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November 29, 2013

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Why didn't Jesus reveal his Deity with scientific facts? Because science was not in existence at the time. In fact, the word miracle does not mean in the first century that God broke the laws of nature in order to do something. That meaning could not exist because it won't be around for several more centuries. Miracle just basically means an act of power or a sign in the gospels. Creational monotheism means that God is in the world, but that he is not creation itself, thus the idea of a metaphysical God that punches a hole through the physical sky and tweaks everything does not exist in the NT or OT.

Power didn't need to. And Man's need, Man's vacuum, inside of the Outside, inside of lovelessness, required, not ideas, but Actuality poured out, and into, Man's vacuum. Vacuums being contingent.


Besides, He knew Hawking would take us back to Genesis 1:1 and take his leap of faith out of Time, out of Material, and into That ever-actual Necessary & Sufficient Cause of All Effects amid This Effect but not That Effect and thereby put up every bit if physics as a witness on Cosmic Intent.


It's the same question as "Why did Love have to spread His arms wide and pour Himself out?". Why not just teach us really important ideas?

That question reveals a complete misunderstanding about what Immutable Love is, what being inside Love's innately triune Self-Other-Us that just is E Pluribus Unum means, what being outside of such means, and how it is that, on ontological necessity, Love fills up such a vacuum of such an Outside.

"The context of Jesus’ ministry and message were defined by the nature (and limitations) of this ancient audience."

The big problem for Christians claiming the target audience of the Gospels is not 21st-century people like you and me is... admitting that the target audience of the Gospels is not 21st century people like you and me.

But what does consistency matter? We're doing apologetics, and the goal is to toss off some possible answer, any possible answer, which gets the apologist out of the spot he happens to be trapped in at the moment.

Staircaseghost makes my point. Perfectly.

JB-

Science did exist in Jesus' day. It just wasn't as advanced in many areas as the science of the 21st century. (Though in some areas it may be just as advanced or even more advanced...knowledge can, after all, be lost.)

Though I agree with you that "Miracle" does not mean "violation of the Laws of Nature".

Here's a question I'd really like to know the answer to: Exactly what 'scientific' evidence could Jesus (or anyone else for that matter) provide to prove His Deity?

The examples that the student gave are, of course, laughable. I kind of suspect that they all are.

BTW, that goes for the resurrection too. By itself, it is far from sufficient evidence for the Deity of Christ.

Of course, Christians never take that evidence by itself. We also consider His teachings. Not just His claims of Deity, but also His plan of Salvation. If you don't add this into the mix along with a conception of God as Omnipotent, Omniscient and Perfectly Just, Merciful and Gracious, you don't get the Deity of Christ.

"Staircaseghost makes my point. Perfectly."

That we should ignore the Bible, because it doesn't apply to us?

Love doesn't apply to us?

Again, you make the point: a complete misunderstanding, as described earlier.

"Miracles of this nature were the perfect tool to reach observers in the 1st Century. They were immediately accessible and verifiable. Unlike obscure statements to be confirmed over the course of two thousand years, these diverse miracles demonstrated the Divine nature of Jesus in a variety of ways available to both contemporary and future audiences. Miracles, unlike anachronistic wisdom statements, have the ability to validate the Divinity of Jesus across time."

Conjuring tricks. Jesus had to use conjuring tricks. Jesus had to (allegedly) suspend the ordinary workings of the universe for his own ends rather than describe the workings of the universe. So this great orator and teacher had to resort to David Blaine tactics to get his point across?

There's a far more obvious explanation for all this.

Mr Wallace's superficial explanation above does nothing but create more questions that need to be answered. In brief, the explanation given is not coherent with a claim of God as "Omnipotent, Omniscient" etc etc as Wisdom Lover describes.

Mathematical formulas?

So that would have "proven the deity"?

Cute.

Love's means for us are but Himself - Love's ends for us are but Himself.

The Ceiling and Floor of this Outside we are in, this - on definition - hell on earth, the descriptive of which is summarized in Debut. 28, finds no solution in Hawking's proofs of Cosmic Intention willing Time's actualization. This vacuum, void of E Pluribus Unum, has but one prescriptive of emancipation, that Immutable Love pour Himself into such a hollow. Ever-Actual Timelessness defines our tensed fragments.

Hawking, committed to naturalism, freely chooses imaginary unmeasurables rather than the far more coherent and logical start/stop perceived within Intention.

Descriptives of physics are but indifference.

I'd rather love's timeless quenching of insufficiency.

Now, some seem to prefer the indifference of calculus grids, but such just fails to speak to our humanity here within our brutally repeatable moral experiences, and is therein voiceless, unable to speak of the Timeless throughout Time.

TGS-

As already noted, I don't think miracles I don't think that miracles "suspend the ordinary workings of the universe". Nor do I think they are in any way inconsistent with Omnipotence etc.

The point is that you can't prove from any displays of immense knowledge, power or rationality (which rules out both miracles and the proposed early revelation of the laws of nature) that an individual is God. The most it shows is that the individual is either the Creator or some extremely powerful, but sub-divine, creature.

It seems to me that a more telling comeback is "What part of *rising from the dead* is not scientific enough for you?". Throughout the ages, this family of objections rises again and again and again: "What I want from God is …". Wrong way 'round, buddy. He's God, you're creation - the pertinent question is "What does God want from me?".

Our sinful hearts demand evidence at the places where it is in least abundance, not where it is most convincing. Because otherwise we might actually find it.

Ultimate Actuality, God, prizes Knowledge, loves Knowledge, and makes of it a tool for Himself. Herein Knowledge is the servant of Love, and E Pluribus Unum proceeds.

Man makes of Knowledge his god. Herein love is but a servant to knowledge, and hell's fragmentation proceeds.

Hawking's proofs of Genesis 1:1 leaves man but fragmented.

A fine line of posts for this article.

I am impressed by the ideas of the miracle given in exchange of JB and WL's interchange, along with scblhrm's comments on the content of scientific knowledge as superficially striking or compelling (e.g. some seem to prefer the indifference of calculus grids).

In the Bible, the concept of the miraculous is expressed differently in the Old and New Testaments. In both, they are seen as "signs" (In Hebrew OTH and Greek seymeion). But in the Old Testament, the emphasis was on the event being wondrous, while in the Greek of the NT, the event was an act of power (dynamis) which encouraged amazement (thaumata). In directing the importance of the miracle, it is best seen in the context of the first century. An action happened that was difficult to explain as a testimony of the divine nature of the individual.

The general drift in modern response has drifted from finding natural explanations to Jesus' miraculous works (late 19th century criticism) to outright denial of their historicity. Still, the concept of dynamis declares that such activity was under the capabilities of the man Jesus, the marvelings that followed only natural responses to the unnatural.

Science claims a degree of being wondrous. We are subjected to the marvels of science or medical miracles. Still the wonders of science is based both on achievement and failure. The latest gizmo of technology has a certain appeal, but often the amazement comes in scientific miscalculation, the man who was given three months to live outlasting such predictions by ten years. Miracle? Nope, scientific error. That's the natural explanation; a miraculous recovery need not apply.

The razzle-dazzle of science has not permanence. There is a degree of imperfection with modern technology. Each innovation must undergo upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, before the whole system is scrapped for the "new and improved."

So why didn't Jesus mention scientific fact and used the miracle instead? Jesus would depend on what the divine nature is capable and leave the methods of human curiosity where it is best employed, in the flux and flow of human discovery and ingenuity.

According to Paul, the Apostle, God declared Jesus to be the Son of God by raising Him from the dead (Rom 1:3-4) If that's not a verifiable fact, then what is?

Even today, science is not by any means the only, or even necessarily the best, means of producing verifiable truth. Simply producing a verifiable act in history constitutes as good a way as any to establish who Jesus was.

In other words, God actually did exactly what the article title says He did not do.

Aftr reading through the comments, [only scanned the OP], I think WL's question, which has no postive answer, points out that the challenge by the student isn't really a challenge at all. It is just another justification for someone to stay in their disobedience while they claim no proof.

As far as miracles, in some sense, I think I would also suggest that they aren't breaking any natural laws, but demonstrating a more full use and understanding of them. Nonetheless, the Bible does call many of the works of Jesus to be attesting miracles. In Isreal, true prophets were indeed authenticated by demonstrations that ordinary men coundn't reproduce. Jesus' attesting miracles weren't necessarily to demonstrate diety, His claims did that...and prophets do not err. Peter asked "what manner of man is this?" after seeing the weather controlled, he also answered Jesus' question "who do you say that I am?" by answering "the Son of the living God", to which Jesus said:

"And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."
It wasn't revealed to him by experience and physical proofs but by the sole, and immediate power of God-although possibly coincidental to a sense perception.

One miracle though in regards to mankind that does demonstrate something significant is resurrection from the dead. The power of sin=death and all men but One are in its clutches. It is not insignificant to defy the power of death, Jesus even makes this point when He told the rich man in Luke 16 that if his brothers would not believe Moses and the prophets, they would also deny the proof that resurrection should provide through Lazurus returning from the dead to warn the rich mans brothers. Overcoming death is not just control of nature, it is mastery over the power of sin.

The incoherent skeptic declares life from death in resurrection a "violation" of physics, and then foists spontaneous biogenesis.

Life from life is observable, falsifiable, and so on. SB isn't. It's reasonable, God, Life, begetting life.

SB isn't reasonable.

300 years from now kids will see "DNA" and be as unimpressed as this challenger is as he asks for DNA. (DGF's point).

And yet Love's Ontology will still be as relevant as always.....

Some themes, words, are timeless.

Brad's point of mastery over sin's power will likewise remain brutally tangible, bringing us back full circle to Christ yet again.

Agree with everything the author said. If He had spent Him time talking about issues in detail they weren't educated to understand, it would have just been more reason to consider Him crazy, or just figure He was nothing more than a philosopher.

But I'd also like to add that the OT touches on issues science wouldn't discover until thousands of years later. The OT states the earth is round, not flat. It mentions the water cycle. It states that the universe is expanding. Maybe some more I can't think of now, or have never caught before.

And just for good measure, although I know they didn't have it for reference at the time He was on earth, but 2 Peter tells us "But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment."

The word 'elements' can be translated as 'building blocks'. The very building blocks of earth and everything here. Atoms. So that most likely points to some catastrophic event takes place that causes a universal atomic meltdown. A chain reaction. Since it mentions "the heavens", first, my guess is it's a force outside of the earth that initiates the whole shebang. Obviously, I have no way of knowing what that could be. But I'm guessing at some time in the future science will stumble upon the disturbing possibility of something in space having the potential to make that happen. Of course, I know God could just make it happen because that's what He wants, defying every natural law known to mankind. But I think most the time He uses the very things He created to get His will done.

An interesting read on Scripture and the Round Earth.


Genesis 1:1 informs us that Space-Time had a beginning. Hawking accepts this, obviously, as all the evidence points there, an ever-actual necessary and sufficient cause of space-time which, space-time clearly not eternal, discredits deterministic frameworks and thus materialism, leaving us at the feet of intention.


Scripture clearly teaches us that Mankind started as Unity inside of E Pluribus Unum, and, ultimately, Mankind will again composite such an amalgamation inside of E Pluribus Unum, and we find this in such a way which seems to discredit universalism as Intention and not Determinism are, yet again, intact. E Pluribus Unum being, obviously, the clearly triune Self-Other-Us in singularity, the A and the Z, Who is our God.
Eventually we find the amalgamation that just is that location where Cause and Effect, in Love’s Intention, collide, there in Uncreated-Created, in Timelessness-Time, in Word-Corporeal, in all the business of incarnation, necessarily the only coherent way into Pan-Actuality E Pluribus Unum.

This argument seems horribly lacking if you don't already agree with the premise. You say Jesus needed to prove his divinity to the first-century people, and so needed to do it using first century methods. But Staircaseghost is absolutely correct. The Bible is supposed to be relevant to us today, not just to people in the first century.


Today we have the advantage of seeing lots and lots of teachers who claimed to do miracles. Jesus isn't unique in that sense. He needs something more than the others to prove his divinity.


Who ever said Jesus needed to use either miracles OR scientific foreknowledge? Why couldn't he do both? You say doing both would "dilute his message". Preposterous. He could focus primarily on the miracles, and only reveal the science in secret to his disciples.


Here's what he could do. Jesus could take John aside and say, "Listen, this won't make any sense to you right now, but I need you to write this down word-for-word. See, matter and energy are actually the same sort of thing, which relate to each other according to the formula E=mc^2, and time runs slower when you approach the speed of light..." He could explain the theory of relativity to his disciples, and then instruct them to hide it in the caves at Qumran. Einstein published his theory of relativity in 1916, and the caves of Qumran weren't excavated until 1949. It would have led to a Christian revival like nothing else we've ever seen if it was shown Jesus had that kind of knowledge.


As it is, all you have are excuses.

And then you would be convinced Jesus is a time-traveler or a Klingon.

Perhaps, but in that case I am already admitting that Jesus must be something other than an ordinary human teacher.

Right now, I can make that claim. I can point out that Jesus' miracles aren't that different from legends, or from what people claimed about other holy men.

If Jesus had impossible knowledge, it is true that skeptics might not believe he's the son of God. They might claim he is a time-traveler, or a Klingon. But skeptics would not be able to deny that there was something very, very special about this man. That would be a huge difference from what we have today.

I'm not talking about providing absolute, clear, undeniable proof. I'm talking about giving evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Maybe not everyone would believe, even with this proof. But many more would believe than do now.

"Why didn't Jesus....?"


But no one has shown why He should have.


Especially in light of the already described misunderstanding about Love's Ontology which is driving this irrational assertion that "...well I think he should have...."


Then, it is admitted that such would not have convinced us anyway .... "Perhaps not....but..." by Physeter is the proof of the non-proof the granted request would actually fail to grant.

But why should God care to get you to believe that Jesus was something more than an ordinary human teacher?

God wants you to believe that Jesus is God. You are no closer to salvation when you believe that Jesus is a more than ordinary human teacher than you are when you think that Jesus is a legend.

And there is no miracle or other trick, like your E=mc^2 prediction, that Jesus could do to prove that He is God.

You also might want to consider the possibility that E=mc^2 is false, but we haven't figured that out yet. Should Jesus then have provided the truer claim at the expense of our generation failing to be converted? Or should he have provided the false claim that would convince you, but at the expense of later generations?

Maybe not everyone would believe, even with this proof. But many more would believe than do now

Many do believe. Over 2 billion. Of course, even if there were a mere 1 million, someone would say, “God should do something to make billions of believers". But what other sort of arbitrary trick would be demanded by those that wouldn’t be persuaded?

Someone once said that if God wrote, “I am God” across the sky in purple smoke he would believe. Purple smoke.

Of course, he wouldn’t believe. Purple smoke was his way of saying I will not believe even with purple smoke.

Jesus, of course, anticipated this debate in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Dives):

But he [Dives] said, "No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!" But he said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead."
Moses and the prophets taught a God who is perfect in power, knowledge, wisdom, justice, mercy and grace. They also taught that the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Price of Peace--All the fullness of the Godhead--would come as a Messiah who would reconcile sinful man with Himself and rescue His people. Only Jesus, the Word made flesh, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, fits the bill for that Messiah.

The death and resurrection of Christ is an implication of the teachings of Moses and the prophets. Not proof of it. And this logical dynamic is not limited to the death and resurrection of Christ. YHWH's deliverance of His people from Egypt, for example, is not proof that He loves His people. It is a consequence of it.

The argument does not go "Miraculous Salvation; therefore, Loving God". It goes "Loving God; therefore, Miraculous Salvation"

True, some may be convinced by miracles, at least for a time. But most respond the same way Pharaoh did...by hardening their hearts against the will of God so often that God finally hardens their hearts against Him whether they will it or not.

The miracles are important not because they are proof, but because their absence would serve as defeaters for Christianity.

Without the Exodus, had Pharaoh carried his slaves back into bondage (or never freed them in the first place) and worked them to extinction, however well the Jewish Law and Messianic Prophecies might fit the bill for the plan of an Almighty and Loving God for His fallen children, we should be compelled to look for another prophecy.

Without the death and resurrection of Christ, however well Jesus might otherwise fit the bill for the promised Messiah, we would really be compelled to keep waiting rather than follow Christ. Produce the bones of Christ, and the churches have to shut their doors and re-open as Synagogues.

In the end, the proof of Christianity is that there are no alternatives currently available to it. The miracles are important, not to prove Christianity, but because if they had not occurred, then Christianity wouldn't be a currently available alternative either.

But he [Dives] said, "No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!" But he said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead."

See, I think this is mistaken. I think if someone came back from the dead, I would repent and believe whatever they were preaching.

I don't mean that someone we thought was dead comes back. I don't mean that somebody "dies" for a few minutes in a hospital and then the doctors re-start his heart. I mean someone who was dead and buried for three or four days (like the other Lazarus) comes back to life. Better yet, someone who's been dead weeks or months, so you can't just claim they were buried alive. Someone who was clearly, medically pronounced dead, and then suddenly wasn't anymore.

The miracles are important not because they are proof, but because their absence would serve as defeaters for Christianity.

I feel the same way. It's funny, though, how miracles today only happen when nobody is looking. Or when you are in a foreign country with no documentation of your claims. Or when something occurs in a way that could have happened on its own.

I'm not talking about providing proof that would win over a hardened skeptic. I'm talking about evidence that would convince an honest seeker, like myself. Read the deconversion testimonies of some ex-Christians, and you will find they searched long and hard for God, but simply couldn't find him anywhere. They didn't just fall away because they decided to stop believing.

WisdomLover said:
But why should God care to get you to believe that Jesus was something more than an ordinary human teacher? God wants you to believe that Jesus is God.
If a person is actually a god in the flesh, then it goes without saying that this person is MORE THAN an ordinary human teacher. If you had proof that Jesus was more than human, it would give HUGE support to his claim of being God.

Why should God care about this? Because we are told that God loves us and wants us to be in heaven with him; and we are told that we will all go to hell instead, unless we confess Jesus as Lord and believe in him. A loving God should be interested in helping us find the way to eternal life.

Physeter,

Dominance over death is proof.

Now, that may be the work of an alien, or, it may be Love's work.

Only, you think by finding an it, you will find the Who.

Clearly this is an incoherent approach to finding the truth of what a God of Love actually is, should such a God exist.

That is why the miracle chaser never can find Person, even should his eyes see the miracle, as you yourself realized earlier, such just is not "proof".

The person that is my Wife is a rather different something than is a book about her, or any book she could ever write, or any letter she could ever write.

You suffer all the pathology of a category error in both Love and in Reason.


It's funny, though, how miracles today only happen when nobody is looking. Or when you are in a foreign country with no documentation of your claims. Or when something occurs in a way that could have happened on its own.
Exactly which miracle did you expect to happen that didn't and that, thereby, defeats Christianity? Is God's rescue of sinful man somehow thwarted if my pot belly doesn't miraculously vanish when I want it to and pray for it to go away?
If you had proof that Jesus was more than human, it would give HUGE support to his claim of being God.
Nonsense. That's about like saying that the fact that I've shown you a million dollars is a HUGE support for the claim that I have infinitely many dollars. It's actually not any more impressive with respect to the thing to be proven than my showing you a red cent.
See, I think this is mistaken. I think if someone came back from the dead, I would repent and believe whatever they were preaching.
But some one has. And (I assume) you haven't.
I don't mean that someone we thought was dead comes back. I don't mean that somebody "dies" for a few minutes in a hospital and then the doctors re-start his heart. I mean someone who was dead and buried for three or four days (like the other Lazarus) comes back to life.
Dead for three days and came back...I think someone other than the other Lazarus did, but his name escapes me...Let me think. Hmmmm....
Better yet, someone who's been dead weeks or months, so you can't just claim they were buried alive. Someone who was clearly, medically pronounced dead, and then suddenly wasn't anymore.
Oooh! Oooh! I've got a good one. Someone who was stabbed through the heart with a spear so that blood and water came out. that's be cool if someone like that came back!

OK. Sarcasm over.

A loving God should be interested in helping us find the way to eternal life.
He is, and He did. But He really wants to help you. He does not just want to make you feel better on the way to Hell. The sort of criticism you're raising here is kind of like telling your oncologist that the chemotherapy can't be the right cure because it makes you feel worse, not better.

Again, the important thing to understand first is that God loves you even in your fallen state and will act on your behalf to save you, even if it means breaking and remaking the whole universe. God does miracles because He loves you, not to prove anything to you. And it is up to him to decide when and where miracles are useful and when and where they are harmful. Because of that whole perfect knowledge and wisdom thing, He's actually better suited to work that out than you and I are.

@AndrewW--You wrote:

"Our sinful hearts demand evidence at the places where it is in least abundance, not where it is most convincing. Because otherwise we might actually find it."

That's powerfully profound. Awesome.

Thank you for writing it.

But some one has. And (I assume) you haven't....Oooh! Oooh! I've got a good one....
Do you really not see the difference between something that happens today that scientists can monitor with instruments, and something which is claimed to happen 2,000 years ago in an ancient text? And again, the miracles weren't supposed to stop with Jesus. Paul reportedly brought a dude back to life after Paul talked all night and the dude fell asleep and fell out a window.
God does miracles because He loves you, not to prove anything to you.
Except the gospel of John clearly presents Jesus' "signs" as evidence we should believe in him. Jesus was also willing to give Thomas the proof he asked for -- he appeared in the flesh like Thomas asked, in spite of Thomas's doubt. Read this if you want to see what that would look like today.

scbrownlhrm said:

Dominance over death is proof.

So raise someone from the dead. Show me how, in independently verified studies, Christians using prayer are able to heal BETTER than doctors in hospitals using medicine. A story you have about 2,000 years ago written by pre-scientific people isn't convincing.

Physeter,

The miracle chaser never will find the Who within any it, no matter what the it happens to be.

All you will say is that it is an Alien life doing such and such.

Scripture promises that the miracle chaser will, eventually, be mislead.

But how can one be mislead by miracles?

Because the Who is not there, and, thus, the only immunity to such misleading is to know the Who.

Therein, miracle or no miracle simply makes no difference.

You are chasing after the wind, Physeter, and will be mislead, for all sorts of be-dazz-le sorts of miracles will take place, and, thereby, mislead you.


According to scripture.


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