Archive for the ‘questionable Christology’ Category


More unsupported views of Jesus

April 18, 2008

I set up this category so I can review these seemingly unfounded views of Jesus. These are not essentials, just interesting ideas that, I think, are false or at least should not be held because they cannot be supported by Scripture.

My dad was visiting us in Louisville when we moved here. He came with us to one of the churches we were interested in. The Sunday School (but with a fancy name) teacher went on a slight tangent about Jesus’ earthly work.

The tangent involved Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25). He said that Jesus’ act of calming the storm (not sure if he would call it a miracle) disclosed Jesus as the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), showing His dominion over creation just as Adam would have been able to do (Genesis 1:28).

Several months later I found the same teacher answering a questions about walking on water. The conclusion was that Adam and Eve, pre-fall, could walk on water because Jesus walked on water (Mark 6:45-52). The teacher thought this act/miracle was also a time when Jesus was disclosing Himself as the last Adam. Another question was asked about the connection in Mark 6 to the feeding of the five thousand. Mark 6:52 reads, “for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened”. The questioner made the connection that the disciples did not understand the walking on the water because they did not understand where the bread and fish came from, both having the same origin. So, did this teacher think that Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand was also an act of Jesus declaring Himself as the last Adam? He did. He thought that just as Adam could bring bread effortlessly out of the ground (compared to after the curse, Genesis 3:19), Jesus could effortlessly bring forth bread from the ground.

Let’s look at walking on the water and feeding the five thousand. The need of walking on water for Adam and Eve is doubtful. There is little to no reason to assume that buoyancy was introduced after the fall or that any special abilities were given to Adam and Eve that would allow them to overcome the laws of nature God established in the creation. Also, the connection to feeding the five thousand brings us many questions. Was Jesus drawing the bread from the ground for five thousand people? His disciples were distributing it, not Jesus. And where did the fish come from? When Mark connects walking on water with feeding the five thousand, he reveals that the same quality that enabled Jesus to feed the five thousand also enabled Him to walk on water. Because Jesus is God, He could do both of these things.

The calming of the storm is along the same lines. There are no general reasons to believe Adam had control of the seas. Psalm 65:7 says of God that He is the One, “who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples”. This passage refers to God as the One who calms the seas. We are given no similar passage about Adam or the coming Messiah. But we can treat the walking on water and calming of the storm by reviewing Genesis 1:28. The teacher was focusing on dominion. Genesis 1:28 reads,

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God gives dominion over all the animals. God does tell Adam and Eve to subdue the earth. The word “earth” in Genesis 1 refers to the dry land when referencing the animals and in contrast to the seas (v. 10-12, 20, 22, 24-26, 28-30; v. 1, 2, 15 and 17 refer to the entire world and do not have animals or “seas” in the context). The water of the seas is not something they are given control over. Also, subduing the earth has to do with, first, multiplying on it, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it”. Then the second part of the command comes “have dominion”. It would not be a sole venture for only Adam and/or Eve to subdue the earth. Neither “subdue” or “have dominion” come anywhere near a single man having control over the inanimate aspects of creation.

I want to draw a few conclusions to wrap this up. First, Jesus was the last Adam, the fulfillment of what Adam was made to be. Second, I want to emphasize that these are not issues to divide churches over or anything like that. Third, the epistles, like 1 Corinthians, are important because they explain the importance of what Jesus did. We do not need to find all our teaching/doctrine in the gospels. Fourth, Jesus is the God-MAN. He has two natures and both are extremely important. Fifth, though the issues themselves are not essentials, the principle is extremely important: listen to your teachers but test everything they teach by searching the Scriptures to determine what the Bible teaches (Acts 17:11). The Bible alone is the inerrant and infallible word of God.


One Gospel Perception of Christ

February 7, 2007

I guess I started hearing this about two years ago. It doubtlessly pre-dates my awareness. It has been brought up by conference leaders, pastors, and other respected Bible teachers. I have not found any Biblical foundation for it and on the contrary am highly convinced that the Bible speaks against it. So, what is it? That Jesus was perceived by those around Him in the Biblical accounts as born out of wedlock.

Please understand that I make this argument knowing that God the Father was indeed the true Father of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18). Joseph, Mary’s husband, adopted Jesus to serve as Jesus’ human father by the direction of God. The argument is important because it preserves the integrity of the Bible and preserves Jesus’ true offensiveness to the people – His perfect righteousness.

The only Biblical indication of this that I have heard is an implication from Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Citing this passage some say that the people of Jesus’ home town were taunting Him because He born out of wedlock. It seems to have been a taunt of the time to call someone a son of their mother, not their father, when the person was born of unmarried parents. In the least, this conclusion of Mark 6:3 is quite vague.

If this is the case though, we would expect other passages to convey that there was some knowledge the public in general had of Joseph not being the human/adoptive father of Jesus.

Matthew 1:19 speaks of Joseph desiring to “divorce [Mary] quietly”. How could he have done this if it was well known that she was pregnant (especially by someone other than Joseph)?

Let us go back to Mark 6:3 where some offer as proof of the crowd’s supposed taunting of Jesus. This is closely linked with Matthew 13:55. In Mark 6:3 Jesus is in His hometown. Matthew 13:55 also tells of Him in His hometown (if it is even a different occasion). Matthew 13:55 includes that Jesus was known as the carpenter’s son.

Luke begins his recount of Jesus’ genealogy with the statement, “Jesus … being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph” (Luke 3:23). The “as was supposed” is no less inspired that the rest of the Bible. People of Jesus’ time supposed that Joseph was Jesus’ father.

In John 6:42 after Jesus reveals that He is the bread of life from heaven the people respond, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?” These people knew his parents and, humanly speaking, had no doubt that Joseph was His father.

These examples give adequate evidence that the Bible speaks plainly of the knowledge of Jesus’ human father as Joseph. They did not think Him illegitimately born. The offense of Jesus to the people around Him was clearly from His perfect righteousness. Due to the Biblical witness it is not advisable that we read into statements a thought pattern obviously derived from other sources.