How does one “prove” Jesus is divine?

Our friend friend Nathan Rinne has responded to my “Jesus Christ: a god or just a demi-god?” over at his blog Theology Like a Child. Nathan has objected to the following sentences:

And here is the answer to the question so often put to us by those outside the Christian faith: “Prove to me that Jesus is divine.” We can’t. Such “proof,” such as it is, is only available to those who have heard the summons of the risen Christ, been baptized into the Lord’s death and resurrection, and now indwell the eucharistic life of the Church.

Nathan writes: “I can’t agree with Father Kimel here: I do not think that it is responsible for Christians to speak in this fashion.”

Irresponsible? That’s pretty strong language. In response to my statement, Nathan refers us to a couple of texts in the Book of Acts, a brief citation to Michael Polanyi, and a lengthy citation from one of my favorites, Lesslie Newbigin. Readers may want to jump over to his article and take a look. I’m not going to respond to directly to his arguments as I think Nathan misses the key point: the dogma of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is revelation, and therefore can only be received by divine faith and experientially confirmed in the sacramental life of the Church. How could it be otherwise?

Apart from the eyes of faith, Jesus is just a man. Maybe an extraordinary man or a strange man or a crazy man, but a man nonetheless; indeed, orthodox Christianity insists precisely on this fact, that he was (and is) a man and not a demigod or a god pretending to be a man. Yet faith confesses that this man, in the perfect integrity of his humanity, is God from God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father.

I do not know how one could go about proving such a remarkable claim beyond a reasonable doubt. One can certainly point to Christ’s miracles, the provocative elements in his teaching, and the eschatological authority with which he preached; but there have always been miracle-workers, interesting teachers, and prophets. But what about our Lord’s resurrection? Doesn’t that prove his divinity? Not necessarily. By itself, God’s raising Jesus from the dead only publishes God’s approval of Jesus. And how does one demonstrate that it was God who raised Jesus from death, as opposed, say, to aliens from another planet using some marvelous piece of advanced technology?

I do not know how to prove the divinity of Jesus beyond a reasonable doubt, yet I believe and confess it with divine faith. I do so because I receive the apostolic claim as revelation from the Almighty Creator. Isn’t that what Christians have always done?

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31 Responses to How does one “prove” Jesus is divine?

  1. Fr Kimel,

    I think you’re quite right. All attempts to explain how Christ is God and man have come after the givens of revelation. Dante says it is not demonstrable, but that in the life to come we will know the truth of Incarnation by direct experience of it.

  2. John says:

    “[St. Paul's statement] is very fact-oriented, empirical, data-driven kind of talk.”

    That doesn’t sound like St. Paul at all, at least to me. The statement above made by Mr. Rinne sounds like 21st century, modern man who is very fact-oriented, empirical and data-driven. I always though St. Paul sounded like he had a genuine experience of the risen Lord. Just my two cents.

    John

  3. jrj1701 says:

    Father Bless,
    Interestingly I came across this passage and I think that it reflects what you are trying to say.
    St. Maximos the Confessor (Fifth Century of Various Texts; The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg.276):

    “Our intellect possesses the power of apprehension through which it perceives intelligible realities; it also possesses the capacity for a union that transcends its nature and that unites it with what is beyond its natural scope. It is through this union that divine realities are apprehended, not by means of our own natural capacities, but by virtue of the fact that we entirely transcend ourselves and belong to God. It is better to belong to God than to ourselves; for it is on those who belong to God that divine gifts are bestowed.”

    With this passage in mind, wouldn’t revelation of Christ’s divinity be a divine gift???

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Yes, I think so. I just read a few minutes ago the following in St Gregory Nyssen’s Epistle to Eustathius:

      “It is not possible to behold the person of the Father otherwise than by fixing the sight upon it through through His image; and the image of the person of the Father is the Only-begotten, and to Him again no man can draw near whose mind has not been illumined by the Holy Spirit.”

      The context of this statement is Gregory’s defense of the divinity of the Spirit, but I’m confident that he would agree that recognition of the Son’s divinity must be understood as divine gift. We know the Son only in communion with the Spirit.

      I do not know how to “prove” the divinity of Christ apart from divine revelation.

      • Vaal says:

        “We know the Son only in communion with the Spirit.”

        But how do you know when you, or any other Christian, are in such a communion with the Spirit?

        Christianity is now split into thousands of sects with competing interpretations of Christianity/God’s will, etc. And you can find among virtually ever sect or denomination, adherents who believe they have experienced the Spirit. And yet…all these differences of interpretation, all these disputes remain.

        Can you say that protestants, for instance the Charismatics when speaking in tongues, are not really experiencing contact with the Spirit? They are utterly convinced they are.
        How about the snake handlers, who only begin to pick up their rattlesnakes once they feel in contact with the Holy Spirit? Can you say they are, or are not in such contact, and if so how do you know and why wouldn’t their subjective experience be as legitimate a basis as your own?

        On one hand, if all these different denominations ARE able to experience God’s spirit/revelation, then it is a very odd thing that God would just happen to given them JUST enough subjective experience that (He would Know) these people would take as confirmation of their own doctrines…essentially knowingly aiding all these schisms (some of which over the years have been internecine).

        On the other hand, if you are going to say “No, actually only SOME of us Christians actually do experience revelation via experience of the Spirit” then that means a great many Christian’s are mistaken about their most convincing subjective experiences.

        But then…that suggests you’ve got a problem assigning confidence to your own divine experiences. If a Christian can be so utterly convinced he has experienced God, but be wrong, then you can not rely on whatever depth of “it feels real” you might experience of the Spirit. You have to be skeptical of your own experience.

        There seems to be no reliable epistemology at all within Christianity to distinguish “experiences of God” from just being manifestations of different people’s imagination.

        Vaal

        • jrj1701 says:

          Vaal you look at us silly, hypocritical, superstitious, lot and wonder “Why bother? What proof do you have?” Faith cannot be satisfactorily explained, no matter how hard we try, and there have been some very good folks that have given it a good effort, yet it will always boil down to the free will of the individual and who that individual decides to serve. I have made my decision, and I try to live my life the best way possible according to His will, trying to overcome the attacks, misfortunes, fear, limitations, that present themselves within myself and from others. The reality is that I can’t do this by myself, and so I learn to depend on Him, a power in the universe greater than all individuals, an entity that I cannot see rationally until somebody teaches me. The problem with that is that there are others that are spiritually sick also, including those that claim they are in possession of the cure. The problem I have with atheist is that they are like those who will tell a sick person that all medicines are bad. Faith in God is necessary, and you don’t get faith by sitting on the sidelines, second guessing and harshly judging those who have decided to go to the source of all healing.

  4. whitefrozen says:

    One does have to wonder what such ‘proof’ would look like, though.

  5. Vaal says:

    Fr Aidan Kimel,

    (Not to be a pest on your blog but…)

    I infer that you would not consider your theology to be the naive, unsophisticated Christianity attacked by New Atheists. And yet when I read what you’ve just written, it tends to re-enforce
    just how on-target they have been with their criticism. ;-)

    Vaal

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Vaal, what have I said that might have led you to believe that I am not a Christian?

      • Vaal says:

        I must have worded that post poorly.

        Of course you are a Christian. But don’t you think, like DB Hart, that New Atheists tend to address strawman? That their targets are always the low hanging fruit – naive, or unsophisticated versions of Christianity, their criticisms not pertinent to the more sophisticated versions of Christianity such as your own?

        If all that is the case, I’m just saying that your post espoused just the type of thinking that has been squarely in the cross-hairs of the New Atheists.

        I mean, certainly you raise some cogent issues concerning the problems in trying to one “prove” Jesus is divine, and I agree largely with what you wrote.

        But then you seem to do the leap-of-faith thing that New Atheists have rightly criticized (IMO). I’ve yet to see any version of Christianity – be it protestant biblical literalism, Catholicism or Orthodox – that actually, truly escapes the scope of the New Atheist’s critiques. Whether a Christian takes the occasional trip to metaphysical arguments or not, there is always the necessary return to scripture and doctrine…and faith. Squarely into the sights of the Atheist critique (“new” atheist or otherwise).

        I do sense a sort of implied despair of knowledge in that post. An underlying implication
        that we all believe in something we can’t formally prove or disprove, so “what the heck, this is the assumption – certain Christian dogmas – that I get to have as mine.”
        As if such things as weren’t amenable to rational judgements. I don’t know that this is actually your position and I’m not saying that I know it is. But I’ve encountered it enough that I wouldn’t be surprised by it. (Yes, I know of the tradition of rational inquiry in terms of classical theism, but I’m looking at how you are talking about belief in revelation, specifically).

        Since you are human I presume you acknowledge you could be making a mistake, could be wrong about your beliefs in revelation, and various dogmas of your church, including whatever subjective experiences you have of The Divine. That being the case, I wonder when you ask yourself “Am I wrong and how can I check if I’m wrong?” what your answer is.

        Cheers,

        Vaal

        • William says:

          Vaal,

          If I may, it only takes the “occasional trip” to the metaphysical arguments to show that the New Atheists (or the old ones) have little or no credibility on the subject of God. After that, being in the crosshairs of their critiques is not of much consequence when one returns to scripture and doctrine and faith. I may be right or wrong about revelation and my own experience concerning God, but the New Atheists, lost as they are metaphysically, have shown themselves to be unreliable guides on the matter. That much is clear.

  6. Vaal says:

    Hi William,

    I do not find any daunting challenge awaiting new atheists in, for instance, classical orthodox metaphysics. Insofar as an orthodox representative endeavors to be lucid, I find the problems with their concepts of “nature,” “the good,” “final causes,” “teleology” etc are easy to spot.

    (And Sam Harris’ account of “the good” I find is more cogent – while not fully refined his arguments are better for his at least being on the right track, vs Thomistic metaphysics which unconvincingly try to disguise the purveyor’s arbitrariness and subjectivity as objective features of reality).

    And if we want to talk about “unreliable guides on the matter of God” I give you: Religion, Subjective Experience Of God and Holy Texts as the premier examples.

    Vaal

    • jrj1701 says:

      Vaal, a ruler is meaningless if ya ain’t taught how to read it, so are ya saying throw away rulers??? Wouldn’t it be better to learn how to read a ruler??? Where do ya go to learn about God???

    • parhelion says:

      Hi everyone,

      Vaal,

      Could you help me here? I have been watching this exchange from a distance and there are a few things I am not clear on/informed about. What exactly are the criticisms of the New Atheists (if summarization is possible)?

      Thanks!

      BC

      • Vaal says:

        parhelion,

        The link provided by Fr Aidan Kimel is fairly typical of New Atheist critics, though Feser is one of the more obstreperous of those critics.

        Essentially, the criticism almost always boils down to:

        1 “You New Atheists are only hitting the easy targets – treating Christianity as essentially protestant fundamentalists treat it, as if there weren’t more sophisticated versions of Christianity.”

        2. “You aren’t talking about the God I believe in.”

        3. “You are philosophically and historically naive, and are avoiding the REALLY GOOD ™ arguments for God.”

        The New Atheists are certainly not perfect to be sure. Hitchens especially, while broadly read, could be revealed as more shallow, philosophically. But many of their critics rely on deflection and straw men. Almost all the New Atheists debates have been between a new atheist and a critic representing the more sophisticated, enlightened view of Christianity, and I do not find their critics come off very well once they have to deal with actual back and forth with new atheists. Because the New Atheist will not let the theist get away with ignoring the elephant in the room: religion and the actual dogmas people believe, including the “sophisticated” theists who both allow themselves belief in ancient
        tales of resurrections, epistemologically-mushy appeals to personal experience, etc.

        Edward Feser, the Roman Catholic philosopher, has been especially noxious over the New Atheist’s purported philosophical naivete. I’ve had some back and forth with Prof Feser over the Thomistic-Aristotelian metaphysics he defends, and did not find any hint
        that those metaphysics were cogent (same goes for when I go straight to Aquinas’ writing). This has been the case every time I’ve gone into “ok, put up or shut up” mode with such critics – it only re-enforces there seems to be no actual “really good argument” waiting in the wings to surprise New Atheists.

        (BTW, none of this is to pretend such theists are not very smart people).

        Cheers,

        Vaal

        • jrj1701 says:

          Vaal, that is because you are asking for an answer that can only be found in doing religion, not analyzing it to the Nth degree. Language just ain’t the proper tool to convey the fullness of spiritual life. Yet it is interesting to watch ya try, sorta like watching somebody trying to objectively describe riding a bike, their words just don’t get the fullness of the action.

        • parhelion says:

          At first glance, I have to admit that the criticism directed toward the new atheists don’t seem that far off to me if I read these and your comments about them correctly.

          Look at the first one.

          Seems like any skilled rhetorician/sophist can score points by holding his opponents to a naive view of religious language before an audience who, while not unintelligent, are not educated in the finer points of the range religious discourse. Your comments about the “elephant in the room” combined with the fact that these exchanges which are taking place in the context of a debating situation would lead me to believe that what is at stake at that point in time is a matter of tearing a position down and not the joint pursuit of truth. Smells like there is a pursuit of “fundamentalising” (the redline appearing under that work while I am writing leads me to believe that might not be a word, but it makes my point) the belief of their opponents going on. If they have to resort to that type of technique it would appear that they are pursuing a program of deflection and are fabricating straw men (or would that be a “red herring”) of their own. I suspect at that point in time the philosophy of religious discourse is not explored. But then not everybody can understand these things anyway.

          You just validated the first criticism.

          Then consider the second one. If I say a new atheist isn’t speaking to my understanding of God then they aren’t. That would be my area of expertise and not their’s especially if they are resorting to find a way to classify me as a fundamentalist (trust me no fundamentalist church would have me).

          Finally, the last one. It is well known that it is hard to come up with a fool proof argument which will convince everyone who hears it with regard to any position let alone a religious position. This is because it is required that the one who agrees with the argument “sees” the rational inference being made. If you cannot “see” what others are pointing to then that does not means they are wrong. You’re seeing what you see is no different than the believer seeing what they see.

          It might be that in the end it all boils down to personal experience for both sides. It’s not what you know, it’s what you see.

          If this talk of seeing versus not seeing doesn’t make sense then read chapter 9 of Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain for a reasonably decent example.

          Actually, I didn’t express myself very clearly in my original comment. Sorry about that. What i was really after the the New Atheist critiques of religion.

          My apologies if I have misread or distorted what you have said.

        • Vaal says:

          parhelion

          1. The New Atheists are primarily focus on religion, not on ancient metaphysical arguments. That is, they are concerned with the type of epistemological bar-lowering and special pleading that underlie most people’s belief in their holy texts as revealed truths about divine resurrections and other claimed miracles, the morality contained therein, etc. They point out that fundamentalist literalism is a problem, but SO is the more liberal or “sophisticated” versions of Christianity because even the more nuanced Christians end up appealing to some measure of biblical miracles, and some measure of appealing to the Bible as divine information about a God, none of which can be rationally justified. The nuanced Christian is still left making his own dubious lowering-of-the-skeptical-bar to allow in his church’s beliefs about Jesus and the divine nature of the bible, and this puts quick-sand under his feet. It disarms him from being able to truly criticize other contradictory religions, or fundamentalism. They just can’t be consistent.

          The first thing a New Atheist would ask you is “what part of revelation do you believe and why?” He will then start pointing out the type of inconsistencies you will likely engage in, when answering such questions.
          (E.g. you are not engaging in a level of skepticism toward the bible as you would recognize as wise in most other domains of our inquiry).

          2. “If I say a new atheist isn’t speaking to my understanding of God then they aren’t. That would be my area of expertise and not their’s”

          The issue is: you can’t claim an atheist isn’t speaking to your understanding of God, if he is pointing to something you actually believe, explaining it’s relevance to his argument, and it’s relevance to the coherence of your own views. IF you believe in Jesus’ resurrection and his divinity, for instance, you can’t complain when an atheist uses this to show how your wider beliefs about God is unjustified or incoherent. (If they are).

          A sophisticated theologian can go on as long as he wants about metaphysics, but his belief BOTH that a Perfect Being exists AND that the bible or Jesus represents
          revelation of such a being, are going to be pointed out as an unjustified leap, rife with special pleading.

          3. Yes, there is a difference between the soundness of an argument and whether anyone is convinced by it or not. But then, IF we wish to ask of each other “how do we justify what we believe?” what else have we? Any attempt to “give reasons” will appeal to reason. And if we say “well, we don’t have to give reasons for believing in things” obviously that way lies chaos. So we do our best.

          Cheers,

          Vaal

    • William says:

      Vaal,

      Keep in mind that the scope of my statements here is much narrower than the breadth of what you seem to be wanting to address. Given that, I think you may have missed my point.

      Your statement that Harris’ idea of the good “at least being on the right track” only serves to indicate that you liikely come to him with some shared presuppositions and thus are able to find him more “satisfying,” which is more or less as subjective as anything else you mentioned.

      Anyway, it may well be that religion (whatever that happens to mean), subjective experience and holy texts are unreliable guides. Even so, that doesn’t make the New Atheists into reliable guides. That’s what I was getting at. They can be shown to be irrational on metaphysical topics, given they espouse a metaphysics of no metaphysics. And so, if I want any elucidation on the matter, I will look have to look somewhere other than in their camp. I hope that makes my statement clearer.

      • Vaal says:

        Ok William, I can see some reasons for your point of view. Thanks.

        Vaal

        • parhelion04162014@1901CDT says:

          I’ve been thinking about my exchange with Vaal last Sunday. I’ve had a conversion experience. In order to be rational I must align my self with the point of view of the new atheists. I now know that I am merely a physical process. The idea that I have a soul must be rejected because after all that is a silly religious notion or perhaps an idiotic metaphysical construct. The very idea that I was some sort of continuous entity seem silly to me now.

          Since I am at a different stage of the process since then I will use my same name to identify my particular process flow but I will add a timestamp so everyone can know which stage of the process made the comment.

          Right now I am parhelion04162014@1847CDT. I am relieved that I don’t think the way parhelion04132014@1634CDT did. That “stage” was very silly to think the way it did. We (that is all of the stages of my process that have come and gone since then) owe Vaal04132014@2104 and it’s preceding and successive stages a big thank you! My current stage would like to give that current stage a thank you in person, but I can’t! That stage is gone, never to return. Oh, well it’s not like it was a person or anything.

          When I sign this I’ll have to update my timestamp since parhelion04162014@1847CDT doesn’t exist. I am now parhelion04162014@1901CDT.

          I would say I’ll be in touch, but I won’t. If only I could get rid of this sense that I am a self. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the need to say “I”. What a stupid religious sentiment!

        • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

          Farewell, parhelion04132014@1634CDT. :)

  7. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    For those who might find it of interest: Edward Feser on the new atheists.

  8. infanttheology says:

    Father Kimel,

    Thanks for discussing my post. Let me just say this upfront: I realize how audacious it seems to be, but I really do think I need to stick with my point.

    You said:

    “I think Nathan misses the key point: the dogma of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is revelation, and therefore can only be received by divine faith and experientially confirmed in the sacramental life of the Church. How could it be otherwise?”

    Here is the way I am seeing this pan out:

    1. The claim of the Apostle Paul in Acts 17 is that the Creator-God of all has called something very specific “proof” for all men.

    2. That something is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which God has shown all men who will judge the world. He is not just any man. This message creates angst in the unbeliever and is to comfort the believer.

    3. It certainly follows that God will publish for the world the words of this man whom He has appointed.

    4. And it is within this message, found in the Gospels, that we find this man asserting himself to be God in human flesh, come to give eternal life to the world. This message creates trust.

    I suggest that by submitting to contemporary human notions of what constitutes proof – as if what God calls ‘proof’ is less important – we short-circuit the power behind simple proclamation like Paul’s here, which looks to have its roots in passages like John 16:8-11.

    You say: “By itself, God’s raising Jesus from the dead only publishes God’s approval of Jesus. And how does one demonstrate that it was God who raised Jesus from death, as opposed, say, to aliens from another planet using some marvelous piece of advanced technology?”

    Did the aliens do this because of the Old Testament prophecies (see Luke 7:18-23 and Luke 24)? : )

    +Nathan

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      N: ” I realize how audacious it seems to be, but I really do think I need to stick with my point.”

      Haha! Not audacious at all. :)

      N: “That something is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which God has shown all men who will judge the world. He is not just any man. This message creates angst in the unbeliever and is to comfort the believer.”

      Don’t you find it curious that Jesus only appeared to his disciples? He didn’t appear to Pilate or Caiphas or the public at large. The only “proof” the world is given is the apostolic proclamation itself, which is itself God’s revelation.

      Nathan, it seems to me that your argument presupposes a commitment to the Bible as divinely inspired testimony, received in faith.

      And I still don’t know how to prove the divinity of Jesus to unbelievers. All I can do is to confess the divinity of the risen Christ and let God do the rest. Are we really in disagreement?

      I bid you a blessed Holy Week.

  9. Pingback: God of all has called something very specific “proof” for all men | theology like a child

  10. infanttheology says:

    Father Kimel,

    “Don’t you find it curious that Jesus only appeared to his disciples? He didn’t appear to Pilate or Caiphas or the public at large. The only ‘proof’ the world is given is the apostolic proclamation itself, which is itself God’s revelation.”

    First of all, I don’t find that curious at all. Jesus makes it pretty clear God does not do miracles on demand.

    As for the only proof, being the apostolic proclamation, there is of course always the empty tomb. And eyewitness testimony is certainly evidence even in an earthly sense. From Acts 26 (Paul to Agrippa and Festus):

    I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles… I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner….

    “Nathan, it seems to me that your argument presupposes a commitment to the Bible as divinely inspired testimony, received in faith.”

    I don’t think so. I think it presupposes a) at the very least agnostic behavior (not consistent atheistic behavior) – i.e. a willingness to be open to religious claims ; and b) being willing to consider that the book of Acts is what it claims to be, that is, a reliable historical account of the words, deeds and experiences of the first Christian disciples. Even modern historians who have looked into the matter have at least been willing to concede that the book of Acts gets geography, local customs and local language dead-on right. Surely this makes the book worth looking at.

    And I submit that once looked at, the real work begins. They see that Paul, claiming to be God’s messenger, says that this constitutes God’s proof for man. The unbeliever hears a brief message like the one Paul preached in Athens and, convicted by the Spirit, seeks to learn more…. Questions should be provoked: “Does any other world religion claim to offer proof, assurance…. – that we can know who it is who will in the future judge the world?”

    I would go so far to say than that anyone who does not take these things seriously – is, by definition, not being rational. Would most philosophers agree with me? Well, probably not. And even if some found it to be an intriguing argument, perhaps they may say, after looking at things, that there is “insufficient evidence” for what Christianity claims. Then what? Again, do they get to decide what sufficient evidence is? Might they be under any obligation to reconsider and look again? Who charges them to do so? How deeply did they look into it? Did they do so prayerfully?

    “And I still don’t know how to prove the divinity of Jesus to unbelievers. All I can do is to confess the divinity of the risen Christ and let God do the rest. Are we really in disagreement?”

    Well, yes, we just proclaim it. That said, as I laid about above, I think we need to be bold in our proclamation like Paul is (yes, I have doubts to). I am not saying that everyone is going to come streaming in when we do that (see the end of Acts 17). I am saying that that is the faithful mode of proclamation: i.e. that what God calls “proof” here is indeed “true and reasonable”.

    In spite of the philosophers who would assert otherwise – and in spite of modern skeptics with their own flimsy ideas about what we can and can’t know.

    +Nathan

  11. infanttheology says:

    Father Kimel,

    One more thing…

    “Nathan, it seems to me that your argument presupposes a commitment to the Bible as divinely inspired testimony, received in faith.”

    But if this were the case, why would have Paul spoken as he did to the men of Athens? These were not believers to whom he spoke.

    +Nathan

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Nathan, I’m afraid I just don’t see a point of serious contention between us. Chalk it up to a slow, aging mind on my part. :)

  12. infanttheology says:

    Father Kimel,

    The core of my argument is the statement: “by submitting to contemporary human notions of what constitutes proof – as if what God calls ‘proof’ is less important – we short-circuit the power behind simple proclamation like Paul’s here, which looks to have its roots in passages like John 16:8-11.”

    The theologian in academia has two challenges: 1) To teach that which he should; 2) To be taken as intellectually viable. Since the enlightenment, the latter has trumped the former.

    In short, what modern theologians attempt to do is to maintain some sort of biblically faithful theology, based on what the modern intellectual community takes to be fact, or reality.

    You can get a bigger sense of what is at stake by reading my objections to this post: http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com/2014/04/lutheran-theology-and-metaphysical.html

    +Nathan

  13. Stephanie B says:

    There is no man that ever lived that is divine enough to fulfill all the prophecies that point to Jesus Christ. It would be impossible for a mere human man to set out to fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies as Jesus did. A created soul would have 1. given up trying, 2. would not have the perspective to organize such things if he was not divine.
    If it were somebody that was afflicted with a mental illness? 1. They would have the inability to follow through with such a complex plan 2. They would become undone eventually because of organizational problems that beset the mentally ill.
    I defy anybody to think out all the prophecies pointing to the Messiah and then think out a human plan to fulfill them all….. and you have 33 years to do it. It must include your mother, a prophet that comes before you, Angels that act as heralds and guardians before you even take on flesh !!
    Good luck.

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