Did the Earliest Christians Believe Jesus *Became* God?

This will be my final post on the debate I had in New Orleans with Michael Bird on “How Did Jesus Become God” a couple of weeks ago.  As I indicated in my previous post, it appears where we disagree in particular is with how the resurrection affected the disciples’ understanding of Jesus.  My view is that when they came to think Jesus was raised from the dead, the disciples thought that this entailed his being exalted up to heaven.  ...

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Christ as the Adopted Son of God

In this post I can begin to explain what I *think* is the point of contention between Michael Bird and me on the question of how the followers of Jesus came to think he was God.  When I say that I “think” this is the main point, it’s because I’m not completely sure.  As I’ve pointed out, Michael never laid out an alternative hypothesis for how the early Christian views of Christ came into existence or developed.  Moreover, since he ...

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What the Resurrection of Jesus MEANT

 

In my previous post I indicated that I was a bit disappointed at my public debate with Michael Bird at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that he did not propose an alternative solution to “How Jesus Became God,” some other sense of how it happened different from the one I proposed.  If he disagrees with my scenario, what scenario does he himself imagine?  I’m not sure.

Part of the problem is that he himself said during the debate that Jesus did ...

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Christ as Son of God in Mark’s Gospel

In my previous post I indicated that by the early fourth century, the debates over Christ’s divine nature had become extraordinarily sophisticated and complex (though not as sophisticated and complex as in the two centuries to follow!).  At the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE the question was over whether Christ, the God who created the world, was a subordinate divinity to God the Father, one who came into being at some point in time, or if, instead, he was ...

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My Debate with Michael Bird Feb. 12 , 2016

As many of you know, this past weekend (February 12-13, 2016) I met with Australian New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird at the 2016 Greer-Heard Point Counter Point Forum on for a two part debate. The event was held at the Leavell College Chapel at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. A question and answer session followed the debate. The subject of the debate was focused on my book. How Jesus Became God. Michael was the editor of the “response” book, ...

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The Controversies about Christ: Arius and Alexander

As I mentioned in the last post, in my debate this past Friday at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I was trying to sketch out how it was that the early Christians came to think that Christ was God.   I decided in the debate *not* to start at the beginning, for example, with the teachings of Jesus, his understandings of himself, the views of his disciples and so on.  Instead, in order to set up a key contrast, I ...

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The Son of God, the Council of Nicea, and the Da Vinci Code

In my main lecture during the debate this past weekend, I decided to develop in short order the case that I make in my book How Jesus Became God for how, well, Jesus became God.  (!)   But I chose to do it differently from how I do it in the book, at least in terms of rhetorical strategy.  I chose to start at the *end* of the development (it’s actually nowhere near the end – since Christological arguments continued on ...

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My Debate This Past Weekend

I just returned yesterday from a two-day event in New Orleans involving a public debate with an Australian New Testament scholar named Michael Bird.   To explain the situation, I need to give some background.   As most readers on the blog know, a couple of years ago I published my book How Jesus Became God.  This was my attempt to show how it is that the man Jesus, an apocalyptic preacher from a remote area of rural Galilee, came to be ...

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Ehrman Licona Debate – Prove Jesus Rose from Dead

On February 28, 2008 I flew back to (near) my home turf, Kansas City, Missouri where I debated Christian apologist Mike R. Licona on the topic, “Can Historians Prove that Jesus Rose from the Dead?” The event took place on at 7 p.m. held at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  You can guess whose side the crowd was on!

Mike is one person I’ve debated over the years with whom I have a very good relationship.  When we’re not going at ...

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My Debate with Kyle Butt on the Problem of Suffering

On April 4, 2014 I had a lively and, well, rather rigorous and at times somewhat unpleasant debate (unpleasant for maybe both of us?) with a conservative Christian apologist named Kyle Butt at the campus of the University of North Alabama (UNA).  Gospel Broadcasting Network aired the event live on their television network, as well live streamed it on the Internet.  We were debating whether the problem of suffering can call into question the existence of God.

Kyle wrote previous of the ...

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