Christianity - Son of God, Jesus

I believe that Christians tremendously complicate some aspects of being Christian! An immense number of Christians seem to think that the Trinity is like a "basketball team" where Three different participants contribute to a "team effort". It seems that nearly all Christians are so tangled with the concept of "Son of God" that they have somewhat incorrect ideas and conclusions about exactly Who Jesus Was and Is! How can they explain it to anyone else if THEY are fuzzy on parts of the concepts?

It if first critical to note that the Ten Commandments (of the Old Testament) are absolutely and entirely supported by Christian Theology. Nothing that Jesus Taught ever challenged any one of them! Of those Ten Commandments, virtually everyone agrees that the First is the most important. It states (paraphrased): "There is One, True God, and I am Him." One God. One God! One God? Many Christians seem to forget this important First Commandment!

It seems appropriate to now present a rough "history" as most Christian scholars understand it today.

  • (1) God / YHWH / Jehovah Existed. If we chose, we could actually refer to Him as any of those Names or, equally, as Jesus or as the Holy Spirit. There was one God, with dozens of other possible Names, although these last two would have had no meaning to people until much later. See Names of God

  • (2) God Created the Universe and everything in it, including us. He interacted with Adam and Eve, and much later with Abraham, and later still with Moses, and a few other humans along the way. No one else had Personally interacted with God, as far as anyone knows, and no one since about that time, 3300 years ago.

  • (3) The Bible tells us that the Spirit of God affected human events and communicated with some humans from time to time. Was that a SECOND God? No! It was the Spirit, which is simply a different Form in which God can choose to be.

  • (4) After many different attempts at guiding the Jews in this way, all of which wound up with human weaknesses not being up to the necessary tasks, God apparently decided that He needed to PERSONALLY interact with humans on a more extended basis than just simple conversations and Miracles.

  • (5) God had the choice of entering human society in a spectacular manner or in a quiet manner. He clearly realized that if He first appeared in a public Miracle, there would be people who would forever follow Him around hoping for Miracles regarding their personal problems. Further, people would behave in unnatural ways, in the Presence of God Himself. Imagine how YOU would act in the presence of the Queen of England or the President of the United States. Therefore, God chose to enter human society in as "normal" a way as was possible, to be "Born" of a human woman.

  • (6) Mary was chosen for this function. Keep in mind the extremely important fact that Jesus had already existed! He Was and Is, God. Jesus did Creation, but by the Name of YHWH or whatever other Name we might wish to apply. Now, God certainly does not normally exist in human form, so Jesus' existence prior to Mary (referred to as the Pre-Existence of Jesus among Christian scholars) was not in human Form. Mary therefore became pregnant, while still a virgin, and she had a Baby, Jesus.

    I realize that few modern Christians will believe any of this, although ALL Biblical Scholars and Theologians do completely! There is a way to aid in this understanding. YOU can recite the Nicene Creed, which describes the basics of Christian beliefs. But the MODERN wording of the Nicene Creed is significantly different than the ORIGINAL WORDING of it! Here is the ACTUAL original wording as recorded during the Nicene Council of 325 AD.:

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The Creed, as set forth at Nicaea, a.d. 325.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things, visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father;

God of God; Light of light; very God of very God; begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father,

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By whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth:

Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate, and was made man:

He suffered, and rose again the third day:

And ascended into heaven:

And shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.

By the Council in 381 AD, there were FIFTEEN changes made in that text, all of which were additions, which then fairly closely resemble the Nicene Creed as we know it today.

But when we look at the ORIGINAL wording, in 325 AD, notice that there is NO reference to the Virgin Mary or of the Holy Spirit being involved, but equally important, ALL wordings of the Nicene Creed include the phrase "came down". That not only meant that Jesus came down from Heaven, but that HE ALREADY EXISTED!

  • (7) Note that the Baby Jesus was therefore THE God of the Universe! The ONE God of the Universe! NOT actually the "Son of God" at all, but the One and Only actual God of the Universe! This situation could present two major complications.

    Now, consider the possibility that Jesus DID fully realize that He was the One True God. If He said such a thing to ANYONE, would He be believed?

    We happen to have a relatively similar situation with the BELIEVE web-site. With five million visitors each year, we get immense amounts of e-mail. So far, there have been well over 900 different individuals who have each "announced" to us that he was Jesus, having Returned! We never like to insult anyone, but we DO often respond by telling them that at least 899 of these people MUST be wrong! So we tend to now be especially skeptical each time a new person makes this announcement to us. The point is, if someone came up to YOU and told you that he was God, what would be your reaction? Whatever it might be, it seems likely that it would NOT involve you actually believing such a claim. Now ... "Son of God", hmmmm, it might be possible to believe such a claim. The point here is that God probably knew from the start that it would be foolish for Jesus to ever say that He IS the One True God, the God that Abraham worshipped. It seems reasonable to me that Jesus saying "Son of God", and therefore referring to "the Father" makes a lot of sense.

    Please note that Jews were outraged at the statement "King of the Jews" applied to Jesus. Imagine if the claim was "Creator of the Universe"! In combination with the Kenotic Theology concept, therefore it seems reasonable that the Bible contains regular references to "Son of God" and not "God Himself".

    We humans are an odd lot. While on the Cross, Jesus was taunted to do a Miracle and Save Himself. Imagine what sort of requests would have been made of God by the people around. Make my crop bountiful. Give me six sons. Make me powerful. Make me wealthy. Etc, etc. It would seem that the way God brought Jesus (or Himself) into human culture, was beautifully well thought through! Also for His Life and even His Death on the Cross.

    Now consider another thing: God could easily have provided ABSOLUTE evidence and absolute proofs of everything related to Jesus. He chose not to. As a result, we do not have a "mathematical equation" that defines how one can become Saved. No, it entirely rests on each person deciding whether to have Faith or not. The whole point of NOT providing any proofs is to REQUIRE each person to either have Faith that certain things are true, or to not have such Faith. Isn't that a beautiful thing? God arranged things so that we necessarily participated, and in a really exquisite way! What a God!

    The point of this Essay is to try to clarify that Christianity absolutely believes in One True God, the God of Abraham, the God specified as the Only God in the First Commandment. As soon as Christians start describing Jesus as the "Son of God" then anyone listening counts one-two, two Gods, a direct and sacrilegious contradiction of the First Commandment. Christians don't seem to realize that that is the PRIMARY reason why Muslims immediately dismiss Christianity as worthless, because they understand Christians to worship at least TWO distinct Gods (Father and Jesus). If that were a correct assessment, the Muslims would be absolutely correct in severely criticizing Christians. The Muslims worship the very same One True God Whom Abraham worshipped, and they absolutely know what we call the First Commandment. In fact, every Muslim Prayer begins with the statement that there is One True God (the God of Abraham). There is massive confusion on both sides, but the reality is that both Christians and Muslims believe that the God of Abraham is the One True God.

    If Christians would ever clear this issue up (and this Essay is meant as a part of such an effort), then most of the reason why both Muslims and Jews consider Christianity to be "heretical" would disappear, and maybe calm discussion might be possible!

    This presentation was first placed on the Internet in November 2004.

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    C Johnson, Pastor
    A Christ Walk Church