Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lewis's Trilemma : I Choose to Believe Jesus is God

"The better stuff a creature is made of-  the cleverer, stronger and freer it is- then the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong."

That is Clive's explanation as to why free will requires that evil be possible.  For us to enjoy being with God forever in Heaven, there had to be another choice.   He wants us to want Him, but to build us so that we had no choice would make us His slaves instead of His children.  He created us to be His children.  (And my heart soars and I praise Him in my heart for this.)

Chapter three, book two of Mere Christianity ends with a quote I have often read in other Christian books.

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

The women's prayer group I attend every other Monday has been reading a discussing the Gospel of John. Jesus actually refers to Himself as "I Am" (the Jewish name for God) in this Gospel.  So yes, Lewis is right.   One can believe that Jesus is either really really good, because He is God, or really really bad (or at least messed up) because He claims to be God and isn't,  but "Great Moral Teacher" is an impossibility.  If He is God, and I believe He is, then He is better than that, and if He isn't, well, how can He be moral while claiming to be one with the almighty if He isn't.

On a personal note:  Why I believe Jesus is God, and not a madman.

Because He rose from the dead.   I'm sure that until He rose from the dead, the best I could have believed is that He was mad and should be prevented from speaking publicly for His own sake.  Sorry.   (I know that sounds blasphemous, but He knows my heart, so hiding this thought is pretty silly.)   Perhaps when He raised Lazarus, had I been around, I'd have allowed my heart to open a bit and allow for another possibility, as others did.  But today, now, I believe Jesus is God because He rose from the dead, and there were witnesses.   These witnesses did not live lives of comfort and luxury due to their testimony, but were beaten, burned, flayed, boiled and killed because of it.   And still, they didn't retract because they knew the truth.   There was no reward for them if they were lying, only pain and suffering.  What made the pain and suffering worthwhile to them?   The hope and belief in their own future resurrection.   Had they been lying, they wouldn't have had such hope, and would have had no reason to claim Jesus rose.
I thank God for providing faithful witnesses to His Son's  Resurrection so that I could and would believe.

May I be so bold as to ask you why you believe as you do?


HisFireFly said...

I believe because the Word leaves me no other conclusion.. if I believe some, I must believe all!

Also, I believe because He planted His tiny mustard seed of faith deep within me.

Glynn said...

My response to those who say "I believe in Jesus the Great Human Teacher" is to say that they don't know Jesus at all. He was either a lunatic - or who he claimed to be. There's no middle ground.

Good post, Helen.