The belief (or doubt) that a man died and somehow came back to life.
This is what Paul argued having full knowledge of when he left a promising religious career and influential position among his peer group, and instead, went to his death proclaiming the Christ.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except HaMashiach Yeshua (Jesus Christ) and Him crucified.
- 1 Corinthians 2: 2How such faith is put into words is secondary to actually believing the testimony, I think.
Some argue that Yeshua depicted Himself having authority and power to raise Himself back to life.
Others say it was God's authority and power that raised Yeshua back to life.
Can it be both?
Both answers are given, one quoted as Yeshua speaking in the Gospel, the other the testimony being relayed to listeners by Paul...with several other evident examples from other disciples of Christ.
This should be proof that there is more than a single answer to any given question that demands a single and solitary answer.
I think such a paradox exists in the Scriptures in order to speak to individuals according to where they are; their current perceptions and their limitations or depth of understanding...
Do not believe Me unless I do the works of My Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.
- John 10: 37-38...and men's minds argue contradiction when it seems more likely an explanation of a single reality spoken in a myriad of ways in order that different listeners can hear that singularity in their own way.
The singularity: a man predicted His death, predicted His return, and such a prescient declaration came to pass...yet this man was more than a man.
He was a man for our own sake, so mankind may come to understand an unfathomable God.
He was made like us so we may understand who He is.
It seems the religious from opposing views (whether within Christianity or in other religious circles) like to argue over 'who' and 'what' Yeshua was in the flesh, or how Yeshua is now beyond the flesh.
It is very difficult to argue against the factual reality of Yeshua being crucified...and the eye-witness testimony that Yeshua rose again to life.
The prior is something attested to in various secular places (as well as religious), and to argue such evidence of death is to deny the rudiments men have used in determining the events of the past as either historical or mythical.
The latter belief, that Yeshua rose back to life, can also be historically attested using the same rudiments, but such things are found to be illogical to those who haven't been gifted faith.
Let us consider the term “religion”.
For some who identify themselves as being ____________ (fill in a religious ideology), Yeshua is seen through the backdrop of their religious notions...and is somehow fitted into the similarities they have conceived as true, possible and factual.
I use the term “religious” loosely and according to how the writer M. Scott Peck defined religion in his book “The Road Less Traveled”.
In short, every human being has a unique 'religion' regardless if they believe in God or something else.
Their 'religion' is how they perceive, define and explain themselves and the world.
For the atheist, Yeshua is seen as a decent human being whose teachings are difficult not only to follow, but to argue against, for they speak to the heart...although such hearts may deny the notion of God or all that Yeshua expressed in His claims.
What is quite exciting and interesting to me is that scholarship has allowed the atheist, the religious, and all types of people in between, to look at the historical references about Yeshua according to their own minds.
I think these are stepping stones to the Gospel message of Yeshua, and a salvation opportunity.
Regardless of any single person's immediate frame of mind, or their ideas about God, or religion, or Yeshua, they can be brought to learning something (or many things) about Yeshua that meets them where they currently stand in time's eternal vastness; wherever they are on their earthly sojourn.
For some, Yeshua is the Son of God (not literally as if the Father procreated as humans physically do), but “Son” in a way that people have usually argued about, both inside and outside Christian church walls, for far too long.
Allowing the walls of instigation to finally come crashing down, people could agree that the Mystery of God in Christ (whether by His Spirit, His Word, and/or some other means) could be discussed philosophically, logically, rationally, religiously, ideally and basically.
So basic that a child can understand...so why not 'learned' adults?
What should be discussed, and not debated, is disallowing the building of more walls.
Instead, may we figure out how to further unify humanity and build upon similarities and agreeable understandings.
For some people of the world, the term “Son of God” is unacceptable because they've been taught to deny such a relation to a God that is beyond human understanding.
Their cultural pillars hold a polemic as a rudimentary rule.
This is similar to how some people who deny God exists desire not to even discuss such a topic; hostility, instead of an effort towards discussion.
But do those who profess to follow and believe in the Son of God really preach that God had a child as a man does with a woman?
Of course not, but somehow this ridiculous notion seems to be the idea heard when people hear “Son of God”.
What does the testimony from Above really say about Yeshua, and why is the term “Son of God” given to Yeshua?
For Muslims, Yeshua being called the “Spirit of God” and the “Word of God” is acceptable (because that is taught in Islam as 'true').
Why then is it such a difficult notion to ponder that God lived by and through His Word and Spirit in the body of Yeshua for a short time many centuries ago?
Some Muslim thinkers have concluded such ideas, because it takes more soul searching to look past dogmas and hear what the Spirit is speaking to the heart.
The two notions do not seem opposed, but somehow such notions are vehemently opposed or immediately questioned.
Since it has been proclaimed and quoted by the prophets who preceded Yeshua, and quoted by Yeshua Himself, that God (shall live) and did live in the body of Yeshua by His Word and His Spirit, then it would make sense for the term “Son of God” to be made when speaking of that Man whom the Spirit and Word of God lived in for a short time on earth.
“I and the Father are One.”
Again His Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone Him, but Yeshua said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Yeshua answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the One whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I Am God’s Son’? Do not believe Me unless I do the works of My Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
- John 10: 30-38Notice how God opens up at least two manners of coming to faith in Christ: the testimony itself being one, the evidence of the works being another.
Read what else is proclaimed:
“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Yeshua. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”
- Luke 1: 30-35Going further, does the Gospel testimony say that God vacated heaven and was only found in the body of the man Yeshua?
Was heaven empty for those thirty some years that Yeshua lived on earth?
Of course not, but again, somehow this is the infantile notion received by those who cringe at such a though of God in Christ...yet this is the Gospel's message and a difficult notion to ponder for some who are very accustomed to avoid.
So what if God, displaying how humble, patient and gracious He truly is, granted people a way of repentance and salvation by seeing Yeshua in a manner that would initially agree with whatever worldview they were brought up with?... to grow in them as a seed grows into something greater.
This is what I see has happened in what Muhammad claimed as inspiration, for the internet is full of testimonies of Muslims coming to faith in Yeshua as Lord and Savior.
Islamic scholars, and some Christian scholars, consider Muhammad (his poetry, the cadence in rhyme and rhythm in the Arabic tongue, what is called the Quran) to have been inspired by God, or to contain a divine effort from God.
I don't hold such a view.
I do concede that half of the Quran contains the repeating of previous messages found in the Old and New Covenants, with other acceptable notions that compliment and agree with these messages.
I think this is what some scholars opine to be divine revelation, but I call it simply repetition.
The other half unfortunately contradicts itself and the previous messages from Above, having copied some fringe ideas that preceded Muhammad (legendary apocryphal and heretical accounts) along with regional and mythical Arabic-ethnic stories.
The man who repeats, and writes down what is accepted as wholly inspired, is not actually inspired from Above, but simply forwarding what was previously accepted as inspired of God.
Such a man is a scribe, or if he is illiterate, is a repeater of things he believed to be true, and a repeater of other things he perceived to be true.
The scribe is not like an inspired prophet of God, although the scribe is writing the inspirations coming through an inspired prophet.
A factual prophet of God cannot contradict God's previous testimonies, unless a new covenant is being revealed and clearly established...and Muhammad made no such explicit claim, but claimed to be continuing a covenant made with Adam...while ignoring, misunderstanding or not knowing the covenants made and concluded with Noah, made and fulfilled with Abraham, and the current everlasting covenant of the Messiah.
Let us call a scribe what a scribe is, a warner what a warner is, a prophet what a prophet actually is, and let us call the Messiah who the heavenly testimony declares the Messiah to be: Son of God, Holy One, One with the Father.