Seidensticker Folly #55: Godhood of Jesus in the Synoptics

Seidensticker Folly #55: Godhood of Jesus in the Synoptics September 12, 2020

Atheist and anti-theist Bob Seidensticker, who was “raised Presbyterian”, runs the influential Cross Examined blog. He asked me there, on 8-11-18“I’ve got 1000+ posts here attacking your worldview. You just going to let that stand? Or could you present a helpful new perspective that I’ve ignored on one or two of those posts?” He added in June 2017 in a combox“If I’ve misunderstood the Christian position or Christian arguments, point that out. Show me where I’ve mischaracterized them.” Delighted to oblige his wishes . . . 

Bob (for the record) virtually begged and pleaded with me to dialogue with him in May 2018, via email. But b10-3-18, following massive, childish name-calling attacks against me,  encouraged by Bob on his blog, he banned me from commenting there. I also banned him for violation of my rules for discussion, but (unlike him) provided detailed reasons for why it was justified.

Bob’s cowardly hypocrisy knows no bounds. On 6-30-19, he was chiding someone for something very much like he himself: “Spoken like a true weasel trying to run away from a previous argument. You know, you could just say, ‘Let me retract my previous statement of X’ or something like that.” Yeah, Bob could!  He still hasn’t yet uttered one peep in reply to — now — 54 of my critiques of his atrocious reasoning.

Bible-Basher Bob’s words will be in blueTo find these posts, follow this link: Seidensticker Folly #” or see all of them linked under his own section on my Atheism page.

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Bob made a number of false statements and lies about Jesus in his article, “BSR 15: Jesus Didn’t Even Think He Was God” [link] (5-20-20). Its 2587 comments as of this writing is, I think, the highest number I’ve ever seen in a combox anywhere. But I’ll bet none or very few of those dealt with the information I will be bringing up. Bob wrote:

[T]he Bible says lots of things. Some verses argue that Jesus thought he was God, but others say something else.

That people worshipped Jesus isn’t the surprising thing; it’s that he allowed it. And Jesus only claimed to be divine in John. How could something that momentous have slipped the notice of the other gospel authors? . . . [my bolding]

Jesus didn’t even think He was God. . . . 

The Bible is contradictory. You can make it say that Jesus is God or that he’s not.

Jesus in the Bible says that he is God, but then he also says that he isn’t God. A contradictory Bible isn’t a reliable source of history. . . . 

The bigger issue isn’t people eager to worship but a god allowing worship. Being treated like a god is what shallow but powerful people want, not a perfect god.

That Jesus did accept worship suggests that the Bible is just another book of ancient mythology. . . . 

[I’ve dealt with this asinine line of “reasoning” in my papers:

Seidensticker Folly #47: Does God Need Praise? [8-31-20]

Seidensticker Folly #51: God and Praise, Part II [9-8-20] ]

Did Jesus say he was God? Not the messiah, not the Son of Man, but God? If so, that would have been the central message in all the gospels, but we only get this in John. The state of divinity of Jesus seems to have been an editorial decision of the author of each gospel[.]

Jesus claimed to be divine, but only in John. This claim is glaringly absent in the other gospels. Did it just slip the mind of the authors of those gospels, or was Jesus’s divinity a literary invention? [my bolding]

There are actually many indications of the divinity or deity or Godhood of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, but one has to be familiar with the Bible and Hebraic thinking (which Bob is assuredly not: as he has proven innumerable times) in order to see them (as they are often deductive in nature). Whether indirect or not, they are definitely massively and undeniably present.

Direct Statements of Jesus’ Equality with God the Father

Matthew 4:7 (RSV, as throughout) Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” [the devil was tempting Jesus: 4:3, 5-6]

Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them. (cf. Mt 13:13-14 and Is 6:9-10) [Jesus is citing an Old Testament passage about God and applying it to Himself]

Judge of Mankind

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man… will repay every man for what he has done. (cf. Rev 22:12; Ps 62:12; Is 40:10)

Matthew 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, (cf. Ezek 34:17)

The Old Testament plainly taught that God was the judge of men:

1 Samuel 2:10 …The LORD will judge the ends of the earth… (cf. Gen 18:25; 1 Chr 16:33; Ps 7:11; 9:8; 96:10; Is 2:4; 33:22)

Psalm 50:6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! (cf. 58:11; 67:4; 82:8; 94:2; Jer 11:20)

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (cf. 3:17; Ezek 18:30; 33:20; Joel 3:12)]

Zephaniah 1:14-15 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the mighty man cries aloud there. [15] A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Psalm 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Psalm 110:5-6 The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. [6] He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.

Divine “I” 

Jesus teaches in His own authority (“I say to you”) in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:18-34, etc.), and many other passages. The prophets, in contrast, spoke as God’s messengers in the second person (“The Lord says…”). He often talks in a way in which only God could speak, and distinguishes Himself from the prophets (Mt 13:17). Perhaps the most striking example of this occurs in Matthew 23:

Matthew 23:34, 37 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes… [37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (cf. Jud 6:8; 2 Ki 17:13; 2 Chr 24:19; Jer 7:25; 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15; 44:4; Hag 1:12; Zech 7:12)

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (cf. Mt 23:37; Dt 32:11-12; Ruth 2:12; Ps 36:7; 57:1; 63:7; 91:4)

Acceptance of Worship (Reserved for God Only)

Matthew 14:33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (cf. 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 20:20)

Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (cf. 28:17)

Mark 5:6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him;

Mark 5:22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Ja’irus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet,

Mark 7:25 But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.

Mark 10:17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

God alone is to be worshiped (as Jesus Himself noted):

Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), (cf. 20:3)

Deuteronomy 8:19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you this day that you shall surely perish. (cf. 11:16; 17:3; 29:26; 30:17; 1 Ki 9:6-9; Jer 16:11; 22:9; 25:6; Dan 3:28)

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” (cf. Mt 4:10) 

Omniscient (All -Knowing)

Omniscience is implied (though not proven) in many passages that describe Jesus’ extraordinary knowledge; these are consistent with omniscience (Mt 9:4; 12:25; Mk 2:8; 14:13-15; Lk 5:22; 6:8; 9:47; 22:10-13).

Additionally, there are many other verses illustrating that Jesus knew the future perfectly, which is also consistent with, and suggestive of omniscience, though not a proof (Mt 12:40; 13:1; 16:21; 17:9, 11-12, 22-23; 20:18-19; 21:39; 24:2; 26:2, 12, 21, 31-34, 54; Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34; 14:9, 18, 27-30, 42, 49; Lk 9:22, 44; 11:30; 12:50; 17:25; 18:31-33; 22:15, 21-22, 32, 34, 37).

The Old Testament taught that God alone is omniscient:

1 Chronicles 28:9 …the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought.… (cf. 1 Ki 8:39; 2 Chr 6:30; Ps 44:21; Is 66:18; Ezek 11:5; Mt 6:8; Lk 16:15)

Psalm 147:5 Great is our LORD, and abundant in power;  his understanding is beyond measure. (cf. Job 36:4; 37:16; Is 40:28; 46:10; 48:3)

Omnipresent (Present Everywhere)

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 28:20 “. . . I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

God alone is omnipresent:

1 Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee…. (cf. 2 Chr 2:6)

Psalm 139:7-8 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? [8] If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

Jeremiah 23:24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.

Forgives Sins in His Own Name

Mark 2:5, 10 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”… [10] …the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins… (cf. Mt 9:2-6; Lk 5:20-24)

Luke 7:47-48 “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” [48] And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

God alone can forgive sins in His own name:

Exodus 34:7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,… (cf. 2 Sam 12:13; 1 Ki 8:34; Dan 9:9; Mic 7:18)

Psalm 25:11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (cf. 25:7, 18; 32:1-2, 5)

Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. (cf. 65:3; 79:9; 85:2; 99:8; Is 1:18; 6:6; 44:22)

Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (cf. 130:4)

Isaiah 43:25 I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (cf. 55:7)

Jeremiah 33:8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. (cf. 31:34; Ezek 33:15-16)

Luke 5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” (cf. Mk 2:7)

Jesus Taught that the Messiah (“Christ”) — Which He Claimed to Be — is Lord (Kurios) and God

Matthew 22:43-45 He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, [44] ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet’? [45] If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?” (cf. Mk 12:36-37; Lk 20:42-44)

Every time the New Testament refers to Jesus as Christ, it is declaring that He is the Messiah, since Christ is the Greek for the Hebrew Messiah:

Matthew 16:16-17, 20 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [17] And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”… [20] Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (cf. Mk 8:27-30; 9:41; Lk 4:41; 9:18-21)

Mark 14:61-62 But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” [62] And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (cf. Mt 26:63-65; Lk 22:67-71; 24:25-27)

See also Mt 1:16-18; 5:17; 11:2, 10; 21:42; 24:5, 23-24; 26:56, 68; 27:17, 22; Mk 3:11; 5:7; 13:21-22, 26; Lk 1:31-33; 2:11, 26; 4:20-21; 22:37; 23:2, 35, 39; 24:44.

Son of Man When Jesus calls Himself “the Son of Man” (e.g., Mt 10:23, 32-33; 19:28; 23:37 ff.; 24:47; Mk 2:19-20; 3:28-29; 8:31, 38; 9:9, 31; 10:33, 38; 14:21, 41; Lk 11:30; 12:8, 49-50; 17:24; 18:6, 8; 21:36; 22:27, 48), He is claiming to be the Messiah, since He is referring (especially in Mk 13:26; 14:62) to a well-known messianic passage:

Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. [14] And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

In Mark 14:61-62, Jesus assumes that the Christ (Messiah) and the Son of Man are one and the same (Himself). Matthew 16:16-17 establishes the fact that the Messiah and “the Son of God” are identical as well.

Source of Eternal Words

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Compare to the Old Testament, referring to God:

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Angels of Whom?

Matthew 13:41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, (cf. 16:27; 24:31; Lk 15:10; Gen 28:12; 32:1; Lk 12:8-9)

Second Coming

Matthew 24:30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; (Mt 16:27; 26:64; Mk 14:62)

The Old Testament presents God coming in judgment in an identical way:

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. (cf. 40:5; Ps 96:13; 98:9)

Isaiah 66:15-16 For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the stormwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. [16] For by fire will the LORD execute judgment, and by his sword, upon all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many. (cf. 59:20; Joel 2:11; Zech 2:10)

Zechariah 9:14 Then the LORD will appear over them, and his arrow go forth like lightning; the Lord GOD will sound the trumpet, and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.

Zechariah 12:10 …when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. 

Zechariah 14:3-5 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. [4] On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley;… [5]…. Then the LORD your God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Isaiah 11:4 …he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

The evidence is overwhelming. How Bob could miss all of it and yet ridiculously pose as some sort of “expert” on the Bible: mocking and lecturing all Christians like children about how stupid and gullible they are, is the amazing thing and mystery here. The only fool and clueless person in this instance is him.

Related Reading

Jesus is God: Hundreds of Biblical Proofs (RSV edition) [1982; rev. 2012]

50 Biblical Proofs That Jesus is God [National Catholic Register, 2-12-17]

Holy Trinity: Hundreds of Biblical Proofs (RSV edition) [1982; rev. 2012]

Holy Trinity: Not Demonstrable From Scripture Alone? [5-4-08]

50 Biblical Evidences for the Holy Trinity [National Catholic Register, 11-14-16]

Seidensticker Folly #9: Trinity Unclear in the Bible? [8-17-18]

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Photo credit: Didgeman (8-20-15) [Pixabay / Pixabay license]

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