The Case for Christmas: Chapter 3
Or, Because the Bible Says So!
Really, The Profile Evidence: Did Jesus Fulfill the Attributes of God?
Real-life case: Richard Speck, who was caught (in part) because of a police artist’s sketch.
Strobel describes the “sketch” of God in the Bible as omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. And he calls on D.A. Carson to help him.
So, yanno, it is yet another chapter in which Strobel is totally committed to investigating all sides of an issue.
My initial question centered on why Carson thinks Jesus is God in the first place. “What did he say or do,” I asked, “that convinces you that he is divine?” I wasn’t sure how he would respond, although I anticipated he would focus on Jesus’ supernatural feats. I was wrong.
“One could point to such things as his miracles,” Carson said, “but other people have done miracles, so while this may be indicative, it is not decisive. Of course, the resurrection was the ultimate vindication of his identity. But of the many things he did, one of the most striking to me is the forgiving of sin.”
Well. Strobel is absolutely fascinated by this. (SIN? What’s that???) Carson gives a long explanation, ending with this:
“So along comes Jesus and says to sinners, ‘I forgive you.’ The Jews immediately recognize the blasphemy of this. They react by saying, ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ To my mind, that is one of the most striking things Jesus did.”
“Not only did Jesus forgive sin,” I [Strobel] observed, “but he asserted that he himself was without sin. And certainly sinlessness is an attribute of deity.”
So says the atheist, the skeptic, the guy who is “interested in facts, evidence, data, and concrete reality.”
Yep, you’ve got me convinced, Strobel.
But Strobel is determined to play the part of hard-hearted investigative journalist, so he “hit Carson in rapid succession with some of the biggest obstacles to Jesus’ claim of deity.” Jesus wasn’t omnipresent because he couldn’t physically be in two places at once, etc.
Pointing my pen at him for emphasis, I concluded by saying, “Let’s admit it: the Bible itself seems to argue against Jesus being God.”
Oooo, he is such a tough journalist! He pointed his pen and everything!
While Carson didn’t flinch, he did concede that these questions have no simple answers.
Okay, yeah, fully man and fully God, yadda yadda yadda. Carson gives a mini “classroom lecture” about the different ways that Jesus’ humanity and deity are reconciled in various theorietical ways, but I can’t stop giggling at Strobel thinking that saying “Ha-HA! Jesus wasn’t in two physical places at once!” is how atheists think they can pwn Christians.
Also, the explanations are kinda boring and again, just not what most atheists I know are concerned about when they think about Jesus. Also also, at the end of the little lecture, Carson himself admits that “you’re talking about the incarnation, one of the central mysteries of the Christian faith.”
And hey, skeptical atheist and lover of hard data Strobel is just fine with that, thank you very much, because…
If the incarnation is true, it’s not surprising that finite minds couldn’t totally comprehend it.
WELL IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, THEN WHY DID YOU ASK IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU SAD, SAD EXCUSE FOR A SKEPTIC???
Strobel’s next point is that when the Bible says that Jesus was created, it implies that he at one point did not exist, and this is not an attribute of a god. Carson picks apart some Greek grammar to show that those passages don’t really mean “created,” and I just don’t care because I get SO BORED when Christians use the Bible to prove the Bible is true.
AND IT JUST KEEPS HAPPENING
Strobel spends a few pages dealing with various god-like aspects (as he sees them) and supporting them with Bible quotes.
Omnipotence? “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus said in Matthew 28:18.
Eternality? John 1:1 declares of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God.”
This (and I just cannot emphasize the point enough) does not really work when you haven’t established the Bible as an authoritative source.
DUDE, SERIOUSLY, WHAT KIND OF HALF-ASSED ATHEIST ARE YOU THAT YOU’RE JUST ACCEPTING THE BIBLE AS TRUE???
Lee Strobel: Worst Skeptic Ever.