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So Phil got me to thinking.  In what ways do the gospels highlight Jesus' humanity?  And in what ways is Jesus' divinity illustrated?


Phil offered two examples in another conversation that he feels are often taken backwards.  here's what he said, "...we read the calming of the storm as proof of his [Jesus'] divinity, and his [Jesus'] death on the cross as proof of his [Jesus'] humanity. "


"According to the evangelists, Christ was able to tame the storm because he was the second Adam; and according to Paul's letter to the Philippians, Christ's death on the cross was the reason that it was appropriate to give him the name that- according to Isaiah- is reserved for YHWH alone."


What other examples might there be?

Or what do you think about this idea?

Tags: Christ, God.the.Son, Jesus, Son.of.God

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Marv said: I mean it helps if you don't prejudice the case by deciding that "Son of God" refers to a merely human personage.

Why is hearing Son of God according to scripture's previous usage prejudicial? I would have thought that was just responsible exegesis. The reformed hermeneutic is a complicated and exotic beastie.

Marv, that's compelling, to say the least, the language from Isaiah.  How could that not be about YHWH?  But this phrase "Son of God," That seems to be freighted with the weight of many meanings.  This is where I really fail as a Bible student, since I don't know Hebrew or Greek.  I thought Son of God was, yes, referring to Messiah, in the limited pre-Jesus understanding of Messiah, but also, once Jesus was here, meant...well...God, since Jesus is God. 


I mean, like all the prophecies, the reality of the fulfillment is always knock-your-socks of, slap-your-forehead, WOW, who'da guessed it, amazing.  So they were already expecting an amazing Messiah, but they never expected GOD.  See?  That's how I've understood that phrase.


And I guess I take it further, because all the other people who might line themselves up as "Son of God," meaning, God's man for the job of king, or leader, or Very Special Prophet, like Moses, or the coming Messiah, were all conceived and born in the usual way.  And sinned.


So back we are to the virgin birth.  Jesus is "Son of God" with a twist -- not merely anointed but literally Son. Of. God.  The only-begotten Son.  Nobody expected that, nobody even ever imagined such a crazy, and until it happened, completely unauthorized event.


So Phil, I guess that's my confusion.  Son of God of course has all the meaning that it originally had, but also it has to have new meaning because it's being applied to this unique new being.


Norrin Radd (I love that name), yes, I agree.  The gospels were each written to the whole story, and they also had to have been written with a certain target group in mind, and were highlighting one or another apsect of Jesus, for a purpose.


I think that's why John wrote his gospel the way he did, long after the other gospels were in circulation - because he was combatting gnosticism, and it was becoming critically necessary that Jesus divinity be clearly understood as being inexorably intertwined with His physical humanness.  I thik John did an incredible, yea inspired, job of it

It's informative, but does not tell you for sure how Mark is using the term. 

The Phit formerly known as Bod said:

Marv said: I mean it helps if you don't prejudice the case by deciding that "Son of God" refers to a merely human personage.

Why is hearing Son of God according to scripture's previous usage prejudicial? I would have thought that was just responsible exegesis. The reformed hermeneutic is a complicated and exotic beastie.

I'm in agreement with you about Mark's use of Isaiah 40 that there is an identification being made between Jesus and YHWH as kyrios.  At the very least it means that Jesus, in Mark, takes on YHWH's New Exodus role in Isaiah 40-55 (in the light of Malachi 3), and various other devices suggest that the identification is stronger still.  As for Son of God, given Mark 1:11, Mark's usage of the title seems to be straight out of Psalm 2, grounded in 2 Samuel 7: by using "Son of God", Mark is affirming the kingly expectations of the Messiah.  But Mark 1:11 also alludes to Isaiah 42:1, identifying Jesus with the Servant.  It seems to me that this OT background (not forgetting Daniel 7) is what is in Mark's mind at the very beginning of his gospel.  These OT themes dominate in his christology throughout and form the theological framework through which Mark's story - of the Way of the Lord via the Temple to the Cross - makes sense.

Marv said:

I glanced at Mark earlier today. Just the first chapter, or so it seems to me, is filled with references to the God-man.

I mean it helps if you don't prejudice the case by deciding that "Son of God" refers to a merely human personage. That takes you to chapter one verse one. Then as someone mentioned earlier we have JtheB preparing the way for "the Lord." Since we're into drawing out the meaning from OT passages. This one reads:

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
(Isaiah 40:3 ESV)

joanne guarnieri said:

That makes sense, Seraphim, but am not sure how. 


In order for it to be real, and right, Jesus has to be fully human, not a god in disguise, costumed in his 'earth suit.'  On the other hand, in order for it be the real thing, Jesus has to also be God, and never stop being God.  Superman had to stop being 'super' in order to marry Lois Lane.  But Jesus could never stop being God. 


I guess the rub has to be when He resisted temptation, and as He lived out His perfect life (never sinning), that all had to be as a human bring, otherwise He could not be the second Adam. 


As to miracles, I know of faith healers, and of miracles happening in response to prayer, but we are quite sure that this isn't 'me' doing the miracle.  This is God doing the miracle.  Any healing, let's say, that comes from the laying on of hands comes by the power of the Holy Spirit Who is working through the hands. In order for Jesus to be the second Adam, it couldn't be Him exercising His divine power, or He would no longer be living as a man.


What Jesus did, He did of His own volition, and on His own steam.  No one emptied Him, but He Himself.  And Satan knew quite well that if Jesus had so chosen, He could have turned a stone into bread. So His divine power was not out of His reach.  And yet...He indicated regularly that He did not access His divine privileges.  In fact, that was another refusal on His part, more than once.  When the angels came to Him, it was not ever (so far as the texts show) at His bidding.


So this has to be more, or go farther, than a god wearing a human form.  That had been done already, in the myths.  This had to be the actuality of God/Man.


Am still going to read Mark tonight, God willing


Seraphim said:

Hey Joanne,

I don't think the problem is in the gospels, but when we look at ourselves and say 'hey I'm a man (or woman) - Jesus was God and Man so Jesus must have been a man (person) like me.'

Then I think we run into problems.

What Joanne said.


You said,

I think you know my answer to this.

Why did I ask? Because I want to know. I don't know all of the various views people take. I suppose there's a possibility that you hold a hybridized version of the two. I seriously asked with no ulterior motives. I just am trying to understand.

No offense intended.

ScottL said:

Jason -


On the other hand, I'm wondering about your view of Jesus as the Son of God. Are you a believer in incarnational Sonship, or do you believe that He is the eternal Son? If so, how do these things relate, and how do they fit into your view?


I think you know my answer to this.


Think about it; if the only Divine activity was the work of the Son in dependence upon the Father and not God the Son working, what was all of this about? Why the incarnation? Why God become flesh? 


He was being the faithful Adam.


As I said, I don't mean to offend.

I will tell you this, however, I appreciate it if someone perceives something that they think needs to be corrected in my thinking. I try to accept that they care. They may be incorrect, but I appreciate someone caring enough to at least present their concerns.

I'm understanding a little more of your approach, but I still am concerned. As that disturbs you, I'll simply follow this conversation in silence from here on out so as to not perturb you more.

ScottL said:

First of all, I don't mean to offend by bringing in Arianism. I think there's a need for a warning. If I see you on top of a hill and I yell, "Be careful, that hill is as slippery as snot on a glass door knob! Don't go there!" I'm simply warning you to not get close to the dangerous area. If you feel that what you believe is nowhere near the danger area, please explain it more fully, because it looks slippery to me.


That helps my feelings. I've seriously felt that we were miscommunicating, but have had serious concerns. I still do, but I think that there are some terms that we can agree on.


Yes, but plenty give warnings when warnings aren't needed. Plenty warn not to go into that bar, it's a worldly place with drunk people. But, though I might have a drink with a friend, I'm not going there to get drunk.


So it depends on one's particular perception. But there is nothing in ANY of my statements that warrant that I am unorthodox or near unorthodox. I am concerned that you somehow think I am near to an unorthodox christology.

On the matter of the several legions of angels Jesus could have invoked for protection, this is not too unlike Psa. 91:11 and esp. 2 Ki. 6:16 -- especially since Jesus plainly says He would ask the Father for the angels, not that He (Jesus) would have directly call on the angels Himself.

Joanne, take a look at what Matt pointed out. The prophecy from Isaiah isn’t really from Isaiah only. It is a combination of Exodus 23:20-23, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 (though read Isaiah 40:1-9 for full impact). The Malachi passage has been changed by Mark. Do you see how it has been changed? Seems important to your reading.

The exodus passage is about God going before Israel in order to lead them into the Promised Land. Mark is bringing up themes of exodus.

Malachi is looking forward to the day in which Israel’s exile is finally over.

And Isaiah is about the same hope. The highway through the desert is the highway from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Mark then goes on (Shrek style) to present Jesus as the New Moses and New Joshua.

It is very hard not to read our own post Nicene understandings back into the text… prejudicially, but the first job is to hear the text as those who were its players would have heard it.

Marv mentioned the 1st verse:

Gospel- had specific Roman imperial meanings. The audience would have heard this as an announcement about a king, but more importantly, it had royal Jewish meaning. (Isaiah 40:9-10 and Isaiah 52:7) these texts are about… the promised return from exile.

Christ is a David reference- Psalm 89:20 and Psalm 2:2 (as I notice you point out.)

Likewise ‘son of god’ is a royal Davidic reference- 2 Samuel 7:12-16 because it was first a reference to the people of Israel (Exodus 4:22 and later Hosea 11:1), and so appropriate to apply to Israel’s king. We see this connection in John’s gospel  ‘Nathaniel answered him, “ Rabbi, you are the son of God; You are the King of Israel.’ John 1:49

This would not have triggered images of Jesus as ontologically identical with the Father. It would trigger images of the beginning of the New Exodus and the end to the exile that Israel found herself under.

Mark is telling his readers at the very beginning that his story is about the promised victory of Israel’s king which will finally bring her exile to an end.

Ser, I think you inadvertently posted in the wrong thread. No one here claimed that anything was wrong with the gospels.

Ser said: in the Gospels, the places where Jesus shows us his divinity would be these:

Anywhere He forgave sins.

Does that mean the priests and disciples were divine too?

Leviticus was very clear:

Then he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the rule. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. Lev 5:10

The Scribes and Pharisees in Mark 2:7 were familiar with the passage. There problem was that Jesus was overturning the old order, which was essential to their position. It would be like you sitting on the steps of the court house, issuing Driver's Licenses. It would tick the Dept of Transportation off.

Christ wasn't claiming to be God by forgiving sins. Christ was assuming the place of the temple - the central identifying motive of Israel.

John has a very high Christology.

Phil, The Malachi passage has been changed by Mark. Do you see how it has been changed? Totally!  In Malachi it's God talking, in Mark it's God talking to.....if you were to ask me, God.  When "Me" becomes "You," it can only mean "Me" and "You" are one being.


I agree with everything you've said, here.  Everything.  I think that layer of meaning is absolutely there, and that's what clouded the disciples' own understanding of Jesus for just about the entire time they were together.  In fact, at times, within the gospels, they admit it.  Their hearts were hard and so the colossal truth about Jesus didn't penetrate.


What I did was to go to Peter's letters.  I'm convinced that Mark's gospel is really Peter's gospel, due to their close relationship.  In his letters he seems to have a pretty well developed sense of the trinity, as he speaks freely of the Father, Spirit and Son, and then speaks of God.  He links faith to God, in 1 Pet 1:21, and then setting apart Jesus as Lord in your heart, in 2 Pet 3:15. 


The way Peter describes Jesus' reign, at the right hand of God in heaven, portrays a person who is far beyond even the second Adam (1 Pet 3:22).  Adam's throne was to be on earth, where men and women reigned together.


Peter's address in his second letter is even more compelling, as God and Jesus are just about interchangeable (2 Pet 1:1-2).  In fact, verses 3 and 4 appear to point back straight to the last person named in Peter's address -- Jesus.  There Peter speaks of Jesus divine power.  From there on in he usually points back to the Lord, though on occasion speaks of God.  The way he talks about it, it sure looks like he views Jesus as God.


So that's the overlay I used when reading Mark, as best I could.  The chief witness consulted in the writing of Mark was convinced Jesus is God. 


I don't want to miss the particularly Jewish message of this gospel.  Definitely it's there.  And actually, this gospel had a tough job.  The exodus was begun, the Messiah had come, as predicted, but it's not at all what everyone was expecting.  It's far more, it's way different, and it will also be, probably, a disappointment to some.  Rome did not get overthrown in their day. In fact, God's judgment rolled down and it's Jerusalem that got not just overthrown, but pounded into rubble.





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