To many Christians, this question may seem ridiculous — most, if not all, of us have been taught to believe that Jesus has ‘always been God’. However, that belief was not always the case in early Church formative history.

I have just completed a video lecture course on that identical subject presented by Bart Ehrman PhD, professor of religion at North Carolina University. Dr Ehrman has written four books on this and related biblical subjects and is respected as a world authority on such matters. The course is presented in DVD format and made available through a publisher known as The Great Courses. It consists of 24 lectures, thirty minutes in length each. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the truth about the Bible in general and early Christianity specifically.

In that lecture series, Dr Ehrman spotlights major differences in both the Canonical gospels, as well as the epistles of Paul and others, regarding the beginning of Jesus’ divinity. It was the ‘verbal development’ of those differences which led the early followers of Jesus to have major disagreements about who Jesus really was and what he said and did before, during, and after his public ministry. It is likely also, that those verbal differences led the authors of the sacred writings to express explicit, diverse ideas about the timing of Jesus’ divinity.

The elderly of us who were raised in the Catholic tradition are well aware that we were discouraged from reading the Bible because we were not capable of understanding it — just study your Catholic Catechism, ask no questions, and do as you are told. In addition, I suspect that the so-called evangelical Christians were schooled in similar fashion, albeit with a different understanding of the requirements for salvation. Certainly, at least in the Catholic tradition, we were taught to believe that Jesus was God from all eternity but that he became man through the impregnation of a virgin by the Holy Spirit so that he may suffer and die for our sins.

Dr Ehrman adroitly points out that in the early days of Christianity there was no such agreement. He shows that Jesus became God in three different timeframes and by three different methods depending upon which Gospel one reads. Mark, who wrote the first Gospel some thirty-five years after Jesus’ death, suggests that Jesus became God at his baptism. Luke and Matthew, who copied Mark and embellished his writing with genealogy, birth, resurrection, and ascension into heaven stories some twenty years later, suggest that Jesus became God at his conception in the womb of Mary by virtue of her impregnation by the Holy Spirit. However, the composer of John’s Gospel, some sixty-five to seventy years after Jesus’ death, suggest that Jesus had been co-existent with God the Father from all Eternity. In other words, there had never been a time when God had existed without Jesus and Jesus was always God’s equal.

Dr Ehrman also points out that ‘orthodoxy’ was established, not necessarily by those ‘who were correct’, but always by those in the greatest number. Beliefs held in lesser numbers were deemed to be heresies, and their adherents were heretics. So, just as war doesn’t determine whose correct, just who wins, that’s the way Christian doctrine and dogma were established— the biggest wins.

Early history by both secular and religious writers shows clearly a number of major differences in belief and understandings and demonstrates why eventually, the Roman Emperor Constantine decided to call a council of the world’s bishops at Nicaea in hopes of establishing unity of acceptance in belief. That council occurred in 325 AD (CE) — again establishing who were the most numerous (orthodox) in a certain belief and not necessarily who were correct. Of the 1800 bishops in the world, only 320 or so attended. So, one sixth of the worlds Christian leaders determined what everyone was mandated to believe.

Remember, the Jews were expecting a Messiah to come and immediately restore the kingdom of Paradise just for them — the ‘Just dead’ would rise in their glorious bodies to a paradise of one big perpetual party of ‘human happiness’. According to Mark, Jesus had convinced his apostles that he was that Messiah and, he assured them that reestablishment would occur before the current generation (forty years) passed. Somewhere along the line Mark got the idea that Jesus was an ordinary Jewish man who had been deified by God at his Baptism, and that Jesus certainly knew what he was saying. Of course, Paul who was a mentor and companion of Mark echoed that sentiment and is likely the source of Mark’s ideas about Jesus. Now, one must ask the logical question; “Why, if Jesus was God, would he not have known when that event was to occur?” His apostles did ask him that exact question and he answered that he nor anyone, but God the Father knew that answer — direct denial of his equality with God. Yet he is quoted as saying ‘he and the Father are one’. It seems rather obvious to me that the writers of those stories were very confused and misguided by their informational sources and/or personal biases.

Matthew and Luke, who quite obviously copied Mark’s writing and embellished it with a genealogy, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension narrative some forty-five to fifty years after Jesus’ death and seeing that the ‘generation’ time had passed, seemingly ignored the timeframe for Jesus’ return and the Kingdom restoration. Instead, they busied themselves with Jesus’ wonder-workings, general teachings about salvation, his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension’. However, they contradict each other about what happened after Jesus’ birth, as well as what happened in the discourses Jesus had with the two insurgents who were crucified with him — more bad information or just different personal biases?

Sixty-five to seventy years after Jesus’ death, someone writing in John’s name proclaims Jesus has always existed coequal with the father. Furthermore, they describe a cataclysmic, apocalyptic event with destruction of the world and Jesus coming gloriously to judge all humanity.

Objectivity demands that it is possible for one of those stories to be correct, but it is not possible for any two of them to both be correct. The likelihood is that none is correct — they represent the collective imagination of various groups who developed their ideas from hearsay and word of mouth communications over the years.

I would propose a specific understanding of their confusion and offer a foolproof solution for their dilemma. All their confusion stems from the simple fact that not one of them knew who God is — each had different ideas based on superstition, mythology, astrology and imagination. Therefore, none could possibly know or understand any of the events surrounding Jesus’ life and death. Had they known that ‘God is a Perfect Rational being’, they would instantly recognized Jesus as a Patriot of the highest degree — he was willing to give his life that his fellow countrymen could be freed from the guilt-driven, oppressive Jewish religion. They would know that God loves each of them equally and eternally. They would know that they could not possibly please or hurt their perfect God. More importantly, they would know that the Commandments Moses gave them were, in fact, good standards of civility — breaches were mainly offense against their fellow man and may entail corrective measures. As well, failure to accept and respect the God of the Israelites was a breach of Mosaic law also and demanded corrective measures according to the dictates of that law — human considerations only, and no concern of God.

Then, to answer Dr Ehrman’s question, “When did Jesus become God”, my answer is simple and straight forward. Jesus became God the identical instant we and all creation became God which is the identical instant God became God, and we understand that to be eternal. So, what does eternal mean? Simply stated, it is a state of existence in which no time, which is a measure of change, exists — we call it eternity. Since we humans exist in a universe which is undergoing perpetual change, we cannot fathom such a state of being. However, to accept the idea of eternity, we must accept the knowledge and understanding that everything material and changing in this universe is composed of particles of energy which are perfect in both form and function, are unchanging and unchangeable, are indistinguishable from their counterparts, cannot be further subdivided, cannot be created nor destroyed my man, and not one, more or less, exists at this moment, than at the time of their release nearly fourteen billion years ago — scientists call that moment The Big Bang.

Are not all those characteristics, attributable to those perfect particles of energy, mirroring their Creator who is Perfect in both form and function, is unchanging and unchangeable, is indistinguishable from its counterparts (the Son and the Holy Spirit — Will of God), cannot be diminished or augmented, and certainly cannot be created nor destroyed by man?  That mirror image is the Son, the Second Person of Trinity, Perfect in every way. The perpetual relationship of Love and Acceptance between the Father and his Mirror Reflection, the Son, is the Holy Spirit, The Will of God, the driving force which sustain and maintains that perfection. Quantum Mechanics (particle physics) clearly demonstrates a Perfect rationality in this entire universe. That Perfect rationality translates into a Perfect Truth System outside of which there is no truth in this universe — that Perfect Rationality is the essence of God.

 Now, I can hear you all screaming, pulling your hair at my blasphemy, and hollering, “What about Jesus?”. And my answer is simple, indeed. Jesus was the first person to recognize the presence of God in all things. He was the first to understand God’s Perfection including his Perfect Love which precluded any possibility of a hell, purgatory, limbo — only perfect love and acceptance of himself demonstrated by all his creation. With that understand and insight, it is obvious to me that Jesus felt a compelling responsibility to tell his brethren and the entire world about God’s Perfect love and, thereby, eliminate the oppressive guilt imposed on them by the sacrificial religion of the Jews. Jesus knew he would be crucified as a traitor, but his spirit drove him on — he has to be regarded as the most influential human the world has ever known. But I’d bet everything I own that he would ‘turn in his grave’ if he knew how his intentions have been thwarted and twisted by knaves to create a morass of 33,000 so-called Christian religions, all of which have dispensed his name illicitly.  Just look at the mess we have today and every day since Jesus’ death. They all use his name for legitimacy, but none knows either him or the God who created all.

For all the uninitiated and, at the risk of being repetitiously boring, my little book, Wilderness cry expounds this philosophical and scientific understanding of God and his universe quite succinctly. Its sequels, Peace in Spirituality and Provocative Catholic expand many of the implications of that essential definition of God to their logical conclusion. In doing so, they offer a ‘fool-proof’ pathway to permanent peace. If you care to know more about me and my upbringing, Growing Up In Fancy Farm Kentucky may ‘tickle your fancy’.

All my books are available Amazon-Kindle and from me handg@comcast.net. All comments and questions are welcomed, and will be answered.

Buddhaism Christianity Eternity Faith Future of Christianity God God's Will gods Hilary L Hunt MD Hinduism HolyGhost Holy Spirit Islam Islam Christianity Jesus Judaism Judaism Buddhism Money Philosophy Power Religion religions salvation Science The Trinity

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