Recently Cardinal Pell debated Richard Dawkins. What frustrates me about Dawkins is not that he makes good arguments (in my humble opinion, he doesn’t), but that many of his ‘arguments’ consist of telling people the wrong information, and then attacking that. Consider what he said in his opening remark about Christianity,

It’s a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn’t think of a better way to forgive us our since sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself.

No. Just no.

  • According to Christianity God forgives us, not himself. Jesus is sinless, and obviously doesn’t need forgiveness for that.
  • Jesus is not the Father’s alter-ego, or split personality. What Dawkins is arguing against here is not Christian belief, but is called modalism or Sabellianism and has long been rejected as heresy.

Now obviously Dawkins mangles Christian belief as a political ploy. I doubt he really doesn’t understand what Christianity teaches. And that’s what frustrates me. To me these arguments sound like a politician who doesn’t care about the issues, but just wants to misrepresent the other side no matter what.

For anyone who is seriously struggling with why God saved us the way he did, can I humbly suggest Athenasius On the Incarnation. It’s worth the read.

Genesis 21:33

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.

Psalm 90:1-4

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn men back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Exodus 3:13-14

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”  God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’

Psalm 100:5

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Ephesians 3:10-11

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 8:58

I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!

Revelation 1:8

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

Isaiah 57:15

For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Deuteronomy 33:27

The eternal God is your refuge

1 Timothy 1:17

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Photos by: jaci XIII Robbert van der Steeg
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Ten Bible verses which indicate that God is awesome – he is omniscient (all knowing):

Job 37:16

Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge.

Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.

1 Samuel 2:3

Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Job 28:24

For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.

1 John 3:19-20

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Hebrews 4:13

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Isaiah 46:9

I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done.

Matthew 10:30

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

Psalm 139:4

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

Jesus is God, man.

December 17, 2009

How can a Christian understand Jesus? How can Jesus be both man and God at the same time? As the church spread East into Asia, this question became one of great importance. The church was split into two main camps: The Nestorians, and the Monophysites. It all sounds like Syriac to me, so I had to look up what these terms meant.

This is the belief that Jesus existed as two separate persons. One of them is divine – the Son of God. The other is human.

It is somewhat ironic that Nestorius (a preacher at Antioch, and the bishop of Constantinople in 428) probably never taught this.

On this view, Jesus had only one nature. It wasn’t a fully divine nature, and it wasn’t a fully human nature. Instead it is a combination of the two: like a mixture of ink and water, so that the elements of both natures are modified to create a new one.

Standard Christian View
Just in case you’re wondering, the standard Christian view, for protestants, Catholics and Orthodox is to affirm that Jesus one person, who is truly God and truly man. This was spelled out by the leaders of the church who met together in 451 near Constantinople, in Chalcedon. Unlike the Nestorians, the church leaders said that Jesus was only one person,

Indivisibly, inseparably… concurring in one person and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons.

And unlike the Monophysites, they said that Jesus had two natures:

to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably… the distinction of the natures being preserved.

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