Skeptics about Christianity abound…

Q.  Can you believe the Creator of the Universe wrote  the Bible (or inspired the hand of the writers) and yet was not able to:

1. Give an indisputable date of His Son`s birth

2. Make His Son write his teachings (and codify them) himself, rather than relying, for the most important, on someone who never met Him in person (Paul)

3. At least have someone record the teachings and deeds of His Son on the spot in the actual language He spoke rather than relying on copies of copies written tens of years later in another language

4. Convey a clear(er) meaning of the Lord`s Supper, just to avoid His followers killing each other over the issue of Christ`s real presence in Eucharist?

A. For the first question, it is simply incorrect in saying that God could not give an indisputable date for Jesus’ birth.  It is very correct, however, to say that this issue has no real bearing on the message of the Gospel.  The aim of the gospels was not to offer a biography of Jesus, persay, but to inform the reader of Jesus’ Godhood.  John said it best when he said that his book “was written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” (John 20:31).  You see, we also have plenty of other missing details about Jesus.  Did He laugh?  How tall was He? Did He really have long hair?  These questions also were left unanswered in the Gospel, but they also are not pertinent in the great story of the Gospel anyway.

Second, the argument is easily made that Jesus, being God incarnate, had already written His law in the first five books of the Old Testament.  Beyond that, it simply isn’t true that Jesus relied on Paul to write His teachings.  Jesus’ teachings were already being used by Peter and the other disciples well before Paul came on the scene.  Otherwise, there would have been no thriving community of Christians in Acts 2-9.  Paul was specifically called by Jesus to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.  This is why all of his letters were addressed to Gentile churches, such as Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia, and Ephesus.  So in answer to this, I would say that it was not Jesus’ purpose to codify what He had already codified.  It was the disciples, and later Paul, who took His teachings to heart and simply applied what had already been disclosed in scripture.

Third, there are several things to understand about the linguistics of Ancient Palestine.  First, Jesus’ native tongue would have been Aramaic, as Aramaic had become the trade language in Semitic regions ever since the 700s BC.  Hebrew would also have been known to the Jewish population, though it’s usage was typically limited to religious and legal arenas.  Finally, Koine Greek was the ancient equivalent of English:  it’s usage was so widespread that nearly everyone knew Koine.  Therefore, it is ridiculous to assume that Jesus did not speak all three languages.  He was probably just as comfortable speaking Greek as He was speaking Aramaic.  In fact, reading through some of the phrases He used in the Gospel, as well as looking at some of the writings of His disciples (most notably the Greek syntax of the disciple John), show that He probably had excellent command of Aramaic and Greek.  Some of his parables even rely on puns in Aramaic to get the point across even more sharply, thus showing not only a great command of language, but a great sense of humor as well.  Another thing to consider is that these manuscripts were written within a few years of Jesus’ lifetime.  Matthew and John were both His disciples, and Mark was written by John Mark during the time he was with Peter, who was also a disciple.  Luke has been proven to be incredibly accurate in his portrayal of archaeological settings and details, and he was also a traveling companion of Paul.  He most likely had access to many other eyewitnesses, including the other disciples, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and many others.  It is simply inaccurate to look at this from that frame of mind.

Finally, there is no instance in history where Christians have come to blows over the Eucharist.  The reformers left the Catholic church over many issues, most notably the role of the Pope and church tradition over scripture.  There were many other reasons as well, such as an abuse of power by the Catholic church, use of unscrupulous policies such as Johann Tetzel’s selling of indulgences, and the like.  While Christians have unfortunately made foolish mistakes (the Salem Witch Trials come to mind), the Lord’s supper has not inspired any violence that I am aware of.

Many times these kinds of questions are brought up not because they are legitimate concerns, but are usually brought up out of a desire to not be accountable to a higher power.  There is more than enough evidence in science and history to make faith in Christ a reasonable decision.  What we do with that evidence is our decision.

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