(skip if you bore easily, my posts tend to stretch out more than necessary
Some years ago, when I joined ATS and noticed it had a section for Faith and Spirituality in the off-topic portion of the forums (then called
BelowTopSecret), I thought it'd be an awesome opportunity to finally put to rest so many of the niggling questions I had about christian doctrine from
people who actually, actively CHOSE to be Christian (rather than being born with it), who I assumed would have more than just a working knowledge of
Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed, not because I didn't get answers (I did), not because they were from people who didn't know their religion
properly (I have to admit, some of them did), but because the answers were so overcomplicated and bloated and unintuitive so removed from their
scripture (while still using it) that they didn't satisfy me at all.
It was at that point that I realised that once you disregard Occam's Razor (which isn't so hard, I guess, it isn't ALWAYS right) you can literally
create any explanation you like out of the given data set, so such questions are somewhat pointless.
in this forum prompted me to write out a reply, before I realised that
perhaps it deserved its own thread, one final hope, perhaps I'd get some answers.
Now if your answer based off "faith in your heart" or because you prayed and were answered directly (instead of inspired to go to specific passages in
the Bible, I guess), that is totally valid, and I have no right to put that down at all, but that isn't what I'm looking for. While I realise that all
of our understanding of the universe and how it works and what happens is based on (some small) implicit presumptions and axioms that we have to take
"on faith", personally, I find that having "God did it" as the beginning and the end of the discussion (which I suppose technically it is, for a
believer, but there are still more steps in between) a bit counter-intuitive in that it hides or makes meaningless the beauty of the system that God
would have set in place.
Now, I'm obviously approaching this with a desire for understanding of the Christian perspective, but if you aren't a christian but want to treat this
as a sort of logic game where you have to reach a conclusion based on all the input statements from the Bible, go ahead
. If your answer is simply
"Jesus didn't exist" or "The Bible has no divine inspiration", those are also valid viewpoints, but not really helpful in this discussion.
- Stuff you may accept implicitly (most derived from the Bible, so basically meaning you accept that
statement in the Bible, and then the rest of those follow from it):
1) The Bible is all literally true (and thus internally consistent)
2) The Bible is written by men who were inspired by God who transmitted parables, real events and theology (and thus internally consistent)
3) All the Bible is relevant and useful for gaining knowledge and understanding of important topics about God, Jesus, Salvation, etc.
4) Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God
5) Jesus is God
6) Christianity is Monotheistic (i.e. There is only ONE God)
If you accept one but not the other, or if you have a different axiom, please do tell, so I can understand where you are coming from. For example,
some may say that the Bible contains parables that are not literally true, or that it contains opinions of its writers that are not literally true, or
it contains facts that some of the writers may have mixed up. However, whatever options you choose, They'd only be meaningful if they were INTERNALLY
CONSISTENT. For example, if you say that one writer wrote one thing that was true, and another that wasn't true, or wrote one thing that was his own
opinion, and one thing that was accepted fact, you'd have to throw away all of it, unless there were clear indications that one was one and the other
was the other (indications other than simply "I don't like what he said here" or "It sounds wrong to me").
The Meat of this thread
Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to post a few Bible verses that portray a certain understanding of Jesus. If you disagree with this understanding,
I'd appreciate it if you do more than simply post another verse that contradicts it. I'd REALLY be happy if you posted how the verse I posted AND the
verse you posted both make sense and relate to each other.
Let me start off with Acts 2:22. Paul says:
Acts 2:22 (Young's Literal)
Men, Israelites! hear these words, Jesus the Nazarene, a man approved of God among you by mighty works, and wonders, and signs, that God did through
him in the midst of you, according as also ye yourselves have known;
So Jesus Christ was a man APPROVED OF GOD by miracles that God DID THROUGH HIM. I would like to point out that in the greek, the word for "God" here
is "Theos" and not "Pater", as it would be if the meaning was "The Father".
Another verse I'd like to mention is Luke 22:42, where Jesus says, while praying to God:
Luke 22:42 (Young's Literal)
'Father, if Thou be counselling to make this cup pass from me --; but, not my will, but Thine be done.'
This one using the word "Pater" for "Father", obviously, and showing that Jesus and God's "will" would not necessarily be the same (and in this case
The thread that got me writing this thread talked about how not even Jesus knew of the final hour, only the Father did. Some responded to that by
explaining that this was only in his "limited human form" that he didn't know this (if this is your line, I would appreciate it if you could tell me
if you got this idea from the Bible, and from where, because I couldn't find where the Bible made that distinction for that situation). I suppose this
COULD be a valid argument, but would your fundamental will change, especially concerning something that was supposedly your entire purpose on
In other parts of the Bible, Jesus speaks of the Father sent him, the Father is greater than him (as well as being greater than all), and in the
Bible, in one of his final utterances before he died, he said "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (again, the word being "Theos" in greek, but
more importantly, the original word used in hebrew, 'Eli', also being shown).
Now Christians also say that Jesus was both fully man AND fully God, but this theory (called Hypostatic Union) came up and was formalised almost as
late as the fourth century, and doesn't have any direct validation in the Bible (neither the expression "Fully man and Fully God" nor "hypostatic
union" or "hypostasis" appear), but instead came about to answer the very question I am asking here.. unfortunately, it doesn't address the verses
that seem to contradict this point. Also, I've heard christians say that the "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" thing is explained away with this
understanding as well- that at that instant, all the "Godness" of Jesus left him, and he was purely and only a man. If this is your understanding as
well, I would be very appreciative if you can explain to me who exactly THAT man was, who was completely devoid of the "Godness" that is supposed to
be so intrinsic to the general understanding of the Christian Jesus.
As an aside, many Christians point to me how the Bible has Jesus saying "I and the Father are one" as proof he is God. I would like to post the whole
statement by him in context, if I may:
John 10:25-30 (Young's Literal)
"I told you, and ye do not believe; the works that I do in the name of my Father, these testify concerning me; but ye do not believe, for ye are not
of my sheep. According as I said to you: My sheep my voice do hear, and I know them, and they follow me, and life age-during I give to them, and they
shall not perish -- to the age, and no one shall pluck them out of my hand; My Father, who hath given to me, is greater than all, and no one is able
to pluck out of the hand of my Father; I and the Father are one."
It kinda gives a different meaning, then.
FINALLY, however, my search got me to a verse in the Bible where Jesus used both the term "Pater" (Father) and "Theos" (God), and sort of explained
the relation and connection between the two:
John 20:17 (Young's Literal)
Be not touching me, for I have not yet ascended unto my Father; and be going on to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father, and your
Father, and to my God, and to your God.'
And showed that it means the same thing. Pater is Theos, Theos is Pater - God is the Father, the Father is God, and thus Jesus is a/the Son of God. At
least that is my understanding of it (the meaning of that term could perhaps be discussed in greater detail further in this thread).
Is yours different? Can you explain it through the Bible, WHILE incorporating these verses I showed as well?
I'd really like to hear what you have to say, then.
It'd be cool if we could have a person who was never exposed to christianity, but was taught ancient greek or something, and then handed them the
Bible and asked, only from that, to explain all the points in summary, but I guess such a thing isn't really possible.
Or if somone went through the Bible statement by statement, and made a definitive fact from each statement, so it'd be fixed and comparable to the
others....but again, that's probably too gargantuan a task, and isn't how the Bible works...
edit on 9-2-2013 by babloyi because: (no reason