Theologian Roger Olson Explains Why Christians Don’t Know the Birth Date of Jesus

Gary: Why don’t Christians know the true date of Jesus’ birth?

Roger Olson: I guess that record wasn’t recorded or kept; it must not have been considered that important. I don’t recall any church father suggesting a date. Also, dating as we know it now was not the same then.

Gary:

-Alexander the Great was born July 20th or 21st, 356 BCE

-Tiberius Caesar was born November 16, 42 BCE

-Caesar Caligula was born August 31, 12 CE

-Caesar Claudius was born August 1, 10 BCE

-Caesar Nero was born December 15, 37 CE

Yet Christians don’t remember the day, month, or even year of the birth of the “King of Kings”. Don’t you find that really odd? Mary, the mother of Jesus, allegedly lived to old age with John the Apostle in Ephesus. But she never bothered to tell John the date of birth of the Savior of humankind? John never asked? John could remember and recorded multiple of Jesus’ long sermons word for word, but never recorded the date of his birth (death, or resurrection!). I thought first century Jews were meticulous about keeping records.

Roger Olson: What’s your point? I don’t understand what this has to do with what I wrote. Please stick to the subject and avoid chasing rabbits.

Gary:

From your post: For me, Advent means that God literally became human while remaining God and that his humanity was not a disguise but who he became and was and is.

But what if there is evidence that Advent (the celebratory season of the birth of Jesus the Christ, God the Creator) is a legend? If so, Jesus was born a human, died a human, and is still dead as a human. The Creator God never came to earth in human form. There was no angelic appearance to Jesus’ mother; there was no divine impregnation/conception involving a “Holy Spirit”; there was no angelic appearance to shepherds; no wise men came to visit him guided by a magical star.

What is this evidence? Answer: According to the Bible, Mary received a visit from an angel telling her that she would soon conceive a son, not with a human father, but with God himself as the child’s father. Her son would be the the King of Kings, the Messiah, who would save her people from their sins. At his birth, she witnessed shepherds called to visit her and the child by angels. When visiting the Temple for her purification, a prophet and prophetess foretold that her child would be the Messiah. A few years later she and the child were visited by three kings from the East. Shortly after they left, another angel appeared to Joseph her husband warning them to flee to Egypt as Herod, the king, was about to kill very male child under two in Bethlehem. During Jesus’ life she witnessed many of his miracles, such as turning water into wine. She witnessed his crucifixion. She witnessed the Empty Tomb. She was with her son, James, during the early days after the establishment of the Jerusalem church, a church James would soon become the bishop of. Church tradition then tells us, that Mary lived out her later years living with John the Apostle in Ephesus.

Yet, during all this time, no one ever asked Mary the date of birth of the King of Kings and recorded it? Not one single person? The date of birth of God the Creator come to earth in human form was either never recorded, forgotten by later generations of Christians, or Mary forgot. Seriously? Mary forgot the birthdate of her son…GOD???

Not believable! The fact that the birth date of Jesus was not recorded is strong evidence that the entire virgin birth story is a LEGEND. Jesus may have lived and died by crucifixion. Some of his disciples may have believed that he appeared to them in some form after his death, but the story of a virginal conception and a birth in a manger accompanied by angels (space aliens) is in all probability fiction. What would be the first question you would ask someone of another religion if they told you a similar, fantastical, supernatural laden story? Answer: “Exactly when did this occur (the date)?” If they couldn’t give you the exact date, you would scoff at their preposterous supernatural claims. So why do you accept this Christian legend as historical fact, Roger? (Is it because you believe you have a personal relationship with this 20 century deceased man/god?)

And what about the recorded dates of Jesus’ death and resurrection?? Oh, but that is off topic. Maybe another time.

For the rest of the discussion (if Olson allows it to continue. He is a little cantankerous) click here on Olson blog post.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

End of post.

38 thoughts on “Theologian Roger Olson Explains Why Christians Don’t Know the Birth Date of Jesus

  1. The date of his birth is in the NT. But you’re not knowledgeable enough in the OT to see when the NT tells us it is. It is hidden for 3 reasons:

    Show me how many birthdays we are told about of significant figures in the OT. You would think at the very least, Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon’s b-day would be given, according to your logic.
    Birthdays were not as important in Jewish culture, deaths were more important. The NT is clear when he died.
    It is a test due to the parallels between Christianity and the northern 10 tribes. Will Christianity follow the same path as the Northern Kingdom or not? They definitely followed suit, making up their own holidays to celebrate (apart from what Scripture commands).

    Like

    1. My my, my. You have a lot of assumptions and outright untruths in that statement.

      The date of his birth is in the NT.

      False. If so, please provide the chapter and verse. (You can’t and you know it.)

      But you’re not knowledgeable enough in the OT to see when the NT tells us it is.

      Yes, if I only read one more book, I would see the overwhelming evidence for Christianity’s preposterous supernatural claims. I’ve read enough books (here), thank you.

      Show me how many birthdays we are told about of significant figures in the OT. You would think at the very least, Abraham, Moses, David, and Solomon’s b-day would be given, according to your logic.

      Most non-evangelicals/non-fundamentalist Protestants doubt the historicity of Abraham, Moses, the biblical David, and Solomon. Non-existent people do not have birthdays.

      Birthdays were not as important in Jewish culture, deaths were more important. The NT is clear when he died.

      Ok… Give us the chapter and verse from the NT which tells us the date (day, month, and year) of Jesus’ death. Please reference ANY Church Father who mentions this fact in his writings. (You can’t.)

      So, don’t tease us. On what date did Jesus die? And please don’t just give us your non-expert opinion. I am fully aware that many Christians have made guesses as to the date of Jesus’ death. I’m not interested in guesses. I want hard historical evidence.

      We are waiting with bated breath…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. He sounds brain-washed to me.

          Like most Christians, no amount of historical evidence is going to change his mind. The key to his deconversion is convincing him that the (still small) voice he hears in his head is not the resurrected Jesus but…himself.

          Like

        2. Not gnostic at all. The NT is meant to be a continuation of the OT. If the birth of the Messiah is significant, it will fall on one of God’s appointed Feast Days. That’s just common sense.

          Like

            1. Does it stand up to the required scrutiny? The test is whether the Book of Mormon adds to or takes away from the Torah. The NT doesn’t. Does the Book of Mormon?

              Like

              1. Why would Jews disagree with you that the NT doesn’t add or take away from the Torah? Why don’t they see your truth?

                Like

                    1. What you wrote is evidence that Romans 11:25 is true. It is written that Jesus would be rejected. It is written (in Torah) that he would come twice. Everything about his life is written in Torah. The NT is a witness of the validity of the Torah. They are viewed as separate by most people, yet they validate each other.

                      Like

                    2. Muslims and Mormons will claim you reject their religion because of hardness of your heart. That you reject their obvious truth is evidence this is true. They twist around the New and Old Testament to fit their religion, just like Christians twisted the Old Testament to make it point to a dying and rising messiah to fit their needs.

                      Like

                    3. Epicurus, no doubt Christians have twisted Scripture. But they’ve done so with their traditions, not with the NT. The NT doesn’t contradict the OT. It should be obvious from reading all the NT and specifically Jesus’ words that he didn’t come to start a new religion. But religion is most difficult form of slavery to realize, so people have trouble both seeing they are enslaved and getting out of it. The same is the case with Mormonism, Islam, etc. They all have elements of truth (because they take from God’s Word), but then add their manmade spin on it, which leads to religion. I can willingly admit Christianity (and Judaism) have done the same, but the culprit is not God’s Word, it is man’s desire to do what is right in his own eyes.

                      Like

                    4. We agree on something, Emmett. You wrote that Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion. I believe this is true.

                      As I pointed out in my book, historical evidence supports that Jesus came as a prophet to share a message from God with the Jewish people. It wasn’t until after his death that the message, and its recipients, changed (via Paul). Of course, I go into considerable more detail, but essentially, I think in this area, at least, we’re on the same page.

                      I do want to point out, however, that I wrote my book in 2012 and I was in an entirely different place (spiritually speaking) than I am now.

                      Like

                    5. Nan, Paul has the same message as Jesus. He just uses more “legal” terms. When he talks about things like circumcision, he’s talking about converting to a religion, not doing away with God’s Word. Again, the two get intermingled because people incorrectly use God’s Word as a basis to enslave them with religion.

                      I realize that it is mostly Paul’s writings that are the foundation of tradition Christianity, but his words were/are twisted to come to that conclusion because no one heeded the warning of Peter who said lawless men will twist Paul’s words.

                      What is difficult to manage for us humans is knowing that these religions have their faults and are NOT what God wants but also knowing that, based on Scripture, we are told it was going to happen this way. That religion is, in some sense, a type of Egypt where people are sustained for a time, but yet there comes a point when it is time to leave Egypt. For every person, that time may be a different point in their lives.

                      Like

            1. Says the Torah itself: Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32. No person is needed to confirm. Anything added to what we call the Bible can only be trying to explain what is in Torah, which is the foundation. Within the Torah itself are the requirements. There are many ways to view the Torah. One way is a legal contract. It specifies the requirements and leaves no wiggle room for shenanigans, like the ones many have tried to implement THROUGH tradition, not through actual Scripture.

              Like

      1. Book smarts mean nothing when it comes to understanding God’s Word. Wonder where I got that from? God’s Word.

        If most “Protestants” doubted the historicity of the patriarchs, they wouldn’t call themselves “Protestants.” They’d call themselves whatever you call yourself.

        Why do I need to reference “church fathers?” I don’t follow them or their writings. That is a fallacy of religion.

        None of this is needed for salvation, that is why it can be hidden but yet still be in plain sight. It is all a matter of trust. How much do you trust the Father? Since it is apparent you have absolutely no trust in God’s Word, I’ll let you search it out yourself. If you really care, you’ll take Proverbs 25:2 to heart. Enjoy the search!

        Like

        1. Book smarts mean nothing when it comes to understanding God’s Word. Wonder where I got that from? God’s Word.

          “I know the Bible is true because the Bible tells me so.”

          This is a logical fallacy, known as “The Circular Argument”. Look it up.

          None of this is needed for salvation, that is why it can be hidden but yet still be in plain sight. It is all a matter of trust.

          I thought “faith” was all that was needed for salvation??

          Like

          1. There can be truths within something that don’t require an outside source to confirm. That isn’t circular logic. Again, that is common sense. I don’t need an outside source to confirm Bible truths, yet archeology (as an example) consistently unearths artifacts that confirm the Bible to be true.

            Yes, just faith. That is what I said. Knowing the date of the birth of Jesus is not required for salvation. That is why it can be hidden.

            Like

    2. The Romans and Jews were very good at keeping records of major events. See here. Note that for most of the other major events, the exact year is known (dates of births and deaths of Caesars, etc.) but for the crucifixion of Jesus, the author of this article has to guess, 32-36 CE.

      Come on! If the early Jewish Christians believed that Jesus was God Incarnate, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, the Messiah, they would have remembered his birth date and the date of his death/resurrection. They didn’t. And if Jesus had created the stir the Gospels say he did accompanied by 3 hour eclipses and earthquakes, the Romans would have recorded it. They didn’t.

      These stories are legends!

      Like

      1. I don’t know why you continue to bash the Bible. Please inform us why? So you can convince people to follow you? What is your motivation? Whatever “religion” you are attempting to promote will be fruitless without God’s Word. Have fun trying with that!

        Like

        1. I play a small part in one of the greatest movements in all of human history: the debunking of religious superstitions.

          I am an evangelist. An evangelist of the REAL Good News: that ghosts, gods, devils, and goblins do not exist!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. There is one element in this statement that I can agree with. Religion is, in fact, what God despises most. But you are confusing religion with God’s Word. God’s Word isn’t religion, it is relationship. He has lovingly informed us how best to live to both succeed in life and have a close relationship with Him. Unfortunately, people of all religions come in and require things that are outside of God’s Word and try and call them God’s Word. This is manmade religion. The biggest problem is that people cannot distinguish between what is religion and what is God’s Word. Most of what you gripe about in this blog isn’t God’s Word, it is religion – traditions made up within religion that have no Scriptural basis.

            So the good news is that we don’t need religion to have a relationship with God. This is EXACTLY what Jesus and Paul focus on, yet it get’s confused and ends up being interpreted as doing away with God’s Word. But if you try and take God’s Word out of the picture, you’re left with the worst possible outcome of religion – communism – which is the worship of government as the god entity because you have rejected the One True God. Face it, we already live in a world that has rejected God’s Word like you talk about needs to happen. This world isn’t AT ALL pretty and heavily relies on big government to “save” them.

            Like

            1. Emmett, you write: “The biggest problem is that people cannot distinguish between what is religion and what is God’s Word.” Since “God” is not available for direct face-to-face consultation, how can anyone know for certain that what has been written –BY HUMANS– is actually “God’s Word.”

              Like

              1. There is plenty of evidence….if you are willing to look for it. Jewish sages have studied and written countless things that more than prove the Creator is the true Author. Moses was just dictating.

                Like

                1. … if you are willing to look for it. Why should anyone have to LOOK for proof of “God”? If such a being actually existed and truly cared for its (supposed) creations, by all logical arguments, there simply would be NO doubt, NO questions, NO disbelief. Every one of this entity’s creations would acknowledge its existence.

                  No “burning bush” needed …

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Still small voice……still small voice….the world claims there is no God and hides evidence of Him. People have trouble blocking that out. Thus the need to look. You’re right, but it isn’t the reality we live in.

                    Like

            2. You keep referring to “God’s Word” but have not given us any evidence why we should trust your holy book as the inerrant word of our creator.

              Like

              1. The trust comes from actually doing what is contained within it. Are you blessed by obeying or not? It is not up to me to prove. It is up to you to DO!

                Like

                1. Yea… You don’t sound like someone who values reason, evidence, and rational thought. You sound like a parrot. You repeat the same talking points over and over again, regardless of what is asked of you.

                  You sound a lot like Mr. Swordmanjr. I’m done talking to both of you.

                  Like

  2. Pointing at approximations of other historic dates is still subject to the various calendar variations. Besides, I don’t look upon the message of Christ as being dependent upon knowing His exact birth date. That straw man dependency you have fixated upon is meaningless in the entire panorama of historically credible integrity of the Bible. Many ancient ruins have been discovered only because of the narrations. Many ruins of cities that Paul spoke of were unknown until they calculated the days journey Paul described getting from one to the other. That level of accuracy isn’t indicative of any reason to doubt the integrity of scripture.

    So, you’re fixation upon exact dates of birth….laughable.

    Like

    1. What if the Jesus as described in the Bible is a legend? Maybe there was an historical Jesus but the stories in the Gospels are not historical. They are legends. Kind of like King Arthur. A King Arthur may have existed, but the stories about him are legends. Would that be something you would want to know?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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