Apologetics: The Divinity of Christ
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Apologetics: The Divinity of Christ

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Teaching notes from LTCi Siliguri

Teaching notes from LTCi Siliguri

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Apologetics: The Divinity of Christ Apologetics: The Divinity of Christ Presentation Transcript

  • The Divinity of Christ Pocket handbook of Christian Apologetics Chapter 8 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
  • In conversation with a friend they ask you why you believe Jesus is the only Son of God? What arguments and evidence would you give in response? Role play to present / assess your answers
  • There is a problem when looking at the identity of Jesus Christ - we look at the Gospels (all 4 of them) - and a shockingly strong claim is made. Jesus called himself the “Son of God” - he claimed to have the same nature as God and called God his Father. Jn 10:30, 14:9 “I and the Father are one.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
  • Jesus claimed to be sinless: Jn 8:46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Lk 5:21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Only the one who is offended by sin can claim the right to forgive - and ultimately that has to be God.
  • Jesus claimed to save us from sin and death: Jn 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; Matt 25:31-46 Jesus claimed he would return at the end of the age to judge all of us. Jn 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
  • Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter - something that for a Jew only God could do - a name revealed your true identity which was given by God alone. Jn 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). In the OT God alone changed names - and with them destinies - Abram, Sarai, Jacob - illegal name changing resulted in excommunication for orthodox Jews.
  • Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter - something that for a Jew only God could do - a name revealed your true identity which was given by God alone. Jn 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). In the OT God alone changed names - and with them destinies - Abram, Sarai, Jacob - illegal name changing resulted in excommunication for orthodox Jews.
  • Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter - something that for a Jew only God could do - a name revealed your true identity which was given by God alone. Jn 1:42 Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). In the OT God alone changed names - and with them destinies - Abram, Sarai, Jacob - illegal name changing resulted in excommunication for orthodox Jews.
  • Jesus kept pointing at himself and telling people to come to him - Matt 11:28. Buddha said, “Look not to me: look to my dharma (doctrine),” he also said “Be lamps unto yourselves” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” - Jn 8:12 Lao Tzu taught the way (tao); Jesus said, “I am the way” Jn 14:6
  • Buddha, Confucius and Muhammad fulfilled no prophecies, did no miracles, and did not rise from the dead. Jesus did all of these. Jesus invited death (by stoning or crucifixion) by saying Jn 8:58 NLT Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” Or before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive; Greek reads before Abraham was, I am.
  • The importance of the issue 1. The issue of the divinity of Christ is a distinctively Christian one - a Christian has to be defined as someone who believes this. 2. This is the key to unlocking many other doctrines within the Christian faith - many are believed on the basis of the divine authority of Christ who taught them, so that they are written in the Bible and taught in the church.
  • If Christ was only human he could have made mistakes therefore if you want to disagree with Christ this is a good point to argue against! Note that there are teachings which probably all of us find hard and might want to disagree with. Note here: we as believers are very familiar with it so we find it far easier to believe. What’s So Objectionable About Wife Beating?
  • Kreeft states, If Christ was only human he to “Christians ought could have made mistakes realise how difficult, therefore if you want to disagree with Christ this is a good point to how scandalous, how argue against! Note that there are objectionable, how teachings which probably all of us find hard apparently to and might want disagree with. unbelievable and Note here: we as believers are absurd this itdoctrineit is very familiar with so we find farbound believe. easier to to appear to others.” What’s So Objectionable About Wife Beating?
  • Clues to the possibility of this doctrine Kreeft offers six clues which are designed to talk of the possibility of God becoming man - in the following section we shall see how this happened in Jesus.
  • 1. CS Lewis calls the incarnation “myth become fact” - in fact in many mythologies there are similar ideas of a god who came down from heaven, died and rose to life for the life of man - e.g. Odin, Osiris [The garden of Eden and the flood also make similar appearances] It is argued that because of these parallels that there cannot be validity in the Christian story, it is false - Kreeft suggests the more foreshadowings of an event the more likely it is to have occurred / will occur.
  • 1. CS Lewis calls the incarnation “myth become fact” - in fact in many mythologies there are similar ideas of a god who came down from heaven, Osiris is an to life for god, of man died and roseEgyptian the lifeusually identified as - e.g. Odin, Osiris the god of the afterlife, the Eden and the flood [The garden of underworld and the also make similar appearances] dead. He is classically depicted as It is a green-skinned man with a argued that because of these parallels that there cannot be validity pharaoh's beard. in the Christian story, it is false - Kreeft suggests the more foreshadowings of an event the more likely it is to have occurred / will occur.
  • 2. An analogy from art: an author writes himself into his own movie etc. as a character - the character would have a double nature (that of the author and also of the character they are playing in the movie) - they have come down from the heaven of the authors mind to the earth of the movie. Alfred Hitchkock was famous for doing it - if he can, why can’t God?
  • 3. How does a person who disagrees with the idea of the incarnation, saying it is impossible, tell God what he can or cannot do? It seems the skeptic is more sure of them-self than they are of God.
  • 4. If a being worthy of the name God exists then he would be omnipotent and able to do anything that is meaningful and not self contradictory. Therefore the incarnation is not a contradiction (even though it is a miracle) - it is possible.
  • 5. This is possible not only from the side of the creator but also the creature - a human being can be transformed, taken up into God. Kreeft suggests this is like subhuman food being taken up into the human body, or physical vibrations becoming spiritual music, or form and colour becoming art etc.
  • Transformation is a principle running throughout the world and evolution would be an example of it. That said evolution happens by nature, incarnation by God’s grace. Kreeft suggests this simply proves both are possible.
  • 6. The ability of a person to have two differing natures is best seen in yourself (a human being). You can and cannot be measured in terms of space our physical being and intellectual or spiritual being all come out of a single body (soul and body together). In Christ we see his human and divine nature in the same body.
  • Argument’s for Christ’s divinity The following are stronger arguments for the actual event of the incarnation. 1. Christ’s Trustworthiness Jesus is seen by (almost) all as a great teacher, good and wise man. He is considered to be a very trustworthy man. Therefore we have to ask if we can trust him regarding his own identity? If not, then he is not good or wise.
  • 2. The impossibility of the alternative What is the alternative to saying that Jesus is God? Jesus claimed to be God, and he is thought to be believable, so where do we go from here? Considering the fact that Jesus claimed to be God we have to deal with a number of possibilities:
  • a. Do the Gospels lie - and if they do, why? If they are written by lars then the result of writing and following was martyrdom - not a great motive - liars usually lie for their own benefit.
  • b. Thousands of others also suffered and died for their belief - often singing as they were put to death - has a lie ever transformed the world like this?
  • c. What if it wasn’t deliberate lying but simply an hallucination which took them all in? Jews were not likely to believe this lie - they had waited for God and now we are to believe that after they had been forbidden from worshipping false image they fall for this, their god becoming a man and being crucified as a criminal - not likely.
  • c. What if it wasn’t deliberate lying but simply an hallucination which took them all in? Jews were not likely to believe this lie - they had waited for God and now we are to believe that after they had been forbidden from worshipping false image they fall for this, their god becoming a man and being crucified as a criminal - not likely.
  • d. What is if was not a Jewish but a Gentile myth - how on earth did it get into the NT then - after all 25 of the 27 books in the NT are written by Jews. e. If anyone had devised the myth it could not have propagated in the lifetime of those who knew and were with Jesus, for surely they would have disproved it.
  • Aquinas suggests that if the incarnation did not happen then a bigger, more unbelievable miracle took place: the conversion of the world by the biggest lie in history and the moral transformation of lives into unselfishness, detachment from worldy pleasures and radically new heights of holiness all by a mere myth.
  • Aquinas suggests that if the incarnation did not happen then a bigger, more unbelievable miracle took place: the conversion of the world by the biggest lie in history and the moral transformation of lives into unselfishness, detachment from worldy pleasures and radically new heights of holiness all by a mere myth.
  • 3. Lord, liar or lunatic? The earliest apologists have said of Jesus, “Either God or a bad man” - what is more simple? a. Jesus was either God (if he did not lie about who he was), or a bad man (if he did lie about it. b. But Jesus was not a bad man c. Therefore Jesus was (is) God. The bad man idea is not usually argued with - so we have to deal with the first idea.
  • 3. Lord, liar or lunatic? The earliest apologists have said of Jesus, “Either God or a bad man” - what is more simple? a. Jesus was either God (if he did not lie about who he was), or a bad man (if he did lie about it. b. But Jesus was not a bad man c. Therefore Jesus was (is) God. The bad man idea is not usually argued with - so we have to deal with the first idea.
  • How do we approach this? If someone claims to be God and is not he is a bad man common sense tells us that! Jesus could not be merely a good man, by claiming to be God he eliminates such possibilities - so he is a liar who tells lies about who he is.
  • How do we approach this? If someone claims to be God For non-Christians it is easier and is not he is a bad man to say he was a good man common sense tells us that! claim he is bad and you offend Jesus could not be merely a Christians, claim he was God good man, by claiming to be and you offend other nonGod he eliminates such Christians. possibilities - so he is a liar who tells lies about who he is.
  • If he wasn’t God, but Jesus believed his own claim to be God, then he has to be a lunatic. The “divinity complex” is a well known form of psychopathology symptoms include, egotism, narcissism, inflexibility, dullness, predictability, inability to understand and love others - basically such people are the opposite of Jesus. In fact Jesus showed wisdom,love and creativity - all opposites of this complex.
  • If Jesus was a liar then he had to be one of the greatest ever to have walked on planet Earth - on a basic level to convince people to give up their eternal destiny through his lies is a terrible act. He would have to be the biggest, baddest liar ever!
  • But what if the disciples invented the lie? 1. The disciples do not show symptoms of being pathological liars 2. What was their motive - they got suffering and death, just like Jesus. 3. They could not have known this would be successful as all Jews would be horrified at the nature of the lie and its blasphemy.
  • What if the disciples were lunatics? 1. The Gospels write of one of the most compelling people in history - not the work of madmen. It would be hard for a madman to write one chapter let alone all of them
  • 2. How could such lunacy change for the better the lives of so many people? 3. What accounts for the origin of the lunacy? How do we account for the original deception in all of it?
  • Motives for unbelief In the light of all this, why do so many not believe? 1. No rational reason even when the arguments have been refuted their is no rational explanation for why some refuse to believe.
  • Motives for unbelief In mathematics, an why In the light of all this, irrational number believe? do so many not is any realNo rational reason 1. number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, even when the arguments wherebeen refuted their is have a and b are integers, with b non-zero, no rational explanation for and is therefore not a why some refuse to rational number. believe.
  • 2. Often Christ is not rejected but Christians people do not like what christians look like. 3. Fear - of the church, its authority and its teachings scares people away. The church makes demands just like Jesus did - it is not comfortable.
  • 4. Moral reluctance - if you accept Jesus then all areas of your life are challenged (and should be changed) by his teaching - sex, drugs, morality, selfishness, wrong morals etc. All “sin” comes under this challenge a surgeon will remove all cancer, Jesus challenges it all and demands it removed - Christ comes to kill sin in our life.
  • 5. People are sometimes afraid of the mysterious and uncontrollable - God who is incarnate is not neat or comfortable. 6. Pride - we refuse to relinquish control of our lives 7. Belief in Jesus is intellectually unfashionable
  • 8. Equality - to believe Jesus is the only way then says all religions are not equal - not a popular way of thinking - and one that demands a response of choice. These are not logical arguments which prove unbelief - they simply explain subjective, psychological unbelief.
  • The Divinity of Christ Pop Quiz
  • •Kreeft starts by listing ‘claims’ of Jesus that people might find hard to accept - there are at least six - name four of them •Why is the divinity of Christ important in apologetics? (2 reasons) •Kreeft gives 3 arguments for believing this argument of Christ’s divinity... •Kreeft states 8 reasons for not believing this - name four 13 Marks
  • Kreeft starts by listing ‘claims’ of Jesus that people might find hard to accept - there are at least six - name four of them Jesus called himself the “Son of God” - he claimed to have the same nature as God and called God his Father. Jesus claimed to be sinless: Jesus claimed to save us from sin and death: Jesus claimed he would return at the end of the age to judge all of us.
  • Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter something that for a Jew only God could do Jesus kept pointing at himself and telling people to come to him Buddha, Confucius and Muhammad fulfilled no prophecies, did no miracles, and did not rise from the dead. Jesus did all of these.
  • Why is the divinity of Christ important in apologetics? (2 reasons) ! 1. The issue of the divinity of Christ is a distinctively Christian one - a Christian has to be defined as someone who believes this. 2. This is the key to unlocking many other doctrines within the Christian faith
  • Kreeft gives 3 arguments for believing this argument of Christ’s divinity... ! 1. Christ’s Trustworthiness 2. The impossibility of the alternative 3. Lord, Liar or lunatic
  • •Kreeft states 8 reasons for not believing this name four 1. No rational reason 2. Christ is not rejected but Christians 3. Fear 4. Moral reluctance 5. People are sometimes afraid of the mysterious and uncontrollable 6. Pride 7. Belief in Jesus is intellectually unfashionable 8. Equality