The Divinity of Christ (not Rohit)

Rohit Khare (
Thu, 09 Oct 1997 20:28:59 -0700

Hi Rob,

Well, I'm no expert on textual analysis and literary criticism, but
such as I have I'll give you.

>>He not only didn't state he was God, he made statements directly
contradicting that. For instance "Give the things of Caesar to
Caesar, give the things of God to God and give Me what is Mine."
If he had believed he was God, he certainly wouldn't have said that.<<

Well, I guess I see things more ambiguously (conceding that your
rendition was true, since I don't know differently). Even if Jesus
said that, it doesn't necessarily mean he was disclaiming godhood.
It is fairly common - even in Trinitarian circles - to refer to God
the Father as simply "God" in distinction to Jesus. I admit mine
isn't the most obvious interpretation, but it is still tenable.

> 1. He accepted worship
> [...]
> Jesus consistently said, "I am what's important. Pay attention to me,
> not some external Way I am revealing. I am the Way."

>>That's not a quote, it's words being put in his mouth.<<

Well, yes, I was illustrating a point. I tried to cite direct
quotes. The relevant direct quote is, "I am the way, the truth and
the life, no one comes to the father but through me." (John 14:6).

>>The phrase "the Way" or "the Path" is standard imagery applied to
Essene and Zealot liberation theology long before Jesus' time and
Christianity, not to Christ, until the name "Christianity" was
invented (Acts 26:11, IIRC).<<

Um, yes, the term was used before. How does that imply that the
term was never used by Christ to refer to himself? Or are you
simply asserting that John's entire gospel was a fabrication?

> 2. He claimed pre-existence
> [...] "Are you greater than our father Abraham?"
> Jesus responds with the classic, "Before Abraham was, I am." [...]

>>You're reading an awful lot into that.<<

Well, so did the Jews who attempted to stone him for blasphemy (in
the following verse). If context has any clue to meaning, then I
think I am on safe ground.

>> What would you make of
logion 12 from the "Gospel according to Didymos Judas Thomas" found
at Nag Hama^di: <<

I have no idea. Like I said, I'm no textual expert. The little
snippets I've seen of Thomas (like where the boy Jesus stretches the
wood to fix his father's carpentry mistakes) make me doubt its
authenticity. And while we could probably argue the relative dates
of introduction, it seems clear the early church didn't put it on
the same level as the other gospels.
[I'm just filling in from bits and pieces I remember, though --
feel free to correct me].

>>Where is "your sins are against me and I forgive you" which you seem
to be suggesting? He does says "the Son of man has authority to
forgive sins" but also "I do nothing on my own authority but speak as
the Father taught me." He is clearly dispensing God's forgiveness,
not forgiving on his own. The people who claimed otherwise were
scribes and Pharisees trying to catch him out. <<

Well, in a sense, yes. I guess my point is that he claimed
authority to speak for God on the matter of forgiving sins - without
any animal sacrifice. And of course he transferred that authority
to his followers, on the basis of his sacrifice. Still a pretty
serious claim.

> 4. He claimed equivalence with God

>>He claimed to be sent by God.<<

>>Would you claim that all the disciples were therefore equivalent to
God as well? Heck they even had authority to preach and heal and
cast out demons etc.<<

In a sense, yes, but only by derived authority.
"Father, I pray that they would be one with you, as I am with you."
"To them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them who
believe on his name."

Again, I am saying his claims were made in the context of his
hearers, with the full knowledge of what he was saying. This is
precisely what ticked off the Jews: "For by claiming God as his
father he was claiming equivalent with God."

There are lots of other references to the Fatherhood of God, but
I'm not sure which ones you'd accept for purposes of argument.

> [...] This left a certain amount of
> ambiguity which took a while to resolve, but the debate was
> essentially whether Jesus was fully God or some third category, not
> about him possibly being a normal man. The record leaves no room for
> that option.

>>Actually that option was most definitely one of the "heresies" in
play. <<

My apologies. My understanding that the main non-divine alternative
was the Arian heresy, which claimed Jesus was not God but merely a
sort of higher angel, pre-existent but not divine. I thought this
was the relevant issue for the Council of Nicea. If there was an
earlier pure humanist heresy you know about I'd like to hear about

-- Rob, who thinks that one should rely on the quotes in the oldest
possible sources, not on doctored versions and interpretations made
afterwards. Doesn't mean they are absolute truth but at least they
are a lot closer to it.

It might help if I knew which scriptures you were using as your
reference point, since you apparently add and subtract some gospels
relative to the ones I am familiar with. Most translations I know
of seem to do a pretty thorough job of footnoting which verses are
in doubt based on extant manuscripts, but I suppose there could be

-- Ernie P.
who tends to think there is a certain continuity of belief from
the past to the present with no sharp discontinuities. Doesn't
mean we're right, just that we're consistent.