While I don't want this thread to get too heavy, I wanted to open the floor to *sensible* debate amongst my fellow ATSers, since I know that we have
lots of original thinkers here who's minds are not bounded by convention or following the herd mentality.
I've been pondering this question since I've been going to a "beer and bible" group with some pretty devout Christians I know (I do the beer, they
do the bible
What they believe has truly shocked me (I'll put some more details in the second post about this), but what has become obvious is that these people
cannot look at the Bible, Jesus, or anything else objectively.
They have decided that they believe it all 100%, and so when something appears that contradicts that belief, instead of reassessing their beliefs,
they come up with ever more harebrained explanations to justify them (again, see the 2nd post).
Anyway, it has become apparent that their belief in Jesus being God comes primarily from ONE sentence spoken by Jesus where he is arguing with the
Pharisees (it's in the book of John).
That line is "Before Abraham was, I am".
In the Old Testament God identified himself to Moses as "I am who I am", and so consequently Christians have come to take this as a sign that Jesus
is saying "I am God"
It is argued that the sentence is not correctly translated (from Greek), and in fact should be "I am superior in rank to Abraham"
It would also appear not to be grammatically correct, with Christians giving "I am" 2 meanings, both to mean literally "I am" and to mean
If "I am" means God, then what he said is "before Abraham was, God" - what he should have said is "I am I am".
It's also interesting to note that after allegedly making this revelation to the jews, Jesus then fled when they wanted to beat him up!
Odd behaviour for God to run from an angry crowd!
Anyway, I feel that you need to look at the whole discussion that Jesus has with the Pharisees in order to put "before Abraham was, I am" into
context, which I will do below, but I have to say that having asked this question of my Christian friends they cannot and will not discuss it, all
that I get is:
"It's hard to understand, even for us" - or in other words, "you're too stupid to get it, only us "enlightened" souls can get it" (primarily
because they won't think about it!).
So, to put that sentence into it's true context you can read the relevant section in John (Google "before abraham was, I am).
I don't want to put the whole text here, so I'm going to put the bits that I think are truly revealing, and seem to totally contadict the idea that
Jesus is God:
John 8:16 But even if I do judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and He who sent me
. 17 Even in your law it has been
written, that the testimony of two men is true. 18 "I am he who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me
bears witness of me.”
John 8:25 And so they were saying to Him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many
things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent me
is true; and the things which I heard from Him
, these I speak to the
world." 27 They did not realize that he had been speaking to them about the Father.
John 8:28-30 Jesus therefore said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I
speak these things as the Father taught me
. 29 And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are
pleasing to Him
." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in him.
John 8:38 I speak the things which I have seen with my Father
; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father." 39 They
answered and said to him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is,
you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God
; this Abraham did not do.
John 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come
on my own initiative, but He sent me
. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my word.
John 8:54-56 Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; 55 and
you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad."
John 8:57 The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"
John 8:58-59 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him;
but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple
It seems to me that jesus is making a clear distinction between himself and God, and it is most telling in the line "you want to kill me, A MAN who
is telling you the truth that I HEARD FROM GOD"
How can it be that Christians can ignore ALL of the highlighted words of jesus above, where he clearly says that he has been SENT by God, his Father,
and pin everything onto 1 line that appears completely out of context?
If this is right, and jesus is not God, then what are they doing every time they go to church and worship Jesus?
Even Jesus himself, when asked how they should pray by the disciples, said "Your Father is in heaven, so you should start with Our Father"" and
then he taught them the Lords prayer - Christians it seems cannot even follow the simplest of jesus' instructions!
"Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my word." - Indeed!!
Also, the disciples themselves had their own prayer where they thanked God for sending His SERVANT, Jesus - so it seems that they had no belief that
Jesus was God either.
There are many other contadictions throughout the Bible, and what seems to have happened to me is that some writers have tried to make Jesus fit Old
Testament prophecies, and made a complete hash of it....
continued in the next post....