Atheists’ Myths: Part 2 Richard Deem
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Jesus was Deified at the Council of Nicaea • A common atheist myth is that the Bible was changed at the Council of Nicaea to change Jesus from being Messiah to being God • “Divergent” books were excluded from the canon of the Bible at that time • Is it true that there is no evidence that Christians worshipped Jesus as God prior to the 4th century?
Early Evidence for the Proclamation of Jesus’ Deity • Biblical • Jesus presents the characteristics of God • The Bible says Jesus is God • Jesus claims He is God • Writings of early church leaders • Secular writings • Archeological evidence
Jesus’ Claims to Deity • Many say that Jesus Himself never claimed to be God • However, the gospels are filled with such claims – for those who understood the Old Testament
Jesus’ Claims to be the “Son of Man” • A clear reference to Daniel 7: • "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
Jesus is the “Son of God” • "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You… Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:7, 12) • Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
Jesus is the “Son of God” • This is the faithful Shepherd; Of ,thee it is said, "Kiss the Son," thou art the Prince of the Israelites, the Lord of the earth... the Son of the Most High, the Son of the holy God - -and the gracious Shekinah. (Zohar, Gen. f6l. 88, c. 348). • Know him as your God, who is the Son of God.(Sibylline Oracles, Lactantins p. 10 s.) • R. Huni in the name of R. Ide and R. Joshua said, that this man is the King Messiah of whom it is said, Psa. 2:7, "This day have I begotten thee."(Talmud Babylonian)
Son of God = God! For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
Jesus Claims to be the Messiah (the Christ) For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Jesus Claims to be the Messiah (the Christ) "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:5-6) • Word translated "LORD" is yhvh, the personal name of God
The Bible Does Suggest Jesus is God, but Maybe it Was Changed to Say That?
Was the New Testament Changed? • Many atheists claim that the scribes massively changed the New Testament over the centuries • Is this claim true?
New Testament • Oldest NT manuscript dated to 125 AD • Variants account for only 0.5% of the text (compared to 5% for the Iliad) • So, the manuscript evidence shows that the New Testament remained unchanged from the 2nd century on • Therefore, the claims about Jesus’ deity were found in the original documents produced by the early Christian church
Early Church Leaders • Clement (30-100 A.D.) wrote an epistle to the Corinthian Church in 97 A.D. and quoted from Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Titus, 1 and 2 Peter, Hebrews, and James • Ignatius (30-107 A.D.) Polycarp (65-155 A.D.), and Papias (70-155 A.D.) cited verses from every New Testament book except 2 and 3 John • Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D.) cited verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, and Revelation • Irenaeus (120-202 A.D.) wrote a five volume work Against Heresies, quoting • from every book of the New Testament but 3 John. • from the New Testament books over 1,200 times.
Secular Sources • Pliny the Younger, governor of Pontus/Bithynia from 111-113 A.D. wrote (Letters 10.96-97) to Emperor Trajan: • “They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust...”
Archeology • 3rd Century church in Megiddo, Israel: • “Akeptous, the God-loving, offered this table for (the) god Jesus Christ, as a remembrance”
Other “Christian” Books • Atheists claim that some Christian books were excluded from the biblical canon at the Council of Nicaea • Should books, such as the “Gospel of Thomas” have been included in the canon of scripture?
The “Gospel” of Thomas • Fails the test of Apostolic authority • Never quoted by early church fathers • No support it was written by the apostle Thomas • Written around 140 A.D. • Fails to conform to the rule of faith • Contains 114 "secret sayings" of Jesus • Contains pantheistic concepts • Women are denied salvation unless they are somehow changed into a man • Fails the test of continuous usage and acceptance • Only two known manuscripts • Thousands of manuscripts authenticate the Four Gospels
Conclusion • The New Testament, letters from early Christian Church leaders, secular writing, and archeology all show that Jesus was worshipped as God from the inception of the Christian Church. • The atheist claim that Jesus became a god only at the Council of Nicaea is a myth
More In-Depth Research Papers • Jesus Christ as God and the Trinity Was Not Invented Until the Fourth Century? • The Bible Has Been Changed Over the Centuries From the Original? • History of the Bible: How The Bible Came To Us • The Son is God • Should We Worship Jesus? • Jesus Christ Never Said He Was God? • Early (3rd Century A.D.) Christian Church at Megiddo, Israel
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