“Father Forgive Them for They Know not What They Do” is Proof that Jesus Did Not Believe He was God

Father Forgive Them They Know Not What They Do

It is interesting that in the first three Gospels, Jesus never expressly states that he is God, contrary to the cardinal doctrine of Trinitarian Christianity codified at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.  The truth is, there are many passages in the Synoptics which indicate that Jesus very definitely did not believe that he was God.  Here is one such passage from the Gospel of Mark:

Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

When confronted with these passages, Trinitarian Christians twist themselves into pretzels inventing the most complicated of explanations for why the simple reading of these passages is not correct.  In addition, they will often appeal to the episode in which Jesus declares the forgiveness of sins to the paralytic man lowered through the roof of a house.

And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”

Image result for image of jesus healing the paralytic man

That certainly sounds as if Jesus believed he had the power to forgive sins.  Notice, however, that Jesus did not say,
“I am the Lord your God, Creator of heaven and earth, all-powerful and all-knowing, who delivered your fathers, the children of Israel, from the hands of the Egyptians.  Arise and walk.  I forgive you of your sins.”

Jesus doesn’t say anything remotely like the statements made by God (Jesus, according to Trinitarians) when identifying himself in the Old Testament, does he?   What Jesus does say in this passage in Mark infers that a higher power has given him the authority to forgive sins while on earth.  That certainly does not sound as if Jesus believes that he is God or equal to God.

But even more proof that Jesus did not believe that he was God is Jesus’ alleged statement on the cross:

Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

If Jesus was God, why did he need to ask the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him?  Why didn’t he forgive them himself?  And what happened to his alleged power to forgive sins while on earth???

What a theological mess!

Image result for image of jesus uttering father forgive them

Here is a statement by New Testament scholar, Raymond Brown, on this alleged prayer by Jesus on the cross:

“This prayer is not found in all copies of the New Testament.  It is omitted in important textual witnesses, some of them very early.  Yet other major Greek codices and early versions have it.  This is a case where the weight of textual witnesses on one side almost offsets that on the other side.  What emerges is that already in the second century, some copies of Luke had the prayer while others did not.  From that situation the following possibilities for the origin of the prayer in Luke 23:34a emerge.

-It was spoken by Jesus (in the crucifixion context or elsewhere) and preserved only by Luke.  Some later copyists, finding it unacceptable, removed it.

-It was spoken by Jesus but not preserved by Luke.  It circulated as an independent saying and only in the second century was inserted in the present context by a copyist who thought that it fit well the sentiments of this Gospel.

-It was not spoken by Jesus but was formulated by Luke (or in the immediate pre-Lukan tradition) as an appropriate vocalization of what Jesus must have thought:  He actually forgave silently.  Some later copyists, finding it unacceptable, removed it.

-It was not spoken by Jesus but was formulated by post-Gospel Christian thought as appropriate to Jesus and inserted by a copyist in Luke’s Passion Narrative as a fitting context.”

The Death of the Messiah, p. 975

Image result for image of the death of the messiah

Gary:  Wow!  Holy Textual Unreliability, Batman!!!

Conservative Christians like to claim that the Jewish Christians of the first century meticulously maintained the accuracy of their oral traditions, and therefore we can trust the accuracy and historical reliability of the Gospels.  But just look at what happened with one of the most famous statements of Jesus in the entire Bible, allegedly said on the cross!!!  Even mainstream Christian scholars like Raymond Brown are not sure if Jesus really ever said this!

Christians will counter that even if this verse is a fictitious invention (either by “Luke”, by a copying scribe, or by post-Gospel Church authorities), it doesn’t matter.  It does not change one single Christian doctrine.

However, they are missing a crucial point.  They fail to address this issue:  Raymond Brown has given massive quantities of evidence in The Death of the Messiah that the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark’s Gospel extensively to write their Gospels.  Brown also states that a significant percentage of New Testament scholars believe that John also used Mark as a boiler plate for his Gospel.

So if all that is true, and, we have evidence that early Christians did alter, delete, and add (invent?) details to Mark’s original story…how do we know that Mark, the original source, did not invent much of the material in his Gospel???

Dear Readers, for all we know the original Resurrection Story is what we find in First Corinthians 15:  a bare bones account devoid of an empty rock tomb and devoid of any description of anyone seeing a flesh and blood body in an alleged appearance experience.  It is entirely possible that the rock tomb of Arimathea and all the detailed appearances stories in the Gospels are fictitious literary or theological inventions.

 

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received:

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,

and that he was buried,

and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 

and that he appeared to Cephas,

then to the twelve. 

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters[a] at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.[b] 

Then he appeared to James,

then to all the apostles. 

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

–Paul, First Corinthians 15

Advertisements

13 thoughts on ““Father Forgive Them for They Know not What They Do” is Proof that Jesus Did Not Believe He was God

  1. Another possibility: Jesus actually said it, but Trinitarianism began to take root sometime in the 2nd century, and they couldn’t tell what to make of the passage.

    Fortunately, Trinitarianism is not an actual biblical doctrine.

    Unfortunately, most people are totally uneducated in biblical (read: Jewish) concepts and think in very Greek-oriented terms of “duality”, like, “I exist apart from my body”, or “the soul is imprisoned in a body”.

    But, there’s no point in getting into that in this blog. This blog is comprised of people who are pretty sure they know everything already, from what I can tell. “Fundamentalist Secularists”…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nan – I totally agree. Thing is, though, there are a lot of people that are *not* believers, like Gary (who runs this blog) that equally take everything in the bible in a literal fashion – otherwise they might not have much to argue with.

        But, Trinitarianism, Fundamentalism, and a lot of other “-isms” aren’t some kind of “required doctrines” in Christianity.

        And, there are, among non-believers and believers alike, a very big majority that have no idea whatsoever what *what* the bible is talking about when it comes to some very important points. Most of the people I’ve seen in this blog fall into the category of non-believers that have no idea what they’re talking about. But, most of them are talking about believers, most of whom have no idea what they’re talking about either.

        It’s all one big, happy family.

        Like

        1. Speaking from experience, when you’ve been in a church that tends to be very literal about what’s in the bible (except, of course, when a particular scripture isn’t based on the church’s theology) — and you leave that environment — you tend to want to point out the fallacies behind the “literalness.”

          Overall, I have found that Christians (of all stripes) tend to interpret the scriptures in the way that feels most comfortable for them.

          Like

          1. Nan –

            So, you left a very literal church, because you saw the fallacies. And, that’s a good thing. And now that you’re no longer stuck in that “literalist environment”, you’re free to form your own thoughts. Have you actually formed any, or, have you just decided to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”, so to speak, and decided that since there are people that take the bible literally, then you don’t want anything to do with any other understanding of it?

            Like

            1. Actually, I have a fairly decent understanding of the bible. I did considerable research for a book I wrote (details can be found here.

              But in answer to your question, as a result of my study, I have little regard for the scriptures. There are passages here and there that hold :”life truths,” but overall, I feel the essential story is based on legends, myths, hearsay, fables, etc. that were passed down between individuals for thousands of years.

              One more thing I’d like to add … I find it rather fascinating that so many Christians will “debate” scriptures, yet their knowledge is nearly always based entirely on what they have been told by church leaders. VERY few have actually read the bible and even fewer have done any research into the history of Christianity. Perhaps Gary does present a more “literal” approach, but there’s little doubt he has done considerable reading and research.

              Like

  2. Only God walks on water – Job 9:8.
    Only God judges the whole earth -Psalm 9.8.
    God is light – Luke calls Jesus light in Luke 2.32.

    Jesus also says that the greatest man to ever live was John the Baptist, because John recognised Who Jesus was. Who or what is Jesus claiming to be if recognising Him makes John the greatest man to have ever lived?

    Jesus claiming to be the pre-existent Son of Man Who will be given all the Kingdoms of the world to rule forever is also not to be dismissed.

    Saying He would come on the clouds is also a claim to divinity, since only God rides on the clouds.

    And by the way, for Christianity to stand all we need is the historical “bare bones” account to be valid. Since historical scrutiny validates it, even if just from Mark and Paul (never mind that Luke asserts that his investigations affirm what Mark tells us, plus the writer of Peter, the Johanine letters – and Gospel – even James and Jude, and the writer of Hebrews), it is more than reasonable to believe in the narrative of the New Testament. It is unreasonable to work to hard to try and dismiss it.

    Oh yes, plus the independent witnesses of Josephus and Tacitus which confirm the bare-bones account.

    Very solid historical validation here.

    Like

    1. Only God walks on water – Job 9:8.
      Allegedly, Peter also walked on water.

      Only God judges the whole earth -Psalm 9.8.
      If Jesus believed that he was the messiah, Jewish thought in Jesus’ time was that the messiah would rule over the entire world.

      God is light – Luke calls Jesus light in Luke 2.32.
      Jesus and his followers believed that he was the messiah, God’s “light” to the world.

      Jesus also says that the greatest man to ever live was John the Baptist, because John recognised Who Jesus was. Who or what is Jesus claiming to be if recognising Him makes John the greatest man to have ever lived?

      Maybe Jesus considered himself to be divine in some fashion, as the messiah, similar to an angel being divine, but not God. Therefore he considered himself in a different category from John. Who knows??? Jesus never left us any writings to know what he believed.

      Jesus claiming to be the pre-existent Son of Man Who will be given all the Kingdoms of the world to rule forever is also not to be dismissed.

      The Gospel of John has a much higher Christology than the Gospels, reflecting the theology of the late first century. If anything in the Gospels is historically accurate, it is probably the earlier Gospels.

      Saying He would come on the clouds is also a claim to divinity, since only God rides on the clouds.

      Is this said in the Synoptics? Doesn’t the Bible also say that angels will come with Jesus on the clouds? Are angels gods?

      And by the way, for Christianity to stand all we need is the historical “bare bones” account to be valid. Since historical scrutiny validates it, even if just from Mark and Paul (never mind that Luke asserts that his investigations affirm what Mark tells us, plus the writer of Peter, the Johanine letters – and Gospel – even James and Jude, and the writer of Hebrews), it is more than reasonable to believe in the narrative of the New Testament. It is unreasonable to work to hard to try and dismiss it.

      It is easy to conclude that the early Christians believed that Jesus had appeared to them, but just because someone believes they saw something doesn’t mean they did. Case in point, the hundreds of Roman Catholics who are certain that the Virgin Mary appeared to them in Knock, Ireland, last summer.

      Oh yes, plus the independent witnesses of Josephus and Tacitus which confirm the bare-bones account.

      The do not confirm the resurrection in any way, shape, or form. You are delusional to think that they do.

      Very solid historical validation here.

      Not of the Resurrection itself, only in the belief of a Resurrection.

      Like

  3. Nan – I’d be really interested to read your stuff, but the link you posted (oddly enough) just goes to my own email (and specifically, to the email about this post).

    You note “I find it rather fascinating that so many Christians will “debate” scriptures, yet their knowledge is nearly always based entirely on what they have been told by church leaders.”

    I don’t find that fascinating at all. The vast majority of people do exactly this same thing, regardless of whether they’re “religious” or not. It’s called non-critical thinking. Most people never use any form a critical thinking whatsoever. In fact, the vast majority of “secularists” are just as bad as “fundamentalists” in this respect. Most people – including the majority on this blog – just form some impression of something, either based on their own acceptance or rejection of something, and that’s that.

    You raise a kid to be a “fundamentalist”, and if that kid, as he/she gets older, rejects “fundamentalism”, then it’s a full swing of the pendulum: they reject “fundamentalism” (ie, in Christianity) and therefore reject anything and everything about Christ. There’s no going back to re-read (or, maybe, read for the first time) and re-consider anything. But, kids, when they’re growing up, do that with many things their parents raised them with.

    I’m glad I was never “raised in a Christian home”, and certainly not in a fundamentalist home. I was raised in a most non-religious (although, not anti-religious) home. Religion simply wasn’t a topic. So, when I came to believe in the resurrected Jesus, I didn’t have the truckload of garbage to muddle through that I see is so common of people that were raised in a fundamentalist home.

    But, I’m getting long-winded. If maybe you could re-post that link, I’d like to read your stuff…

    Like

    1. That’s very strange … that the link went back to your email. Anyway, here’s the actual address: https://escapefromreligion.wordpress.com. Hopefully clicking it here will take you to the site. If not, you can always type it directly into your browser.

      IMO, to embrace fundamentalism, whether in or out of religion, is an unwise thing to do. Moderation in all things is what I try to practice.

      If you do get my book, I’d be interested in your thoughts. You can always leave a comment on my blog … or perhaps a review on Amazon if you feel so led. 🙂

      Like

      1. Nan –

        I checked out your site & read the excerpts, and (in a sense), I could have written your book. (not that I have the talent to do so, though).

        Every single topic you touched on has been one I’ve also had to question.

        Thing is, though, I’ve never “left Christianity”. Which is to say, I still believe in the bodily-resurrected Jesus.

        Oddly enough, I’m one of those who believes that any person can know God, Christian or not. But, it depends on whether there’s even a God to know. “Knowing God” is the worlds most subjective experience, and although I believe it’s possible to know God without believing in Jesus (as there were many in the OT that did so), apart from the resurrected Jesus, I wouldn’t believe in a God at all.

        That’s why Atheism is my second favorite belief about God, right behind Christianity. If somebody could come up with some kind of irrefutable proof that Jesus wasn’t resurrected – like (for example) some Roman document that clearly testifies to the crucifixion, and, along with signatures, affirms that Jesus’ body was left on the cross to rot, or cremated – and it was such proof that it was impossible to deny, well, I’d blow off Christianity in a heartbeat and go straight for total Atheism. I wouldn’t fool with “spirituality”, wouldn’t bother being agnostic. Because for me, apart from my belief in the resurrection of Jesus, there is no real reason to believe in the existence of God at all.

        It’s very much like Paul wrote: “If Jesus wasn’t resurrected, then our faith is in vain”. (probably a bad paraphrase).

        Thing is, I’ve never been able to deny my belief that Christ is resurrected (but there’s a long story behind that). So, since I’ve not been able to deny his resurrection, it has forced me to re-think basically everything I’ve ever heard taught in a church, and, while I make no bones about claiming to be Christian, I don’t believe in the Trinity, I don’t believe the bible is “inerrant”, I don’t even believe anything given book in the NT is “Gods Word”. I don’t believe Hell is any place of “permanence” (although, I certainly don’t believe Hitler is going to go walking hand-in-hand with Mother Teresa to the New Heavens and New Earth, either).

        In short, I’m a believer in the risen Jesus Christ, I consider the bible to be “documents that are representative of the orthodoxy of the faith”, and I do believe God is a God of justice. (And this belief is very common to man – “what goes around, comes around”, the “yin and yang”, the very concept of karma, and so on).

        The thing is, though, the resurrected Jesus Christ is *real* to me – in fact, it is *reality* to me. So, I can’t just blow it off. If it wasn’t for that reality, the rest of the whole “God concept” is utterly useless to me. Not worth bothering with one bit.

        Like

        1. To each his own …

          Seriously, we’re all unique individuals. I doubt any two people could agree on every single subject. For me, it’s beyond difficult to imagine a “resurrected” Christ. But like I said … 🙂

          Thanks for checking out my book. From what you said, I actually think you might enjoy it. Maybe some day.

          Have a great week. Enjoyed “chatting” with you.

          Like

  4. Again, I totally agree… “to each his own”. As I said, if someone came up with irrefutable proof that Jesus wasn’t resurrected, I’d blow it off totally, and just go straight to Atheism.

    BUT – I wouldn’t spend a *moment* trying to somehow “disprove” anybody else’s beliefs, nor to convince them they should be Atheist. I’d totally dismiss the whole topic, hands down, and be very happy to do so.

    I suspect, though, you and I really have a great deal in common, although we’ve come to very different conclusions. Well, actually, that’s not accurate. I didn’t “come to” a conclusion, ever. Whether I liked it or not, whether I was ready for it or not, and whether I understood anything about it or not, I had an encounter with the risen Christ. So, that’s where I *started*. I didn’t find out, until later, that I was “supposed” to believe in the Trinity (which I didn’t) or the ineerance of the bible, or that the Creation account and Noahs flood were supposed to be taken literally, etc. And, when I started realized that there were people that really *believed* that stuff, well, I just let them go ahead and believe it. But, I sure didn’t. I believed in the risen Christ. And, I (of course) believed that it must *mean* something, not only to me, but to all of mankind. But, I’ve never finished learning the fullness of that meaning. I’m sure I’ll go the rest of my life trying to grasp all that it means, in fact.

    But, yeh, one of these days I might read your book, but as I mentioned, I think we’re very much alike in all those things you questioned. Truth is, I don’t suspect that there’s anybody that has questioned stuff as much as me, but, from what I’ve seen, you and I might be a “tie”…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s