Monday, March 9, 2009

The Divinity of Jesus Christ, part 5

This is Part 5 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.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.

The Main Argument
There are only five possible answers to the question: If Jesus is not God, what is he? The possible answers/alternatives to Christ's divinity are:
  1. Jesus either Lord, liar, lunatic, guru, or myth.
  2. He could not possibly be a liar, lunatic, guru, or myth.
  3. Therefore "Jesus is Lord" (the earliest Christian creed) if he did not lie about who he was, or a bad man (if he did).
This can be and needs to be developed part-by-part.

The Dilemma: Lord or Liar? Aut deus aut homo malus ("Either God or a bad man.")
  1. Jesus was either God (if he did not lie about who he was) or a bad man (if he did).
  2. But Jesus was not a bad man. (Very few will challenge the premise that Jesus was not a bad man.)
  3. Therefore jesus was (is) God.
But what justifies the first preimse, that Jesus was either God or a bad man? Why all or nothing? Answer: Common sense.
Someone who claims to be God and is not, is not a good man but a bad man. Merely a "good man" is one thing Jesus could not possible be.* By claiming to be God he eliminated that possibility. For a liar is not a good man, and one who lies about his essential identity is a liar, and a mere man who claims to be God lies about his essential identity.
*I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but i don't accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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