Saturday, July 11, 2015 4:41 AM

Jesus Could Not Have Been Just a Good Man

Saturday, July 11, 2015 4:41 AM
Saturday, July 11, 2015 4:41 AM

The argument in its simplest form looks like this: Jesus was either (1) God, if his claim about himself was true, or (2) a bad man, if what he said was not true, for good men do not claim to be God. But he was not a bad man. (If anyone in history was not a bad man, Jesus was not a bad man.) Therefore, he was (and is) God.[i]

The argument is than as follows:

  • What trustable people teach is trustable teaching, and Jesus was a trustable person if anyone ever was. Therefore, what he taught is trustable teaching.
  • On the other hand, if someone teaches unbelievable things, especially about himself, he is an unbelievable person. And Jesus taught unbelievable things about himself. (What is more unbelievable than that a man is God?) Therefore, he is an unbelievable person.

But one of these two conclusions must be false. Either his teaching is trustable, because he is, or he is not trustable, because his teaching is not. His teachings about himself and his person as a trustable authority go together as a package deal.

 Christ was either God or a bad man. Nearly every non-Christian who ever lived has believed that Jesus was neither God nor a bad man but just a good man. But just a good man is the one thing he could not possibly have been. If he was the God he claimed to be, then he was not just a good man but more than a man. And if he was not the God he claimed to be, then he was not a good man at all but a bad man. A man who claims to be God and is not, cannot be called “a good man.” He is either insane (if he believes that he is God) or a blasphemous liar (if he does not believe he is God but claims that he is).

The moral argument for Christianity can be stated as follows: How could Christ be good without being true? How could Christianity be so morally right if it is intellectually wrong? How could the best man who ever lived also be the most insane? How could the religion of love, the religion of the saints, be based on a lie? If Christ is not God, why has this lie made people better people than any truth has ever made them?

[i] Geisler, N. L., & Hoffman, P. K. (2001). Why I am a Christian : Leading thinkers explain why they believe (229). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

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