Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sin, Mistakes & Jesus

Heb. 4:15-16 ~ "15-For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16-Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

As I continue in the series I've subtitled "Atheism's Greatest Hits" It's my intent to present arguments and the resolution to those arguments so that Saints who are unfamiliar with these subjects won't be blindsided with attempts to undermine the Christian faith. We'll continue in this series by addressing and answering the question Did Jesus Make A Mistake?
We will deal with biblical inerrancy in a future post to refute the current demonically inspired lies regarding the reliability of the biblical texts themselves. For this writing I would like the critic to assume that what has been documented by biblical authors is fully accurate as written as I only wish to deal with the specific point of Sin, Mistakes & Jesus Words.

A Humanly Fallible Jesus?
Apostate Professor Of New Testament Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, asserts in his book Misquoting Jesus that his faith and belief was wrecked when he realized that Jesus made a critical mistake in reconciling Mark 2:26 with 1 Sam. 21:1-6, by claiming that David and his men ate the showbread "when Abiathar was the high priest." He goes on to claim that scripture records that when the event took place Ahimelech (Abiathar’s father) was actually the high priest. Therefore either Mark was wrong in his recounting or Jesus was wrong in reciting the passage. Either way, according to him, somebody was wrong.

Another popular criticism extends from the use of the term "this generation" in Mt. 24:34 ~ "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." The critic asserts that this passage is referring to the Great Tribulation and Judgement (Parousia) of the end times which would occur within a 40 year time frame. Further the critic asserts that there was a further promise of impending judgement upon Caiphas (Israel) in Mark 14:61-62 ~"61-But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62-And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

The assertion is that since the world yet exists Jesus was wrong about the impending judgement of the world and therefore made a mistake or certainly no less than mis-spoke and is simply a failed doomsday prophet as a result.

In yet another criticism of the very nature, knowledge and mission of Jesus, Dr. Dan Howard-Snyder, Dept. Of Philosophy Western Washington University, adds another peg to the trilemma presented by Christian scholar C.S. Lewis, who stated that either Jesus was God as he claimed to be or that he was a Liar or a Lunatic. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: MacMillan, 1952, revised ed, 55-56.) The 4th peg that Dr. Howard-Snyder adds, making it a quadralemma, states that Jesus could have also simply been and most likely was Mistaken about who he was and his mission therefore expanding the list of options to God, Liar, Lunatic, or Mistaken.

The Divinity Of Jesus & His Sinlessness
These aforementioned criticisms are rooted in the acknowledgement of the humanity of Jesus and share one thing in common; human failure. I believe, however, that each of these arguments, and others like them, overlook two essential elements within the life of Jesus that make him totally unique and not subject to these type of assertions or challenges. Overlooked Elements:

1- The acknowledgement that accords Jesus to be fully divine as well as fully human and

2- The acknowledgement that Jesus was without sin and sinlessness.

Divinity:

The New Testament is filled with the acknowledgement of Jesus as being divine from his birth. The Gospel of John provides the process of that divinity calling Jesus God incarnate:

John 1:13-14~"13-Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14-And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."


For those who hold to the late writing of the Gospel of John, Paul provides yet another clear affirmation that the New Testament church's thought of Jesus as being divine. One such affirmation is found written in approximately 60AD:

Col. 2:9-10~" 9-For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10-And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"

The root of this divine promise is in the Old Testament, most notably:

Is. 7:14~"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

and

Is 9:6-7: "6-For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7-Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."


Contrary to the ultra critic's assertion that the Council Of Nicea (325 AD)conferred the status of deity to Jesus, one only need complete a sincere reading of scripture to find that Jesus was hailed as deity with the first message and pen stroke of the New Testament (NT) text. Throughout the NT the biblical student will observe that Jesus has the H.A.N.D.S. of praise bestowed upon him by the authors of the gospels, epistles and pastoral letters. Jesus receives:

1- Honors that are attributed to only God,
2- Attributes that only God has and is recorded to possess,
3- Names that are only given to God,
4- Deeds that only God can do,
5- Seat (sits in the seat that ONLY God can sit in)
[R. M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski "Putting Jesus In His Place, The Case For The Deity Of Christ" 2007 Kregel Publications]
It is clear that the texts of the NT clearly affirm the deity of Jesus in many places including the book of Revelation.

Sinlessness:
Jesus is affirmed by scripture to be sinless and without sin or its effects:

2 Cor. 5:21~"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

1 Pet. 2:21-22~"21-For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22-Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"

1 John 3:4-5~"4-Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5-And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."

Even when confronted with the issue of the woman caught in adultery he challenged the audience (accusers) to proceed if THEY had no sin:

John 8:7~"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

The lesson here is that Jesus could have cast a stone because he was without sin, BUT, by HIS grace he had no stone to cast at her!

Importance:

Understanding this is especially important because sin is the factor that has blinded and shielded both the truth and the glory of God from humanity and ordinary men and women were born into sin and are sinners:

Is.59:1-2: ~ "1-Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2-But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."

The NT goes even further to display what sin has done in the life of the believer:

Ephes. 2:1 ~ "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"

Ephes. 2:5 ~ "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

Ephes. 4:18-19 ~"18-Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19-Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."

Col. 1:21 ~ "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"

Sin is the vehicle that keeps us away from God and causes us to falter. It is because we are born into sin that we must be born again:

Ps. 51:2-5 ~ "2-Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3-For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4-Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5-Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me"

John 3:3 ~ "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Can The Sinless Person Make A Mistake?
The possibility exists that someone sinless could make a mistake according to the exercise of their free-will, however I pose that any mistake made by a sinless individual is not a Steve Urkel type of mistake as in ~ "Oops! Did I Do That?" but it is a mistake in which the free moral agent's judgements are exercised to the wrong ends. Example:

Adam Was Also Sinless

One of the keys to understanding this is to acknowledge that Adam was also sinless. He was created by God and without sin, however he sinned according the exercise of his own free-will.
"To be free we had not only the opportunity to choose good, but also the ability to choose evil." [N. Geisler, R. Brooks "When Skeptics Ask" Victor Books 1990 pg. 62]
Adam chose sin of his own accord and exercise of free-will. He did not make a mistake in that sin somehow overtook his understanding. He made a mistake in the sense that he made a bad choice. The scripture simply records:

Gen. 3:6 ~ "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

The major difference is that Adam was NOT God neither was he divine in any manner and did not have a divine nature.
No Room For Error

Because Jesus was divine and because he was sinless Jesus could not have possibly made a mistake about anything that he said or rendered. There was no veiling of anything other than his divinity which was veiled at times due to the purpose and will of God. His humanity was not veiled but was directed by his divinity. He was not a sinner and therefore could not have made a mistake either in recounting scripture, knowing his purpose or making any predictive prophecies.

Conclusion:
Whatever apparent contradictions there are regarding the statements of Jesus, I pose that they are only that, apparent contradictions. I have yet to see a supposed contradiction or discrepancy that cannot either be accounted for or reconciled by examining the full story and seeking context. In some cases we do not have enough historical evidence to make a decisive judgement, and all matters are open to historical debate, but all to often contradictions such as those stated in the first section of this blog are more smoke than fire and certainly more bark than bite.

We'll take a closer look at the doctrines of inerrancy and inspiration which has come under attack as radical fundamentalists and radical agnostics take off their glasses and seemingly their minds claiming that the bible can have errors and yet still be the the word of God. That promises to be a good one.

Blessed!

Refutations:

Ehrman Abithar/Ahimelech Refuted and Confusion Resolved

Note On This Generation:

From My Comments In The Post: Salvation, Is The Message Revealed To Those Who Have Never Heard?

So far as the preterist argument with the words "this generation" in Matt. 24, this can be reconciled any number of ways which includes that Jesus was talking about the generation of the church or the church age.

As reference to this Psalms is full of references using the word "generation" that encompass all time and all of humanity. For example:

Ps. 14:5 states that "God is in the generation of the righteous" this isn't confined to one time frame or set of reference. The "generation of the righteous" is all of them that call upon him for all time.

Ps. 102:18 saying that the word would be written for the "generation to come and for the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord." Does one confine that the word written would only be for the next set of people that were to live? That would be an absurd understanding.

Ps. 112:2 references the seed of them that fear the Lord and delight in his commandments. It says that the "generation of the upright shall be blessed". Once again this reference isn't limited to a time frame of individuals. It would cover all men and those that would fear the Lord and honor him by walking uprightly also.

My personal favorite is Ps. 24:6 ~ "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face O Jacob. Selah"

Once again this is a reference to me and my generation also. So their references to "this generation" aren't problematic unless you're expecting all of the events in one time frame or period and I believe there is ample scriptural evidence to do away with that theory.

On the other hand, Jesus describes himself as "coming on the clouds" with "great glory". That was a reference to the office of the messiah which he fulfilled and the authority that he had (Dan. 7:14) So that was fulfilled for those that were there as well all of humanity in the last day or the day of judgement.

So there's really no problem to be uncovered or discovered in this scripture.
August 10, 2009 11:12 AM

Quick Note: Caiphas clearly understood the meaning of Jesus saying and without saying such knew that Jesus' was claiming that HE would sit in judgement of Caiphas and the council on the Throne Of God in the day of judgement.

10 comments:

  1. There was no way Jesus made a mistake about anything on earth or in heaven. God doesn't make mistakes. most of the criticism circulating doesn't take this into account because they don't believe in God to begin with. That's OK, but if you're going to criticize the scripture, criticize it based on ALL that it says and what it clearly says is that Jesus is God the Son eternally and God doesn't repent for he is not a man that he should lie.

    If Jesus shares the same attribute as he does there is no way possible that any statement he made was wrong or didn't come to pass or that is not in the process of being fulfilled.

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  2. One more thing, for the Christian to be challenged and tempted that Jesus did make a mistake or that that God was/is unable to preserve his word through the ages shows, in my opinion, a weakness in faith, trust and belief.

    The people of God should confidently hail that God's word is right and look beyond all the paranoid conspiracies, rants and schemes of the ungodly to see the truth that God has NEVER left himself without a witness on this earth and his truth will never pass away.

    When I see Christians that are challenged in these areas it grieves me. If I grieve, I know God does infinitely more.

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  3. Hey Harvey,

    Although I believe the Bible teaches partial preterism, I would agree that you cannot demonstrate that Jesus made a mistake.

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  4. Pastor Burnett,I have reached that age and stage in my life that I have decided to let God be true and every man a liar,some in all of their wisdom don't understand that their is a wisdom that does not descend from above,it is earthly,sensual and devilish.I have been asked "how do you know the truth?" my answer is,"because I have received the Spirit of truth for he dwelleth with me and is in me,he teaches me and guides me into all truth." Every person can believe whatever he chooses,the sad part is some will believe a lie and be damned and at one time I was of that number but now I have received the Spirit which is of God that I might KNOW the things that are freely given to me of God which things also I speak not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Ghost teaches.But I know the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him neither can he know them because they are Spiritually discerned and I am too old for foolishness, so let's continue in what we KNOW, the WORD of TRUTH and the SPIRIT of TRUTH.Be blessed,don't compromise.

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  5. Pastor Burnett said "It's my intent to present arguments and the resolution to those arguments so that Saints who are unfamiliar with these subjects won't be blindsided with attempts to undermine the Christian faith."

    We are quickly approaching a time, believe it or not, when people will say "there is no such thing as truth". I have actually witnessed 3 intelligent woman ponder if 2 plus 2 could equal anything but 4, rather than admit there was absolute truth in the world.

    1 Timothy 4:1 warned us that there will be a falling away first, or rebellion in the last days, (the Greek word I believe is apostasy) and many are in those churches and don't know it because they don't read or even believe the Word of God.

    I have to give an example. I was suspended from my regular artist board the day after Christmas, and non-believers were rubbing it in with their posts, and someone said something about Noah's Ark being a fairy tale because where did he put all the fish?

    I knew believers were outnumbered 10 to one, but I still expected someone to correct the man and say that God didn't tell Noah to collect the fish, only land animals, but instead, the believers started making excuses for God saying that the story was not to be taken literally and that the animals were only symbolic, etc., etc.

    It's either all true, or all a lie. If we approach God's Word in faith that it IS His Word and no, He did NOT make any mistakes, we are going to PROVE to ourselves that is true, and become stronger and stronger.

    God doesn't need our excuses. Jesus doesn't need our excuses. Like Harvey said, Jesus got it perfect the first time, but it does us no good if we don't know it. Getting blindsided can be a good thing if it results in our seeking the truth in His Word.

    The Fall of mankind was a conversation about if God's Truth was God's Truth or not. Satan hasn't changed his tactic yet, because it works so well.

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  6. "Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, asserts in his book Misquoting Jesus that his faith and belief was wrecked when he realized that Jesus made a critical mistake in reconciling Mark 2:26 with 1 Sam. 21:1-6,"

    Ehrman is part of a cadre of religious teachers who are nothing more than new thought pharisees.

    Their intent is not scholarly discovery which leads to truth and enligtenment about God's truth, but rather to cast a pall of doubt over God, Christ and/or his Word.

    That, in a nutshell is straight out of the devil's Gen 2-3 playbook.

    No one misquoted Jesus, new thought pharisees are misinterpreting Jesus...intentionally because they do not believe believe that he is who he claimed to be.

    Only those weak in faith would accept his larger premise as even remotely credible.

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  7. These types really get under my skin, for one they are lead by Satan as False Teachers. If one take the account of Matthew alone it would seem to lead to that conclusion, but we also have Mark and Luke's account in which to gather the understanding.

    They try to place some doubt about Jesus and if they do one would lose faith in Christ. That isn't the case, Jesus completely understood what he prophecied about. Did not the Temple become destoryed and layed desolate? Yes.

    That isn't all what Jesus prophecied about. He spoke of his coming in the clouds with great glory and power. One only needs to read the other accounts to completely follow Matthew's

    Very good post, It need to be said.
    and a light thrown on them.

    Beck

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  8. beckrl said... "One only needs to read the other accounts to completely follow Matthew's"

    Yep. Not once in Misquoting Jesus does Ehrman mention Mark 13:32, even though at least five times he explicitly discusses Matthew 24:36 and how its wording supposedly changes our basic view of Jesus. That right there exposes Ehrman as, in the least, deceitful.

    When I started my Bible art website, I prayed that God would show me Jesus in the Old Testament. It was just a day or two later that I read Jesus saying that no one had seen God or heard His voice, and I was face to face with a Bible difficulty (in my own mind). I continued reading, (John 5) and Jesus said Moses spoke of Him, and I realized that it was the person or persona Jesus in the burning bush, and Jesus with Abraham, and on and on.

    I'm all excited about this revelation and I'm telling my Christian friends and they were like, "yeah, and?". LOL. I had been so influenced by Biblical art through my life, and God the Father with the white beard in the burning bush, and creating the heavens and the earth...Can you imagine my delight when I discovered that it was Jesus who created all things (John 1) just a few days after that?

    The Bible is so multi-faceted, we can read scripture for years and then one day we read what we think we know, and it just opens up in such a wondrous way!

    And yet some people think that the Bible doesn't have anything to offer the intellectual...ha!

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  9. Laura,

    most of these critics are only critics because they LOVE their sins and want and excuse for them. Ehrman like me or anybody else has the answeres readily available to him but he loves money and sensationalism because it's "en vogue". They'll pay the price in judgement and that judgement is sure and real.

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  10. Pastor Burnett said "Ehrman like me or anybody else has the answeres readily available to him but he loves money and sensationalism because it's "en vogue". They'll pay the price in judgement and that judgement is sure and real."

    I really find it hard to feel sorry knowing his end for types like him. He gets his jollies from creating doubt in true Christians (humm...isn't there scripture that says "he doesn't go in, and tries to prevent those who would go in")

    I have a republican sister who lives in Chapel Hill, so I know how things are there. He'll keep writing books and continue to be en vogue, but maybe those with the sense God gave them will stay away.

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