God Clothed Himself with Christ

God clothed Himself with Christ that He might walk among us – that He might walk a mile in our shoes, as it were.

God’s spirit was hidden in Jesus of Nazareth.  Said another way, Jesus of Nazareth was animated by the spirit that is God.

A human being is the union of a spirit and a body, the result of which is a soul.

Our bodies clothe our spirits – even from ourselves.  For what human can distinguish between spirit and soul?

In the case of Jesus of Nazareth, the spirit was the spirit of Him who had made heaven and earth.  We could not see His spirit just as no human can see the spirit of another human.  Yet, His behavior was entirely distinctive.  And His resurrection from the dead to an indestructible life added indelibly to that distinction.

Finally, in the revelation of Jesus Christ, we see that He was…and is…God.

For more on this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

It Wasn’t Just the Resurrection – It Was the Life He Led, Too

It wasn’t just His resurrection from the dead that so distinguished Jesus of Nazareth from the rest of humanity – though that alone was indeed enough to make Him the most unique human being to ever have lived.  It was also the life He lived before He died – that, too, was unparalleled in human experience.  Who else ever did so much good, taught so much truth, and bore up under so much suffering so nobly and so quietly?

Repent, and Follow Jesus Christ Our Lord! 

“I’ll Rise Again” – Christian Song

Dallas Holm and Praise released I’ll Rise Again in 1977.

Lyrics are here, courtesy of SongLyrics.com.

In the final refrain of the song, the words change to “I’ll come again.”  Funny thing is, many people who sing the song believe that He kept the first promise do not think He has kept the second – at least not yet.  Why is this?

Before He was ever crucified, Jesus told His closest disciples that He would rise from the dead in three days (Mark 8:31).  He also told them that He would come again in that generation (Mark 13:30).  In both cases, He gave a time horizon for His promise.  Why would He be faithful to it in one case but not the other?

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again!

Professor Larry Hurtado Asks How Jesus Became a God

Here’s a ten-minute video clip of Larry Hurtado speaking academically to the question, “How on earth did Jesus become a god?”  Of course, the answer is laid out for us quite plainly in the New Testament: by virtue of His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of God in heaven.  You don’t need a PhD. to understand that.

In ancient minds, heaven was the abode of the gods – and Jesus went there after His crucifixion to reign eternally.  This is what distinguished Jesus from every other prophet of Israel and every other human being.  No wonder Dr. Hurtado’s research supports the contention of the Scriptures that Jesus was regarded as divine almost immediately upon His resurrection and ascension – and not, as some scholars say, as an outcome of some long evolutionary process over multiple generations of followers.

Resurrection to heaven was the event that qualified Jesus to be revered as a heavenly being – it’s what He was, and still is…forevermore.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLeXpSCLrD8]

And here’s another clip of Professor Hurtado speaking on this subject.

 

 

Non-Christian Corroboration of the New Testament Account: Pliny the Younger

Unbelievers in Jesus often harp on the absence of evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament.  That’s like complaining that there’s no evidence against the accused except for all the evidence in the file on the accused.  That is, such a complaint ignores the multiple and corroborated instances of evidence that have accumulated into a large file.

Nevertheless, there is evidence outside the New Testament that corroborates its account of Jesus.  One example is the writings of Pliny the Younger (61-112 AD).  In one of his many surviving letters, he wrote to the Emperor Trajan early in the 2nd Century A.D. about the many Christians he was encountering.  That the movement would have generated enough adherents by this time is certainly consistent with the New Testament records.  Moreover, Pliny’s most specific description of their beliefs and practice was that

“They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and…”

Apart from viewing the New Testament account of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension as an explanation, such a statement would be startling and inexplicable to any student of ancient history.  Ancient Israel certainly expected a Christ, and some individuals actually claimed to be the Christ, but no group ever worshiped Christ as a god in heaven prior to what we see described in the New Testament.

It is even interesting to see how similar Pliny’s description is to the one we read from Athenian unbelievers in the New Testament’s book of The Acts of the Apostles:

“‘[This man Paul] seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities’- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.”     Acts 17:18

Pliny the Younger and other unbelieving Romans could not be expected to write accounts of Jesus and His followers until their numbers created a significant social movement that could not be ignored.  And that is just what we see has happened.  The question then remained, “What caused this social movement?”  The account given by the New Testament documents is the only reasonable answer.

Dialogue with David (re: Heaven and Hell)

This dialogue began in the comments of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.  While it began in the context of discussing the logical structure of that book, I moved it here when David requested that we approach the discussion with a different logical structure. 

If you want to read the discussion prior to this point, here is the last comment of that discussion.  From there you can work backward to reconstruct the beginning of the conversation.

If, however, you’re a reader just joining the discussion, it’s not necessary that you work backward.  I’ll give a summary that will allow you to follow the discussion without backtracking.  That summary is this:  I believe that the Bible teaches that Everyone Is Going to Heaven (this link provides a one-page summary of my view, while  The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven provides a much longer explanation).  

David disagrees, and here, in his own words, is his view:

God will not have anything to do with sin. He hates it. He is spirit and thus is everywhere at once. Nevertheless, in a sense that I can not really articulate, He lives in heaven. It’s a spiritual realm in contrast to our material one.

God is one; and yet the Bible shows that He operates in three persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. I see each of them having what we would call personality. And, yet, Scripture clearly teaches that there is only one God. All three ‘persons’ of the Godhead have never not existed. 2000 years ago, the second person, the son, who was a spirit being, became a man on earth, Jesus. He was fully man and fully God. Don’t ask me to explain that….

God’s plan is to live with man for all eternity. Since man is sinful, He had a problem to solve and He did it with Jesus’ death. God has always been identifying men/women to ‘save.’ By this I mean, He declares them righteous. They are not righteous; but, he can do this since at a point in time (2000 years ago) He knew that their sin would be paid for and thus make His declaration just.

The way in which a person is declared righteous is when God decides that they have faith/trust in what He has revealed to them. Genesis 15:6 is a nice example of this happening to Abraham well before the cross. Yet, when Abraham died, he went to Sheol. He had been declared righteous; but, his sin had not yet been paid for by the cross. Today, it is the gospel of Jesus that one must trust to receive this declaration. Those who don’t trust this message remain unrighteous and can not come into the presence of God, heaven. Sorry.

Not only righteous people but also unrighteous people went to Sheol before the cross. And, from Luke 16:19ff it seems like there was a good part and a not so good part. After the cross, Jesus took the ones from the good part to be with Him. According to 2 Corinthians 5:8 (as I understand it, at least) Paul says he would rather be absent from the body (I take this to be physically dead) and to be home with the Lord (I take this to be with Jesus in heaven). So, when one who God has declared righteous (God did this for me on December 19, 1987) dies today, they are immediately transported to heaven as a spirit being. Their body is rotting in the earth and they never have anything to do with Sheol. They are not yet resurrected which for me means being given a body like the one Christ had when he appeared on earth after the cross. That resurrection will happen when Christ comes for His church someday.

So, what about the unrighteous. They are still flocking to Sheol; the bad part. And, not until the various judgments of Christ, will they be resurrected to go to a place nobody should ever have to go to. On the other hand, it is one to which we all (including me, of course) deserve to go to.

So, as you can see, you and I are miles apart in our theology. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think might be profitable for us to discuss. I still think the list of premises approach is the most likely one to yield any fruit.

I am happy to try to work with David’s structure (“list of premises”) and see if that leads to more common understanding. 

David, I know you previously laid out your structure but, not knowing whether you might want to adjust that in any way, didn’t want to just repeat it without giving you the opportunity to update.  Therefore, if you will begin your reply by restating your current logical construct and which part you would like me to address, then I’ll respond, and we’ll go back and forth – unfettered by the structure of my book, following your logical leanings, and hopefully having a productive dialogue.