Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Divinity of Jesus Christ, part 2

This is Part 2 of the apologetic regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ as set forth by Peter Kreeft and Ron Tacelli which I am summarzing here part by part, and lifting large parts of the chapter directly onto here. If I'm inserting my own opinion, or using other sources I will make it clear.

Part 1 can be found here.

The Importance of the Issue
The difference between an orthodox Christian and a non-Christian or a modern revisionist is that the Christian believes that Jesus Christ defeated death by rising from the dead on Easter Sunday, and that he is the risen Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity.

Christians have come to believe a significant amount of their doctrine because the Doctrine of the Incarnation lies as a predicate foundation. Christians take much of their doctrine from the authority of Christ, as it is recorded in the Bible.

If Christ is divine, then the incarnation of God is the most important event in history.

There is also an unparalleled present existential bite to the doctrine. He is an omnipotent God and present right now, he can transform you and your life right now as nothing and no one else possibly can. And, if Christ is divine, our absolute obligation is to believe everything he says and obey everything he commands.

The Difficulty of the Doctrine
Christians ought to realize how difficult, objectionable, and unbelievably absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to non-believers. They need to understand this for apologetic purposes to understand the state of mind of prospective converts, and for purposes of appreciating their own belief in all its astounding character.

The difficulty is a double one. First, there is the immediate, instinctive, intuitive shock. everyone who met Jesus was shocked. No one understood him--his disciples, his enemies, Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, Sadducees, Pharisees, the pious, the impious, the learned, the unlearned, liberals, conservatives--no one. No one had ever met anyone like Jesus before. "Never has anyone spoken like this" (Jn 7:46).

Second, on the reflective, rational level this claim seems patently absurd. It is the claim of a man who came from a woman's womb, grew from a baby, got hungry and tired and angry, suffered and died--to be divine!

Tomorrow, I'll summarize what Kreeft sets forth which are clues to the possibility of the doctrine, and then arguments for Christ's divinity such as his trustworthiness, and the impossibility of the alternative, competing possibilities known as the quadrilemma: Lord, Liar, Lunatic, or Myth? And Kreeft doesn't presuppose that they are competing "possibilities" are "impossibilities", he sets out a considerable case explaining in a logical fashion why each horn of the quadrilemma is fallacious.

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