Monday, May 12, 2014

Kruger reviews How Jesus Became God


  1. Simon Gathercole Lectures on the Preexistence of Christ in the Synoptics

    The three mp3 files can be downloaded HERE or HERE. He gives special emphasis on Jesus oft repeated statement "I have come."

    1. Good review by Kruger but I wish he included evidence for Jesus' pre-existence in the Synoptics. I've included his review to a collection of links to my blog Resources Responding to Bart Ehrman

    2. Post Christian Jewish tradition includes the notion held by some Jews that the messiah would be pre-existent before his birth. If I recall correctly, some Jewish traditions prior to Christ do too. One of the reasons why why both some Jews and Christians believed in the pre-existence of the Messiah is that the Tanach hints at it often.

      But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. - Micah 5:2

      For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isa. 9:6

      The phrase "a son is given" might suggest pre-existence. The phrase "Everlasting Father" has the meaning "possessor of eternity" (i.e. possessing eternality).

      Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know! - Prov. 30:4

      Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there." And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. - Isa. 48:16

      "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.- Prov. 8:22ff.

      Regardless of whether Prov. 8:22ff is actually prophetic of Christ or not many Jewish and Christian interpreters have thought so (e.g. some of the church fathers like Athanasius, and possibly pre-Christian Jews).

    3. The classic 1906 Jewish encyclopedia states:

      Preexistence of the Messiah:

      This includes his existence before Creation; the existence of his name; his existence after the creation of the world. Two Biblical passages favor the view of the preexistence of the Messiah: Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), speaking of the Bethlehemite ruler, says that his "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting"; Dan. vii. 13 speaks of "one like the Son of man," who "came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days." In the Messianic similitudes of Enoch (xxxvii.-lxxi.) the three preexistences are spoken of: "The Messiah was chosen of God before the creation of the world, and he shall be before Him to eternity" (xlviii. 6). Before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created, or ever the stars of heaven were formed his name was uttered in the presence of the Lord of Spirits (= God; xlviii. 3). Apart from these passages, there are only general statements that the Messiah was hidden and preserved by God (lxii. 6-7, xlvi. 1-3), without any declaration as to when he began to be. His preexistence is affirmed also in II Esdras (about 90 C.E.), according to which he has been preserved and hidden by God "a great season"; nor shall man8kind see him save at the hour of his appointed day (xii. 32; xiii. 26, 52; xiv. 9), although no mention is made of the antemundane existence either of his person or of his name (comp. Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 3).

      Thus also the Rabbis. Of the seven things fashioned before the creation of the world, the last was the name of the Messiah (comp. Ps. lxxii. 17; Pes. 54a; Tan., Naso, ed. Buber, No. 19; and parallels); and the Targum regards the preexistence of the Messiah's name as implied in Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), Zech. iv. 7, and Ps. lxxii. 17.

      The "Spirit of God" which "moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. i. 2) is the spirit of the Messiah (Gen. R. viii. 1; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 152b, which reads as follows, alluding to Isa. xi. 2: "The Messiah was born [created] when the world was made, although his existence had been contemplated before the Creation"). Referring to Ps. xxxvi. 10 and Gen. i. 4, Pesiḳta Rabba declares (161b): "God beheld the Messiah and his deeds before the Creation, but He hid him and his generation under His throne of glory." Seeing him, Satan said, "That is the Messiah who will dethrone me." God said to the Messiah, "Ephraim, anointed of My righteousness, thou hast taken upon thee the sufferings of the six days of Creation" (162a; comp. Yalḳ., Isa. 499). The preexistence of the Messiah in heaven and his high station there are often mentioned. Akiba interprets Dan. vii. 9 as referring to two heavenly thrones—the one occupied by God and the other by the Messiah (Ḥag. 14a; comp. Enoch, lv. 4, lxix. 29), with whom God converses (Pes. 118b; Suk. 52a)......

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    4. If anyone is interested, here's my blog post Markan Christology