I’m currently working on an ordination-type personal statement of faith; and I ran across this great resource in the back of one of my books.
An Outline of the New Testament Testimony to the Deity of Christ” by Murray J. Harris in Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), 315-317.
A. Implicit Christology
1. Divine functions performed by Jesus
a. In relation to the universe
(1) Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2)
(2) Sustainer (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3)
(3) Author of life (John 1:4; Acts 3:15)
(4) Ruler (Matt. 28:18; Rom. 14:9; Rev. 1:6)
I originally wrote this post last spring, but, for whatever reason, never got around to publishing it. So, long over do, here it is.
Prominent among Muslims is the belief that the Christian and Jewish (implied) scriptures have been falsified, the text having been changed and corrupted. They seek support for this in the Qur’an and the Hadith (their two authoritative texts). This is how Muslims explain that, although Muhammad was predicted in the Christian and Jewish scriptures, he was rejected by both groups.
But is this a legitimate claim? The evidence argues to the contrary.
1. The word of God reflecting the character of God.
The falsification of scripture is incompatible with the character of God as recognized by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. God is truthful, trustworthy, and faithful. Therefore, His word cannot be corrupted or become unreliable. God is sovereignly powerful. But a God who intends to communicate yet fails to preserve His message from falsification is not a sovereignly powerful God.
The Qur’an itself says,
We [referring to God with a “royal we”] have sent down the Qur’an Ourself, and We Ourself will guard it. – Sura 15:9.
[Prophet], follow what has been revealed to you of your Lord’s Scripture: there is no changing His words…. – Sura 18:27.
And the witness of the Christian scriptures correspond to this.
So, I ask, how does a falsification of scripture fit with this theology?
2. The manuscript evidence.
There are more manuscripts for the Biblical text than any other ancient document. And when we examine these manuscripts, we can confidently determine that the Biblical text has been transmitted with incredible accuracy.
A Meditative Reflection on 1 Chronicles 29:14-16
After David and his fellow Israelites make their offerings for the future building of the temple, David praises God. In 1 Chronicles 29:14-16 he says the following.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.
David’s speech here hits me in the gut—
The following is a summary of and reflection upon an abridged version of Calvin’s Institutes produced by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne (see it here on Amazon). I should note that I did not read the final book, Book IV: Outward Means by which God Helps Us, in its entirety; and therefore, it was directly not taken into consideration in the writing of this review.
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Calvin’s understanding of how men know God, know themselves, and the relationship between these two types of knowledge is seemingly foundational to the entirety of his theology (1:1:1). For Calvin, knowledge of self is intrinsically linked to knowledge of God while knowledge of God results in proper assessment of self (1:1:1). Genuine knowledge of self necessarily assumes knowledge of God. One cannot fully grasp the existence of the creature apart from his fundamental relationship to his Creator and Sustainer (1:1:1). Comprehension of man’s falleness assumes an ideal, one that is rooted in God’s creative-design; transgression implies the reality of Judge (1:1:1). On the other hand, without knowledge of God, no one ever truly knows himself (1:1:2). Lacking insight into the purpose for which He was created, ignorance of his original nature and its divine intent flourish. Unaware of God’s standard of righteousness, man consequently assesses his moral condition inaccurately (2:1:1).
I previously wrote a review On the Incarnation by Athanasius (c. 297-373). Well, I read the book again and wrote another review that I thought I’d share with you here. Hopefully this second review, which covers a lot of the same things as the first one, has greater insight and clarity. Enjoy!
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In his work, On the Incarnation, Athanasius seeks to present “a brief statement of the faith of Christ and of the manifestation of His Godhead to us” (IX.56). Acknowledging that “such and so many are the Savior’s achievements that follow from His incarnation” (X.54) such that one is unable to present them satisfactorily, he nonetheless determines to set forth his understanding of “why it is that the Word of the Father . . . has been made manifest in bodily form” (I.1); his answer in short: “for the salvation of us men” (I.1). What follows is less a systematic doctrinal treatise and more an explanation and defense of the incarnation against its 4th century misconceptions and critiques.
Athanasius begins his account with creation and the fall. Of all His creatures, God bestowed upon mankind a special grace, the Image of God. For Athanasius this Image means a sharing in the divine being (“though in a limited degree”; I.3; III.11) and a unique incorruptibility because of this intimate knowledge of and union with the Incorruptible One (I.4-5; II.6-7; III.13). In such a state, man would have continued forever (I.3). But by “turning from eternal things to things corruptible” man embraced corruption—death—by forsaking union with the eternal (I.5; cf. I.4). Such is the setting for “the divine dilemma and its solution in the incarnation” (II).