Nature of Jesus throughout Early Christianity
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11 NIV)
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. (Luke 18:19 NIV)
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' (John 20:17 NIV)
There are two myths among Christians and Muslims. Myth one is that the Pauline Branch of Christianity was the only one and the New Testament came right after Jesus left the earth. The second myth is that the Early Christian church was monolithic. Or in other words the first Christians were all Unitarian Christians. None of these claims are historically accurate.
Bart Ehrman in his newest book, Jesus Interuppted shows that the divinity of Jesus are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said. Scholar Bart Ehrman
has shown that in the very early days of Christianity, Jesus was seen as a Jew. Jesus accoding to most Scholars nowadays is seen as an apocalyptic Jewish Prophet.
Scholars such as Martyn and Brown have argued that the passages that speak of Jesus in human terms (the low Christology) were the oldest traidtions embodied in the
Gospel and the passages that speak of Jesus in exalted terms (the high Christology) were ones that developed later, as experiences in the community led by the Johnnaie
Christians to prove that Jesus was not of this world but the world of God.
Bart Ehrman has shown that Christianity has been recogized by critical historians as the religion about Jesus, not the religon of Jesus. He has a very good point.
Jesus was a Jew-- and even denied divinity ( see Mark 10:17-18, Mark 13:32 John 14:28, 31)
The New Testament is discussed in a further chapter, The New Testament. Here I will focus on Early Christianity and the church. In the early years of Christianity, there were many churches such as the Church of Alexandria, the Church of Damascus, the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Rome, The Church of Lyons, The Church of Corinth, etc that was different from every other church. Each and every church had its own bishop or leader, its own sense of scripture, and their own theology. For example one church would have the Gospel of Thomas as scripture, another the Shepard of Hermas, The Apocalypse of Peter etc. So they were no orthodox beliefs in the early years of Christianity . As Elaine Pagels (1979) writes:
“Such political and religious authority developed in a most remarkable way. As we have noted, diverse forms of Christianity flourished in the early years of the Christian movement. Hundreds of rival teachers all claimed to teach the “true doctrine” of churches scattered from Asia minor to Greece, Jerusalem, and Rome split into factions, arguing over church leadership. All claimed to represent “the authentic tradition”.
There were, however Christian groups that had different beliefs about God and Jesus. As will be seen throughout the first 500 years of Early Christianity, the Early Christians had a view which was very much in line with the Islamic belief of the humanity and Prophethood of Jesus Christ.
In early Christianity, Jesus was seen as a Palestinian Jew who worshipped the Jewish God, kept Jewish customs, interpreted the Jewish law, and acquired Jewish disciples who accepted him as the Jewish messiah. In other words, in the beginning Jesus was seen as a mighty prophet of the God of the Old Testament as Islam confirms . Jesus himself referred to his humanity and called himself many times the “son of man” .
So where did the begotten status of Prophet Jesus come from? It is this authors guess that Paul of Tarsus was the first to propagate this theory (Acts 9:20). However scholar Charles Guignerbert (1867-1939) has his own theory on the virgin birth and how because of it the term “begotten son of God” was used for Prophet Jesus:
“It will be observered that in Paul, John and Mark, none of whom believes in the Virgin Birth, Jesus is characterized as the Son of God. This description of him is, accordingly, prior to the establishment of the belief in the miracle related by Matthew and Luke, and does not arise out of it. As soon as they were convinced that, not only had Jesus been raised by God, as a man full of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish his plans, but that his birth into this life for God had been divinely predestined, and glorified by the Holy Ghost, they must have attempted to signalize and to express this special relationship between Jesus and God. They said that he was his “son”, because that was the only term in human language by which they could intelligibly, if not completely and adequately express this relation. Since the idea of the direct generation of a man by God could only appear to the Jewish mind as a monstrous absurdity, the expression was, in reality, to the Palestians, only a manner of speaking a metaphor. It is clear that Jesus never applied it to himself and that moreover, it had not hitherto, in Israel, any Messianic significance. That is to say, the Jews did not beforehand bestow this title of Son of God upon the expected Messiah. The Messiah must have been for them not the Son, but Servant of God (Ebed Yahweh), for such was the designation of the men of Yahweh. But on Greek soil the Christological belief found an environment very different from that of Palestian. The idea of the procreation of a human being by a God was current and the relation of real sonship between Christ and God the father could shock no one… on the contrary the term Son of God was more likely to arouse sympathy in that quarter than the too particular Jewish, too nationalistic, name of Messiah. Hence it was in all probability, in the first Christian communities among the Gentiles that the expression arose. Possibly it did so, at first, as a simple translation of the Palestian Ebed Yahweh, for the Greek word pais means both servant and child, and it would be easy transition from child to son. But it soon took on the colouring of an original Christological idea, the idea which met the needs of the environment which called it forth, the idea expressed in the epistles of Paul. It found its Pauline and Johnannine justification in the doctrine of divine pre-existence and of the incarnation of the Lord. The legend of the virgin birth is another of its justifications, sprung from a quite different intellectual environment but analogous to the one just cited and finding its scriptural confirmation when the need arose to defend it in controversy in Isaiah 7:14. Matthew & Luke represent two concerete embodiments, different in form but similar in spirit and meaning of the belief “He is son of God. He is born of the Holy Sprit.”
So it’s very possible that at first Jesus was called the servant of God instead of the Son of God, as the Greek word pais also means servant of God. The Epistles of Paul were first to come up with the divine pre-existence of Jesus. Although this author thinks that Paul had meant a begotten status of the sonship of Jesus, Britain’s most known commentator on religions, Karen Armstrong, has this to say about Paul’s calling Jesus the “son of God”:
“Paul never called Jesus “God”. He called him “the Son of God” in its Jewish sense: he certainly did not believe that Jesus had been the incarnation of God himself: he had simply possessed God’s “powers” and “Spirit” which manifested God’s activity on earth and were not to be identified with the inaccessible divine essence.”
Before moving on, let’s take a look at one more important piece of evidence to disprove Jesus’s alleged divinity. Philippians 2:5-11 seems to promote the pre-existence of the Messiah. However several Biblical scholars have argued that that this passages says nothing about the pre-existence of Jesus. The scholars’ arguments are that the passage only refers to Christ’s activities as a man and is an ancient hymn.
The Baptism also plays an important role in the “sonship” of Jesus. If one were to read the earliest canon Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, written around 60-80 CE, after introduction Prophet John (peace be upon him), and the baptism of Jesus is told. After Jesus was baptized Allah (God) tells him that he is son and he is pleased by him (Mark 1:10-11). As already noted, the word son was already used in the Old Testament for figures such as David, Solomon, angels, Epharaim and faithful Israelies. Moreover Biblical scholars have also stated that Isaiah 42:1 the word servant or slave was used to describe Jesus’s role in Palestine and this was used on Jesus’s baptism as based on Luke 3:22.
Different groups of early Christians and churches each had their own belief about the nature of Jesus. Most of these groups are close to the Islamic concept of Jesus, that he is a Prophet born of a virgin. Let’s take a closer look at the nature of Jesus through the centuries.
The Jewish Churches
Before getting into the nature of Prophet Jesus through the first centuries of Christianity lets take a look at what the Jerusalem Church taught about Jesus. The majority of the earliest Christians were Jews. The Jerusalem church had the actual disciples of Prophet Jesus and the church was headed by James the Just (Acts 15, 21). James was among the first of seventy of the original disciples of Jesus (Luke 10:1-20). James is also taught to be the brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, etc.) The Jerusalem church was Jewish, they believed in the so-called Mosaic Law, they believed in Jesus as the messiah, and they used to bow their heads in prostration and prayed in the temple while avoiding eating pork all things which Muslims do. When Paul went to Jerusalem in 58 C.E. the leaders of the Jerusalem church had told him that many thousands of Jews believed in Jesus in Acts 21:20. This is the strongest fact we have of Jewish Christians and the Jewish Church. The existence of Jewish Churches also finds support in various New Testament passages such as Acts 8:1, Galatians 1:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:14. Archeological findings have revealed synagogues with Christian symbols at Nazareth and Capernaum.
The theology of these Jewish Christians that set them apart from Gentile Christians was the following:
1.)Jewish Christianity had a different chistology and taught of Jesus as a human prophet—or probably as an adopted son of God rather than a begotten son of God (more on this later in this chapter). 2.)The Jewish Churches or the Jerusalem Church had a significant amount of Apocryphal literature. In other words they had their own set of gospels and Early Christian writings. Unforunately for us, most of these works are now known only in fragmentary forms and are probably been lost forever. 3.)The Jewish Christians upheld the So-Called Moasic Law. This is seen in places such as Acts 15:1, 5 etc. Paul a self appointed apostle and disciple of Jesus was preaching that Christ was the center of the Christian faith and not the law (Colossians 2:2-3). This belief was in conflict with these Jewish Christians as seen in Acts 21:21.
The Jewish Christian churches endured severe persecution. Their early leaders were arrested (Acts 4:1-3;12:3) people were thrown out of the synagogues (Luke 6:22, John 6:22, 16:2). Saul of Tarsus later known as Paul was one the leaders of the persecution of the church (Acts 9:1, Phippians 3:6). The Jewish Churches started to expand, despite this. Of quick note, the earliest Christians used to refer to the Old Testament as Holy Scriptures (Luke 24:44, John 1:45, Acts 28:23, Romans 1:2, Titus 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:15-16). The Old Testament of the first century was divided into two or three sections in early Jewish and Christian thought.
The first groups were of Judeo-Christian beliefs. They were the earliest level of the Christian “church”. These were the Ebionites ,Theodotians, Symmachians, Cerinthians and the Nazarenes. The Ebionites used to believe that God was one and that Jesus was a human. They used to believe that Jesus was a prophet like Moses sent to the Jews to reform them. Same view of the Theodotians. They too believed Jesus was a full human being. The same with the Nazarenes who used to believe Jesus was the prophet of God. They refused to believe in the Pauline branch of Christianity. The Essenes were also of Jewish Christians. They regarded Jesus as the teacher of righteousness and that he was the Jewish Messiah. The word "Christian" had become established as the standard term for the followers of Jesus in Hellenistic and Roman cultural circles (Acts 11:26). Antioch was the place where followers of Jesus were called Christians for the first time after pagan influences propelled them to do so. As a matter of fact the word Christian only occurs three places in the New Testament (Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, 1 Peter 4:16)
. The Ebionites were Jews who stated that being Jewish was fundamental to have a relationship with God. They also insisted that there was only one God. Their scripture was the Old Testament along with other books such as the Gospel of the Ebionites. Another interesting fact about this group was that they saw Jesus as not divine but as a human being. They thought of him as being the Jewish Messiah sent from the Jewish God to the Jewish People and that Jesus was the adopted son of God and not the begotten son of God. The Quran also confirms this as it states that Jesus was only meant for the People of Israel. The group had rejected the virgin birth of Jesus and said that Jesus was born out of both Mary and Joseph. They also rejected Paul of Tarsus as being an apostle and also followed one Gospel, the Gospel of Mark.
The Gospel of the Ebionites which was preserved by Church father Epiphanius (315-403 CE) states that Jesus was chosen by the choice of God and therefore was called the son of God. It also states that Jesus was the seed of man and not of God as these verses indicate:
And on this account they say that Jesus was begotten of the seed of a man, and was chosen; and so by the choice of God he was called the Son of God from the Christ that came into him from above in the likeness of a dove. (Gospel of Ebionites quotations from Epiphanius in these passages of his Panarion: 30.22.4.)
Another interesting piece of fact we must look at is the Gospel of Thomas and what it says about Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas which could be dated around 20 years after Prophet Jesus left the earth states that Jesus is a child of humanity or the son of man (a human being) and is not the incarnate son of God or the Christ or Messiah (saying 86)
The Arians or the Arian position of Christianity in used to believe that the Father (God) and Son (Jesus) were two different beings, not equal to one another. Arianism denied the divinity of Jesus. As a matter of fact Arius an early bishop (250-336 CE) insisted on the unity of God, opposing the Trinity. He had also taught that Jesus was pre-incarnate was a created being and even inferior to God the Father.
The adoption branch of early Christianity maintained that Jesus was not the begotten son of God but the adopted son. Groups such as The Paulicians of Armenia and Dynamic Monarchianism had beliefs that Jesus was a human and that he later became divine as in the adopted son of God. Monarchianism taught that Jesus was a man who later received divine powers and was not God incarnate. A Christian teacher, Artemon, argued in the middle of the third century that adoptionism was the true so called Apostolic tradition and the church had left this for the Logos theology ( begotten son of God) . Monarchianism also taught that God was one and models of resolving the tension between the two principles in favor of God's oneness were proposed in the 2nd century, but rejected as heretical by the Church.
In 100 CE, Elkesai, founded the Elkesaites, an early Christian group that preached an early Christian doctrine in Parthia. This early Christian doctrine was similar to the Ebionites doctrine of Christianity. Elkesai taught that Jesus Christ was only a prophet of God and stressed the importance of circumcision, prayer towards Jerusalem and baptism.
Early in the second century, Cerinthus preached a Gnostic version of the Adoptionists. Cerinthus denied that Jesus was born of a virgin birth, encouraged others to keep the so-called Mosaic Law and taught that Jesus was a great man whom the power of Christ descended at the time of this Baptism. Cerinthus taught that Jesus was a prophet who received divine power.
Carpocrates, a 2nd-century Christian Gnostic, a religious dualist, taught the same thing as Cerinthus. Carpocrates taught that Jesus was not a redeemer hero, rather he was an ordinary man and that Jesus’s soul was from God. In other words, Carpocrates taught that Jesus was a human being.
Theodotus the Tanner of the 2nd century was an early Christian writer from Byzantium. Theodotus taught that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit as a mortal man, and that he was adopted by God or had a special relationship with God upon his baptism. Theodus taught that the power of “Christ” had descended on the human Jesus as a reward for his virtuous and righteousness.
Paul of Samosta in 260 CE was a bishop of Anitoch and had taught that Jesus was a man born of Mary and that Jesus was divine only to the extent that God used him to speak to mankind. He taught of Jesus being and ordinary man and the “sonship” had descended on him from above.
Eusebius of Nicomedia, an early Christian bishop of Berytus, Nicomedia and Constantinople refused to believe in a trinity and founded the Eusebian branch of early Christianity which taught that Jesus wasn’t the same substance as the father therefore different from the father.
Sabellianism (300 CE) taught that the son (Jesus was a different mode of the father. He refused to believe any divine existence to the son.
Nestorianism Christianity taught that Jesus existed as two people, the man Jesus Christ and the divine son of God rather than as one person. This doctrine was created by Nestorius (386-451), the Patriarch of Constantinople. This branch of Christianity had maintained objected against the title of “Theotokos” which means God bearer to the Virgin Mary and held on to the view that Jesus was a Prophet of God or had a special relationship with God by adoptionism. The Nestorians taught that Jesus was full human being and not divine. Nestorian Christianity taught that Jesus was an inspired prophet of God instead of being part of God.
There were also groups of early Christianity who had other beliefs. For example the Marcionites saw Jesus as completely divine and not human. They also believed that God was two.
Another group within early Christianity was Gnosticism. The term Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnois which means knowledge. Gnosticism in the beginning thought there was only one God. Gnosticism was some form of Jewish Christianity. Most of the Gnostics believed that Jesus was the ultimate redeemer, as in his teachings were to be followed and that their God is the same as the Old Testament’s God, as in he is One.
Most Gnostic Christians believed different things about Jesus, some maintained that he was human. Gnostics had other beliefs as well such as Jesus being divided into two beings, one human and the other divine. Some believed that Christ came to Jesus at his baptism, gave him “powers” for his ministry and then left him when he was allegedly crucified. Early Church father, Terullian had a similar belief in believing that Jesus was divine but also a human who felt pain, had flesh and blood, etc.
Debates were held by the Orthodox Christians, the Ebionites and the Theodotians over the nature of Jesus Christ, whether he was divine or simply an adopted son of God, or had a special relationship with God, similar to how other Biblical Prophets had. Later on, the Orthodox scribes who were copying the New Testament manuscripts occasionally edited their texts to clarify that Jesus was a divine character. Schools of Different churches were having disputes over the relationship between the divine and the human Christ. In Antioch, they believed that the eternal word had entered into the man Jesus of Nazareth the same spirit that had descended on the prophets of the Old Testament .
However what’s interesting is that none of these early Christians believed in the Trinity we have today, Father, Son and Holy Sprit. So how did we get the Trinity? Where did it come from?
What we have now, is the Council of Nicea This Council would establish a creed that would establish the basis of Christian orthodoxy for centuries to follow. It was shaped by Constantine. In the Council of Nicea, God was one in three. The father, the son and the Holy Spirit were therefore made. Jesus was divine, desprite the fact that the New Testament never said so. The first person to use the term Trinity was Tetullian a Latin Theologian. The word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the New Testament. The Councils of Nicea and Constantinople took place in 325 and 381 C.E., respectively. At the Council of Nicea the nature of Jesus was determined to be of the same substance (homousios) as the Father, and at the Council of Constantinople this doctrine was ratified and the doctrine of the Trinity was expressly declared to be a foundational church teaching. Adrian C. Swindler says that the Trinity was an “absurdity borrowed from paganism”. Dr. Rocco Errico jokes that “God found out about Trinity in 325 AD”. Many church leaders were called and the doctrine of the Trinity was made final. Only three bishops who were consistent with Arian point of view that the Son is not equal to the father did not vote for a Triune godhead. Of further note is that Pauline Branch of Christianity which had beat out the other branches and forms of Christianity and Gnostic teachings. Christianity had split into different forms of beliefs such as Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witness, Baptist etc. Contrary to popular belief, Constantine did not make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. That was the work of Emperor Theodosios in 379 C.E. The official Nicene Creed went like this:
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost.”
So, the Trinity is certainly man made. It clearly is not in the New Testament Gospels. The concept came about 292 years after Jesus left the earth—which is certainly a long time.
Even after the Council of Niccea, there were different views about Jesus were floating around. The view of Adoptionism, That Jesus was simply the adopted son of God, who was a human who had a special relationship with God, continued to exist even through the fourth century. Adoptionism was still being held on to by groups such as the Ebionites, the Paulicians of Armenia, the Arians and the Anomoiests. As seen earlier, Nestorian Christianity (3rd and 4th Century)—which believed in the huamanity of Jesus-- began to grow after Niccea and started to spread during the sixth century to different countries.
As seen from before, early Christians such as The Arians, the Ebionites, Gnostics, Marcionites, Anomoeism, Elkasites, Dynamic Monarchianism, Nestorianism all denied any Triune Godhead and professed the Unity of God, and the humanity and created “sonship” nature of Jesus. Modern day Christian groups such as Jehovah’s witness, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, the Unitarians and the Christadelphians all don’t believe in the Trinity.
The Evoultion of the Status of Jesus
I’ve come up with my own personal theory as to what happened to Jesus status throughout the early years of Christianity. The Gospel of Mark (65-70 CE) starts off with the baptism of Jesus. It is here that the heavens are opened and a dove flies down as well as a voice sounding from heaven saying “You are my son, whom I love with you I am well pleased”. The Baptism of Jesus was the defining moment where Jesus somehow become the “Son of God”. However before the Gospel of Mark was written the original Pre-Greek Palestinian oral tradition of the baptism of Jesus was based on Isaiah 42:1 and used the Aramaic word “Abhdi” meaning “servant”. So at first at the baptism of Jesus, Jesus was the servant or slave of God as based on Isaiah 42:1. This is also exactly what the Jerusalem Church (the one with the disciples) believed as well. This belief is consistent with the Islamic Belief of Jesus, that Jesus is the servant or slave of God and not God incarnate or the son of God. Later when the first Gospel, Mark, was being written, the second or third generation of Christian believers were over taken by Greco-Roman polytheist beliefs and superstition. Whoever wrote the Gospel of Mark, the earliest Gospel, was influenced by Psalms 2:7, which empasised “adopted” or “created” sonship and not begotten sonship. Things started to deviate from there and around 85 CE the alleged sonship of Jesus was pushed back to his virgin birth giving the false rise of a “begotten sonship of God” under the influence of like I mentioned Greco-Roman polytheism and superstition. Finally the Gospel of John is written later (110 CE) and this Gospel emphasized the pre-existence of Jesus. The Johannie community was more interested in the alleged divine status of Jesus and purposely de-emphasized the humanity of Jesus. So my theory in summary is that at first Jesus was seen as the servant or slave of God around 45 CE—a view consistent with the orginal disciples and Jerusalem Church along with Islamic Theology, then the first Gospel, the Gospel of Mark emphasized the adopted or created sonship of Jesus based on what he read in Psalms 2:7 and the other two Gospels Matthew and Luke placed Jesus sonship after his baptism. The Gospel writers were passionate and had a theological purpose and were writing for small groups of believers mostly outside of Palestine. They weren’t interested in writing the history of Jesus rather the symbolic and metaphorical meaning of Christianity as will be seen in chapter 3.
It’s my guess that after the Jewish War (66-70 C.E.) which ended with the complete destruction of the original Christian Church in Jerusalem, and much of the entire city, after all Judaea itself was ravaged by war that legends grew about Jesus. It is likely that many if not all of the original believers still living were killed in this war, or in Nero's persecution of 64 C.E., and with the loss of the central source of Christian authority and tradition, legends about Jesus’s “sonship” were ripe for the growing. This would explain why later Christians were so in the dark about the history of their own Church between 58 and 95 C.E. So originally Jesus was the servant or slave of God—Jesus was a human being who was a prophet—one who speaks on behalf of God. Jesus became “the son of God” during his baptism in it’s Jewish sense, metaphorically. Jesus had a special relationship with God, and that’s why the “son of God” was used. Later Christians (most likely second generation, and not the original disciples or believers) who were influenced by pagan traditions and growing legends, and thus Jesus became the “begotten” son of God and much later God in 325 C.E.
Early Christianity was very diverse in its early years. There were no set of Gospels or scripture in the three centuries of Christianity. Early Christianity for 300 years was very confused on who Jesus really was and some of forms of Christology in Early Christianity were more or less in harmony with the Islamic position that Jesus is only a human Prophet or the servant/Slave adopted son of God and not the begotten son of God or God himself. The Earliest Christians (which includes the disciples) had some sort of Adoptionist “Chirstology” that Jesus was a human and an “adopted” son of God and not the “begotten” son of God. All the evidence there is consistent with the view that Jesus was merely a man, a Messiah possessed by the Spirit of God, who was adopted by God (either at his birth, baptism, or before his crucifixion) and thus was the "Son of God" only in a legal and spiritual sense, not a literal sense. The Jerusalem Church which housed the original disciples of Jesus believed this exact thing. Indeed, Paul outright says that Jesus "was born from the seed of David in respect to the flesh," but "ordained the Son of God in power in respect to the spirit of holiness from the resurrection of the dead." It was standard Jewish understanding that every "Messiah" ("Anointed" and "King") was adopted by God at his anointing and thus became a Son of God, including David himself. So Jesus originally was the servant/slave or adopted Son of God rather than the literally “begotten” son of God. Jesus was the Messiah, and a full human being in Early Christianity and probably the adopted son of God rather than the begotten son of God as the Gospel of Mark (the earliest Gospel) seems to be saying. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever say “I am God” or “Worship Me”.
Some groups of Christians claimed there were two gods. Some groups of Early Christians claimed there was one,others believed that Jesus was human while some believed that he was divine. There were no orthodox set of beliefs in the first 300 years of Christianity and the Jewish Christian groups Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites and the various Gnostic sects were all at odds with each other. The Council of Nicea (325 CE) was then held by Constantine and Jesus was declared to be both God and man. The word “Trinity” is not mentioned in the New Testament and is a man made concept which certainly doesn’t agree with the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. It wasn’t until the Concil at Chalcedon in 451 C.E. that the doctrine of the Trinity was embedded into Christian theology. Even today Christianity is widely diverse and in almost every country where Christianity has a substantial following, you will find not one single “Christian” church but a bewildering assortment of churches. One would almost certainly see Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran and Baptist churches among these. Each of these, as we will see, have different methods of worship and different theologies or beliefs. The form of worship can vary from the extremely boisterous tongue-speaking Pentecostals, through the staid prayers and hymn singing Catholics, to the prayerful silence of the Quakers. The number of Christian denominations is simply perplexing; according to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are over 20,800 Christian denominations! As seen before Jesus taught of monotheistic worship of One God which is what Islam also teaches.
Matthew 9:25, Luke 7:15, John 11:1-44
Matthew 5-7, Luke 15:11-32, Matthew 13:1-9, Matthew 22:34-40
Matthew 11:15-19, 11:27-33, Matthew 21:12-17, 21:23-27 and Luke 19:45-48, 20:1-8
Luke 22:47-52, Matthew 26:47-56
Matthew 28, Mark 15, Luke 24 and John 20-21
Quran 5:117, 42:13, 43:63-64.
Quran 5:110, 61:14
Quran 19:37-38, 4:171, 9:30
Quran 19:37, 43:65 .
Quran 3:48-49, Quran 5:46
Quran 4:171, 5:72, 5:75, 19:30, etc.
Quran 4:171, 43:57-59, etc.
Some Christians have argued that the term son of man could well have meant something different to Jesus than the normal everyday circumlocational use (i.e. meaning "I"). They normally site the passage from Daniel 7:13 which speaks of "one like a son of man" coming down from heaven. That an apocalyptic interpretation attached to a single individual certainly took hold on both Jewish and Christian writers after 70 CE, the same cannot be said for the time before the fall of Jerusalem. Indeed the most likely interpretation for that phrase in Daniel (the one that the author himself took) was that the term "son of man" in Daniel 7:13 has a collective meaning which represents "the saints of the most high" (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27). This interpretation is confirmed by the recently discovered Aramaic document (Apocryphon of Daniel) from Qumran. Source: Vermes (2002) pg. 39
McRay (2003) pg. 301
For more on this see Chapter 3.
Funk, Robert and Hoover ,Roy (1993), p 419
Ludemann (2000) pg. 405
Vermes (2002) pg.47
Dirks (2001, 2004)
Pagels (1979) pg. 7
The belief that Jesus was a Jew finds support in the New Testament Gospel of John. John 4:9 clearly says Jesus was a Jew: The Samaritan woman said to him (Jesus), "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (John 4:9 NIV)
see note above.
All four of the Canonical Gospels have Jesus referring to himself as the “son of man” in Matthew 8:20, 11:19, 12:40, Mark 2:10, 8:38, 13:26, 14:21, 62, Luke 6:5, 7:34, 11:30, 22:22, 24:7 and John 3:14, 5:27, 6:27, 53, 62, 12:34, 13:31, etc. (McRay, 2003 pg. 295)