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Is Jesus Man, Is he God, or Both?

Posted on: July 30, 2012

Is Jesus Man, Is he God, or Both?
Written and collected by: Zia H. Shah

Is Jesus man, is he God, or both? The conventional Christian doctrine is that he is both, perfect man and fully Divine! But, you never see a clear picture of an amalgam or a hybrid in the canonical Gospels, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Jesus often denies any divinity in Gospels. Scores of time he calls himself son of man. Several times he is found praying to God the Father and beseeching His help. But, never does he say to his disciples, “I am not like you, I am a God and a man. I am a Hybrid! I am a man-God or a God-man!” He stresses his lack of omniscience when he denies knowledge of the time of his second coming:
At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:28-32)
Incidentally, he says that he will come back within the same generation and scores of generations have passed away, but, he has not come back yet according to the Christian doctrine. At any rate, our topic today is, Is Jesus man, is he God or both? Bear with me and note that I am talking about Jesus of the Gospels and not Jesus of the Holy Quran. The Quranic description of Jesus, may peace be on him, is simple and straight forward. He is a prophet of God like all the Jewish prophets. But, the complex Jesus of the Gospels is mostly man and a few times in the Gospel of John, he is God, but, seldom both. Now you see it and now you do not. The alleged man-god appears and disappears in descriptions of the Gospels like a sleight of hand. The Christian apologists continue to trick and bewilder the naive masses, without ever committing to a constant understanding of Jesus. Read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict… but to weigh and consider.”
Answering the question, at hand, ‘Is Jesus man, is he God, or both?’ is very easy, almost child’s work! But, a child, who is not indoctrinated in the Christian dogma. So, in pursuit of the answer, I started reading the four canonical Gospels to see when Jesus is mentioned as a man, when as God and when as a hybrid. I generally read New International Version for its modern English, unless I suspect a more recent interpolation, to suit the Christian dogma, and then I compare it with the King James version and this generally is enough to stand guard against the trickery and convolutions of many a Christian apologists. I leave a more in depth investigation to others. Many of the Bible versions are available in the website, the Bible Gateway.
Now, I present to you the beginnings of each of the four canonical Gospels and then I will present from the concluding chapter of each. We start with the Gospel of Mark, as it was the first to be written:
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:1-8)
My only comment here is that Jews have never talked about a Divine Messiah. So the reference here to the book of Isaiah, should be interpreted as an allusion to human Jesus.
Now let us move to the Gospel of Matthew:
This is the genealogyof Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David. (Matthew 1:1-6)
The mention of contradictions in the two genealogies of Jesus in the New Testament is for another day. Suffice here to say that we are not told how the son of David was joined with the son of God. We are not told what biological miracle or biological glue or principles were evoked to create a human-divine hybrid.
So, we move to the beginning of the Gospel of Luke:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)
The beginning of the Gospel of Luke highlights for us that the Gospels were written decades after the crucifixion of Jesus from oral tradition, in the order, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. The last to be written, almost 60-70 years after crucifixion was the Gospel of John and hence it takes the greatest liberties with the truth and the true history of Jesus, son of man and tries to portray him in exaggerated divine colors rather than as a beloved of God and a metaphorical son of God. The Gospel of John starts as below:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomeit.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. (John 1:1-8)
The Gospel of John tries to bring out an allegedly divine Jesus, who is superior to John the Baptist, while forgetting that one of the other Gospels, later to be declared canonical had put Jesus in an inferior role as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

John baptizing Jesus, painting by Guido Reni
Read further: John the Baptist: A Witness against Pauline Dogma
Now, as I move to the allegedly resurrected Jesus, in the four canonical Gospels, I encourage the Muslim readers to help me by reading the rest of the Gospels and thinking aloud in the comment section, when Jesus is man, when he is God and when he is both? So that our Christian brothers and sisters stop playing this hide and seek game of now you see the dual nature of Jesus and now you don’t. I implore the Christian readers to not shoot the messenger and study a more pure Monotheism in Islam, in Judaism and in their own Old Testament! May God be with you. Amen!
So, let me now read aloud from the last parts of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. In the original Mark we never get to meet the post-resurrection Jesus. Most experts including our present Pope Benedict XVI agree that the last 12 verses are a later addition. The original Gospel of Mark ends as follows on the eighth verse of chapter 16:
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (Mark 16:2-8)
Read further about the ending of Mark, The Gospel of Mark: in Search of an Ending!
As Jesus is dying, according to the Gospel of Matthew, he prays to God the Father and asks Him as to why He has forsaken him? So, again, to anyone not indoctrinated in Christian mysteries or fallacies, it is human Jesus, no God to be observed yet, as he is dying on the cross and giving up his ghost:
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice,“Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27:45-50)
The human Jesus kept on appealing to God the Father, but to no avail and dies and gives up his spirit. However, strangely enough, according to the Christian doctrine it is not only the human Jesus that died but also the divine Jesus, the alleged literal son of God. But, the Muslims and the Jews cannot conceive this mystery. Can our Christian brethren and sisters explain to us, who have seen humans and animals die, as to how God dies? A dead God? How are we to perceive and imagine it? Has anyone ever seen a dying God? Even if we saw one, would we recognize it?
Additionally, the allegedly risen Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew is physical and not spiritual or presumably God, as women can touch his feet:
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10)
The Gospel of Luke cannot make up its mind! Is the risen Jesus physical and human and need of bread and food or spiritual or ghost like, who can suddenly disappear:
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:28-32)
Jesus again suddenly reappears as a ghost in the Gospel of Luke, but, he is no God, no Omnipotence, as he asks for food as a mere mortal:
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. (Luke 24:36-43)
In the Gospel of John, as Jesus reappears after crucifixion, he first appears to Mary Magdalene, but does not want to be touched or hugged as the wounds of his resuscitated body are fresh and hurting him:
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:14-17)
Interestingly, Jesus calls God the Father, his God and not his Partner or literal Father! It seems that Jesus then turns into a ghost and walks through walls or closed doors, as we read in the Gospel of John:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
Next Jesus appears to Thomas in his resuscitated physical body and lets him feel his wounds to allay his doubts:
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:24-27)
Jesus is still a man with physical human body and wounds. But then the plot thickens, at the end of the fourth Gospel! Finally, for the indoctrinated believers in dual nature, Thomas delivers the punch line: “Thomas said to him (Jesus), ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28) After studying all the canonical Gospels, we have, perhaps, one line in the New Testament to think that may be Jesus is both man and god, an amalgam, a hybrid of strange proportions, like other Greek man-gods. This one line hardly serves the purpose of the Christian apologists as one may well ask when was this line inserted in the Gospel of John or on what authority the original writer, who was not an eye-witness, writing 60 years after crucifixion, wrote this line. At best this ishearsay evidence. Not permissible in any decent Court of Law.
In ancient society, which recognized several Greek gods, one could believe in man-gods like Emperor Augustus and Apollonius, but, for our contemporary times, the Christian Scripture does not tell us as to how should we perceive a human with 46 chromosomes, co-existing with Transcendent God the Father, who is beyond time, space and matter. But, then we realize, it is too much to expect from Christian Scripture, to defend the mysteries of Christian dogma, as the New Testament does not even mention the word Trinity!

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