| God Became A Man And Other Christian Musings
Used by permission, from the Agnostic Review of Christianity website
One Christian doctrine which evolved over time is that of the "Trinity", where one God exists as three distinct "persons".
Such doctrines were established by councils of clerical men, interpreting various scriptures as they saw fit, presumably guided by God on high.
The Nicene Creed (circa 325 C.E.) provides a foundation for this theological construct.
Some key elements of that creed follow:
Belief in one God, the Father, who makes all that is seen and unseen.
Belief in one Lord, Jesus Christ, who was "eternally begotten" of the Father, God from God.
Through Jesus all things were made.
For the salvation of humanity, Jesus the God came down from heaven incarnated from the virgin Mary and was made a man.
This doctrine gave rise to a further development expressed in the Chalcedonian Creed (circa 451 C.E.) which contends that the Biblical character called "Jesus" was both fully God and fully man at the same time.
Some interesting claims can be found in the following Christian advertising about God, Jesus, and the nature of sin and salvation.
God became man *to die* on the cross to reconcile us to God of the separation of man and God due to the actions of Adam and Eve.
This claim produces a series of problems if the entire Bible is to be considered the accurate word of God.
According to the Old Testament, God is not a man.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Also according to the Old Testament, God does not change.
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
If God is not a man and does not change, the common Christian claim that God became a man called "Jesus" simply doesn't conform to the Old Testament scriptural word of God where he defines himself.
If the Old Testament is to be taken seriously, then Jesus, who called himself the Son of Man, simply wasn't God manifested in the flesh of a human.
Jesus even claimed that he had a God and it wasn't himself.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Many Christians will often say that since God is three "persons" wrapped into one deity, Jesus really meant that he was ascending to the Father "person" portion of God.
However, in John 20:17 Jesus states that he is ascending to HIS God, and not some nebulous divine portion who is one of the three "persons" of God.
It makes little sense that one God who is allegedly split into three "persons" would create a hierarchy where one of the God persons calls the other God person his God.
If Jesus had a Father who was God, then he must have been begotten or created at some point in time.
In fact the New Testament, in a classic fear based verse, claims that Jesus was the begotten son of God.
He that believeth on him (Jesus) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The word begotten is derived from the word beget, which means to be the cause of something.
If the Father really beget Jesus, then Jesus is not eternal because a son by definition must be younger than his Father.
Jesus was also not the only son of God.
The Bible also declares that angels and Adam are sons of God too. They were also created by God and had no earthly mother.
However, none of this stops many Christians from declaring that Jesus is God anyway.
The Christian creed holds that while Jesus was begotten, he was "eternally" begotten.
In other words, even though a son must be younger than his father and even though a begotten being must have a first cause and maker, Jesus is exempt from these constraints.
According to this form of Christian logic, even though God the Father makes all things, he didn't really beget or create Jesus because Jesus always existed and Jesus created all things.
Jesus was begotten but because he was "eternally begotten" he is exempt from standard logic and definitions.
The words "son" and "begotten" become meaningless under this expression of Christian logic.
There isn't really any way to honestly rationalize that Jesus was God without ignoring parts of the Bible that clearly state God isn't a man, that God doesn't change, and that Jesus had a God (which wasn't himself).
Even if verses which indicate that Jesus wasn't God could be removed from the picture, problems still remain with the claim that God became a man and died on the cross.
An eternal God by definition cannot ever die at any time, therefore only Jesus the man could have died on the cross, not Jesus the God.
According to the Old Testament, the death of a man can't save or redeem anyone.
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.
As the scripture states, a man cannot by ANY means, redeem or give God a ransom for other men that they should live forever.
This is confirmed by Ezek 18:20-21,27 where God states that each man will die for his own sin and will redeem himself through his own righteous deeds and obedience to God's law.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
No human sacrifice is needed to atone for the sins of any man. The death of a man doesn't save anyone.
As an additional note, Christianity through St. Paul twisted the Old Testament teaching that God alone has the power to provide salvation.
Paul attempted to hijack the Old Testament word of God and retrofit it to accommodate his new religion that revolved around faith in a human sacrifice called Jesus.
Paul literally writes Jesus into the Old Testament in an effort to lend his new religion credibility.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him (Jesus), and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul has attempted to borrow a small piece of Isaiah 45 to manufacture a new savior. Paul inserts Jesus in place of God's name and then claims every knee will bow to "Jesus".
Many Christians love to quote Philippians 2:10-11 to non-believers, little realizing that it's a ripped off piece of Old Testament scripture, twisted into a pretzel by the opportunistic Paul.
Contrast the actual Old Testament scripture with the claims of the revisionist Paul.
The actual Old Testament scripture in Isaiah 45 says absolutely nothing about Jesus.
...there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,
That unto me (not Jesus) every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
According to God, he alone can provide salvation and there are none beside him.
Every knee shall bow to God, not to a character called Jesus.
Also according to God, he will not give his glory to another.
I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Since the Christian Trinity version of Jehovah portrays him as really being three distinct "persons" wrapped into one God, Christians are forced to mentally rewrite Old Testament verses where God proclaims that he is a singular being and that there are none like him.
The Old Testament never declares God to be three "persons" nor does it ever mention the name "Jesus".
The Trinity is a good example of how the concept of "God" evolved with the passage of time.
Christians who like to ignore God's proclamations about himself in the Old Testament and still claim that God also became a man called Jesus and then died to save others have to rationalize the following dilemma:
If Jesus the God died, then God was dead for a period of time.
If Jesus the man died, then nobody was saved.
While I have no doubt that many Christians can rationalize this dilemma, I also have no doubt that they'll have to resort to mentally rewriting the Bible to remove any verses that get in the way of their "God became the man Jesus" doctrine.
However, this is to be expected. If Paul could rewrite scripture to suit his needs, why should anything less be expected of his followers?
Until he (Jesus) died on the cross, all men were separated from God for all times.
Jesus did what he did to bring us back inside.
This contradicts God's word from the Old Testament. Ezek 18:20-28 states that each man will die for his own sin and will redeem himself through his own actions.
Furthermore, all men were not separated from God for all times until "Jesus", the new God on the block appeared.
Enoch was not separated from God because God took him before he died.
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Even the New Testament says Enoch did not taste death.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Elijah also was not separated from God because God took him before he died.
2 Kings 2:11
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God for the sin of Adam and Eve, which stained all humankind.
And you can't sin as a 5-day old. You can't sin until you reach the age of reason in God's eyes.
There are several problems with these assertions as they contradict each other and expose internal Bible contradictions as well.
If Jesus was supposed to be a man and was birthed by a human mother, then under this Christian scenario, even the allegedly sinless Jesus had sin passed onto him through his mother Mary, who was herself stained by the sin of Adam and Eve.
The Bible states that all women who give birth are unclean as a result of that process (Lev 12:2).The Bible states that man born of woman is unclean (Job 14:1-4).The Bible states that Mary needed to be purified after the birth of Jesus because she was unclean (Luke 2:22-23).
If sin is a form of disease that a person inherits from his ancestors, then Jesus is no more exempt than anyone else.
Also, if Adam and Eve's sin really stained ALL humanity, as this Christian asserts, then 5 day old children are also stained just like anyone else born to any human female.
Apparently this Christian doesn't like the idea that children can be considered sinners, so to get around this problem they claim that children can't sin until they reach a certain age.
Since all humanity was supposed to have descended from Adam and Eve, all humanity is stained through Eve.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
These verses clearly state that ALL have sinned and they make no exceptions and have no qualifiers which say that children under a certain age are exempt from the sin of Adam and Eve, or that they cannot sin until they reach a certain age.
Since the wages of sin result in death and all people have sinned through Adam and Eve, children are being punished for the sins of their parents.
This exposes an internal Bible contradiction.
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
If the Bible is to be believed, each person will die for their own sin and not for the imputed sin of their ancestors.
This Christian wants to invoke an "age of accountability" into the sin equation so that their version of God can appear more rational, fair, and just.
But even if children were exempt from sinning until a certain age, that would imply that children obtain an advantage over adults.
If, as many Christians assert, children under a certain age get a free pass directly to heaven if they die, it would be practical for parents to kill their children before they reach a certain age, before they can commit a sin or grow up and reject Jesus as their savior and Lord.
It would be a great advantage to die as a child and be assured of heaven rather than reach a certain age and possibly endanger your salvation by committing a sin of some type.
The age of accountability clause is essentially subterfuge on the part of Christians who promote it.
The New Testament doesn't leave room for any person, no matter how old they are, to be exempt from going through Jesus to reach God the Father and avoid his wrath.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
These verses, like so many others in the Bible, are absolutist in nature. They do not say that some people are exempt from the rules even though many Christians mentally revise them to make the Bible sound more rational.
It's ironic that many Christians, who are so fond of telling non-believers that human rational thought can't be applied to God's word, attempt to do exactly that in order to make the Bible less barbaric sounding.
Jesus said "let the little children come to me, for the Kingdom of God belongs to them also."
This is an attempt to candy coat Jesus and make him appear as he does in sanitized children's Bibles.
It sounds wonderful to quote things like this until you realize that if Jesus really is eternal creator God as many Christians assert, then "the little children" are only welcome in the Kingdom of God when Jesus the God is in a good mood.
Jesus the God had no problem killing all the little children of the world in the great flood in Noah's time.
And, behold, I (Jesus), even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Jesus the God had no problem killing the firstborn male children of the Egyptians.
And the Lord Jesus spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Jesus the God had no problem ordering the death of little children if they were born to the wrong parents.
And the Lord Jesus spake unto Moses, saying,
Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
And Jesus the God had no problem contemplating that children and even fetuses would be killed if it suited Jesus to have it done.
Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God (Jesus): they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
In the end, all of this unpleasantness, wrath, and killing of little children is pushed aside by many Christians who prefer to quote only the nice fluffy sounding things that are far more appealing to the senses.
Believing that the Bible is the word of a "God" requires massive amounts of rationalizing and mental acrobatics to
make it digestible for the masses.
Fundamentalist Christianity in particular employs legions of apologists whose mission is to sanitize and advertise that their version of God must also be your God.
Missionaries, preachers, and their followers also make it a point to tell non-believers that failure to play in the Christian theological sandbox will land non-believers in hell.
In essence, the issue about Jesus being God in human form and dying to satisfy God's whims for salvation distills down to the same element as so many other Bible based issues.
The Bible always represents the personal theological speculations of it's advocates.
It ultimately means whatever believers want it to mean.
However, that doesn't make it the word of God, or even the "truth".