A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence

Thanks to Nick Norelli at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth for passing on information about this forthcoming book.

Ed Komoszewski emailed me earlier today to point out a soon-to-be-released book entitled A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence by Dean L. Overman.  Here’s the description and some endorsements:

Whether Jesus was really the Son of God or not is a central question for Christians—and one that has provoked heated debate since the time of Jesus’ birth. Dean L. Overman examines the earliest Christian records to build a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. Overman analyzes often-overlooked evidence from liturgies and letters written in the years immediately following Jesus’ death—decades earlier than the Gnostic gospels or the New Testament gospels. Addressing questions raised by books such as Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus and Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels, Overman presents powerful evidence from the earliest Christian communities that will be new for many modern Christians and builds a carefully reasoned case for Jesus truly being the Son of God.

“Dean Overman covers a lot of very important ground in this well organized and easy to read book. He makes a solid case for the divinity of Jesus, as seen especially in the historically credible accounts of the resurrection. But Overman deals with many other important topics, such as the reliability of the New Testament Gospels and the unreliability of the second-century gnostic Gospels and the complicated question of how other religions of the world fit into the picture. Students, clergy, experts and non-experts alike will benefit greatly from this book. “—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College; author of Fabricating Jesus

“Dean Overman has produced a carefully written, helpful book that investigates this exceptionally important issue in a persuasive and convincing manner.”—Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, Cambridge University, author of Belief in God in an Age of Science, Templeton Prize recipient

“Dean Overman brings the investigative skill of a brilliant lawyer together with the insights of an outstanding Christian intellectual leader to make a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus and his resurrection. The careful argument he makes needs to be taken seriously by all who want to examine the foundations for the astonishing claim that Jesus uniquely is the Son of God. No assertion of truth is more revolutionary in the world’s history than this. Overman presents an accessible, persuasive case for why this assertion is historically grounded and intellectually trustworthy.”—Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America; Co-founder, Sojourners

“Skillful lawyer Dean L. Overman has carefully marshalled the earliest evidence available from the early church’s earliest confessions and set out a compelling case for the divinity of Jesus. What results is not just an enjoyable ‘good read’–it is an excellent and perceptive ‘must read’ for laypeople and scholars alike, which calls for an intelligent response in the court of public opinion.”—Richard N. Longenecker, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, University of Toronto, author of The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity

“A clearly written presentation against the proposition that early Christians freely constructed the words and traditions of Jesus. The reader is in good hands.”—Birger Gerhardsson, Lund University, author of The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition

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2 thoughts on “A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence

  1. PROOF OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS From the Koran and the Bible.
    ( AND THE CONCEPT OF TRINITY )

    God began by choosing a chaste woman, Mary (Maryam). To qualify her, He necessarily exalted her in advance ABOVE ALL THE WOMEN OF CREATION, for birth is the women’s GREATEST pride and, yet Mary would EXTRA-ORDINARILY give the birth that is the GREATEST of all times. See Luke 1:28, 30:34, 41-44, 48-49, and 54-55. Also says Qur’an 3:42, “….O Mary! Allah has CHOSEN thee, and PURIFIED thee, and PREFERRED thee ABOVE ALL THE WOMEN OF CREATION”.

    After that, God settled His soul (Ruh) inside His word (Kalimat) which he had put in the womb of Mary, who had been spiritually qualified as we have seen earlier. That was how Mary conceived Jesus. That was to enable the divine attribute have human features through her for the humans to understand Him better (Hence only Jesus is Biblicaly and Qur’anically declared as GOD’s WORD and GOD’s RUH (Spirit): John 1:1, 14:8:23, Phl. 2:5-8; and the Qur’an 4:171, 2:252 etc. (By implication, Jesus’ flesh is not actually biological but God’s Word; similarly, his life is not actually human’s but from God’s own as we will see more later).

    Therefore, even after his humanly birth, Jesus was declared as much superior to angels and, in fact, God said, “Let ALL God’s angels WORSHIP him (Jesus)” (Heb. 1:6; 1Pet. 3:22; Mat. 4:11), as was Adam, of course, in Qur’an 2:30-34.

    Thus, apparently, Jesus was a human, the rationality and aim of his humanized birth. See Rom. 8:3-6; Heb. 2:16-18. Also, says Allah according to Qur’an 6:9, “Had We appointed an ANGEL our messenger, We ASSUREDLY had made him LIKE A MAN SO THAT HE MIGHT SPEAK TO (associate with) MEN….”

    Muslims often cite John 5:30-31; Mark 13:32-33 and John 1428 etc as disproofs of Christ’s divinity. But, logically, these verses, rather than disprove Jesus’ divinity, expressed the anticipated and expected demonstrations of the character that was Jesus-in-exemplary-typical-human-nature and , therefore , in accordance with God’s programme as stated in the Qur’an 6:9 and:-

    (1) Phil. 2:6, “Who (Jesus) being in very nature God, did NOT consider equality with God something to grasp, 7 But made himself NOTHING, taking the very nature of a SERVANT, being made in human likeness 8, and found in appearance as a MAN, he HUMBLED himself and became OBEDIENT to the death, even death in the cross”

    (2) Heb. 2:16, “For surely it is NOT ANGELS that he (Jesus) helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 FOR THIS REASON HE (GOD) HAD TO MAKE HIM (JESUS) LIKE HIS BROTHERS IN EVERY WAY in order that……” (Compare Qur’an 6:9)

    (3) Rom. 8:3, “(Jesus)….in the LIKENESS OF A SINFUL MAN……….”
    So, in the light of these verses, it should be clear that Jesus’ humanized acts did not mean that he was actually a human being (John 8:23) but were the divinely designs that were to make Jesus not unnecessarily scare the humans but, rather be their SOURCE OF INSPIRATIONS.

    In other words, if Jesus were to act God-the-father again even when haven purposely transformed into a man, the transformation would logically be nonsense.
    The Holy Bible reveals relationship between Adam and Jesus thus, “The FIRST Adam became a LIVING SOUL, the LAST Adam (Jesus) a QUICKENING SPIRIT”, 1 Cor. 15:45. Therefore, to understand the nature of Jesus more, we must go back to the Adam’s case.

    Thus, when God breathed life into Adam (Qur’an 38:73-78 and Gen. 2:7), he (God) declared him His (God’s) own IMAGE/LIKENESS (Gen. 2:7) or His VICEROY (Qur’an 2:30). Also, according to Qur’an 28:37-38, 15:39-44; 17:61-62; 7:11-13 and 2:34, Allah instructed ALL the angels to WORSHIP Adam on the ground that He (Allah ) had breathed something of His SpIRIT into Adam for a soul (see Heb. 1:2-6, for the same instruction in respect of Jesus). In fact, according to these Qur’anic verses, Satan’s curse and demotion are God’s reaction to his (Satan’s) refusal to prostrate himself before Adam.

    Therefore, Biblically and Qur’anically Adam, whose flesh was made from just the sand (Gen. 2:7, Qur’an 28:72), was notwithstanding such GLORIOUS initially. And, logically, the glorious qualification came from what God breathed in him.

    However, Adam did not pass Satanic test but sinned (that shows some relative weakness in him), thereby lost his INITIAL STATUS and therefore was ordered out of MOST EXALTED DWELLING, the Garden of Eden(Qur’an 7:19-24, Gen. 3:1-24). But Jesus passed all the Satanic tests (Mt.4:1-11, Heb. 4:15; Qur’an 19:19), which logically implies comparative superiority in him.

    Therefore, the fact that SOIL is the comparative parent of Adam, who, again, could not pass Satanic test, sinned and was demoted; and Mary, the SUPERIOR among all women, is the comparative parent of Jesus, who, again, passed all the Satanic tests, did not sin and therefore was NEVER demoted, given that both Adam and Jesus got their souls unbiologically from God directly; it follows that whatever type of soul God gave Adam was originally INFERIOR to the one He gave Jesus. Thus Jesus would still have been superior to Adam even if he (Adam) had been able to defend his INITIAL STATUS, (and thus Jesus was very superior to the demoted Adam (and, by the way, EXTREMELY superior to Adam’s descendants including MUHAMMAD, whom Allah found STRAY: Qur’an 12:3, 93:6-8).

    So if initially Adam, made from soil, was inter-alia, QUALIFIED to be God’s IMAGE/LIKENESS (Biblically) or GOd’s VICEROY and WORTHY OF A WORSHIP BY THE ANGELS OF GOD (Qur’anically), all because his soul was God-breathed, then Jesus, who has much greater of these qualifications and miraculousness (Bible, Qur’an 5:113), is logically divine.

    Thus to Jesus’ divinity God did order the angels to worship; indeed, only divinity can be worshiped (Mt. 4:8-10; Qur’an 16:36; Heb. 1:2-6).

    That was why when Jesus was asked to disclose God he said, “Have I been with you so long and yet you do not know me…? He who has seen me has seen the Father (God); how can you say, ’show us the Father?..I do not speak on my (the human) authority, but the Father who DWELLS IN ME DOES HIS WORKS”, John 14:8-10.

    That is why Jesus was Biblically likened to (or understood to be) The Great Spirit Priest, Melchizedek who (being a spirit), has no biological father, mother, genealogy and dates of birth and death, but remains an eternal priest; Heb. 7:1-3, (i.e. the genealogy and date of birth of the ever living Jesus were but symbolic as earlier seen).

    And, that is why when Jesus accomplished his mission on the Earth naturally, he went back to where he came from, Qur’an 4:158, “God has raised him up unto HIMSELF”. See also John 6:28, 62, and Mk. 16:19. John 8:23.
    Yes! Jesus is, according to both the Bible and the Qur’an, back to his origin, God.

    This brings us to the issue of TRINITY.

    The TRINITY

    The term ‘Trinity’ is not of Biblical origin but the concept is. Thus, as any Biblically foreign word, it is not necessary to employ it in particular in whatever situation. However, the word ‘Trinity’ is relevantly expressive, thus it was employed as a term by some Bible interpreters just because it was the best word that simply expressed the ONENESS of the Almighty God, His soul in a born human body, and His soul when , or as, not inside a body. Thus:

    1. God-the-FATHER, means the ALMIGHTY God.
    (Deut.32:6; Mt.5:48,6:9-14; 1Cor.8:4-6)

    2.God-the-SON, means the SOUL-of-the-Almighty-God inside His (GOD’S) WORD, which was physically born as a human body. (Col. 1:15, 19; John 1:1, 14-18, 17:5; Phil. 2:5-7; Mt. 1:18; Isa. 9:6; John 14:10; Pls. 82:6)

    3. God-the-HOLY-SPIRIT, means just SOUL-of-the-Almighty-God, i.e. when, or as, not inside any bodily form. (John 4:24; MK. 3:28-29; Job 33:4; Gen.. 1:2; Pls. 139:7-12; Hab 3:3; 2Cor. 3:17-18). .

    Thank you

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