Dear Joe and Sally,
I was listening to a debate concerning ‘How Jesus became God’ between Prof. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Simon Gathercole on:
Now Prof. Bart was, as he called himself, ‘a born-again’ Christian at the age of 17. However, after entering ‘Bible Moody College’ to further his studies he found that the four Gospels ‘contradicted’ one another.
To cut a long story short he ended an agnostic, a person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist).
Dr. Simon became a Christian in his teens. He furthered his studies by studying the Hebrew and Greek language and the history of the church.
Now, what surprises me is that they are quoting the English translations in spite of the fact that there are hundreds of English translations and thousands of different denominations each with a teaching peculiar to themselves fulfilling, in themselves, 2Ti 4:3, “For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear. And they will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned to myths.”
In the debate the question is asked, as to how God became Jesus. One can hardly believe that a scholarly person would debate that as the original text is very clear concerning Jesus’ ‘becoming flesh’.
The original reads, Joh 1:1, “To a beginning was the Word, and the Word was nigh unto the God, and a God was the Word.” So, why would the God, the most high God, want to become a ‘lower God’ and then become a Son of the man?
One must bear in mind that by the time of Act 6:7-, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith,” things changed dramatically.
The ‘converted’ priests soon introduced new teachings, Act 15:1-, “And certain ones who came down from Judea taught the brothers, saying, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’
“Therefore dissension and not a little disputation occurring by Paul and Barnabas, they appointed Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question…”
After Stephen’s stoning the believers were ‘scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.’ One thing they knew was Stephen saw the Son of the man standing on the right hand of the God, Act 7:56, “And he said, ‘Behold, I see Heaven opened and the Son of the Man standing on the right hand of the God.’” These Christians, who fled the persecution engendered by Paul, proclaimed the gospel message far and wide.
Of importance is that the translators omitted, in the above quote, the definite article before ‘man’ and before ‘God’. Why?
Consider Rom 8:3, “For the impossible thing of the law in which it was weak because of the flesh, the God, sending the Son of his own in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, did condemn the sin in the flesh…”
The law’s sacrifices for the forgiveness’ of sins were weak. They could, at best, only ‘purify the flesh’ but unable to purge ones conscience as is written as per original, Heb 9:13-, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ (who having an eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to the God) purge your conscience from dead works to serve a living God?
“And because of this, of a new covenant He is mediator, that, death having come, for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, for where a covenant is, the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary…”
Translators ignore the articles as given in the original text in order to support the ‘Trinity’ teachings introduced by the teachings of the ‘converted’ priests who believed ‘God is one’ about 300 years after Christ; the Nicene Creed.
The Creed reads:
“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
“He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
“And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
Of course the God is an ‘Individual’ Him being the most high God and so also is the resurrected Jesus an ‘Individual’ having been resurrected by God the Father as is written, Act 13:32-, “And we preach the gospel to you, the promise made to the fathers, this the God has fulfilled to us their children, raising up Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.’
“And that He raised Him up from death, no more to return to corruption, He spoke in this way: ‘I will give you the holy promises of David…”
Also the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was to be that Lamb, Joh 1:29, “The next day John sees Jesus coming to him and says, Behold the Lamb of the God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Now, Jesus did not just ‘appear’ on the scene. No, there were over 300 prophecies in the OT concerning Jesus’ first advent. Peter W Stoner, in his book, ‘Science Speaks’ explains the chances that these prophecies could be fulfilled were they not ‘inspired’. See:
The chapter ends with, “Any man who rejects Christ as the Son of God is rejecting a fact proved perhaps more absolutely than any other fact in the world.”
Likewise, there are many ‘prophecies’ concerning Jesus’ second event and they, too, will be fulfilled.
An important one is the parable of ‘the good seed and the darnel’; whilst men slept the enemy came and…, Mat 13:29-, “But He said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the darnel you also root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my granary.”’”
Paul further writes, 2Th 2:-3-, “Let not anyone deceive you by any means. For that Day shall not come unless there first comes a falling away, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition,” and, 2Ti 4:3-, “For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear. And they will turn away their ears from the truth and will be turned to myths.”
And, so it is with hundreds of English Bible translations and thousands of different denominations just as Jesus and Paul said it would be in the last days.
If only Prof. Bart and Dr. Simon had kept to the original text there would have been no debate. Jesus had prior existence, Psa 2:1-, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples meditate on a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against the Jehovah and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands in two and cast away their cords from us.
“The One dwelling in the heavens shall laugh; the Jehovah shall mock at them. Then He shall speak to them in His anger, and trouble them in His wrath. ‘Yea, I have set My King on My holy hill, on Zion.’
“[Then declares that King] ‘I will declare the decree of a Jehovah. He has said to Me, “You are My Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”’
“And now be wise, O kings; be instructed, O judges of the earth. Serve the Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling! Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled in but a little time. Blessed are all who put their trust in Him.”
Phi 2:5- according the original, “And think ye so in yourselves, as also in Christ Jesus who, existing in a form of a God, did not consider it robbery the to have equal qualities to a God, instead voluntarily He gave up everything taking on an appearance of a servant, in likeness of men becoming; and having been found in fashion of a man He humbled Himself, becoming obedient until death, even a death of a cross.”
And John writes, according to the original, Joh 1:1-, “To a beginning was the Word, and the Word was nigh unto the God, and a God was the Word. The same was then near unto the God. All things were made through Him; and without Him was not anything made that hath become. He was the source of life; and to that life, was the yearning of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not…
“And, the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of Him, a glory as of an only born of a father, full of favour and of truthness.”
Moreover, Luke 1:26, according to the original, reads, “During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, The God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.
“But when she saw him, she was greatly perplexed by his saying, and she wondered what sort of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Fear not, Mary, for you have found favour from the God. And behold, you shall conceive in womb and bring forth a Son and you shall call his name JESUS. He will be great, and a most wonderful Son will He be called; and a Lord, the God shall give Him the throne of His father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’
“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘A holy Spirit shall come upon you, and a power, beyond compare, shall overshadow you; therefore, the holy One developing will be called, a Son of God [a Son beyond compare].
“And behold, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for she who was called barren. For with the God nothing shall be impossible.
“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of a Lord! May it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
The ‘Word’ laid down his Deity and that holy Spirit entered Mary’s womb and was given ‘flesh and bones’.
So, even if the translators erred in translating the original the question remains, why did Prof. Bart and Dr. Simon not pick it up?”
The parable of the ‘good seed and the darnel’ comes to mind. Concerning this Paul writes, 2Th 2:7-, “For the mystery of the evil One [Antichrist] already beginneth to be operative: and only, if that which now hindereth shall be taken from the midst [the ‘falling away’]; then at length will that evil One be revealed; whom our Lord Jesus will consume by the breath of his mouth, and will bring to naught by the visibility of his advent.
“For the coming of that [evil One], is the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all the deceptiveness of iniquity, in them that perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth, by which they might have life.
“Therefore God will send upon them the operation of deception, that they may believe a lie; and that they all may be condemned, who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in iniquity.
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always, on your account, my brethren beloved of our Lord that God hath from the beginning chosen you unto life, through sanctification of the Spirit, and through faith in the truth.” Consider, Tit 3:5, “Not by works that are in righteousness that we did but according to His kindness, He did save us, through a bathing of regeneration, and renewing of a holy Spirit,