The Gnostics thought they had secret, special knowledge hidden from ordinary people. Their name comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” As Christianity spread, the Gnostics mixed some doctrines and elements of Christianity into their beliefs, morphing Gnosticism into a counterfeit Christianity. Perhaps they did it to keep recruitment numbers up and make Jesus a poster child for their cause. However, for their system of thought to fit with Christianity, Jesus needed to be reinvented, stripped of both his humanity and his absolute deity. [Read more…]
Some people argue that Jesus’ reference to himself as the “Son of Man,” proves he didn’t claim deity.
However, theologian J.I. Packer explains that the name “Son of Man” referred to Jesus’ role as Savior-King, fulfilling Isaiah’s depiction of the Messiah as both the suffering Savior¹ and the coming King where he is called, “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” The Prince of Peace.”²
During his trial before Caiaphas, the high priest, Jesus referred to himself as the “Son of Man” foretold by the prophet Daniel. Caiaphas ordered Jesus, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” [Read more…]
According to the Scriptures, the God of the Hebrews spoke to his people through prophets, men and women who were especially attuned to God and who may or may not have been a part of the religious establishment. Some of the prophets’ messages were for the present; others, for the future. Either way, their role was to proclaim God’s declarations and disclosures to the people. [Read more…]
The Da Vinci Code states that Constantine suppressed all documents about Jesus other than those found in our current New Testament canon (recognized by the church as authentic eyewitness reports of the apostles). It further asserts that the New Testament accounts were altered by Constantine and the bishops to reinvent Jesus. [Read more…]
Being an honest man, Charles Darwin made no bones (pardon the pun) about predicting that the forensic fossil evidence would ultimately prove his theory right or wrong. The controversy surrounding Darwinian evolution is over his general theory of macroevolution. It states that over eons of time, all life evolved by the same process of natural selection. If true, then human beings are merely the end product of a long evolutionary chain. [Read more…]
Scholars studying ancient literature have devised the science of textual criticism to examine documents such as The Odyssey, comparing them with other ancient documents to determine their accuracy. More recently, military historian Charles Sanders augmented textual criticism by devising a three-part test that looks at not only the faithfulness of the copy but also the credibility of the authors. His tests are these:
The bibliographical test
The internal evidence test
The external evidence test¹
Let’s see what happens when we apply the internal evidence test to the early New Testament manuscripts. [Read more…]
Throughout human history, man has gazed in awe at the stars, wondering what they are and how they got there. Although on a clear night we only see about 6,000 stars, trillions of them are spread out among billions of galaxies.
However, prior to the 20th century, most scientists believed our Milky Way galaxy was the entire universe, and that only about 100 million stars existed. The prevailing view even then was that our material universe had always existed.
But in the early 20th century, astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered the universe actually had a beginning. A beginning implies a “Beginner,” which the Bible had firmly revealed. Concerned materialists like Sir Fred Hoyle scoffed at the idea of a one-time beginning, sarcastically calling the explosion a “big bang.” [Read more…]
Jesus claimed to be the “Son of God.” This title does not mean Jesus is God’s biological Son. Neither does the term “Son” imply inferiority anymore than a human son is inferior in essence to his father. A son shares his father’s DNA, and although he is different, they are both men. Scholars say that the term “Son of God” in the original languages refers to likeness, or “of the same order.” Jesus meant by it that he has divine essence, or in 21st century terms, the “DNA of God.” [Read more…]
It has been around 2,000 years since Jesus left Earth, and many wonder why he has taken so long to return. In his book, Why I Am Not a Christian, atheist Bertrand Russell accused Jesus of breaking his promise to return.¹ So is it possible that Russell is right, and Jesus did break his promise? [Read more…]
In the centuries prior to Constantine’s reign over the Roman Empire, Christians had been severely persecuted. But then, while entrenched in warfare, Constantine reported to have seen a bright image of a cross in the sky inscribed with the words “Conquer by this.” He marched into battle under the sign of the cross and took control of the empire.
Constantine’s apparent conversion to Christianity was a watershed in church history. Rome became a Christian empire. For the first time in nearly 300 years it was relatively safe, and even cool, to be a Christian.
No longer were Christians persecuted for their faith. Constantine then sought to unify his Eastern and Western Empires, which had been badly divided by schisms, sects, and cults, centering mostly around the issue of Jesus Christ’s identity.
These are some of the kernels of truth author Dan Brown uses in The Da Vinci Code, and kernels of truth are a prerequisite for any successful conspiracy theory. But the book’s plot turns Constantine into a conspirator. So let’s address a key question raised by Brown’s theory: did Constantine invent the Christian doctrine of Jesus’ divinity? [Read more…]
In Genesis, the God of the Bible is revealed as Creator of everything from the tiny atom to the magnitude of space with its billions of galaxies. Thus, it would have been heresy for a Jew to think an angel or any other created being was the Creator. Isaiah confirms that God (Yahweh) is the Creator:
“This is what the Lord, the Creator and Holy One of Israel says…I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the millions of stars are at my command….I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!” (Isaiah 45:11a, 12, 13b)
So, did the apostles view Jesus as part of creation, or as the Creator? [Read more…]
The tomb was indeed empty. But it wasn’t the mere absence of a body that could have galvanized Jesus’ followers (especially if they had been the ones who had stolen it). Something extraordinary must have happened, for the followers of Jesus ceased mourning, ceased hiding, and began fearlessly proclaiming that they had seen Jesus alive. [Read more…]
No serious historian really doubts Jesus was dead when he was taken down from the cross. However, many have questioned how Jesus’ body disappeared from the tomb. English journalist Dr. Frank Morison initially thought the resurrection was either a myth or a hoax, and he began research to write a book refuting it.¹ The book became famous–but for reasons other than its original intent! [Read more…]
“Marley was deader than a doornail, of that there was no doubt.” So begins Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the author not wanting anyone to be mistaken as to the supernatural character of what is soon to take place. In the same way, before we take on the role of CSI (crime scene investigator) and piece together evidence for a resurrection, we must first establish that there was, in fact, a corpse. After all, occasionally the newspapers will report on some “corpse” in a morgue who was found stirring and recovered. Could something like that have happened with Jesus? [Read more…]
Why did we get these incredibly complex brains with both the hardware and software for language? And where did consciousness and acts of heroism come from? Is there any evolutionary explanation for these uniquely human qualities? [Read more…]
You may believe that aliens have sent life to Earth from a far distant galaxy (the premise of that memorable drama from 2004, AVP: Alien vs. Predator). You may believe that the American government is hiding something outer spatial in Nevada’s mysterious Area 51. Or you may simply believe that there is undoubtedly intelligent life on other planets. In any case, we have all been raised on the assumption that, given enough time, intelligent life will spring up anywhere in the cosmos (with perhaps a few more eyeballs or reptilian features). Yet new evidence from cosmology is really saying the opposite. [Read more…]
Last time, we looked at the astronomical odds of the fine tuning necessary for life to exist on Earth, and explored six of over 35 different characteristics of fine tuning that exist in our universe. So is it just our universe that displays this precise fine tuning? Or is it also evident in our galaxy and solar system? Could natural processes accidentally have made something so uniquely tailored to support life? Or does all this precision point to a Creator? [Read more…]
Scientists have learned that only an exceptionally fine-tuned planet like Earth has the necessary ingredients to harbor life. Additionally, our solar system and galaxy, as well as our entire universe, appear designed to support intelligent life.
The odds that such fine-tuning could have occurred by chance is not just unlikely–scientists say it is virtually impossible. [Read more…]
Darwin once stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”¹
If Darwin’s general theory of evolution is a valid explanation of how life can develop wholly apart from outside intelligence, then it must be demonstrated to be operating at the molecular level. But does Darwin’s theory hold up under such scrutiny? [Read more…]
Did Jesus have a secret marriage?
Has history been wrong for 2000 years—was there a Mrs. Jesus Christ?
According to Harvard scholar Karen King, a tiny papyrus fragment, smaller than a business card, ignites the controversy about whether or not Jesus had a spouse. In the newly publicized fourth century fragment, Jesus supposedly refers to, “my wife.”¹ Just below that phrase, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”² [Read more…]