When I first saw the Heirophant's questionnaire on John's blog, I decided to answer all of the questions, and went to far as to say I would. I went through about a third of them, decided it was a waste of my time, and quit. John and I talked about the questions a bit, and I thought that was enough.
Then, Liam answered them all. I had been going back and forth about whether or not I should have finished the questionnaire until then. Now I realize I've made myself a liar, and once again failed to complete something I've started. For now.
I'll be using my blog to answer some of the questions I thought were actually worth answering. The rest, I will answer and post elsewhere upon request. As I said on John's blog, a lot of the Heirophant's questions are really poorly conceived. The website itself says, in bold and italic, "this is not intended to confront Christians," probably because any Christian worth his salt would knock these questions down like so many termite-eaten bowling pins.
So, I come to you as a Christian, who has studied not as much as he should have. If some of my answers are imperfect, please correct me. I am prepared to defend my answers, and also prepared to learn.
Tonight, I address question 46, a common myth that must be dealt with.
46. At no point in the four Gospels did Jesus claim to be the son of your god. (He said "son of man" quite frequently, and at one point referred to himself as "a son of god," but that was a common Hebrew expression at the time. Someone who was "a son of god" was a Jew. This reflected the Israelites' belief that they were the chosen people of your god. See also Job 1:6). Why, then, do you believe that Jesus was divine? If you don't believe that Jesus was divine, then why do you call yourself a Christian?
Jesus answered, "If I am boasting about myself, it doesn't count. But it is my Father who says these glorious things about me. You say, 'He is our God,' but you do not even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true - I know him and obey him. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad."
The people said, "You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say that Abraham has seen you?"
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, before Abraham was, I am!"
At that point they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself from them and left the Temple.
In this passage, Jesus plainly claims to be God. Note:
But Moses protested, "If I go the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they won't believe me. They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?"
God replied, "I Am Who I Am. Just tell them, 'I Am has sent me to you.'"
Jesus refers to himself using a the word Hayah, a name of God which no Jew could mistake. This is why the crowd attempts to stone him - for blasphemy. Also, even more plainly:
"The Father and I are one."
More answers to come. Count on it.