General Question

avalmez's avatar

Who actually established the Christian religion? Jesus Christ Himself, or Paul the Apostle?

Asked by avalmez (1614points) April 24th, 2009
46 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

It’s a question theologians have wrestled with mightily over the years. Some assert Jesus as a devote Jew never meant to replace Judaism as God’s official religion or Jews as God’s chosen people, and assert Paul’s teachings and writings are what actually led to the establishment of the Christian religion.

Never minding that your are or are not Christian, do you think Jesus the devote Jew meant to replace Judaism with a new Christian religion or to be the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Jews?

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cookieman's avatar

I’m going with Paul.

Jesus died a Jew. I think to say otherwise is an attempt to sure up Jesus’ possible divinity.

fireside's avatar

Matthew 16:18: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.”

Since we don’t have Jesus’ testimony, we have to rely on the Bible.

oratio's avatar

Well, I think Paul might be to blame. He declared the that jewish customs was not mandatory.

Judi's avatar

Some people say that when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” When Jesus said to Peter “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
That is when Jesus established the Christian Church. There is controversy as to weather he meant that he established it on Peter (The Pope argument) or on what Peter had just said.
(Some Christians see themselves as a sort of Jewish sect. I sometimes joke that I feel like the adopted kid in the family. Sometimes jealous of the child with the natural birthright. )

avalmez's avatar

Some believe that Paul asserted Christians do not have to observe Jewish traditions (which Jesus as who I think should be the ultimate example to Christians certainly did observe) because he was a bigot – non-Jews should not observe Jewish traditions, kind of created classes of the saved, you know?

avalmez's avatar

@judi the pope argument ignores the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was created centuries after Christ’s death in attempt to preserve the Roman Empire. And i do understand you adopted kid perspective as well.

fireside's avatar

I think the biggest reason to assume Jesus’ divinity was that he drank from the cup of wine traditionally intended for for Elijah at the Last Supper, which was their Passover Seder.

By drinking from this cup, Jesus broke with Jewish tradition.

cwilbur's avatar

@avalmez: how do you square that, then, with “There is neither male nor female, bond nor free, Jew nor Greek in Christ Jesus”?

tinyfaery's avatar

Is the translation of church an accurate one? It doesn’t sound right for some reason.

cdwccrn's avatar

I’d go with Paul.

Qingu's avatar

There was no single “Christian religion” until Constantine consolidated it in the 300’s AD.

Before that there were gnostic Christians, docetic Christians, Christians who didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God, Christians who believed you needed to be circumcized, and probably more sects that we have no evidence for.

Paul’s brand of Christianity was one of these sects, and it was the one lucky enough to be included in Constantine’s religion. But I don’t think Paul started the religion. Clearly, there was already a cult centered around this Jesus figure before Paul started writing his letters—in fact, the cult had already splintered into sectarianism when Paul entered the scene. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that there was some person named Jesus of Nazareth who amassed a following and got crucified. I don’t see any reason to doubt this story, and if it isn’t true and Paul made up Jesus, that leaves a gaping hole in the historical record of where this cult came from pre-Paul.

AstroChuck's avatar

I thought it was Brian of Nazareth.

fireside's avatar

@tinyfaery – what seems wrong to you with the translation of “church”?

The only questions I have ever heard in regards to that line are about the translation of the word for “rock” and a contextual question about whether Jesus was referring to himself or Peter.

Judi's avatar

@tinyfaery ; Here is the translation from the amplified Bible, who try to give you every possible translation from the original Greek and Hebrew
Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are [e]Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a [f]huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the [g]infernal region) shall [h]not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].

lisaj89's avatar

I don’t think Paul created it, he, I believe, was responsible for spreading the word of Jesus.

Jack79's avatar

It grew. It evolved. Like all things, there are various milestones, but not one starting point.

It started from Herodotus, thousands of years before the birth of Christ (that’s the one that inspired a lot of myths we still use in Christianity, such as immaculate conception or sacrificing oneself for Mankind). The Greek belief in an “Unknown God” also helped a lot, because imagine where we’d be if, on his way to Rome, Paul had been stoned to death by the Athenians, rather than welcomed as a prophet. Then of course there is the Jewish tradition, what we call the Old Testament. Moses and his lot.

Add John the Baptist and of course Jesus himself (both Jews). And then the Apostles and obviously Paul (who was neither an Apostle, nor even Christian to start with). Paul’s teachings, especially because he was literate and wrote a lot, have been paramount to Christianity, especially since the diaries of Jesus himself are not accepted as religious texts.

But I think there are two more figures that people often overlook. One is St.Antonius, Bishop of Alexandria (I’m not looking it up, just using memory here so I could be wrong), who collected a series of manuscripts and created what is now known as the New Testament. I think that by having an “official version” of events, he unwittingly created mainstream Christianity (characterising any deviations after that as heresy). And finally Constantine the Great, who, although not a Christian throughout his life, organised the religion into more or less what it is today. He was the one who decided to celebrate Christmas on 25/12, and incorporated the worship of Mithras (a popular religion at the time) into Christianity. For his own political reasons, he turned Christianity into a powerful tool, which helped it flourish (as opposed to his predecessors who tended to feed believers to the lions).

avalmez's avatar

@cwilbur I don’t, actually. Yes, Paul is attributed with having written the statement you quote. And the word “bigot” is no doubt too strong. But, that Paul distinguished between jewish and gentile christians is also clear. And, again, i think the word bigot is too strong

To all, my question as stated is really not clear so let me try to clarify.

Many theologians believe that Jesus never actually personally declared he was God because his background as a devote jew would not have allowed him to do so. And many of these same guys believe it was Paul who wrote and taught that Jesus was/is God and even that it was Paul who established the tradition of Jesus as God/the Messiah.

It may be clear that not all Christian traditions are not Christian innovations and so various reasonable cases made about Christian origins. Narrow down all those traditions to – Jesus as the Messiah.

I apologise for the lack of specificity in the original statement of the question.

fireside's avatar

I really don’t know how anyone could ever prove or disprove what Jesus said.

cookieman's avatar

@fireside: Exactly. At best, it’s hearsay.

fireside's avatar

@cprevite – but like Qingu, I don’t see any reason to disbelieve that Jesus was a real person who had very strong opinions on what was wrong with the established religion of his time and traveled his part of the world teaching that message.

avalmez's avatar

well, here, work with what he is recorded as having said. can you reference where Jesus states that he is God? i’m not a bible expert and admittedly such texts may exist. Definitely a teaching of Paul, right? Was it also a teaching of Jesus?

fireside's avatar

@avalmez – I already provided two examples which I believe to show that Jesus had the revelations. He tells Peter that he will establish a church. He drinks from the cup of Elijah which was set out at Seder for the return of the promised one.

I also see no reason to disbelive that Moses revelations’ and experiences were recognized as valid. And I look to world religions that have been established since that time and don’t see any reason to doubt that Muhammed was the one who received the revelations put forth in the Koran which led to the establishment of Islam.

Plus, as a Baha’i, I am content that the prophet of my religion left teachings in his own handwriting. I see the same patterns repeated and this leads me to believe that Jesus was the inspiration for the Christian religion, not Paul.

avalmez's avatar

inspiration is one thing and one which i will actually grant. founder/interpreter/inspired is yet another. and how many historical examples can we all cite where some historical figure’s writings or teachings inspired or justified actions most now recognize as misled?

i don’t know much about Baha’i but will know some shortly.

till then, i’m off to listen to some Willie Nelson…yet another inspired one! Thanks folks for your thoughtful contributions.

phoenyx's avatar

I think Jesus’ declaration of his divinity in John 8:58 is pretty straightforward; enough that the Jews were ready to stone him for it.

I think Matthew 5 is a pretty good example of Jesus replacing Judaism with a new Christian religion. Plenty of examples of “Judaism says X, but I say Y.”

avalmez's avatar

it’s clear jesus taught a new way. but, judiasm has a rich tradition of learned rabbi’s expanding upon and clarifying each other and the bible. jesus is generaly regarded as having been a rabbi. additionally he wrote that he did not come to abolish, but to fulfill (found that near John 8:58).

you may be right that John 8:58 is tantamount to declaring divinity. where can we find a direct unequivocal declaration by Jesus that He is God and came to establish a new religion? the strongest such declaration i can find in the bible is the book of Hebrews (beautifully translated in the NRSV), which if recall correctly, is attrributed to Paul.

for many people the answer to this question is a matter of faith, and even asking the question risky business. for others of us there is enough information in the bible itself that the question is open to debate.

avalmez's avatar

—@fireside what i’ ve learned about baha’i so far is that you should find it very difficult to argue any question about religion – the answer is, “yes!” just ribbing ya, though :)

toleostoy's avatar

Christianity, early on, was considered a sect of Judaism. If you believe, as I think Paul did, that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s covenant with the Hebrews, then Paul expands how that works and Judaism and Christianity are connected. So for Paul, Those that don’t consider Jesus as the Messiah then fall away from Judaism, and both he and Jesus are not founding a new way.

As history has played out, Christianity and Judaism are vastly different because of the way that Paul presented the gospel to the Gentiles. He repeatedly tells the Gentiles that they do not have to be Jewish, so in this respect I think Paul founds Christianity as we know it—the Jewish law is no longer important for Christians. This becomes the dividing line as far as I can tell.

avalmez's avatar

@toleostoy thanks for the response. can you confirm you meant to write, “So for Paul, Those that don’t consider Jesus as the Messiah then fall away from Judaism, and both he and Jesus are not founding a new way.” i’m confused by that sentence.

and i agree very much with the view that Paul’s differentiation between jewish and gentile christians was an important factor leading to the establishment of a new religion rather than a sect of judiasm. interesting that the jewish branch of this sect is no longer extant.

so where the establishment of a new religion and Jesus versus Paul are concerned, i believe we are in general agreement. would you go so far as to agree that Paul’s teachings estabilshed Jesus as God/Messiah? Had it not been for Paul, might the christian religion not exist today, at least not exist in a form very similar as it does today?

phoenyx's avatar

Isn’t the purpose of the book of Matthew to establish Jesus as the Messiah?

toleostoy's avatar

I think that for Paul, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan for the establishment of a righteous kingdom which is what Judaism was about and, as far as I know, is still about. Jesus is just the end of a way that God began with Abraham. So, again speaking for Paul, to reject Jesus is to reject a messiah altogether, and that is not Jewish. Not sure if I am making any sense. So in that regard, Paul is not doing anything new, just proclaiming the messiah that the Jews had been expecting.

secondly, there are messianic jews that believe Jesus is the messiah and continue to be circumcised, follow kosher food laws, etc. that would be an extant jewish sect that follow “the Way” of Acts.

I think it is fair to say that without Paul, Christianity would look vastly different. Certainly most of the NT would not be there, and the discussion about church organization, women in church, slavery, etc. would all have gone about in a different way. However, there are also bits of Paul that work against slavery and misogyny, so I have no idea how those things would have played out. In the end, however, Paul was around, he was canonized, and now we have to work with what we’ve got. Still fun to play around with imagination though.

TheKNYHT's avatar

its been stated previously:

“There was no single “Christian religion” until Constantine consolidated it in the 300’s AD.

“Before that there were gnostic Christians, docetic Christians, Christians who didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God, Christians who believed you needed to be circumcized, and probably more sects that we have no evidence for.

“Paul’s brand of Christianity was one of these sects, and it was the one lucky enough to be included in Constantine’s religion. But I don’t think Paul started the religion. Clearly, there was already a cult centered around this Jesus figure before Paul started writing his letters—in fact, the cult had already splintered into sectarianism when Paul entered the scene. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that there was some person named Jesus of Nazareth who amassed a following and got crucified. I don’t see any reason to doubt this story, and if it isn’t true and Paul made up Jesus, that leaves a gaping hole in the historical record of where this cult came from pre-Paul.”

To associate the term “Christian” with any pre-fix such as “Gnostic” or “docetic” or Judaistic (re: circumcision issue) is entirely incompatible. Gnostics and Docetists were people who endorsed Greek philosophies, and these have actually bludgeoned scripture, deleting whole texts from the originals, until they said what they wanted them to say (or not say as the case may be). They discounted everything from the Deity of Christ, to the virgin birth, to the blood atonement of Christ the Lamb of God, all of the fundamental doctrines that were present in scripture from the beginning, but deleted in their own writings, in such as the Alexandrian, Vaticanus, and Siniaiticus Codex (early 5th century).
Christianity as a religion was never meant to be; Christ didn’t come to establish a new religion where others already existed and thrived. Jesus simply came to give us “life and that more abundantly”; Jhn 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”
He came to die for the sins of the world. Jhn 10:15 “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
1Jo 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.”
He came so that He could establish a relationship between God and us, His creatures.
Jhn 20:17 “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to MY BRETHREN, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and YOUR Father; and to my God, and YOUR God [emph. mine].”
Jesus unequivocally is the focal point of Christianity in its pure form (not what we see so much of in latter centuries) as He is the central focus of all OT (and NT) Scripture, for He Himself has stated:
Jhn 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
The verse that’s been quoted referring to the ROCK, is definitely a reference to Christ. Go to any Bible search engine and type in “ROCK” and you will find an abundance of references to God as our “ROCK”.
Also when Jesus mentioned “Upon this ROCK (petra- BIG rock) I will build my church . . . you are Peter (petros – small rock, stone).”
Jesus is also referred to as the chief cornerstone:
Eph 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]”

Yet in the days of Paul, as today’s world as well, as Qingu points out, there were various sects that even Paul addressed:
“Some are of Cephas, others of Apollos, others of Paul . . .” However Paul re-directs them all back to Christ Jesus:
1Cr 1:12–13 “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”

Any form of Christianity that excludes Christ Jesus or attempts some additives (gnosticism, etc) as the Inspiration and Central figure is not Christianity, but a mere religious form that may bear some resemblance to the genuine article.

Jack79's avatar

yeah but Knyht what you’re basically saying is the same as the posts you’re opposing, you’re just drawing the wrong conclusion from it.

The current religion (the one you want to call “true” christianity) is simply the one that survived in the struggle between different (often opposing) ideas. Jesus’ divinity was VOTED UPON. Had they voted differently, you’d now be telling us how all those heretics before 300AD believed in the lie of his divinity. Similarly, immaculate conception did not even start as a myth before the Middle Ages. It is nowhere in the Bible. And it would be preposterous for 1st c scholars to be discussing the sexuality of the Messiah’s mother. This sick discussion could only have come about from the sick minds of the religious fanatics that followed. Just as it would be preposterous for the original scholars to imply that Jesus was not married (ie gay as far as his contemporaries were concerned). If there was anyone back then who believed he wasn’t married by the time he got 33, they would have crucified him just because of that.

My point is not that there are inconsistencies, misunderstandings, or even lies in people’s assumptions. The Truth that Jesus taught the world is just as valid, even if ignorant people mistakenly believe that his mother had sex with a flower instead of her husband. But your post exactly proves what others have said before me: that religions, just like everything else, abide by the universal laws of evolution. The commonly held version of christianity (and even today there are several anyway) is simply the one that was the fittest, usually for political rather than religious reasons.

There are millions of christians today that believe the Pope is a holy man, a few may even buy the “infalibility” claim. I know for a fact that, if there is any God at all, christian or otherwise, he’s nothing more than an evil Nazi that will burn in Hell. Yes, you have the right to get offended. But I’m also offended when some jerk in Rome pretends to know my God better than I do.

TheKNYHT's avatar

Point #1) What you refer to as a religion, isn’t (as far as I’m concerned); and is not at all in line with what the LORD Jesus teaches. Religion is man’s attempt to reach and be approved by God via obeying various laws, rituals, etc. Christ came to die for our sins and to impute to us, His saints, HIS righteousness. Religion says, You must do; Christ declares (from the Cross) “It is done (Greek: totelestoi).”

Point #2) Whether various councils voted on whether Jesus is divine or not is after the fact, and therefore irrelevant. Jesus is God, He claimed to be God, His followers claimed He was God. He is God according to God’s Word. Councils bear no added weight to this assertion.

Point #3) Believe it or not the term “Immaculate Conception” had to do with Mary, not Jesus. It came to be believed that the mother of God would have to be herself sinless in order to bear a sinless child. This is not biblical.

However, scripture does point out that Jesus was born of a virgin, as stated in Isaiah 7:14 and later documented by Luke’s gospel account, a writing that Sir William Ramsey, famed historian, former atheist has said that Luke’s account is among the best historically documented texts we have today.

Point #4) Any sort of evolution, even these “universal laws of evolution” that you claim to exist have absolutely no bearing on the divinely inspired scripture, and certainly not on today’s genuine Christianity which is at its heart, the same that embraced identitical theology to the 1st century church:

Scripture is divinely inspired and written by holy men of God as they were so moved by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is the Son of God, and equal to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit.

He has promised to come again, a Second Coming to rule and reign upon the Earth.

He is the chief cornerstone and the sure foundation of the church that He Himself started: (once again for referral)
Mat 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I WILL BUILD MY church (emph. mine); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

I would certainly be fascinated to learn how precisely you know as “fact” that God ” an evil Nazi that will burn in hell” even as you state “IF there is any God at all” and then seem offended when some jerk in Rome pretends to know “my God better than I do.” Those statements seem bizarrely contradictory to me somehow.

And no, I’m not offended, as I do not subscribe to Roman Catholicism’s theology or dogma; however I’m sure there are those here that do, and out of respect for them, I would think you would curb your somewhat aserbic remarks to a more polite standard of conduct.

Jack79's avatar

point #1 since you’re so good at Greek, look up the word “Orthodox”. According to your own definition, unless you’re an Orthodox Christian, you’re a heretic. And btw Christ said ”τετελεσται” (tetelestai). Not that it matters, it was not a point of disagreement.

point#2 so you agree with me that whatever the “official” religion says bears no relevance to what Jesus actually was (or wasn’t)? How do YOU know he was God? If you don’t believe it because the council of Nikaia told you so, why do you believe it? I’m not saying he was or he wasn’t. What I’m questioning is the reasoning behind yours (and everyone else’s) belief. On a personal level, you have every right to believe whatever you like, but so does everyone else. And on a social level, I can’t help thinking that whatever it is we believe it (whether we are Christians, Muslims, Taoists or Atheists), it always has something to do with how we were brought up, and not with some universal truth that some of us get and others don’t.

point#3 Isaiah was before Christ, so he can’t have known anything about the birth. And the Greek word used in the original text is ”παρθενος” not ”παρθενα”. The word simply means “unwed”, which according to Medieval Christian assumptions automatically means “not having had sex”, but that’s just an anachronism. In that period in history, Jewish women had to spend a period of time engaged with their husband-to-be before the actual marriage took place. During that period the man tried to get the woman pregnant. If it worked out (and she was fertile), they’d go ahead with the wedding (typically the following summer). If not, ie the woman was infertile, the man had no use for her, and she remained unwed (yet not a virgin by any definition). It is possible that Mary (who is NOT called a Virgin in ANY Biblical text) either got pregnant with a fiance that later died (or whatever else) and therefore needed Joseph’s protection, or simply married Joseph. Probably the former. Modern Christians often tend to forget that Jesus was a Jew.

point#4 you missed my point completely, but anyway…

“Scripture is divinely inspired and written by holy men of God as they were so moved by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the Son of God, and equal to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit.
He has promised to come again, a Second Coming to rule and reign upon the Earth”

Says who? If you don’t believe in the Bible and you don’t believe in the Priests, who told you that? These are dogmas. Nothing wrong with them, but I could just as easily state “Jesus was a Muslim, and He said we should all eat chicken on a Sunday”. Just because I said so.

Surprisingly I do not disagree with your faith, and we are probably extremely close in what we believe in. The difference is that I do not take it for granted, and I do not expect other people to agree with me just because I said so (or some jerk in Rome said so, and sorry, I’m allowed to say whatever I want about Nazis, even if someone voted them Pope). I pride myself in being an agnostic, not in the sense that most people use the word, ie someone who’s more or less an atheist, but in the sense that my tiny little human brain cannot grasp the greatness of a Supreme Being, whether it’s one with a beard on top of Mount Olympus or an eternal spirit which wished the laws of the Universe into creating a Big Bang. What annoys me though is stupidity, because I can find no better word to describe insistent beliefs in lies and misunderstandings which were often caused by a wrong translation or someone’s misinterpretation or even a made-up story. It’s nice to tell children the story of how St.George killed the dragon, but there is a serious side to religion too, one which gives meaning to the world around us and which bedtime stories such as “God is an old man with a beard in living in a cloud” simply make a fool of.

TheKNYHT's avatar

@Jack79 Since I’ve just arrived home from grave yard shift, I am thoroughly zonked (Mondays, ugh!), but I promise to respond to your answers a.s.a.p.

In the meanwhile, since you assert that ”. . .we are probably extremely close in what we believe in.” (I’ve never known any agnostic who was extremely close in their beliefs compared to mine); let me ask you this:

Do you, or do you not believe that the Bible is the inspired revelation of God’s Word, inerrant in the original, and without any human insights, wisdom, etc, but purely “God-breathed”?

Your answer to this question will reflect substantially on how further interactions between us will proceed.

Incidently, just to be a bit mischeivious, and light hearted: agnostic in the Greek means “to not know”. Do you know what the equivalent word is in the Latin?

It’s “ignoramus” = P
But hey, I believe in God, and STILL find myself being an ignoramus myself about certain things! lol

Jack79's avatar

No, I do not believe that. I believe that all religions are an effort to understand the world around us and how it came to be this way. And reach the conclusion that there must be some divine power at work.

The New Testament is an anthology of books written about Jesus, which added to the Old Testament form what we refer to as “the Bible”. They are books written by humans and offer an insight as to what these humans believe. People who believe in similar things usually belong to the same (or similar)religions.

Perhaps there is divine inspiration, in the same sense that one can thank God for the Ninth Symphony or Guernica. But no, I do not believe God was dictating the exact words written.

True about ignoramus, and that’s exactly how I meant it. I am not intelligent enough to understand God, and whoever claims to be is simply lying. I’ve always used this analogy: two ants find a piece of an exhaust pipe on a beach. Not only do they try to figure out the brand of the car by that, but also psychoanalyse the factory owner, oblivious to the fact that it’s actually a multinational with thousands of shareholders. This is more or less what religions try to do. Psychoanalyse the supreme being who is omniscient, omnipotent and eternal and created a vast universe of which even our whole galaxy is an insignificant speck of dust.

(GA btw)

toleostoy's avatar

@TheKNYHT: What is to be gained by saying the original biblical manuscripts are inerrant since the originals do not exist, or at the very least, we don’t have them and can say nothing about them? Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 7, when Paul says, “I say, not the Lord…” Is that not a human opinion, i.e. wisdom or insight?

I’m just a little perplexed as to why you believe what you do about the Bible.

TheKNYHT's avatar

@toleostoy We have countless fragments of texts that derive from textus receptus, which are copies of the originals, the first generation of TR were written in about 140 AD, and by comparing these fragments with the thousands of others, and verifying that they are all contextually identicle, its safe to determine they’re all faithfully following the original texts.

The same is said for the Septuagint, originals were written around 70 BC; first generation copies are all identical here as well.

One must first appreciate the fastidious nature and discipline of the Jewish copyists in order to understand how they could produce such accurate copies of the originals.
Both Hebrew and Greek were alphanumerics where letters also represented numbers. After transcribing a page of text, they would verify all the wording and then add up the rows of text numerically, and compare that total with the total from the originals. Then they would add up columns and verify the numerical totals this way.

If the totals in either case were different from the originals, the entire page was burned up. Or if the copyist made a blunder with his pen, he wasn’t allowed to scribble out his error and write overhead, he had to burn it as well.

Then other copyists would examine the work to verify its accuracy; Jewish scribes often numbered seven in total for copyist work, as seven is seen as a number of completion or perfection.

I was blessed to visit the Temple of the Holy Scriptures in Jerusalem, and was privileged to examine (under glass and special compression and lighting) some of the Dead Sea Scroll work, including Isaiah. They had side by side, the transliteration (note: not merely translation) of the Hebrew into English. It contained all the same text (with some additional words for emphasis and clarity, as you will often find in transliterated work) as my King James Bible did! I was impressed with the accuracy of these texts!

TheKNYHT's avatar

@toleostoy Oh, I forgot about the issue of Paul’s opinion.
Yes, the Bible does record opinions and insights from human beings, but it also states the Word of the LORD, as you can read all through the prophets, especially Isaiah.
Jesus Christ ordained His apostles to go forth preaching and teaching, and He ratified their ministry. Bear in mind that the word “apostle” means, “sent one”:
Jhn 13:20 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”

TheKNYHT's avatar

@Jack79 Regardless of what the Orthodox, Greek or Russian, teaches, I am a believer in the Bible, God’s Word, and because of this, I am no heretic.

Since you don’t believe the scriptures are indeed the Word of God, we could never possibly come to any sort of agreement; you see the Bible as a collection of myths, borrowed ideas from various ancient religions and cults, perhaps some good moral lesson stories, the product of human minds, etc.

You said:
#1) “How do YOU know he was God? If you don’t believe it because the council of Nikaia told you so, why do you believe it?”
#2)“Isaiah was before Christ, so he can’t have known anything about the birth. And the Greek word used in the original text is ”παρθενος” not ”παρθενα”. The word simply means “unwed””

Answer to #1) I know Jesus is God not because of any council or vote, but because the Word of God tells me so (John 1:1–3, 14 and 1 Timothy 3:16), and I have sound reasons for believing that the Bible is indeed the authoratative Word of God, so inspired inerrantly.
This Bible foretells events that no one could have possibly known in advance, no one, that is, except for God. Prophecy is far too exact and precise for any to deny or ignore it (unless they have alterior reasons, say for example, an unwillingness to believe a God exists and has written such a Book that we would be held accountable to).

Answer to #2) Its because you believe Isaiah wrote about things according to his own understanding, within the scope and limits of human knowledge, that you are comfortable saying this. And what you say is true, of himself, he could have known nothing of this birth. Yet again, we disagree because we come from two entirely different biases.
Isaiah didn’t know about Christ’s birth, but God did, and by His Spirit He allowed Isaiah this prophetic knowledge that the virgin would conceive and bear a son and call his name Immanuel.
Incidently, the Hebrew word (Isaiah didn’t write in Greek) for virgin is ‘almah’ Its used in the Bible to denote virgin 7x, a maiden 3x, an unwed woman 1x. Its the same Hebrew word as used in Genesis 24:16 regarding Rebekah who was to be the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham:
“And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin (almah), NEITHER HAD ANY MAN KNOWN HER (emph. mine): and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.”
In the context of Isaiah 7:14, this word almah had to mean ‘virgin’ as well; it couldn’t mean maiden or unwed woman because in that passage, God is permitting King Ahaz to ask for a sign (Hebrew word used here is “owth” and it can mean: ensign, beacon, and miracles, signs, evidences and omens). Here in Isaiah as well as in passages of Exodus, its meant to be a miraculous sign.

Now just think about this for a moment, here is the God of the Universe willing to flex His divine muscles and portray a miraculous sign for the King of Judah, but the King declines. So God then addresses “the House of David” that is the entire royal house and lineage of David the King and delivers a sign of His own choosing. This is the same God that arrested the day time so that Joshua could complete his military campaign, and the God who made the sun dial turn BACK some degrees.
Who parted the Red Sea, and brought the ten plagues of Egypt. The Almighty declares what His sign to the house of David will be! And it is thus (can I get a roll of trumpets please?)
“A young maiden is going to have a child!!!”
. . . of course we have.
But a virgin having a child: that’s not been done too often, has it (However biologists talk today about something called parthenogenesis, a theory in which one could trick the females egg into thinking its been fertilized, and begin mitosis, but the offspring would always be another female)?

I said previously:

He has promised to come again, a Second Coming to rule and reign upon the Earth”

and in response you said:

Says who? If you don’t believe in the Bible and you don’t believe in the Priests, who told you that? These are dogmas. Nothing wrong with them, but I could just as easily state “Jesus was a Muslim, and He said we should all eat chicken on a Sunday”. Just because I said so.

I DO believe the Bible, and I don’t know why you bring up ‘priests’ as I do not subscribe to a specialized New Testament priesthood, as all believers in Christ are a spiritual priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Yet the word of God is replete with references to the Second Coming of Christ. They are not dogma, but doctrine based on the scriptures themselves. Christ promised He would return, His apostles wrote about the Second Coming in nearly EVERY epistle.
You’re at liberty to say anything you wish including that Jesus was a Muslim. I could say that J.F.K. was assasinated with an arrow too.

I have a basis for believing as I do; there is no substantiation to show Jesus was a Muslim, or that J.F.K. died of anything but bullet wounds.

toleostoy's avatar

@TheKNYHT: what you said about the copying I understand. I have heard similar things before; however, it seems that your answer about the inerrancy of scripture and the perfect nature of the copies means that the KJV that you have is as good as inerrant.

I have a few questions: why is it important to you to defend the absolute inerrancy of scripture? Secondly, how do you understand inerrancy? Why not say that scripture is meaningful to you, it has helped you to live a better life, or that you think some bits are inspired and inspiring?

Jack79's avatar

I have carefully read your last post. I have many things to answer to it, but have decided not to. I do not see the point in continuing this discussion.

The only thing I’d like to point out was that my comment about “orthodoxy” was a linguistic, not a religious one. “Orthodox” means “having the right faith” whereas “catholic” means (in this context) “united” (normally it means “total”). And of course you already know what other words such as “protestant” or “baptist” mean.

I will not make any more religious comments on the subject, but thank you for sharing your thoughts.

barry1000's avatar

The original followers of Jesus still considered themselves to be Jews, even after he left them. The Book of Acts says that they prayed in the temple in Jerusalem every day. Later Paul began to convert non-Jews, and these new converts gradually took over the movement.

tramnineteen's avatar

This may repeat some really long answers, but Christ did not intend to make a “new religion” but He did establish a new law that replaced the old law. Thus Jewish tradition was now irrelevant.

He also knew the Jews would reject Him (as a group, many individuals did not).

Finally, non-Jews were grafted into the fold.

It’s looks and smells like a new religion, but all He really wanted to do was establish the new law save everyone that would accept him.

I think Paul was just doing the same thing by spreading the good news of all this.

To be technical Constantine is my vote, because he coined the name.

Jesus deliberately did not give his followers a name, he said “They will recognize you by your walk” to me this says you are just normal people doing the right thing. Nothing else.

wiseman's avatar

In Mathew 5:17–18. Jesus stated: `Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the [way of] the prophets, I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For i say to you, till the heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law untill all is accomplished’. however Paul, who claimed to be a disciple of jesus, systematically cancelled the laws. In his letter to the romans, chapter 7:6, he stated “But now we are dischaged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we server not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”

if you read more in the bible, you would clearly see the answer.

peace to all

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