “Oneness” doctrine, which in the simplest terms is the idea that God was the Father in the Old Testament, the Son in the Gospels, and the Holy Spirit from the days of the book of Acts forward.

Beyond Jesus’ baptism, which shows all three ‘persons’ of God present at one time, Jesus makes a clear distinction between himself and his Father. Examples include:

“I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.”  (John 20: 17).

“If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”  (John 14:28).

So Jesus did not claim to be his Father, and he recognized his Father’s sovereignty. However, Jesus did not refute the claim that he was God: “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:28-29)

Jesus also claimed equality with God: “I and the Father are one.”  The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:30-33). [Read more...]

Book Review: “The Resurrection of Jesus” by Mike Licona

cover_image.aspWhen it comes to the truth of Christianity, no subject is more important than the Resurrection. The entire Christian faith hinges on it, and without it our faith becomes pointless. The apologetic task of defending the Resurrection is tantamount to defending Christianity itself, or at least defending its most defining facet.

Thanks to the work of Josh McDowell, Gary Habermas, and many others, apologists have been well equipped thus far to defend the resurrection. By examining the resurrection in a different light,  Mike Licona and his new book “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach” attempts to set a new path forward for contemporary apologists. Using the tools of the historian, Licona builds his own case for the resurrection that many apologists will be able to identify with, but with several twists of his own to make a unique case.

Lets start with the good of this book: Mike Licona is a scholar and a gentlemen in the truest sense. While he sharply critiques the works and positions of many people in this book, not once does he treat or speak of them in a less-than-respectful manner. He is humble and honest to admit the strengths of other positions, and he attempts to represent them well. Licona’s example in this book (and elsewhere) is a shining example of a Christ-like character in apologetics. [Read more...]

Frozen- The Eyewitness of “No Greater Love”

DISNEY-FROZEN-618-618x400Before I go into any content about this movie, I want to warn the reader that there are major spoilers in this post. A thorough examination of the message behind the movie is not the intention of this post, rather I want to focus on one important detail in the movie that has value for understanding the force behind the eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ disciples. If you have not seen Frozen yet, please do. The main force behind what is written below is best read in the context of having seen the film first. [Read more...]

Why Is There Even A Jesus Myth Theory?

Jesus

Picture by pixaby

I have spent much of my apologetics activity responding to the Jesus myth theory. My first book (co-authored with Stanley Porter) Unmasking the Pagan Christ and my first journal article were both responses to the Jesus myth theory.

Although generally discounted by scholars, I believe that it is a dangerous theory that is influencing people through the medium of the internet. I am thankful that many apologists see this challenge and are responding to it.

This post is not a response to the specific claims of the Jesus myth theory.

My question is: Why is there even a Jesus myth theory to begin with? It does not make sense for people to just wake up one morning and decide they are going to question the historicity of one of the most well known ancient figures. Why do they do it?

I do not believe that there is only one answer to that question. I will present four possible reasons for people to embrace this theory.

[Read more...]

The Divinity of Jesus. Part One: Did Jesus Claim the Divine Name?

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Arnold Friburg

Many Christian scholars believe that Jesus claimed the divine name spoken to Moses from the burning bush, most specifically using the example in John 8:58, where Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

The passage from which the divine name originates is Exodus 3:14:  “And God said unto Moses, I AM [THAT] I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you.”

With little variation, “I Am That I Am” is the common English translation of this verse. However, English translations do not accurately reflect the meaning of the name. Most languages have one main copula. In English, this is the verb “to be” in all its various forms — am, are, is, was, were, been, etc. Both the English, Hebrew, and Greek also have a non-copular use of “to be,” meaning that at times it is used as  an existential verb, denoting “to exist” (an English example would be Shakespeare’s famous line, “To be or not to be, that is the question”). [Read more...]