The Bible Does NOT say that Jesus is Almighty God in the flesh.
Being raised in first a Lutheran church and then a Baptist church, I was brought up in the doctrines of Christianity. I was taught that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, that Jesus was God in the flesh, and that when someone died they went to either Heaven or Hell.
In my last two years of school, I took New Testament Greek as an elective study. It didn't take too long before I began to see that many of the assumptions I had about the Bible were indeed false.
It began with the teachings of my preacher. There were times when he would tell his congregation the meaning of a word in the Bible, but he would be very wrong, though his flock didn't know the difference.
Some years later, I found myself faced with the challenge of proving to a friend the divinity of Jesus. I must admit that I became a bit distraught upon finding that the evidence was rather lacking. Searching as best as I could, I found that many of the verses I had learned for the subject at hand only worked best if they came from the King James version and were taken out of context.
I decided that I would do an objective study on the topic. I first tried to disprove the divinity of Christ, which I discovered was surprisingly easy. When it came time to prove Christ's divinity, as before, I found it near to impossible. It took a lot of resistance, but after about a year, I accepted that the only reasonable thing was to go with what the Bible really says, instead of what I had been told for many years.
After all that I have seen in my study of the New Testament's original language, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to ever believe that Jesus and God are the same. And my despair slowly started to take a turn, as I looked upon the churches of today and beheld the people who claimed to be of God simply absorbing their pastors' words without question.
You see, with an estimated 44,000 different denominations of Christianity all supposedly based on the Bible, every denomination cannot possibly be a reflection of what the Bible really says. Either one of them is right and the rest are wrong, or they are all wrong. So how, I wondered, could a person feel so confident in his or her Christian faith?
In the years since my discovery about Jesus, I have tried to tell other Christians the truth. Sadly, their tendency is to become defense and get angry at me. I think this is because one's set of beliefs form a huge chunk of their identity, so if I were to expose some of their deep-seated beliefs as lies, it would force them to question other assumptions in their lives and reflect harder on the nature of reality, which can be a very scary thought for some.
Here I wish to publicly debate what the Bible really says about Jesus. Is this Almighty God in the flesh? To me, all evidence says that he is not. I am looking to see if there is someone who would take up the challenge of proving me wrong, and thus save the so-called Christian mainstream from my accusation of blasphemy, for it is indeed blasphemous to say that Jesus is God if he is not.
These are the rules laid out for this debate:
1. Arguments must be drawn from the Bible, not simply from one's reason. After all, this debate is ultimately about what the Bible truly says.
2. The King James version cannot be used to make an argument for Jesus being God. This is because I recently finished a debate on the validity of the KJV and showed why it is perhaps the worst version to use if one is interested in what the original writers of the Bible were saying. You can view that debate here:
3. Join this debate only if you plan to stick around for its five rounds. My opponent bailed on my last debate and made it a bit of a dud. I want this to be as challenging and as educational as possible.
4. This first round is mainly for introduction. Arguments will begin in the next round.
5. I needn't say this, but both sides are expected to treat each other with respect and act in an honorable fashion. No name-calling and profanities, please.
Alright, I look forward to debating someone. Who will accept the challenge of defending this major tenant of the Christian church?
I ask the Lord's blessing on both of us, as well those watching the debate!
I truly thank Gordontrek for accepting the challenge of this debate. I pray that the truth of what the Bible really says comes forward here, even if the truth is for my opponent.
Please keep in mind that some of my arguments stem from the Greek text of the New Testament, which effectively renders many translations moot, as you may later see. Unfortunately, the dogmas of mainstream Christianity affect the way in which certain words and phrases are translated.
The very first place most folks usually point to when in this discussion is John 1:1. The gospel of John deserves its own round, so I plan to get to it in round 4.
Once John is set aside, we face a little problem with the doctrine of Christ being God in the flesh, namely that the three other gospels say nothing to suggest it.
For those who believe in the Trinity doctrine, I suppose one could point to the conversation between Gabriel and Mary in Luke 1. There, most translations have Gabriel telling Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you...". If your Bible version is honest about the words added to the text, the word "The" before "Holy Spirit" is in italics. In fact, there is no Greek word there that can be translated as "the". In other words, Gabriel is telling Mary that a holy spirit will come upon her. Now continuing with the verse, it reads, "...therefore the child to be born will be holy, and he will be called Son of God." You see, as Paul later talks about, Jesus was a holy spirit in Heaven with God. Thus it is reasonable to say that Jesus would also be holy after his birth. Also, take note of how the verse says that Jesus will be called son of God. The Greek says this not as a command, but as a future action. Gabriel does not say that Jesus would be son of God, just that he would be called as such.
As I say in the comments section, claiming that God is your father does not make one equal with God. According to Paul, all of those who trust on God are his sons (and daughters). Are we then equal to God as well?
When Jesus uses the term "son of man", this can actually have several meanings, but I will focus on two. The first, which is used within many churches, is that this term is Jesus referring to himself in a prophetic sort of way, pulling the title from the Scripture books of Daniel and Ezekiel. However, I hold to the second view, that Jesus was using it as a way to show that the works he did were given to all men. The Greek literally means "the son of the human (race)".
An example of this can be found in Matthew 9. After Jesus heals the paralytic, verse 8 says, "When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings."
Taking a verse from John to further support this, I quote 14:12 &13: "Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
So then, his works did not show equality to God if these works were also given to those who trust in God. I point out too that both Elijah and Peter raised someone from the dead through God's power; therefore, not even Jesus' raising of dead people show him to be God.
I also want to discuss the meaning of a word. Jesus did not ask his disciples to "follow" him. The Greek word, AKOLOUTHEO, is literally translated "accompany". In other words, he did not want Peter, Andrew, James, John to follow him; he wanted them to walk along the way with him. This shows him not as being above them, but seeing himself equal to them. They were disciples who were meant to take his place when he left.
In all three of the synoptic gospels, Jesus asks his disciple who they say that he is. If they believed Jesus to be God, I'm sure Peter would have said as much. But instead, Peter's claim was, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God!"
Now, what do Peter's words mean? As it turns out, this is not a claim of Jesus being God; it is instead a messianic claim of Jesus' right to the throne of David. Let me explain.
The Greek word for Christ is KhRISTOS, and it is equal the Hebrew word MSHYKh, which refers to a consecrated person and is normally translated "anointed" in the KJV, except for in Daniel where "messiah" is used twice in prophecy. The first King of Israel, Saul, was a Christ (using Christian terminology), because he was anointed by God through Samuel. David also was a Christ, and for the very same reason. In other words, both Saul and David are refered to in Scripture as being God's anointed one. Not only so, but David, being king of Israel, was also called "son of God". God even supposedly calls him that! In Psalm 2:7, David says, "Let me tell of the decree: YHWH said to me, 'You are My son; I have fathered you this day'."
The title "Son of God" is a title for the anointed king of Israel. To say that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God is to say that Jesus is Israel's rightful king. You will find that it is on this line that much of the argument against him falls. Only in the gospel of John do we see others thinking that Jesus is claiming to be God. I tend to stick with the idea of there needing to be two or more witnesses in the case of such an important matter, but like I said, we'll get to John later.
You will also see that Jesus never claims to have any power of his own. Let's look at Matthew 28:18. It reads, "And Jesus came and said unto them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me'." So here's my question: if Jesus is God, how could such authority be given to him? Did God give Himself authority over heaven and earth? I will touch more on this within the next couple of rounds.
I'm done in the synoptic gospels for now, so I wish to touch on something else in the space I have left.
The Holy Spirit is not a person. It is not a he nor a she. In the Greek text, the words PNEUMA HAGIOS are neuter, effectively making the holy spirit an it. The Greek word PNEUMA correctly refers to a current, mainly whether of air or of energy. In most Bibles it is usually translated as either "wind", "breath", "spirit", or "ghost", depending on the Bible version and the context of the word. So for it to drive Jesus into the wilderness or carry Philip to the eunuch, the holy spirit acts as a current of God's will. It is how His power is channeled through His people to perform what are called miracles.
The word HAGIOS is usually translated "holy", but in relation to the people of God, it's usually rendered "saint", as in, a holy one. It could therefore be correct in Mark 1:24 for the unclean spirit to call Jesus "the saint of God", but translators tend to want to separate Jesus from other people. HAGIOS is contrasted with that which is unclean, though the meaning of purity is only implied. The Greek meaning is one of sanctification and consecration, which ultimately is a setting apart of a person or thing for God's purpose. It could perhaps be correct, then, to translate PNEUMA HAGIOS as "sacred current", but that does sound a little horrid.
And as a side note, the Hebrew term is also not masculine, but feminine. Hebrew, like the Latin languages, does not have a neuter, so all things must be either masculine or feminine, even inanimate things. This carries into Greek where the sun is masculine and the moon is feminine, which fits in with pagan belief. So the Hebrews saw God as masculine and the "holy spirit" as feminine. When the Greek language came along, the "holy spirit" became an it. Only when the Hebrew and Greek were translated into Latin for the Catholic church did the holy spirit become masculine.
This in itself throws the "Trinity" into question, as God is clearly not three persons. So now we are down to two, and my hope is to show that God is One, and Jesus is merely a servant who was chosen to have authority over all because of his obedience.
I will go ahead and make my refutations.
In my opponent's first main paragraph, he quotes the conversation between Gabriel and Mary. Gabriel says "The Holy Spirit will come upon you.." If I interpret my opponent's argument correctly, I assume that he is saying that this verse claims Jesus WILL BE the Holy Spirit, and makes the argument that the verse only says that a Holy Spirit will come upon Mary.
The Holy Spirit, in the Trinity doctrine, is believed to be the entity that God uses to either move the spirits of men towards God or to carry out God's will. In this context, then, then Holy Spirit refers to the entity that will carry out God's will, not the Holy Child himself.
"take note of how the verse says that Jesus will be called son of God. The Greek says this not as a command, but as a future action. Gabriel does not say that Jesus would be son of God, just that he would be called as such."
I would ask my opponent: What difference does it make if God only says he will be CALLED the Son of God? As Christians, we have no doubt that GOD MEANS WHAT HE SAYS. Am I wrong in making this statement? If God calls Jesus the Son of God, then He IS the Son of God. Matthew 4:4: "But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (NASB)
"So then, his works did not show equality to God if these works were also given to those who trust in God. I point out too that both Elijah and Peter raised someone from the dead through God's power; therefore, not even Jesus' raising of dead people show him to be God."
Did Peter and Elijah ever claim to be God? Did anybody in the Bible ever say that Peter and Elijah were Divine? Isaiah speaks quite clearly about the Divinity of Jesus: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Do we ever see Isaiah offering prophecies about the divinity of Elijah and Peter?
The ability to perform miracles through God's power does not necessarily indicate equality with God in that He gave certain disciples the ability to work them. What shows that Jesus is equal with God is the authority that God gave to Jesus, which far surpasses the ability to work miracles. Jesus is the Intercessor between God and Man, and it is through His blood that we receive eternal life in heaven. Were Elijah and Peter ever granted these abilities?
"The Greek word, AKOLOUTHEO, is literally translated "accompany". In other words, he did not want Peter, Andrew, James, John to follow him; he wanted them to walk along the way with him. This shows him not as being above them, but seeing himself equal to them. They were disciples who were meant to take his place when he left."
I question my opponent's sources here. According to the Greek Lexicon, the literal translation of Akoluthei (seen in Mark 10:21) is indeed "to follow." The origin of this word comes from "keleuthos" which refers to a road or a way. In this context, I believe the word "way" refers to the Way of Christ.
Referring to Peter's words to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the son of the Living God!" my opponent has said:
"As it turns out, this is not a claim of Jesus being God; it is instead a messianic claim of Jesus' right to the throne of David."
"The first King of Israel, Saul, was a Christ (using Christian terminology), because he was anointed by God through Samuel."
My opponent appears to be saying that those who hold the throne of David can be referred to as a "christ," since the Greek word translates as "annointed." He goes on to say that David was even called a son of God in Psalm 2:7. That the word "christ" could also be used as a generic term is an interesting fact. You learn something new every day!
It should be noted that we are ALL sons and daughters of God, and I believe that my opponent would agree with this. However, Jesus is THE son of God, not simply a son of God. We all believe that God is THE God, correct? The generic word "god" is different from the word when it is referring to the God of the Bible. The same should be true when the word "son" is used to refer to THE Son of God.
Applying this same principle, it is reasonable to say that Jesus is THE ultimate Christ. As he is referred to, Jesus is King of Kings, or "Christ of Christs."
"You will also see that Jesus never claims to have any power of his own."
Why would Jesus need to if He is God? My opponent quotes Matthew 28:18, in which Jesus states that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. My opponent questions whether or not Jesus could be God if Jesus' authority was given to him.
You see, God BECAME A HUMAN in Jesus. In this verse, Jesus is saying that God gave authority to a human being, and in this case, that human was Jesus.
On to my opponent's case about the Holy Spirit.
He says that the Hebrew language does not have neutral terms when referring to gender, so even inanimate objects become masculine or feminine. The Holy Spirit, he says, was not actually referred to as masculine until the translation for the Catholic Church.
I fail to see why this "throws the 'trinity' into question." Just because the Holy Spirit was linguistically referred to as feminine does not mean that God and the Holy Spirit are completely separate. They are both divine entities, and thus do not have a specific gender. We have always referred to God as "He", yet we all know that He is neither male nor female.
Finally, I would like to make a short case for the actual divinity of Jesus. I would like to refer my opponent to Hebrews 1:8.
"But about the Son he says: Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of the kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore, God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." (NIV)
How could Jesus not be God, if Jesus is being addressed AS God BY God?? Consider also Philippians 2:6, which says that Jesus is God by nature?
An online Bible Lexicon source: http://biblelexicon.org...
Con raised some good points, so I will address them before I go further.
I was saying that Jesus was not born of the holy spirit, but a holy spirit. There are many holy spirits in Heaven surrounding God’s throne. As far as Gabriel saying that Jesus would be called son of God, I was talking semantics, that this was a prophecy or sorts and not a command.
Isaiah 9:6--I will show later how it is possible to be a god but not the God. I accept that Jesus may properly be a deity of sorts, but that he is Almighty God is what I argue against.
AKOLUTHEI--Two sources are STRONG’S Concordance and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, both of which being tools in many pastors’ libraries. The “A” prefix to the root word is used here as a particle denoting union. The verb means to be in the same way with, or even more literally to road with, which has no meaning of following. Simple, biased definitions are not the best ones to accept. Therefore, I stand by my explanation of Jesus calling his disciples to walk along with him, or accompany him, in the way. It’s best to check as many sources as possible before coming to your conclusions.
And actually, in Hebrew and Greek, the words for "God" are the same when talking about "a god" or "the God". In Hebrew, ELOHIYM (normally translated “God” in reference to THE God) is plural, so some pastors claim that this in in reference to God being three persons. However, ELOHIYM is also used in reference to Baal-Berith (Judg 9:46), Dagon (I Sam 5:7), Chemosh & Milcom (I Kings 11:13), Baal-Zebub (II Kings 1:3), and several others. So that teaching falls apart.
My point about the holy spirit was that the Jews (at least in the centuries around the time of Jesus) saw the holy spirit as an it, an inanimate thing with no life. The Greek neuter of PNEUMA HAGIOS makes this holy spirit as full of life as a table or wall. Thus, it is not a person.
Hebrews 1:8--I'm glad you brought this up! This verse is a quote of Psalm 45:6-7. You must look at these verses in their context with the rest of the Psalm. This is a Psalm about King David, which is evident by the language used: it talks about the sword on his hip (vs 3), his arrows (vs 5), the smell of his garments (vs 8), his daughters and queen (vs 9), and it speaks of virgins and the resulting sons (vss 10-16). This is NOT God calling Jesus His son, though God did do as such at Jesus' baptism (Mk. 1:11).
This allows me to tie in with the last point. While THEOS is used in Heb 1:8, ELOHYIM is used here in Ps 45:6, and in reference to David. This is very important. David was referred to as a god, which explains the part that says “Therefore, ELOHYIM, your ELOHYIM…” (vs 7); it’s to stress that this is talking about David’s god, not David himself. But you see, it takes an understanding of the original words to grasp this meaning:
Our English word "god" ultimately comes from a verb root meaning to invoke/call. In the same way, while the surface meaning of ELOHYIM and THEOS accurately refers to a deity, the deeper meaning allows that the deity to not be supernatural. Have you ever heard of a woman referred to as a diva? It’s the same root word. Ultimately, the Hebrew words refer to a mighty one, and in fact, ELOHYIM is sometimes translated as such. Therefore, it wasn’t blasphemous to refer to David as a “god”, nor was it (as Jesus points out in John 10) blasphemous for David to refer to men as gods (Ps 82). As I pointed out earlier, Satan is called “the god of this age”. So if Satan could be called a god, and Jesus is the heir to the throne of David but over a MUCH larger kingdom now, surely so could Jesus be called a god! But my argument is that Jesus is not the God, just as David was not the God. This helps explain what Thomas was saying in John 20:28.
For an easier understanding of this, let’s look at the Greek word KURIOS. It is equal to the Spanish word senior. It could mean “lord”, as in a being of great power or wealth (Lord God; lord of Scotland); or it may mean “sir” or “mister”. THEOS works in the same way.
Before I get into anything else, let’s discuss “God the Father”. Not once in the Greek do you find this phrase. It is always THEOS PATER (in its different case forms). The “the” is added. By the rules of Greek grammar, this is more accurately “Father God”, which is in line with how the Greeks referred to Zeus, ZEU PATER (“Father Zeus”), becoming in Latin “IUPITER”, and then “Jupiter” in English.
So when you learn the correct term, it becomes easy to see in the Greek that God is the Father, and the Father is God. The Son is the son.
Next I direct you to the beginning of nearly every epistle. Usually within the first 10 verses or so, you find something like this: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Cor. 1:2,3) Notice how the second sentence says “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You find this separation of God and Jesus toward the start of most epistles.
Revelation 1:1 reads, “A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to show his slaves things which must occur in haste…” So God gave the resurrected Jesus this revelation. Jesus was no longer an earthly human at this point, yet even here we see a separation between him and God. Vs 2: "the word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ". Also notice the language of vss 4-6.
Let's look in the book of Acts. Peter's sermon in chapter 2 clearly lays everything out. Pay attention to the wording used.
Verse 22 "Men, Israelites, hear these words: Jesus, the Nazorean, a man attested to you from God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you as you yourselves know--"
Verse 24 says that God raised Jesus from the dead. This is the formula throughout the New Testament. Not once does it say that Jesus raised himself. (Acts 2:22-24, 32, 13:30; Rom 10:9; I Cor 6:14, 15:15; II Cor 4:14; Colos 2:12; Heb 13:20-21).
Something else I wish to point out is that the churches usually say that Jesus now sits on the right hand of the Father. However, this is not the language of the Bible. Acts 2:33 says that Jesus was "exalted to the right of God". (5:30-31 also says that God exalted Jesus.) In 7:55-56, it says twice that Stephen saw Jesus "standing at God's right". (Colos 3:1; Heb 10:11-12; and I Pet 3:22.) Not once does the Bible say that Jesus is at the right of the Father.
In vs 36 of Acts 2, speaking of Jesus, Peter says, "Then assuredly, let all House Israel know that God made him both Lord and Anointed One, this same Jesus whom you crucified."
I'll start with my opponent's claims about the Gabriel/Mary conversation.
I made a mistake bringing up the holy spirit. This debate is about Jesus, who he is and who he isn't. Still, I will answer my opponent.
Gordontrek forfeited this round.
Con has dropped out (see comments), but I will continue on to the book of John as promised.
Gordontrek forfeited this round.