Did the earliest Christians, and so the earliest gospel (Mark), teach that Jesus was a man, and not a God-man, who was in a sense divinized by God, at his baptism or at his post-resurrection exaltation? Did this message transmogrify into the view that “Jesus is God” by the time the fourth gospel (John) was written, around the last decade of the first century?
Or have Christians all along thought that Jesus was divine and human, equal with us in being human, and yet equal with God in his divinity, only changing, over the centuries, in how they expressed this faith?
In this episode I review the first portion of a recent debate/discussion between Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Michael Bird, held at the at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum in February 12-13, 2016 at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
I see both as right about some matters and as mistaken about others. I hold that there is a third way here, a way that is arguably more charitable to the authors of the gospels. Here’s the inconsistent triad I use at the start of this episode to differentiate our views:
- The New Testament gospels agree in their core claims about Jesus and God.
- Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t teach that Jesus is God.
- John teaches that Jesus is God.
Dr. Ehrman denies 1. Dr. Bird denies 2. I deny 3. You?
This episode marks the return of my trusty old machine, the LogicBot 2000, who you may remember from episode 79. He’s called into service here to separate valid from invalid arguments.
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