Member # 6929
Yes, Jesus is God!
He claimed to be God. Either He was, or He wasn't If He wasn't, He either knew that He wasn't or He didn't. These are the only possibilities. The first means He is Lord, the second means He is a liar, and the third means He is a lunatic.
Let us go slowly and carefully here, for this is the most important question in the world, and we do well to fear rushing and missing something much more than repeating something. Let us review the evidence so far.
Why couldn't Jesus be a liar?
1. Because He has the wrong psychological profile. He was unselfish, loving, caring, compassionate, and passionate about teaching truth and helping others to truth. Liars lie for selfish reasons, like money, fame, pleasure or power. Jesus gave up all worldly goods, and life itself.
2. Because there is no conceivable motive for His lie. It brought Him hatred, rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture, and death.
3. Because He could not have hoped that His "lie" would be successful, for the Jews were the least likely people in the world to have worshiped a man, and Jesus, as a Jew, would have known that. In fact, we see Him at every step of His life's way fully knowing and predicting His own execution, and claiming that He came to earth precisely for that reason: to suffer and die. He perfectly lived out Mother Teresa's saying: God did not put me here to be successful, but to be faithful.
Suppose it was not Jesus Himself but His disciples who invented the "lie"? The same arguments apply to the disciples, or to whoever first invented the "lie".
1. They do not manifest the psychological traits of liars.
2. There was no motive—they all got out of it the same thing Jesus did: suffering and death. They proved their sincerity by their martyrdom.
3. They could not have believed it would be successful because they would have known how every Jew would be shocked and horrified at this blasphemy.
Why couldn't Jesus be a lunatic?
1. Because the psychological profiles are opposite. The lunatic lacks the very qualities that shine in Jesus: practical wisdom, tough love, and unpredictable creativity.
2. When we meet a lunatic, we are uncomfortable because we feel superior to Him; when His enemies met Jesus, they were uncomfortable for the opposite reason. A lunatic does not make you feel personally challenged, only embarrassed and, eventually, bored. But Jesus made every one feel challenged and uncomfortable, never bored. A lunatic is like darkness, Jesus was like light. A lunatic is like a man asleep, Jesus was the most wide awake of all men.
3. No Jew could sincerely think He was God. No group in history was less likely to confuse the Creator with a creature than the Jews, the only people who had an absolute, and absolutely clear, distinction between the divine and the human.
What if it was His disciples who were the lunatics, or the sincerely deceived ones? Suppose His divinity was their own idea that they read back into Him and wrote back into the texts of the Gospels? The same arguments apply to whoever "invented" Christianity, whether it was Jesus, His apostles, the early church, philosophers, popes or the Mafia.
1. The writers of the Gospels certainly were not lunatics. If they invented their Jesus, they invented the most compelling fictional character in history. No lunatic could have invented a single chapter of the Gospels, much less all of it.
2. Nor could lunacy have changed so many lives for the better for so many centuries. Consider the enormity of the lunacy of confusing a man with God, then consider the enormity of the change wrought in millions of lives by this "lunacy" (read, e.g., Augustine's Confessions), and you will see the size of the camel you have to swallow to avoid swallowing the gnat of faith.
3. Whoever was first "deceived", what accounts for the deception? It is as hard to account for the origin of the lunacy as to account for the origin and motivation of the "lie".
These, then, are the objections to the liar hypothesis and the lunatic hypothesis. The only alternative left is to call Jesus Lord. But the only objection to this is its initial shock and unexpectedness—which is exactly what we should expect from God.
(Handbook of Christian Apologetics)
Posts: 6656 | From: Colorado | Registered: Dec 2007
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