Part 2 of my review of Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy’s, Lord or Legend?:
This story involves the claim that a man—a contemporary man no less—is to be worshipped as God. Nothing could have been more anti-thetical to first century Judaism than this claim! Yet this claim lies at the center of the Jesus story. If first century Palestinian Jews were naturally going to produce a legend, it seems clear that it would not have looked anything like this one.
Gary: Big assumption! What if no first century Jew ever worshipped Jesus as Yahweh, the Creator God? What if the only people who believed the claim that Jesus was the Creator God were Gentiles?? What if the Jewish disciples of Jesus only acknowledged him as their messiah—the next Jewish king— not as their God?
What evidence do Trinitarian Christians provide from the three Synoptic Gospels that ANY Jew in the first century, including Peter and James claimed that Jesus was Yahweh? Answer: the story of Jesus healing the paralytic man let down through the ceiling. That’s it.
Does Jesus refer to himself as Yahweh in this passage? Nope. Does anyone else in this passage refer to Jesus as Yahweh? Nope. In this passage, Jesus pronounces the forgiveness of sins. That’s it! Catholic (and Lutheran) priests/pastors pronounce the forgiveness of sins. That does not mean that they are claiming to be God the Creator!
The fact is, there are no clear, unambiguous references to Jesus as Yahweh in the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul, nor in the earliest Gospels. We never see Jesus referred to as “Yahweh” until we get to the Gospel of John, a book which most scholars believe was written at the end of the first century, by a non-eyewitness, and most likely a Gentile.
And there is more evidence that the original disciples of Jesus were not worshipping him as Yahweh: The Book of Acts (which most scholars believe was written by a Pauline Christian, not a Johannine Christian) tells us that James and the Twelve were still worshipping in the Temple several decades after Jesus’ death, even offering animal sacrifices! These guys were still devout JEWS! They may have believed that Jesus was their resurrected Jewish messiah, who at any moment was going to burst through the clouds to establish the New (Jewish) Kingdom, but there is NO evidence that these Jews worshipped Jesus as Yahweh.
And one more thing: Can you imagine the reaction of the Jewish authorities if Jesus’ Jewish disciples had been traveling around Judea and Galilee claiming that Jesus was Yahweh? Good god! They would have been stoned in every city and village they attempted to enter! If the stories in the Book of Acts are accurate, is it really believable that the Jerusalem church was allowed to exist for years, hold huge gatherings (a “church council”), and worship in the Temple if they were worhipping a man and calling him Yahweh???
I don’t think so.
Peter, James and the other members of the Twelve may have referred to Jesus as “Lord”, their messiah, and even the son of God, a title given to every king of Israel, but there is no good evidence that they ever worshipped Jesus as Yahweh…except in one Gospel—the last Gospel, a Gospel written at the end of the first century, after Jewish Christians had been kicked out of the synagogues, a Gospel most likely written by a Gentile non-eyewitness!
The Christian belief system is built on one assumption stacked on top of another!
Read part 3 here.
End of post.