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November 16, 2007

7

How can you believe that a man was God?

by Dave Malnes

When a person accepts the historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead, then we must also reach the same conclusion that Jesus is both God and man. Volumes of books have been written about this subject, but we’ll try to sum it up in a few short paragraphs.   

First of all, Jesus proclaims himself as God. He says things like, “If you see me, you see the Father” and “I and the Father are one.” Second, Jesus makes himself the object of faith. He consistently says, “Believe in me” in the Gospels. Everywhere, he equates believing in him with believing in God and rejecting Him with rejecting God.   

We also see the disciples calling Jesus “Lord.” The doubting Thomas, on seeing Jesus, cries out, “My Lord and my God” — and Jesus doesn’t correct him! Finally, the Epistles of the New Testament characterize the first Christians as those who worship Christ, refer to Jesus as “Lord” and “God”, plus boldly declare that Jesus and God are one. 

A remarkable factor in declaring Jesus as the Son of God were the first Jewish believers themselves. Unlike any other ancient pagan cultures, they worshiped only one God. What could have convinced the Jews that Jesus was in fact God made in the flesh? The Scriptures clearly indicate that it wasn’t a “resuscitation” of a corpse, but the resurrection of a man who embodied the kingdom of God – its love, teachings, and power – during his life. Then, Jesus ascended to heaven! He did not die “again.”  In fact, he was present and active in the establishment of the early church and is still active today.   

This naturally leads us to the Trinity. God exists and eternally has always existed in three different persons. God is Spirit and cannot be divided up. God fully exists as transcendent Father, while existing as Incarnate Son, while also existing as indwelling Spirit (in the hearts of believers). No one has ever fully understood the Trinity, but knowing it is crucial to the identity of the Resurrected Christ both in our hearts and our minds. 

 

** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994.   

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. hughstan
    Nov 16 2007

    The big ‘IF’ is that ‘IF’ a personality in whatever shape or form existed as a living entity in the future then, however that shape or form presented differently at some time earlier, that personality could not remain dead.

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  2. Nov 16 2007

    I have to disagree with you on the point about Jesus being God. Saying “I and the Father are one” could easily have meant the closeness of Jesus to God, that what Jesus was trying to teach, was what God wanted. An analogy would be if a couple that is extremely close spiritually and mentally, and think of themselves as ‘One’. Also, he speaks too many times about the Father as a third person: “your Father”, “the will of my Father”, ” he who receives me receives the one who sent me”, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart..” , and of course “My God, my God why have you forsaken me..”, are just a few examples. Nowhere does he say “I am your God” or “I am god”, or even anything like “Worship me as your God”.

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  3. rhapsodysinger
    Nov 16 2007

    Let me first congratulate you on your post.

    I feel/believe that believe in the Risen Lord who was Man and God at the same time is gift from God Himself. Nothing can convince a guy whom God has not chosen…

    I am not a Christian nor will ever convert but I remain in awe of Jesus. He is my LORD.

    Keep up the good work…adios

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  4. Nov 16 2007

    I see you get “interesting” visitors, too!
    Yes Jesus is truly God and truly man.
    Jesus did call Himself God, when answering the Pharisees in John 8:58 “I AM”, considering this blasphemy, in verse 59 they take up stones to stone Him.
    Thank you for presenting truth here and God bless your work!

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  5. merganzerman
    Nov 16 2007

    To Rhapsody singer:

    Thank you for your comments. I’m glad that you believe that there was a Jesus, who died and rose again, a gift from God for the salvation of the whole world.

    However, I would disagree with you on one point. You have been chosen by God!! It says in the Bible that God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. (See I Timothy 2:4) This is his desire and will for all people. However, he allows people to reject his love. That is their choice, but it is not God’s choice.

    My prayer for you is that the Lord will remove whatever barriers or circumstances or the past that is prohibiting you from receiving God’s free gift of forgiveness.

    Thanks for writing.

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  6. rhapsodysinger
    Nov 18 2007

    Yes I agree with your idea on choice. I see Christ as a fulfillment of all Vedanta. For me, Christ is the model to follow if I am to live the life of my faith-by-birth. I am convinced that God does not want me to convert…what with its connotations of colonialism and racial bias…I am a Hindu Brahmin and am happy to obey Jesus who for me is the epitome of Vedic ideals…Please pray for me that I may bear my Cross with courage…thanx…

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  7. merganzerman
    Nov 20 2007

    I want to let you know that I certainly appreciate and respect the very strong tugs and desires to follow the religion of your birth. Societally and economically speaking, it is extremely difficult to change circumstances of your birth — but even more so, one’s religion and customs.

    I can also understand and appreciate your view of Christianity through the eyes of colonialism and racial bias. With all the good that is done in the name of Christ, there has also been alot of harm by well-intentioned and some not so well-intentioned people. For that, I am sorry. Even though it may be very difficult, I ask you to look at Word of God says to you, not make judgements based on the actions of others.

    I read just this morning from the Bible and it says, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, Kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.” The writer of the psalm knew that God was listening to his cry for mercy. God will listen to you, no matter what your circumstances are, the place where you were born, or whatever hatred or bias you received. There is forgiveness and love and rest found in God alone. He listens for our cry once we recognize that we are utterly dependent on Him– that we are spiritually paralyzed, even dead, without God and He alone is the one that can make us walk again, to become alive, to be born again.

    Thanks for your reply.

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