Handling an Objection: “I love the moral teachings of Jesus but I don’t think He is divine.”

This past week I was doing some outreach on a major college campus. When it came time to talk about the identity of Jesus, I heard two similar responses. Granted, I have heard this objection many, many, times. It goes like this:

“I really like the moral teachings of Jesus, but I don’t think he is divine.”

I could respond to this by using the C.S. Lewis argument that Jesus is either Lord, Lunatic, or Liar. I tend to not use that one a lot. While it still has some value, it generally begs the question of the reliability of the New Testament. After all, some skeptics assume the deity of Jesus is a later invention of the Church. As I have noted elsewhere, this is incorrect. The Christology is Jesus was at the very start of the formation of the early Jesus movement.

Jesus is the Message

Anyway, how do I respond to this? First, since the person already admires the teachings of Jesus, I point out the blind spot in their thinking. First, it isn’t the moral teachings of Jesus that is the message. Rather, Jesus is the message!

Probably the most pertinent examples of how Jesus in the message is in the Gospel of John where we see the “I AM” (Gk. ego eimi,) statements. I am well aware that all these passages need to be studied in context. But we see clearly that Jesus is emphasizing He is the message. For example:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

From a tactical perspective, when people say they only like the teachings of Jesus, it can allow you the opportunity to share these passages from John and ask them if they might rethink their position.

Why Was Jesus Crucified?

Second, I ask the person is why was Jesus crucified? One issue that can tend to be overlooked is that we can minimize the issue of blasphemy in a Jewish setting. by the way, none of the above figures were accused of blasphemy. According to Jewish law, the claim to be the Messiah was not a criminal, nor capital offense. Therefore, the claim to be the Messiah was not even a blasphemous claim. (1)

If this is true, why was Jesus accused of blasphemy? According to Mark 14:62, Jesus affirmed the chief priests question that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Coming Son of Man who would judge the world. This was considered a claim for deity since the eschatological authority of judgment was for God alone. Jesus provoked the indignation of his opponents because of His application of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 to himself.

Also, many parables, which are universally acknowledged by critical scholars to be authentic to the historical Jesus, show that Jesus believed himself to be able to forgive sins against God (Matt. 9:2; Mark 2: 1-12). Forgiving sins was something that was designated for God alone (Exod. 34: 6-7; Neh.9:17; Dan. 9:9) and it was something that was done only in the Temple along with the proper sacrifice. So it can be seen that Jesus acts as if He is the Temple in person. In Mark 14:58, it says, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ The Jewish leadership knew that God was the one who was responsible for building the temple (Ex. 15:17; 1 En. 90:28-29).(2)

Also, God is the only one that is permitted to announce and threaten the destruction of the temple (Jer. 7:12-13; 26:4-6, 9;1 En.90:28-29). (3) It is also evident that one reasons Jesus was accused of blasphemy was because He usurped God’s authority by making himself to actually be God (Jn. 10:33, 36). Not only was this considered by the Jews to be blasphemous, it was worthy of the death penalty (Matt. 26:63-66; Mk. 14:61-65; Lk. 22:66-71; Jn. 10:31-39; 19:7)

As the late Martin Hengal said:

“Jesus’ claim to authority goes far beyond anything that can be adduced as prophetic prototypes or parallels from the field of the Old Testament and from the New Testament period. [Jesus] remains in the last resort incommensurable, and so basically confounds every attempt to fit him into categories suggested by the phenomenology of sociology of religion.” (4)

Remember that there was a Jewish leader named Bar Kohba who made an open proclamation to be the real Messiah who would take over Rome and enable the Jewish people to regain their self-rule (A.D. 132-135). Even a prominent rabbi called Rabbi Akiba affirmed him as the Messiah. Unfortunately, the revolt led by Bar Kohba failed and as a result and both he and Rabbi Akiba were slain. And remember, Bar Kohba was not accused of blasphemy. He never claimed to have the authority to forgive sins or claim to be the Son of Man (as referring to Daniel 7).

Conclusion

In the end, I think the reason some people like the moral teachings of Jesus and avoid the divinity issue is an issue of autonomy. A non- divine Jesus is really not very threatening and doesn’t ask much of us.

Sources:

1. See Darrell L. Bock. Blasphemy and Exaltation in Judaism: The Charge Against Jesus in Mark 14:53-65. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.
2. William Lane Craig. Reasonable Faith: Third Edition. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2008, 307.
3. Martin Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers. New York: Crossroad, 1981. 68-69; Cited in Edwards, 96.
4. Jacob Immanuel Schochet. Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era in Jewish Law and Tradition. New York: S.I.E. 1992, 93-101.
5. Ibid.

 

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23 thoughts on “Handling an Objection: “I love the moral teachings of Jesus but I don’t think He is divine.”

  1. Greg Logan July 9, 2014 / 10:48 pm

    Larry,

    Another reason certain saints don’t believe that Jesus was divine is simply because it is not a Biblical claim. In fact, the very opposite is true. Jesus is specifically described as a man (about 20 times) – the best and most evident in contrast to a divinity is in ITim2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

    Best,

    Greg Logan

  2. chab123 July 10, 2014 / 12:37 am

    Greg, the incarnation says Jesus is full man and fully God. See the outline here: http://www.rim.org/muslim/JesusisGod.htm.

    Also, have you read Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Bowman? Also, there are good reasons as to why Jesus would never say “I am God.” The Hebrew Bible forbids worshiping anyone other than the God of Israel (Ex. 20:1–5; Deut. 5:6–9). And for Jesus to ever say something so explicit would insinuate that he was calling upon his audience to believe in two “Gods”- the God of Israel and Jesus. Also, for Gentiles, such a claim would allow for Jesus to fit nicely into their polytheism (the belief in many gods).

    Why was Jesus accused of blasphemy ? What were his claims? In Jewish culture, they thought more in a functional sense- actions count. What did Jesus say and do that got him in trouble?

  3. Greg Logan July 10, 2014 / 1:51 am

    Hi Paul (correct name?). Thanks for the response.

    I am aware of what the advocates of the hypostatic union teach. However, to call Jesus a full man is totally disingenuous in light of what they actually teach about Jesus in the details without the neat sound-bites. That can best be seen your would answer to the following questions –

    1. If the Logos, the second person of the trinity, did not incarnate in the human conceived in Mary, would that human be able to fully, consciously, personally and willfully function exactly as you and I, as genuine men, do?

    2. Who is the person that cried in Heb 5:7 and, likewise, who is the person that learned obedience by His sufferings in Heb 5:8?

    • chab123 July 10, 2014 / 2:09 am

      Greg, no my name is not Paul. It is Eric. See the page that says about Me. Our Biblical data (see the link I left) shows Jesus is divine. And yes, he displays human characteristics as well. How can this be? Well, I don’t claim to totally understand how. I don’t know how God can outside time and interact within time or how God can be everywhere at once. I could go on. I can’t fully comprehend the incarnation. I can apprehended it. Your arguments sound like something I hear from a Muslim.

  4. Greg Logan July 10, 2014 / 2:29 am

    Hi Eric –

    Sorry for the miss on your name – I did not see it in the About Me section but must have overlooked it.

    There is a massive difference between displaying “human characteristics” and being a genuine man. Animals display a huge range of human characteristics inc. happy, sad and anger emotions, etc. I don’t know anything about Muslims. The Bible – Paul, Peter, John – and Jesus Himself – clearly and repeatedly teach that Jesus is a genuine man – like you and I.

    Can you answer the questions I asked above? I think that will help clarify the distinction between the traditional hypostatic union – currently held by the Vatican and Evangelicals – and the Biblical teaching of Jesus being a genuine man.

    Best,

    Greg

  5. chab123 July 10, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    Greg, you are welcome to study the outline here. http://www.rim.org/muslim/JesusisGod.htm No, Paul, Peter and others didn’t think Jesus was just a man. I pointed this out in the Christology post which was at the start of the Jesus movement. You read it and commented on it. So to say Paul and others didn’t think Jesus was divine is just totally erroneous. Even an agnostic like Bart Ehrman recognizes that the deity of Jesus was something proclaimed from the very start. You can bring up your texts in Hebrews and all the others that speak to his humanity. I don’t deny his humanity. I said Jesus was both divine and man. Greg, to be honest, how much scholarship have you read on the incarnation? I would start with the Bowman text or Paul Copan’s article here:

    Did God Become a Jew? A Defense of the Incarnation: http://www.paulcopan.com/articles/pdf/did-God-become-a-Jew_A-defense-of-the-incarnation.pdf Or, see Bowman’s outline here; http://irr.org/biblical-basis-of-doctrine-of-trinity

    I already listed a bunch of Jewish categories that showed the deity of Jesus in my other post that you commented on- Shekinah, Word, Wisdom, etc…what do you think it means to say Jesus is the the Shechinah?

    You just seem to want to either ignore the evidence and not answer my questions- why was Jesus killed for blasphemy? …etc….and then keep posting your questions about his humanity which I don’t disagree with. If Jesus claims to have the authority to forgive sins and to be the Temple in person, is he just a man? ). He said to a paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5b). The scribes correctly responded, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (vs. 7b). Also, Jesus claimed the power to raise and judge the dead, a power which only G-d possesses (John 5:21, 29). But OT clearly taught that only God was the giver of life (Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6) and the one to raise the dead (Ps. 2:7). So my suggestion to you is to deal with all the texts that speak to his deity- read the links I left and study them and go from there. I am not going to keep answering questions about his humanity cause I don’t deny it. You don’t seem to be able to grasp the deity texts.

  6. chab123 July 10, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    Btw, the disciples attributed to Jesus titles the OT reserved for G-d, such as, “the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), “the true light” (John 1:9), the “rock” or “stone” (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Peter 2:6–8; cf. Ps. 18:2; 95:1), the “bridegroom” (Eph. 5:28–33; Rev. 21:2), “the chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:40), and “the great shepherd” (Heb. 13:20). They attributed to Jesus the divine activities of creating (John 1:3; Col. 1:15–16), redeeming (Hosea 13:14; Ps. 130:7), forgiving (Acts 5:31; Col. 3:13; cf. Ps. 130:4; Jer. 31:34), and judging (John 5:26). They used titles of deity for Jesus.

  7. Greg Logan July 10, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    Paul –

    Thanks for the thoughts. Admittedly, you have me curious… Why not provide a clear answer to my simple questions – if I am so erroneous?

    Thanks

    Greg

  8. Greg Logan July 10, 2014 / 5:06 pm

    To clarify, you stated “I am not going to keep answering questions about his humanity cause I don’t deny it. ” However, you have not actually answered any of my two/three simple questions.

    Your answer to these questions is actually critical to moving forward since it will clarify your understanding of the major defect of the hypostatic union and help me respond to you better. Subsequently, I am happy and easily able to answer any of issues you have (most are really straightforward and simply require standard exegesis and a Hebraic/Eastern linguistic mind-set).

    I do look forward to hearing from you whether Jesus could fully independently function without an incarnated Logos just like every normal man, e.g. you and me. Bear in mind Heb 2:17 please.

    NOTE: Humanity does NOT equal MAN in the hypostatic union. I assume you are well acquainted with this issue. Schaff discusses it at length while providing the weakest of justifications for his denial of the man Christ Jesus.

  9. chab123 July 11, 2014 / 2:04 am

    Greg, first of all, you didn’t answer my questions. On July 10th I said the following:

    Why was Jesus accused of blasphemy ? What were his claims? In Jewish culture, they thought more in a functional sense- actions count. What did Jesus say and do that got him in trouble?

    I got no answer. I was the first one to ask questions. You dodged it and jumped to your questions.

    Also, you have ignored all the deity claims which I left. Is there a reason for this?

    You ask:

    1. If the Logos, the second person of the trinity, did not incarnate in the human conceived in Mary, would that human be able to fully, consciously, personally and willfully function exactly as you and I, as genuine men, do?

    2. Who is the person that cried in Heb 5:7 and, likewise, who is the person that learned obedience by His sufferings in Heb 5:8?

    Answer to #1: That’s irrelevant because he did incarnate Himself. You are presenting a hypothetical question.

    Answer to #2: Is this a trick question? Who would it be Greg? Paul or Jesus? The Bible resoundingly affirms the humanity of Jesus. But it also affirms his deity. The historic Christian faith has maintained that two natures, divine and human, exist fully in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The hypostatic union is an attempt to explain how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time. It is ultimately, though, a doctrine we are incapable of fully understanding. I don’t need to sit and debate ‘how’ the hypostatic union works. The NT clearly teaches the humanity of Jesus and the deity of Jesus. I know how the Near Eastern mindset works. I am have been in missions to Jewish people for a long time. That is why in the post you read about the Shekinah, Word, Wisdom, etc… I used Jewish categories.

    You are welcome to answer my questions about the deity passages.

  10. chab123 July 11, 2014 / 2:10 am

    Btw

    Option #1: God is one (echad) and the Messiah is divine in nature so he is not completely human

    Option #2: God is truly one (yachid) and the Messiah is a distinct entity who is not part of God and the Messiah is not divine

    Tell me, is God an echad or a yachid?

    • Greg Logan July 11, 2014 / 4:21 pm

      Paul,

      First, please note and be assured that I am totally happy to answer all your questions. The reason for my intentional but very brief deferral is as follows. By making sure the bull in the China closet is cleared out first, that is, the denial of the human person of Jesus, hence the man Christ Jesus, and the substituting of something less than a genuine man (commonly called a “human nature” by adherents of the hypostatic union), our conversation would be balanced moving forward (we would both be clear as to the fundamental issue). I am not totally sure if you understand this issue (most Evangelicals do not but scholars tend to). I assume that you understand it as well but I felt that my being certain would help my responses/interactions with you because any false assumptions as to your ideology would be eliminated. I have made mistakes of this nature before and wanted to avoid doing so again. And, nearly as important, knowing your understanding would assist me in responding better to your questions. Now you know why I wanted to get that one specific item resolved asap before moving forward.

      re: your 2:10AM Post directly above.
      God is yachid – TRULY one. Please note that there is a game that evangelicals play between the applications of the word “one”, e.g. “one“ bunch of grapes (Walter Martin was famous for it). However this “argument” contains a horrible category error. I don’t think that is the direction you are going but I wanted to at least make note of it.

      re: Jesus Accusers’ Charge
      Ultimately the crime for which the high priests accused Jesus does not matter. We don’t get our theology from unrepentant, reprobate sinners – we get our theology from the divinely inspired writers of the OT/NT taken as a whole. Regardless of this, this issue was fully addressed in Jn10:22ff wherein Jesus clearly stated the nature of His “divinity” via the OT reference in response to the charge that He was blaspheming by claiming to be God.

      Regardless, I am happy to spend further time reflecting on your question to possibly provide a more comprehensive response regarding the specific event you are referring. I don’t have the best grasp of the details of this event at present and I would very much like to dive in a little deeper. Currently my reading has been focused on Heb2 wherein I am finding just how distorted the notion of the Holy Spirit as a third divine person in a singular divine essence is based on the formal text. The shoehorning of Heb 2:5 into a trinitarian model would be intellectual torture at best.

      Lastly, concluding that my question is irrelevant because it is based on a circumstance that has not happened is simply avoiding answering the question. Surely your ideology has an answer to such a simple question. Most scholars (see Schaff’s and his painful attempt at justification) – as well as arm-chair theologians (such as myself) who understand this issue – are able to answer this type of question.

      Sincerely,
      In the Lord Jesus Christ

      Greg Logan

  11. chab123 July 12, 2014 / 1:12 am

    Greg,

    1. No, I didn’t avoid your question. If you asked me “What if God had created Adam and Eve with 3 feet instead of two feet” should I answer it? Your trying to treat a hypothetical situation as if it is a fact and then build your case from there.

    2. Read the Paul Copan article here to understand the difference between nature and person: http://www.paulcopan.com/articles/pdf/did-God-become-a-Jew_A-defense-of-the-incarnation.pdf.
    It will help you.

    3. God is yachid – TRULY one. Please note that there is a game that evangelicals play between the applications of the word “one”, e.g. “one“ bunch of grapes (Walter Martin was famous for it). However this “argument” contains a horrible category error. I don’t think that is the direction you are going but I wanted to at least make note of it.

    Response: No this is not a game. It is called exegesis.

    4. “Ultimately the crime for which the high priests accused Jesus does not matter. We don’t get our theology from unrepentant, reprobate sinners – we get our theology from the divinely inspired writers of the OT/NT taken as a whole. Regardless of this, this issue was fully addressed in Jn10:22ff wherein Jesus clearly stated the nature of His “divinity” via the OT reference in response to the charge that He was blaspheming by claiming to be God.”

    Response: Okay, do we get our theology from those inspired writers who recorded the charges down that Jesus was accused of in the NT? And we get our theology from the same writers about his deity. Paul, Peter and others wrote all about his deity and they were inspired. See my comments before on those issues. Fine with me and it only favors the evidence for the incarnation. see http://www.rim.org/muslim/JesusisGod.htm

    At this point, I am going to move on. Take care.

    • Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 6:18 am

      Paul – Your comments are silly and beneath the dignity of a disciple of Jesus – both ethically, relationally and intellectually. Your condescending and scornful spirit reflects the energy that is working within in you. It is disappointing.

      Sincerely,
      In the Lord Jesus Christ,

      Greg Logan

    • Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 6:26 am

      BTW – even a brief reading of Copan will demonstrate that he is essentially teaching Nestorianism – simply avoiding saying so. As it always will be with the human creation of the hypostatic union, the king is not wearing any clothes. A few disciples in every age will stand in the gap to point this out. The remainder will scorn them.

  12. chab123 July 12, 2014 / 12:11 pm

    Greg, once again, my name is not Paul. I wasn’t trying to be condescending. So I apologize if that was your take on me. Anyway, take care.

    • Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 4:45 pm

      Eric – Sorry for the name miss! If you impartially read your 1:13 em, you will see your responses were snide – obviously that reflects the spirit behind them. I never treated you in that manner but only wrote to you in a spirit of consideration. Your apologizing for “my take” is not an apology at all since the sense of the sentence is that I am the one in error.

      How we treat one another is more important than our respective ideology – that is one of the key calls of Christ.

      Greg

      PS. I am disturbed that you won’t answer a simple question that easily lies within the bounds of your ideology. I strongly suspect you understand the implications of your answer. Rob Bowman of CRI fame answered the question – he understood the implications – and it was very frustrating for him.

      Greg

  13. chab123 July 12, 2014 / 6:14 pm

    Greg,

    I am sorry you can’t accept my apology for sounding condescending. I can’t do anything about that. As far as your question about Hebrews, good critical thinking always shows what’s wrong with certain questions that are being asked in the discussion. I am not avoiding your question. The text in Hebrews is talking about Jesus. I don’t know what your goal is Greg. To show me that Jesus was a man in this text who learned obedience? As I have already said many times, I accept that Jesus was a man, but not just a man. The OT speaks of God as an echad which means he is a plurality within unity. The NT has many passages about both the humanity and deity of Jesus. I don’t know what your goal is Greg, Are you trying to promote Docetism or Appollinariansism or something else? You say Jesus is a just man. But that would break from both the teaching of Jesus and the apostolic witness itself. I ahve already provided enough evidence for the deity of Jesus. You cant claim the NT is inspired and reject that. It is contradictory.

    I have taught enough on the formation of our faith-pre 70 ad and I know one of the biggest tensions was the deity of Jesus and how that caused tensions in the relationship between the first followers of Jesus (they were Jews) and the rest of the Jewish world in Second Temple Judaism. So if you are breaking from the apostolic witness, you really can’t call me a brother in Christ an issue me rebukes.

    The God of Second Temple Judaism was identifiable by three unique attributes: (1) The God of Israel is the sole Creator of all things (Is. 40:26, 28; 37:16; 42:5; 45:12; Neh. 9:6; Ps 86:10; Hos. 13:4; (2)The God of Israel is the sovereign Ruler of all things (Dan. 4:34-35); (3) The G-d of Israel is also the only the only being worthy of being worshiped (Deut. 6:13; Ps. 97:7; Is. 45:23; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9).

    Jesus’ divine identity is affirmed by the fact that He is given the same attributes as God. Through Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, Yeshua comes to participate as G-d’s sovereign Ruler over all things (Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:44;26:64; Acts 2:33-35; 5:31; 7:55-56; 1 Cor.15:27-28; Phil. 2:6-11; Eph. 1:21-22; Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 3:22). Jesus is seen as the object of worship (Matt. 14:33; 28: 9,17; Jn. 5:23; 20:28; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 5:8-12). He is also the recipient of praise (Matt. 21:16-16; Eph. 6:19; 1 Tim. 1:12; Rev. 5:8-14) and prayer (Acts 1:24; 7:59-60; 9:10-17,21; 22:16,19;1 Cor. 1:2; 16:22; 2 Cor.12:8). Jesus is also the Creator of all things (Heb. 1:2; Jn. 1: 1-3; Col. 1:15-16; 1 Cor. 8:6). The divine identity of God is seen in Jesus’ suffering, death, and glory.

    Jesus claimed equality with G-d in other ways. He claimed the prerogatives of G-d. He claimed to be Judge of all (Matt. 25:31–46; John 5:27–30), but Joel quotes the God of Israel as saying, “for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side” (Joel 3:12). He said to a paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5b). The scribes correctly responded, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (vs. 7b). Jesus claimed the power to raise and judge the dead, a power which only God possesses (John 5:21, 29). But Tanakh clearly taught that only God was the giver of life (Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6) and the one to raise the dead (Ps. 2:7).

    As I said, the disciples attributed to Jesus titles Tanakh reserved for God, such as, “the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), “the true light” (John 1:9), the “rock” or “stone” (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Peter 2:6–8; cf. Ps. 18:2; 95:1), the “bridegroom” (Eph. 5:28–33; Rev. 21:2), “the chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:40), and “the great shepherd” (Heb. 13:20). They attributed to Jesus the divine activities of creating (John 1:3; Col. 1:15–16), redeeming (Hosea 13:14; Ps. 130:7), forgiving (Acts 5:31; Col. 3:13; cf. Ps. 130:4; Jer. 31:34), and judging (John 5:26).

    Hope you can pick up the Bowman book The Case for the Deity of Christ. You are welcome to have the last word. Take care.

    • Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 10:11 pm

      Eric –

      Thanks for making some effort at conciliation.

      The issue is simple – if the Jesus you serve cannot have totally and willfully function independent of an incarnate deity, you do not have a genuine man. You simply have a god in a box. You have chosen to side-step that describing your position here and to simply claim what you believe without substantiating the essential element of what is required for that faith.

      The issue of who learned obedience is essential. First, was it a person or nature that learns obedience (this is a hypostatic union construct – not mine). Second, if it is a person, was it the divine person or the human person? Can you answer this then? Surely this is inherent in the text and appropriate to ask. The same question can be asked re: “not my will be done but Thy will”, etc.

      Your bases for claiming that Jesus is deity are not adequate. As you know, these are the common statements made by evangelicals and their source, the vatican and nothing new.

      As an example, Jesus receiving “worship”. You can find legitimate evidences of worship being applied to other than God. Likewise, the authority to forgive sins can be found applied to others than God. I will even add the term “god” can be applied to others than God the Creator (Jesus specifically discusses this issue). Jesus fits into these “other than God” categories. These instances – along with the fundamental denial of the genuine human person, hence, the genuine man, Christ Jesus by the hypostatic union teaching – render all these and all other bases as having 0 supportive value for their claim.

      In contrast to the remarkable gymnastics that your colleague Copan exercises, the actual NT teaching by Jesus, John, Paul and Peter repeatedly and steadfastly affirm that Jesus was essentially a genuine man including a human person with nothing more complex needed than simply believing.

      NOTE: The error Copan makes – which I was, admittedly, shocked to see – is essentially the assertion of two persons – a human and a divine person. While I sort of doubt he would state that directly if called out on it, his writing essentially states this. This itself is in contrast to the teaching of the hypostatic union. If there are indeed two persons, there are two Jesus’. And, Biblically, there are not. So Paul is somehow in grave error.

      BTW – Please note that I am fully aware of the standard hypostatic union distinction between person and nature. And, the fact is, as you are aware, various attributes of person as opposed to nature are provided by one writer and a separate set by another writer. Jesus’ will is a great example. Regardless, there is NOTHING Biblical about any of these man-made constructs. I find it miserable that those naming the name of Christ would play with what are simply man-made constructions – primarily due to defective exegesis – rather than genuinely worshipping our god and savior, our Lord and Master, the man Christ Jesus.

      NOTE2: It does not take any meaningful Biblical reading to see a very fundamental distinction between Jesus and the Creator throughout scripture but especially in the New Testament if you simply allow it to speak plainly. Only those with a theological axe to grind seek to circumvent the plain meaning of ITim2:5 to fulfill a theological ambition for whatever reason.

      Sincerely,
      In the Lord Jesus Christ,

      Greg Logan

      • chab123 July 12, 2014 / 10:19 pm

        Okay Greg, I could respond in many ways here. But I said I would give you the last word. Take care.

  14. Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 10:44 pm

    Eric –

    With all due respect, how can you witness of Christ when you are not able to tell us about His learning of obedience formally described in scripture and so relevant for those that would walk in Him? Was it a human person that learned obedience or a divine person? Or who it was that spoke to God on the cross (the divine person or the human person? or is it a nature that speaks?). All these are the natural results of the teaching that your currently engaged in. Is it really so hard to answer these questions that are basic to your teaching and relevant scriptural statements?

    Sincerely,
    In Christ,

    Greg Logan

  15. chab123 July 12, 2014 / 11:07 pm

    Greg, well, you just can’t move on. I see you posted this review to a Driscoll book on amazon (I don’t own it). You are caught up on Jesus in that is “one person in two natures” gives explication to the denial that Jesus is a genuine man. In contrast, the Scriptures necessitate that Jesus IS a genuine man (ICor15:21 and ITim2:5). You say Jesus was a person prior to his incarnation, that their one person is a divine person associated with the divine nature. So what happened to the human person/consciousness that is fundamental to what makes each of us a genuine human being????

    Copan answered this issue quite thoroughly in his article (pages 223 and on). Either you don’t understand it (cause now we’re getting into metaphysics as well) or you can’t stand to think you there is a possible answer? Or, like every one else, you are trying to fully comprehend the incarnation when we can only apprehend it? I don’t know. Copan says:

    The distinction between Jesus’ two consciousnesses or levels of awareness—His developing first-century Jewish, human consciousness and the eternal, divine consciousness. Imagine a spy on a dangerous mission, carrying in his mind top-secret information valuable to the enemy. To avoid divulging answers in case he’s caught and tortured, he takes along a limited-amnesia producing pill with an antidote for later use. If the spy uses the amnesia pill, he would still possess the vital information in his mind; given these temporary conditions required to carry out his mission, he chooses to limit his access to the information that’s stored up in his mind. We can usefully compare Jesus’ two levels of awareness (“minds”) with our two levels of awareness—the subconscious and conscious: Jesus’ human awareness can be likened to our conscious, and His divine awareness is analogous to our subconscious. When God the Son took on human form, His fully aware eternal, His divine consciousness, His (comm)union with Father and Spirit, and His sustenance of the universe didn’t cease but rather continued uninterrupted. Yet in His limited, developing human consciousness, Jesus grew and developed with an earthly, firstcentury, Aramaic-speaking, Jewish awareness of the world. Reading the Scriptures, He saw with increasing clarity His messianic status. He struggled, experienced the range of human emotions, and deepened in obedience and submission to His Father’s will (cf. Luke 2:52; Heb 2:18; 5:8). Jesus’ human consciousness significantly interacted with His divine consciousness and wasn’t cut off from certain heavenly illuminations like the glow of divine light that streams through a cloth curtain.15 Jesus, however, didn’t regularly rely on His divine consciousness while on earth but primarily operated in His human consciousness, just like us, with the added depth of divine awareness.

    Yes, anyone like Caesar or others can claim to be divine, The question is what kinds of claims they made and if they provide actual evidence for the claim. You ignore the Second Temple context where the claims of Jesus are made. I could walk down the street tomorrow and say “I am God and accept prayer and worship to me.” That doesn’t make it true. You say we do exegetical gymnastics with showing the deity of Jesus in the NT. Really? Do you know all the texts and have you thoroughly exegeted each text? You say other people in the Bible had the authority to forgive sins and be the Temple in person? Really? Where? The priests in the tabernacle and Temple couldn’t do that and if they did they would be accused of blasphemy just like Jesus was. Yes, Moses interceded in behalf of Israel.

    The Temple was the center of Jewish religious, cultural, political, and economic life. As I said, forgiving sins was something that was designated for God alone (Exod. 34: 6-7; Neh.9:17; Dan. 9:9) and it was something that was done only in the Temple along with the proper sacrifice. So it can be seen that Jesus acts as if He is the Temple in person. Even in the trial scene in Mark 14:58, it says, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’ The Jewish leadership knew that God was the one who was responsible for building the temple (Ex. 15:17; 1 En. 90:28-29). Jesus is the foundation of the new temple (Jn 7:37-39) and he is the place for worship (Jn. 4:23-24 ). Also, God is the only one that is permitted to announce and threaten the destruction of the temple (Jer. 7:12-13; 26:4-6, 9;1 En.90:28-29).

    Now that is my last word. Got things to do Greg.

    • Greg Logan July 12, 2014 / 11:19 pm

      Eric – You are missing the point of what Copan is describing – essentially a form of Nestorianism – that there are two persons. However one chooses to finesse it, that is the direction he is going. However, there are not two Jesus’ – it is that simple. Therefore, Copan is in error.

      The remaining items are, with all dues respect, long held exegetical errors by those who are stopping at there Discipleship 101 class and have never genuinely questioned what they were initially taught – because, well, everyone else except those heretics believes the same thing… I was informed of the same sort of thing myself but worked through this 30 years ago and then begin to dig deeper into each of the exegetical errors. Watching them fall one by one by clear scriptural teaching was shattering but informative and humbling.

      BTW – you don’t need to answer immediately (though you have never answered the the obedience and will question at all).

      I also have things to do – but raising up our only Lord and Master against those who would despise who He really is – thus denigrating His real work (I don’t need a person of God to render obedience to a God – is really all that matters. I need a genuine human person – just like me – to render obedience to God – in order my faith and walk to be meaninguful). To teach anything else is, with all due respect, blasphemy.

      Sincerely,
      In Christ,

      Greg Logan

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