Evangelical Apologist Josh McDowell: How do we Know that Jesus was God? Answer: A Demon Said So.

Image result for paintings of demons

If the holy, morally perfect God were to become incarnate as a human being, one would reasonably expect that he would live a good and righteous life.  There are solid reasons to think that Jesus Christ did fit this description.  That Jesus Christ lived such a perfect life is the consistent testimony of the New Testament.

…In the New Testament, a surprising variety of sources refer to Jesus as “the Holy One of God” .  An example is the affirmation of Peter:  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (John 6:68, 69)

It may seem easy for skeptics to dismiss this statement attributed to Peter during Jesus public ministry as a later fiction originating in the early church or invented by the gospel writer, but that is unlikely.  The early church used a variety of titles for Jesus—Messiah or Christ, Son of God, Lord, and so on—but rarely used the title “the Holy One”. For example, this title never appears in the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, or the book of Hebrews.

Although it might not seem too surprising that Peter would refer to Jesus as the Holy One, Mark and Luke both record an incident in which “an unclean spirit,” that is, a demon, identified Jesus with the same title:

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.  And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone!  What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?  Did You come to destroy us?  I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”  –Mark 1:23, 24 (cf. Luke 4:33, 34)

Whereas the demon was an “unclean” spirit, it recognized Jesus as the very opposite, “the Holy One of God”—and the demon didn’t like Jesus!  Evidently Jesus radiated a holiness, a purity, to which the demons were sensitive and against which they reacted with anger or fear.

-Josh (and his son, Sean) McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, pp. 341-342

 

Gary:  Good grief.  Using the Bible to confirm the veracity of the Bible is bad enough, but using a “demon” in the Bible to confirm the veracity of the Bible is just preposterous.  Don’t the McDowells know anything about the logical fallacy of “circular arguments”?  How silly.

 

 

 

 

 

End of post.

14 thoughts on “Evangelical Apologist Josh McDowell: How do we Know that Jesus was God? Answer: A Demon Said So.

  1. slightly off-thead, but, why do you say “Josh (and his son, Sean) McDowell”?

    What did/does Sean have to do with “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”? I thought the book was written ages ago, and from what I’ve seen, it’s only attributed to Josh….

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    1. I am reading the updated version (Copyright 2017) in which Sean, Josh’s son, contributes to the book and is listed as co-author.

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  2. Good grief. Do you not know what a circular argument is Gary?

    McDowell spent the early chapter of the book to establish the historical reliability of The New Testament. Appealing to the NT as an historical source is not a circular argument.
    Surely you know this? After all your reading to still misunderstand what a circular argument just floors me.

    And straw man. And quote mining.

    Surely you have seen that this is not the ONLY reason the McDowells believe in the divinity of Jesus. It’s one point of dozens of others, isn’t it? If you haven’t seen that your credibility takes another knock.

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    1. Circular argument:

      X is true because of Y.
      Y is true because of X.

      Example:

      Jesus is God because a demon said so.
      Demons are real because Jesus, who is God, says so in the Bible.

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    2. Okay, let’s suppose for just a moment that it’s actually true that the NT is historically reliable. Let me also grant that from that we can conclude that Jesus rose from the dead.

      How exactly do you get from that to:
      1. Jesus is God
      2. Jesus’ death and resurrection were a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity
      3. Believing that Jesus died on the cross for you is an assurance of eternal life
      ?

      As far as I can tell you have to accept all of these propositions on faith alone. Knowing that Jesus rose from the dead certainly doesn’t come close to confirming any of these claims.

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      1. wow, Lehman – you’re getting downright theological…

        I’m not sure you get from the resurrection that Jesus is God. It’s more like coming to a realization that God became Jesus; that Jesus was the “Logos” – “the Word” – the full and complete expression of everything that God is, in human form. In the person of Jesus, God was beginning the re-Creation, the transformation of the old and corrupted Nature into the New Heavens and New Earth; hence, we see Jesus say things like “I *am* the resurrection…” and “He who has seen me has seen the Father” and “The Father and I are One”. Now, these things may have been theological statements formulated by the writer of the Gospel of John (or, they might have been real statements of Jesus), but either way, it comes down to this: If the *person* of Jesus Christ – here on earth, as part of this Nature – was resurrected, then the resurrection – that re-Creation of the old Nature into the New – began in the very *person* of Jesus of Nazareth, and yet, that resurrection begins and ends with God. Hence, Jesus is “God With Us”. “Emmanuel”. “The Beginning and the End”.

        See how that works?

        I’ll leave off here, because this is probably a lot to digest.

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        1. If a Creator God exists who has unlimited supernatural powers, he (she/they/or it) can resurrect people whenever he pleases. The resurrection of Jesus, if it occurred, would in no way prove that Jesus is the Creator, only that supernatural events do occur. Notice that in the Synoptic Gospels it is always God resurrecting Jesus. It is never Jesus resurrecting himself. That kind of language only appears in later Christian writings. Not even Paul, in the seven epistles which we are certain Paul wrote, states that Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same being.

          The earliest Christian writings give evidence that early Christians did not believe that Jesus was Yahweh, the Creator of the universe. To them the resurrection was a sign that Jesus was the Messiah, he was divine, he was the Son of God, but they never would have thought in their wildest dreams that Jesus, a human being, could be Yahweh, the Hebrew God, the Creator of the universe.

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          1. Gary –

            re: ” Not even Paul, in the seven epistles which we are certain Paul wrote, states that Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same being.”

            Philippians 1:6-8 . …who, *though he was in the form of God*, did not count equality with
            God a thing to be grasped. but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being
            born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by
            becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [ “..in the form of God…” ]

            1 Cor 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. [ all things, and us, exist *from* God and *by* Christ — this alludes to the same concept of “the Logos” that John uses ]

            1 Cor 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. [ story of Moses & Israel in Sinai – Christ existed then ]

            In Romans, Paul uses a reference to YHWH from Joel, applying it to Jesus:

            Romans 10:13, “For ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'”

            Joel 2:32, ““And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered;

            re: “Notice that in the Synoptic Gospels it is always God resurrecting Jesus. It is never Jesus resurrecting himself.”

            Gary, this is just a silly argument. It is *always* God – “Spirit” – that raised up “body”. Always. Bodies don’t *ever* raise themselves. It is the SPIRIT that gives life.

            God raised up the BODY of Jesus – and – that body was the body that God Himself embodied.

            Do you think *spirits* die when bodies die? Something like that? Your argument shows such an incredible lack of depth that it would be laughable, if it were not so tragically real.

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            1. Please give me one incontrovertible passage in the Synoptics or in Paul’s true epistles where Jesus is called God the Creator.

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              1. Jesus existed *in the form of God*, and God is the Creator.

                Is that any different than saying “Bob was the CEO”, and the CEO is the head of the company? Do we *need* to say “Bob was the head of the company”, when by saying “he was the CEO”, we’re saying the same thing?

                OH. Now I remember. I’m talking to Gary. The totally overboard literalist who argues on the level of a fifth grader.

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          2. Lehman:

            “You sound dangerously close to affirming the heresy of modalism.”

            Oh, you don’t know the half of it. Not only do I not affirm modalism, I equally and utterly deny Trinitarianism.

            “[ the Logos ] …Which isn’t established by the historical evidence.”

            Could you explain how the “Logos” concept – a theological concept – might have some kind of historical evidence??? Are we to find such evidence (hopefully) in an archaeological dig someplace?

            “Sounds like a non-sequitur that’s loaded with a bunch of unjustified assumptions.”

            To you, perhaps. But, that means squat to me.

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  3. <>

    You sound dangerously close to affirming the heresy of r modalism.

    <>

    Which isn’t established by the historical evidence. Even if the NT is historically accurate, this wouldn’t follow from that.

    <>

    Sounds like a non-sequitur that’s loaded with a bunch of unjustified assumptions.

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  4. Let’s try this again, and hope it looks a little better. Sucks that I can’t edit my comment, or delete it.

    ftbond: “It’s more like coming to a realization that God became Jesus”

    me: You sound dangerously close to affirming the heresy of modalism.

    ftbond: “that Jesus was the “Logos” – “the Word” – the full and complete expression of everything that God is, in human form.”

    me:Which isn’t established by the historical evidence. Even if the NT is historically accurate, this wouldn’t follow from that.

    ftbond: “If the *person* of Jesus Christ – here on earth, as part of this Nature – was resurrected, then the resurrection – that re-Creation of the old Nature into the New – began in the very *person* of Jesus of Nazareth, and yet, that resurrection begins and ends with God”

    me: Sounds like a non-sequitur that’s loaded with a bunch of unjustified assumptions.

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  5. @ftbond
    You: Could you explain how the “Logos” concept – a theological concept – might have some kind of historical evidence??? Are we to find such evidence (hopefully) in an archaeological dig someplace?

    I don’t see that it can. I don’t see how you can have any evidence for any theological concept. As far as I can tell, you have to assume all of your theology in order accept it. All of theology is made up nonsense that believers accept uncritically. So can apologists please stop pretending that the New Testament being “historically reliable” somehow makes their case for them?

    Even if we determined that a god exists, it wouldn’t justify any religious beliefs about that god. This is why I say that should somebody convince me that a god exists, the best they’ll ever do is make me some kind of deist. We don’t seem to have any way to determine anything about the nature of this god, or even if it’s the only god that exists.

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