Who Was Jesus?

Transfiguration_bloch

Bart Ehrman has detailed the evolution of Christology in early Christianity in his book “How Jesus Became God”, which I highly recommend:
1. Pre-Pauline (from the creedal statement Paul quotes in 1st Corinthians): Jesus was exalted to heaven after his death
2. Marcan: Jesus was exalted at his baptism
3. Lucan: Jesus was born a divine being, as evidenced by his preaching as a child
4. Johannine: Jesus was the divine word of God, who existed since the beginning of time

Ehrman argues that Jesus himself believed he was the messiah, and was destined to rule the coming kingdom of heaven. By the time the Gospel of Matthew was written, he was being identified with the Son of Man, the cosmic judge who, according to Daniel, will come in the end times and establish the Kingdom of Heaven. John equates Jesus with the Word, who is a hypostasis of God, sometimes equated with the Angel of the Lord.

Whether Jesus was the son of God, an angelic incarnation, a messiah exalted to heaven on his death, or merely a prophet, he left a powerful message. I believe it has more meaning in today’s world than ever, because we are close to being able to realize the vision of a world where no one needs to starve or suffer, and we may soon be able to live forever. The question is, will we use our abilities to create heaven on earth, or hell?

Image By Carl Heinrich Bloch – http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Carl-Heinrich-Bloch/The-Transfiguration.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7850600

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About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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