Was Jesus Christ the Son of God or just a man?
My approach will be first to question the historical accuracy of the gospels. Second, take a look at the alleged supernatural happenings surrounding Jesus and thirdly, highlight some of the emotions displayed by Jesus to show that he was just a man.
Almost everything known about the historical Jesus comes from reports of his followers years after his death so itâ€™s impossible to construct the life and times of Jesus in the conventional sense of a biography. Jesus wrote no books, no one has left us a physical description of what he looked like, nor do we possess any biographical information. We only have that weapon of mass deception â€“ the gospels â€“ a compilation of sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus, the myths surrounding him and the testimonials of those who came long after him.
Much that is attributed to Jesus has in fact been adopted from other religions. For example: A comparison between Jesus Christ and the Indian god Krishna reveals some 29 identical or similar incidents in their lives. There are also many similarities between Buddhist stories and those in the New Testament. Buddhaâ€™s mother was a virgin, he fasted for 49 days and was tempted by Satan. He performed healing miracles and fed 500 persons with one small cake. Yet these stories about Buddha preceded Jesus by over 5 centuries.
Many of the sayings attributed to Jesus can be found in the Buddhist scriptures. Even the well-known Sermon on the Mount for example has been shown to have been taken almost word for word from a manuscript written centuries before Jesus was born.
The ancient Babylonian sacred teaching said, ‘Do not return evil to your adversary; Requite with kindness the one who does evil to you, Maintain Justice for your enemy, Be friendly to your enemy.’ (The Akkadian Councils of Wisdom, cited in Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Text.)”
Other ideas preceding the Bible include the stories about the Garden of Eden, the birth of woman from man, Noahâ€™s flood, the Tower of Babel and the story of Moses and the bulrushes, All have been borrowed from Mesopotamian peoples. So there is no doubt that Christians plagiarised the ideas from the religious writings of others.
Now letâ€™s separate the myths from the facts. We are told that Jesus was born about year 4 of the Common Era and was executed about 30 years later. He was reputed to be the Son of God and a Messiah.
He was in fact only one of many who claimed to be Messiahs at that time and who were allegedly performing miracles. Many of these so-called healing miracles consisted of casting out demons. If you want to believe in demons, thatâ€™s your prerogative, but donâ€™t try to claim a refund from Medibank.
The story of the baby being born in a stable at Bethlehem is one of the most powerful myths ever given to the human race. For a myth it is.
According to the gospel of Luke, Jesus was born at the time when Caesar Augustus required everyone to take part in a census. This at the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria and Herod was king of Judea. However, the facts are: – First, no historian of the Roman Empire makes any mention of a universal census in the reign of Augustus. Second, King Herod died four years before the Common Era began and third, Quirinius was not the governor of Syria during the reign of Herod.
We also know that in the 2nd century, Christianity was in conflict with other religions and needed an official body of sacred texts. The books of the New Testament were canonised in 180 AD, and even today are still regarded by many believers as divinely inspired records written by the apostles. Yet neither they nor eyewitnesses in fact wrote any of them. They were all written between 65 AD and 95 AD.
From accounts written by Roman historians such as Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, the Greek theologian Origen, and the Jewish historian Josephus, we know that Jesus lived. But there is no mention by any of them of his birth, his ministry or miracles.
So much for the historical accuracy of the gospels.
Now letâ€™s take a closer look at the virgin birth, a myth that is generally accepted as being prime evidence that Jesus was not just a man.
Evidence for the â€œvirgin birthâ€ is very slim to say the least. The gospel according to John doesnâ€™t even mention it. The Epistles of St Paul doesnâ€™t mention it and neither does Mark. According to Matthew however, an angel of the Lord visits Mary and she is told that â€œthe Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and that the holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.â€
Now letâ€™s examine the principal characters in that story to see just how plausible it is.
First of all the angel. The traditional idea of an angel is a winged figure in human form. A simple anatomical analysis however will show just how absurd is such a conception. For a being in human form to fly using its own motive power, it would require wings ten times larger than its body. It would need chest muscles twice the size of a full-grown male gorilla, hollow bones and legs no thicker than a stork. Anything so physically disproportioned would also need to wear permanent leg irons or crutches to support it.
It also begs the question from whence came this monstrosity.
Next the Holy Ghost.
Christians believe that there are three personifications for their god. They are the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. God is said to be omnipresent, that is, he is everywhere at the same time. This being so he cannot contract himself as he would cease to be omnipresent. How then did the Holy Ghost part of God have relations with Mary? Furthermore, as Jesus, the only begotten son of the Father existed from all eternity being coeternal with his Father, He was begotten a second time when he was born of the Virgin Mary. This time of the Holy Ghost. The final blow to the story comes from Matthew when he discredits it by saying â€œJoseph begat Jesusâ€ which implies that Joseph was Jesusâ€™ biological father.
From what I have just said we can conclude that there was nothing untoward about the birth of Jesus. It was simply a fairy tale concocted to create the idea that Jesus was the Son of God and not just a man.
In passing, I should mention that Virgin births are not as rare or miraculous as one would first believe. They feature in many myths well before the birth of Jesus. Buddha was the son of the virgin Maya Devi. Devaki was the virgin mother of Krishna. Shin-mu was a Chinese virgin goddess and Princess Isis was the Egyptian daughter of the virgin queen Geb.
The so-called virgin birth then can be seen as being no more than a fantasy borrowed from other ancient myths. No credence can be given the idea that Jesus was anything other than a human being born of other human beings.
Now letâ€™s look at the claim that. Jesus had supernatural powers enabling him to perform miracles.
Many of the so-called miracles in the New Testament, such as turning water into wine and raising the dead are in fact not miracles at all but parables. Others can be dismissed as elaborations, fabrications, myths or embellishments and tend to get bigger and better as time goes by. Among the myths are the Resurrection and Ascension in which Jesus allegedly rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. According to Matthew 27:52, at the time of Jesusâ€™ death â€œthe tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised.â€
So we are treated to the spectacle of a dead Jesus and a squadron of zombies shooting off into space. A highly improbable scenario.
Think about it. It takes an enormous amount of power to overcome gravity. You canâ€™t do it on a can of baked beans. Furthermore, even when you escape the Earthâ€™s gravitational pull you remain forever in orbit. While all sorts of man made junk can be detected in space there has never been a report of dead bodies. In reality what probably happened after the crucifixion? Excavations have shown that when one is crucified a nail is driven through the heels and nails are driven through the wrists. Not the hands as is usually depicted because the weight of the body would simply pull it off the nails. It would appear that in order to stay alive on the cross the weight of the body had to be allowed to rest on the legs.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was alive until three oâ€™clock in the afternoon and states that from the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness fell upon the land. It has been assumed from that that Jesus only lasted three hours before dying. John 19:25-29.
According to Jewish ritual custom, it was contrary to their law for a body to be left dying on a cross after sundown. To hasten death before sundown soldiers would break the legs of the crucified. In the case of Jesusâ€™ crucifixion only the two crucified with him had their legs broken. Jesus was not touched and therefore was either already dead or appeared to be when taken off the cross. John 19: 30-38. That he was still alive when taken down was confirmed by his disciples and Mary Magdalene who reported seeing him walking around and talked to him at a later time. John 20; 2-18. To suggest that he then took off into outer space is sheer fantasy.
It should be noted that once again, no impartial historian of the time or after that time mentions anything about three hours darkness; saints coming out of their graves, the earth quaking or any other supernatural happenings. This would seem to confirm that the supernatural claims in the New Testament are fictitious, borrowed or contrived.
Now letâ€™s look at the emotions displayed by Jesus for this is the most compelling evidence of all that Jesus was just a man.
The recorded sayings of Jesus are unclear and set out in parables so that no consistent ethical doctrines can be extracted from them. By its emphasis on individual salvation it appeals essentially to selfish motives and has almost nothing to say about social and public duties. Jesus was therefore selfish and preached selfishness.
Jesus threatened his opponents with hellfire and instilled fear. He was therefore a bully. As a result of his teachings, in later centuries, the self-appointed fanatics who promulgated those teachings were ready to torture and burn those who didnâ€™t conform. Jesus therefore incited and condoned violence. Further examples of his violent and divisive nature can be read in Matthew 10:34, where he said, â€œDo not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother.â€
In Luke 13:32 we read that Jesus called Herod â€œAn old foxâ€. And when the Pharisees and Suducees came to be baptised Jesus called them â€œa brood of snakesâ€. So Jesus was guilty of name calling, prejudice and discrimination.
Jesus made a whip of knotted cords and drove the cattle and sheep from the temple overturning the money changersâ€™ tables. In so doing, Jesus demonstrated human emotions such as intolerance, a short temper, cruelty to animals and violence. Jesus was also boastful saying â€œDestroy this temple and Iâ€™ll rebuild in it three days.â€ John 2:12-22. At Lake Galilee Jesus said to his apostles â€œAll authority here and in heaven has been given to me.â€ And in Luke 11:23 we read, â€œHe who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.â€ Here Jesus demonstrates arrogance and self-aggrandisement.
Jesus was also an egomaniac, who demanded total subservience. In Luke 14:33 He says, â€œwhoever of you does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple.â€
Jesus was petty, spiteful and irrational. He killed a fig tree that happened not to have figs on it when he was passing by. Matthew 21:19.
Jesus was also hung up on sex and was a sadist. In Matthew 19:12 He councils against marriage, and even promotes self-castration. Again in Matthew we have masochistic advice â€œIf your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it offâ€ and â€œit is best to pluck out your eye if itâ€™s causing sinâ€.
Jesus expressed self doubts. When challenged by the Devil to prove that he was the Son of God by changing a stone into a loaf of bread, Jesus refused. Luke 3: 21-23.
Jesus also made false promises. In Mark, Luke and Matthew we read of Jesus promising that the Son of God will return within the lifetime of the generation then living. Generation after generation has passed since that time and the prophecy remains unfulfilled.
Jesus therefore had, and displayed all the emotions and failings we attribute to mortal beings. He was just a man.
Finally, in the Acts of the Apostles, we read â€œThen as they watched, Jesus rose in the air, disappeared in a cloud and was lost to sight. One of them asked the Galileans â€œwhy do you stand gazing into the sky? They replied, â€œHeâ€™ll be back, and when he returns it will be very much as you have seen him leave.â€ That was over two thousand years ago.
In summary, I have shown that the gospels cannot be relied upon as accurate historical records as we have extensive documentation by Roman historians that show glaring inconsistencies between the facts and conditions prevailing at the time with those recorded in the gospels. In these records there is nothing to indicate that Jesus was the Son of God, could perform miracles or ascended into heaven.
Much of the material recorded in the Bible and the gospels has been plagiarised from other religious texts. They are therefore irrelevant and cannot be taken as evidence of the life and times of Jesus.
Many of the so-called miracles attributed to Jesus were in fact parables and others were simply myths or fabrications. Some of these I have discredited â€“ the Virgin birth and the ascension, and have demonstrated the improbability of angels and the Holy Ghost.
Passages quoted from the gospels that show overwhelmingly that Jesus possessed and displayed the same emotions as any other human being, and that Matthew himself implies that Jesus was only the human offspring of human parents.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the disciples and Mary Magdalene saw and spoke to Jesus after he was taken off the cross, which proves conclusively that he was still alive after crucifixion.
Regardless of whether Jesus died on the cross or was still alive when taken down the simple fact remains that he has long been dead and buried. That fact cannot be disputed and should convince one beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus was not the son of God but just a man.